Squirrelfriends, if you had told me six months ago that the first episode of "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars" would have me pitying Mimi Imfurst and annoyed at Pandora Boxx, I would have told you to lay off the drugs.
And yet, here we are, folks, sort of not that upset that everyone's favorite Pandora Boxx left early.
But rewind: First things first. This season of "Drag Race" has been like the Olympics, Miss America and the release of a new iPhone all rolled into one for me and hundreds of thousands of fans. The contestants were teased at in a black-light video and voting took place for weeks on Facebook to send Ms. Boxx to the Drag Hall of Fame.
So it's not surprising she's first on screen, resplendent in a kicky black stripe number and hungry for redemption. She's quickly joined by Latrice Royale, Yara Sofia, Shannel (yay!), Raven, Alexis Mateo, Chad Michaels, Manila Luzon (fiercest evah), Mimi Imfurst (uh, what?), Nina Flowers (omg love), Jujubee (still the funniest) and alien life form Tammie Brown. Instantly, Shannel reminds me of why I love her more than chocolate milk.
"I bought this from the Debbie Reynolds collection," she says, waving at the over-the-top metallic creation she has on. "This was used in a Broadway production of 'Beauty and the Beast' and the beast wore it."
The kiki doesn't last long, though, once the ladies find out they've got to compete in pairs for the entire competition. They find out from Ru that they'll also be eliminated in pairs. The queens use placards to show their top pick, and if the other queen has picked them as well, they're a team.
In the first round, Rave and Jujubee pick each other, as do Shannel and Chad, and Tammie Brown and Nina Flowers. For round two, Manila and Latrice are hooked up, and Yara and Alexis, leaving Pandora and Mimi a team.
Most of the girls seem thrilled at their partners, with the notable exception of Pandora Boxx. She immediately gets a disappointed, sour look on her face, a look that doesn't move for the rest of the episode.
"Here's my question," asks a criminally clueless Mimi. "Are you unhappy that you're my partner or feeling guilty that you didn't pick me?"
Oh, Mimi. Here is where the germs of my negative feelings toward Pandora began. Yep, I get that being paired with Mimi Imfurst sucks. I wouldn't want to carry the 11th-place queen on my back for an entire season, either. But the Negative Nelly attitude is the exact opposite of why people have loved Pandora Boxx so much. Boo, Pandora. Boo.
In any case, the queens get their challenge, one in which they'll have two photo shoots with their partners. One, "half-baked," forces them to take photos half-in and half-out of drag, no wigs allowed. The second, "opposites attract," will feature their differences in high fashion style.
Immediately it's clear that Pandora and Mimi are in trouble, and it's possible that Chad and Shannel might be pushing the envelope into weirdness a bit too much with their "strangled neck" makeup.
Guys, I also want to say that Raven has had some WORK done. Those lips are out of control.
Yara and Alexis have decided to switch roles for their opposites attract shoot, and Alexis has to go goth and flat-chested.
"Without titties?" Alexis says incredulously. "But I always wear titties. That's my favorite part of drag."
Raven and Juju decide to do "dressed and undressed," and Raven's perfect body is on display, with a tan that would put Snooki to shame.
The "opposites attract" shoot also features black rain falling on the duos, which results in some uncomfortable weirdness.
"We're going to be wet on top of this?" Latrice says. "That's not glamorous!"
As the queens prep for the runway and twin looks, there's more negativity from Pandora toward Mimi. When Mimi approaches Pandora again, she gets just a shrug and a half-assed statement of unity. It is so not cute.
Guest judges for the first episode Rachel Hunter and Ross Mathews join regular judges Santino Rice and Michelle Visage.
Yara and Alexis, also known as "Yarlexis," serve cheerleader of the future outfits, with pictures of themselves glued to their chests. It is not that great, I don't mind telling you.
But Manila and Latrice, "Latrila," work the runway as glittery Teletubbies, complete with a TV on Manila's stomach playing her "Hot Couture" video.
"If your palate ain't feeling what I'm cooking, then spit it out, bitch," Latrice says. I'm feeling it! I'm feeling it!
Pandora and Mimi, "Mandora," have matching shiny blue-and-green-fur numbers, and "Rujubee," Raven and Jujubee work adorable burlesque outfits. "Brown Flowers," Nina and Tammie, go for eleganza in black floor-length gowns and curly red wigs. "Shad," Shannel and Chad, of COURSE, completely overdo it in wild, feathery drama looks.
Rujubee are safe, but it's Latrila who take top honors—and deservedly so.
Yarlexis fail to transmit their ideas to the judges, and Mandora fall flat mostly because of Mimi and their weird outfits. Brown Flowers didn't translate their "half-baked" photo success to the "opposites attract" pic.
If there are any two queens who are so confident that they not only refuse to tone themselves down or refocus their approaches, it's Shad. They are practically the same queen. They're also unable to see how their perfection and overdone looks can be anything less than awesome.
Shannel kills Santino with her eyes as he dresses her down, reminding me of her white-hot hatred for him in Season 1. Police officers, if Santino is found tortured and strangled at any point in time, I'm not saying Shannel definitely did it. I'm just saying it wouldn't hurt to check her out.
ANYWAY, it's Shad and Mandora who are the bottom two pairs, and Mimi and Chad are picked to lip-sync for their teams' lives. Despite Mimi horning in on Chad's personal space and a costume change that Manila hilariously slams, things are not looking good for team Mandora.
"I am a drag assassin and I'm not going home against the likes of Mimi Imfurst," Chad says, a promise that she keeps.
Mimi and Pandora sashay away, and I find myself far less upset than I would have guessed I'd be. See ya, Bitter Betty and her less bitter but less talented partner!
Next week: Dude looks like a celebrity lady!
And now it's time for the best quotes of the episode. As Yara Sofia would say, "Swallow it."
"When I competed last time, everybody thought I was this arrogant bitch," Shannel (Well, gurl, if the shoe fits…)
"Someone's gotta go home first," Manila (about Mimi).
"I love long walks on the beach, big dicks and fried chicken," Jujubee.
"One hundred thousand dollars? That's like five hundred thousand chicken nuggets!" Jujubee.
"I'm getting black rain in my brown flower," Raven.
"Black rain! Why it gotta be black?" RuPaul.
"The Yarlexis gets pretty good gas mileage," Santino.
"Si. Me gusta mucho. That means 'I like it a lot' in Spanish," Tammie.
"I like a BBW in a bold print. That's what I like," Ross.