The Emmy-award winning host of RuPaul’s Drag Race is getting another tv show and it’s not a reality series, kind of. According to Deadline, RuPaul will be executive producing a scripted series about his life in New York City during the ‘80s. The 30-minute dramedy will focus on the entertainer’s “rise from club kid to drag queen, gay icon, and global star.” So while it’s a pivot away from Drag Race, there will most likely be quite a bit of gender-bending bending performance in the new series.
RuPaul honed his skills as a performer on the nightclub scene in New York during the ‘80s. This was the launchpad for his mainstream success. While the show is obviously framed on RuPaul’s personal experiences, it’s bound to touch on some important topics. It’s nearly impossible to talk about “Reagan era 1980s” on the gay scene without talking about the HIV epidemic that was being largely ignored by his administration. The unique brand of homophobia against gay men, in addition to the housing and employment disparities affecting LGBTQ people of colour are also staples of the period.
News of RuPaul’s show comes on the heels of shows like Netflix’s The Get Down, which has also shed a brief light on the vibrant underground LGBTQ scene in New York and it’s relationship to early hip hop; the meme revival of Paris Is Burning which brought national attention to underground vogue ballroom scene; and the fresh release of Kiki, a new documentary that brings both the joys and the tribulations of this community full circle by focusing on today’s Kiki ballroom scene. A dramedy seems dead on for RuPaul’s new endeavour.
At the very least, it’s clear that RuPaul hasn’t become the figure he is today because of his dull personality and uneventful lifestyle. The show, which will soon be shopped around to networks, is pretty much guaranteed to be a lituation.