We've had foul-mouthed Long Island Neanderthals enshrined as working class heroes on "Jersey Shore." We have seen Upper-East Side housewives behave like gum-snapping high school 'mean girls.' We have David Hasselhoff ready to do a reality series. For God's sake -- David Hasselhoff! Frankly, girlfriends, a reality series about drag queens may be a programming upgrade for us all.
Gay.com announced this week the Sept. 8 premiere of a Web series "The Queens of Drag: NYC." Snooky hasn't got a thing on these ladies. Get ready for the boundary-crossing adventures of Bianca del Rio, Logan Hardcore, Epiphany, Acid Betty and (I kid you not) Hedda Lettuce. The 8-part series will focus on the drag scene in New York and explore the stories behind the ladies trying to stand out in the flamboyant nightlife scene. Each Webisode will focus on a single person as they move in and out of make-up.
The series appears to be TV-grade with prime-time talent involved. The producer of "The L Word" and "Barbershop" Larry Kennar is involved as is Jack Mackenroth who worked on a season of "Project Runway."
While the high schooler in all of us may first respond to a drag queen reality show with a giggle, the chances are pretty good there is more richness of character and situation to mine here than there is in the drunken brainlessness on "Jersey Shore." Most reality programming seems to showcase superficiality or vulgar wealth (often both in unison).
From "Housewives" to HasselHoff to Snooky, we keep trying to scratch the surface of people only to find ... more surface. With drag queens you start with the flamboyance and high volume drama rather than work up to it. My guess is there is more chance of eyeing the humanity of these characters than we get from prime time. Mackenroth says in the statement, "The fascinating part is how they all lead dual lives, both of which are incredibly challenging. Most people think of drag as glamorous, fun fluff. But it's actually an underappreciated art form that requires an enormous amount of talents and guts." Guts? Talent? Yes. Well we're thinking of a couple of other things it takes to be a proper drag queen, but we're not going to spell out the punch line.
No word on a sponsor for the series, however. We throw down the gauntlet here and now to big brands. There are taglines just waiting to be written for drag queen endorsements of classic feminine products. Will Maybelline, Cover Girl, or Hanes have the (okay, I'll say it) balls?