RuPaul's Drag Race

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
RuPaul's Drag Race TV Poster Image
Drag queen contest is campy and carries a message.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 11 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 15 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Amid the sassy, sexualized content are well-intentiond messages about self-acceptance and having the courage to be true to yourself.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite the contestants' sometimes catty behavior, they also display courage and self-acceptance.

Violence

A contestant is shown being slapped in the face as part of an acting session.

Sex

Strong sexual innuendo, including references to various sex acts. The contestants are referred to as “ladies” when dressed as women. They are shown dressing provocatively, dancing suggestively, pole dancing, and imitating various sexual positions. They're also shown getting undressed and wearing various devices to enhance their chests and hide their genitalia, but nudity is blurred.

Language

RuPaul and the contestants continuously use the terms “queen” and “bitch” to describe themselves. Curses like “s--t” and “f--k” are bleeped.

Consumerism

The winner of the competition will be featured in product campaigns for NYX Cosmetics and L.A. Eyeworks. Interior Illusions Co. and Absolut Vodka are also show sponsors. The logo for Out of the Closet secondhand store is frequently visible.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Visible alcohol consumption (cocktails, mixed drinks). Absolut Vodka is a show sponsor.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series -- in which gay male drag performers compete for a title, money, and commercial opportunities -- includes lots of sexual innuendo (including references to various sex acts and blurred nudity) and a fair bit of strong language (the term “bitch” is used continuously, while curses like “f--k” and “s--t” are bleeped). The show supports the gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender community, while simultaneously sending the message that drag queens must be overly sexualized in order to succeed. It also promotes self-acceptance.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bymatthager July 20, 2012

What kind of rating system is used here?!

How could this show not get a full rating for positive role models?! What demographic better teaches the rest of us how to love ourselves and accept others more... Continue reading
Adult Written byjhalisha April 29, 2012

No Kids Allowed!

Really people. Enjoy it by yourself, but this is definitely not for your kids. Maybe a few of your high school age kids might appreciate it, but not for middle... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written bymaggiesanch November 29, 2014

Simply Beautiful.

Drag Race is an inspirational spin on competition reality shows. Shows like 'America's Next Top Model' are not particularly great influences on y... Continue reading
Teen, 16 years old Written bycandyrox April 9, 2017

Bad review!

This review is awful and full of homophobia. Nowhere does it reveal that the men are actually gay, and as a matter of fact not all of them are. There is no sex... Continue reading

What's the story?

RUPAUL’S DRAG RACE is a reality competition designed to find America’s next drag superstar. Hosted by actor/model/drag queen RuPaul, the series follows 12 male performers as they compete in a variety of designing, modeling, dancing, and acting challenges to show off their drag queen personalities and style. To move to the next round, they must electrify a panel of judges made up of RuPaul, journalist Merle Ginsberg, Project Runway finalist Santino Rice, and weekly guest celebrity judges like Kathy Griffin and Kim Coles. The two contestants who least impress the judges must face-off in a lip-synching performance to remain in the competition. The winner receives $25,000, a lifetime supply of makeup, a public relations contract, and the opportunity to be featured in various advertising campaigns.

Is it any good?

RuPaul's Drag Race combines the fashion design drama of Project Runway with the modeling excitement of America’s Next Top Model to create an entertainingly voyeuristic glimpse into the performance art world of drag queens. There's plenty of over-the-top stuff, but rather than simply treating drag performers as people to be laughed at and/or scorned, the show also focuses on the hard work and talent that goes into drag performances.

This gender-bending show isn’t for everyone, and there's enough strong language, sexual innuendo, and over-the-top catty and diva-like behavior to make it an iffy choice for younger viewers. But it does offer some positive messages about overcoming adversity and about self-acceptance. In the end, the series' goal is to celebrate men who are willing to follow their passions and be true to themselves.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about stereotypes. Do the contestants in this show reinforce or undermine stereotypes typically associated with the LGBTQ community? How are other communities stereotyped, both in the media and out of it?

  • Over the years, notable actors like Milton Berle, Tony Curtis, Tom Hanks, and Robin Williams have famously performed in drag in films and on TV. Do you think their characters and performances are looked at differently than the ones given by the contestants here? If so, why? 

TV details

For kids who love reality TV

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