‘Plane Jane is the reality TV villain Drag Race has long been missing’

Author: Charlie Duncan

Plane Jane Drag Race Season 16

Plane Jane has made it to the top three of RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16 by sheer charisma, uniqueness, nerve, talent – and the embodiment of that acronym. And the show has been all the better for it.

We freely admit that Sapphira Cristál or Nymphia Wind should probably take home the crown. Their storylines have been compelling (drag juggernaut, and lovable, talented weirdo), their looks have comprised two of the strongest runway packages in the show’s history and either would be worthy winners.

What then, to make of the third finalist, Plane Jane?

The same Plane who entered the werk room and told one other queen that she looked like a piglet, and branded another one hideous, before spending the rest of the episode committing sabotage and tomfoolery. The same Plane who never apologised for being, in the words of fellow contestant Xunami Muse, a “c**t” all season. The same Plane who came for Amanda Tori Meating repeatedly and for seemingly no other reason than she didn’t like her drag.

She may have already “won” the season by dragging it – by its very lace – back to its reality TV roots. So, this seems like the right time to discuss the rise and fall of villains in Drag Race history.

Every good reality TV show needs a villain fans love to hate. Queens who filled that role on Drag Race in some of the early years include Phi Phi O’Hara, Roxxxy Andrews and Acid Betty.

What all these queens had in common was that they were (relatively) old-school, in that they all inhabited the werk room before the Drag Race fandom started sending death threats to queens who glanced the wrong way at the fave of the week.

They weren’t afraid of fan reaction, they were outwardly hateful at points and they were all really good at drag. The seasons needed those queens to avoid a season-nine, happy-clappy, “everybody’s friend” situation.

Don’t get us wrong, season nine was good, but we crave more discord.

There’s been a steady decline in villains since that fandom change. Yes, season 13 had Kandy Muse, but she was never truly villainous. Season 14 had Daya Betty, but she only really clashed with Jasmine Kennedie, and season 15’s Mistress could also be included, but in a way that was never really mean, rather just shady (although Loosey LaDuca might not agree).

But then came Plane Jane.

From her first appearance, in episode two, she has been the talking point of the season. Just glance at every “first lewk” snippet on the Drag Race YouTube channel. If there’s one thing mama was going to do, it was be in those thumbnails. Like it or not, every episode has had something to do with Plane, even when she was safe.

There is something to be said for the “or not” crowd, and Plane’s treatment of Amanda. At times, it was uncomfortable to watch, but the latter called a meeting right on Plane’s a*s and gave it right back. It was glorious to behold.

It was reminiscent of Roxxxy Andrews vs Jinkx Monsoon way back in season five, when fans of the show did not throw their toys out of the pram when a queen wasn’t nice to the fav of the week – and, by the way, who said drag queens had to be nice?

And there’s the point. Plane reminds us of season five, which is arguably the best ever and slap-bang in the middle of Drag Race‘s golden era. Plane has taken up the mantle of the perfect reality-TV villain: really good at what they do, and unapologetically b*tchy about it.

Although the feud was cut short when Amanda was sent home after the girl group challenge (despite not being the worst, and beating Q in their lip-sync), Plane found plenty to do in her absence.

There was the shouting match with Dawn where Plane called her a “doo-doo clown mess.” There was the Untucked moment where, for no reason, she decided to sh*t on all the safe girls for their Snatch Game performances. And for the final magical ingredient, there were the beats where she broke down in tears in the werk room to show vulnerability, and when she gave Nymphia her immunity potion – which absolutely no one saw coming.

Plane’s run on Drag Race has reminded viewers that the show is not a beauty pageant, where every character has to be likeable, but a reality TV experience. She has manipulated judging to win (à la Nymphia in episode two’s rate-a-queen twist), she has been rotten at mostly every turn, she has shown vulnerability where it matters, and she’s been really, really good at drag.

Simply put, season 16 wouldn’t have been the same – or anywhere near as good – without her.

Ladies and gentlemen, tray tables up and seatbelts on: Plane Jane is coming in for landing.

Nymphia, Sapphira and Plane will battle it out in the RuPaul’s Drag Race season 16 finale on Friday (19 April) on MTV in the US and WOW Presents Plus internationally.

Actual Story on Pink News
Author: Charlie Duncan

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