Btw, if you’ve never seen Rat Race, you’re also welcome. Give it a Google.
The original Netflix series, which dropped on the streaming service on 10th January 2020, is currently gagging the internet with its unique mix of comedy, drama, drag and FEELS.
The series is written, directed, produced by and stars RuPaul herself as larger-than-life New York drag queen Ruby Red (basically just RuPaul, but I’m totally fine with that). The down-on-her-luck “40-year-old” drag queen travels across America from club to club in a rundown 1990’s RV, in order to recoup the $100,000 stolen from her. Ruby is paired up with young AJ, a recently orphaned, potty-mouthed, 10-year-old white girl stowaway.
“As these two misfits, one tall – one small, travel from city to city, Ruby’s message of love and acceptance winds up touching people and changes their lives a little for the better. This fun, outrageous series explores ideas of family, friendship, love, and loss. Together they help each other navigate the heartbreaking past, the challenging present and a hopeful future as Ruby and AJ travel the USA searching for a little happiness and the very best breakfast waffle. Part Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Part Touched by an Angel. Oh, and RuPaul performs a killer musical number in every drag club.”
If I had to compare the series to a drag queen cliché, I’d immediately choose the death drop. But instead of endlessly raving about it, here are nine reasons why AJ and the Queen utterly slays.
Mama Ru aka RuPaul Charles not only plays titular character, Robert Lincoln Lee aka Ruby Red, but she played a significant role in writing, producing and directing the series
Seriously, when does this queen sleep?
If you’re a fan of spotting Easter eggs in your movie and tele choices, you won’t be disappointed while watching AJ and the Queen. The series guest-stars literally dozens and dozens of RuPaul’s world-famous Drag Race queens.
According to Digital Spy, nearly two dozen Drag Race girls cameo in AJ and the Queen, including Bianca Del Rio, Katya, Valentina and Vanessa Vanjie Mateo (“Miss Vannnnjjjjieeee”). Co-creator Michael Patrick King told Digital Spy that trying to organise all the queens – and work around their busy schedules – was a “challenge” that he compared to “plate spinning”.
Fans will certainly see a softer side to Mama Ru in the new series. According to Variety, Ru wanted to show that she was, in fact, not “dead inside”. For the sake of non-Drag Race viewers, Ru can come across a little, well, robotic and emotionless on her show from time to time…
“My heart isn’t black. It’s actually pumping blood and it’s alive. It was really lovely to dig deep. It’s been years of protecting that soft underbelly and then to be in the safe hands of Michael Patrick King. I was able to just bloom and just be vulnerable and I love that.”
See. Feels. I warned you.
Michael-Leon Wooley plays Ruby’s bestie, blind drag queen Coco Butter aka Louis Bell in AJ and the Queen and honestly, he is a f**king delight. If Wooley fails to make you laugh in this with his shocking, unfiltered humour, then you might be dead inside.
Ruby stops off in various gay clubs on her cross-country trip to Texas and every time she does, we get gifted to a gag-worthy RuPaul performance. My insufficient combination of words, gifs and memes just won’t do it justice. So just watch it. There’s a reason she’s the world’s most successful drag artist.
Need I say more?
Tia Carrere plays series villain (well, one of them) Lady Danger. She’s a cross between an angry Michelle Visage and a Kill Bill villain; either way, I salute.
The soundtrack to the series is essentially a plethora of new RuPaul songs – including once called Ruby is Red Hot – from her new album, You’re a Winner, Baby. They’re all winners, baby.
I had to save the best till last. If you watch Drag Race, you’ll know that mutha f**kin’ Latrice Royale needs absolutely no introduction.
But what I will say is that not only does she cameo in AJ and the Queen, but Latrice performs with RuPaul herself; basically, the drag equivalent of Whitney and Mariah sharing the spotlight for a hot sec.
AJ and the Queen is streaming on Netflix now.
Images via Netflix
Having worked in children's media and publishing for almost a decade, Ben is thoroughly excited to now be able to swear in stories and features. He is such a big fan of Disney and Horror films that he started an LGBTQ+ podcast called 'Once Upon A Scream'. His mum listens. You can contact Ben at email@example.com. Twitter: @PulsfordBen / Instagram: @thebenmidlerFollow