RuPaul's Drag Race

TV review by
Melissa Camacho, Common Sense Media
RuPaul's Drag Race TV Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Drag queen contest is campy, fun, has positive messages.

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 16 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 30 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Since it's a competition, players have a strong desire to win and can be intense in their journey to the top, but messages about self-acceptance and having the courage to be true to yourself always prevail.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite the contestants' sometimes intense behavior, they also display courage and self-acceptance. They're extremely skilled at the art of drag and display creativity in their performances. 

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. Contestants 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 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 RuPaul's Drag Race is a series where drag performers compete for a title, money, and commercial opportunities. It 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 often, while curses like “f--k” and “s--t” are bleeped). Over the years, the series has helped popularize drag culture as well as brought many LGBTQ performers into the spotlight, often promoting acceptance and compassion for communities that were once heavily marginalized. 

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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
Parent Written byHeather M. July 9, 2019
Teen, 16 years old Written bywickedittletown March 20, 2017

Great message

This show is full of great role models. There is the usual cattiness that's included in any reality show, similar to America's Next Top Model. There... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byUnicate123 July 15, 2018

The Best Show!

I think this show is great to watch with children but it contains things that might not be suitable to children. I think that it is really up to the parent to d... 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 and 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 people 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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