But in Season 5, it appears we’re back to glamour-land, with a slate of queens who, with a few execptions, seem to value being “fishy”—i.e., as convincing in their imitation of women as possible—above all else. I challenge you to find a five-minute block of any episode that doesn’t contain that word flopping around on deck. But fishy has its limits, and they were never more apparent than in this week’s episode, which featured the Snatch Game, a fan-favorite over the past few seasons. Styled on the 1960s hit Match Game, the contest begins with Ru asking an innuendo-laden question of a duo of guest “celebrities.” The queens, who are all meant to be impersonating specific celebrities (Cher, Madonna, and so on) record their answers on cards. Ru then compares the celebrity answers with the queens’ to see if there is a match. This rarely happens; the point of the exercise is comedy, not points.
As you might expect, much of that comedy comes from the impersonation skills of the queens themselves. They not only need to look like their star, but also must channel that figure’s idiosyncrasies, clichés, and neuroses to humorous effect—they need to be, in a word, campy. Unfortunately, Monday’s edition of the Snatch Game revealed almost all of this season’s contestants as fish out of water. Alaska and Roxxxy Andrews were passably funny as Lady Bunny and Tamar Braxton, respectively, but the clear winner of the night—partially because she had no competition—was Jinkx Monsoon as Little Edie, the troubled and transcendent cousin of Jackie Kennedy featured in the canonical camp documentary, Grey Gardens.
Jinkx’s interpretation of Little Edie was excellent, and she deserved to win. But, based on the admittedly edited version of events that we saw, none, not one, of Jinkx’s peers seemed to know what Grey Gardens even was. And worse than that cringe-worthy ignorance was the embarrassing gall some of the queens displayed in making fun of Jinkx for her camp knowledge. When Coco Montrese, until now a favorite of mine, tried to “read” (that is, artfully insult) Jinkx during the Snatch Game by asking Ru who Little Edie was, I almost felt pity for how stupid she looked. Almost.