‘We’re Here’ Review – Anything But a Drag

Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen and Eureka pose with trunks with their names on

Eureka gives her co-stars a lesson in how to stand out 

 

Here at Box Menswear we’re big fans of RuPaul’s Drag Race and all its subsidiary shows, so as the franchise blooms around the world bringing drag queens into the global conscience they have never been more mainstream than now. Here and in the US, drag queens are fronting huge national ad campaigns for every day products.

 

One part Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, one part Queer Eye with a touch of Boys Don’t Cry all set in the heart of Trump country, We're Here touches on more than just drag, a lot more. If that sounds like an almost scary prospect then you’d be correct.

 

What’s immediately endearing about the show is the warmth of the three Drag Race alumni that front the show. Bob the Drag Queen, Eureka and Shangela each have their own drag float on which they rock into these little backwater towns.

 

Adorned in some of the most outrageous drag on television, these three squirrel friends turn up to each town, have a bit of a walk around for pure shock value and then they settle on a story each for each town/episode. Often in Drag Race you forget just how large these ladies are so seeing them tower over unsuspecting small-town people who often couldn’t look more confused is a spectacle in itself.

 

Shangela in frilly white dress with blue wig and sash

Shangela was frilled with how her frock worked out 

 

It takes a lot to move this reviewer to tears but it happened on more than one occasion during my run through of We’re Here. In episode 4, an indigenous American who’d been in a bad car accident 5 years prior wanted to express his feelings about his people’s plight as well as the fact that the LGBTQ community used to be celebrated in their culture until white people ‘introduced’ Christianity to them (yes, another wonderful gift we gave them).

 

His performance got me right in the guts and the way each show is tailored to each story is touching and beautiful. They don’t take centre stage as they are used to do but prop up these people that have a world of different, extraordinary and life altering problems.

 

The heartbreak in some of these people’s eyes gets you right in the feels and the show doesn’t shy away from serious and often triggering themes, from illness to abuse to suicide. While of course a week with a drag queen culminating in a big OTT performance isn’t going to change their lives, it does make a real difference.

 

Bob The Drag Queen in yellow and black dress, white short wig and black hat

Bob the Drag Queen strikes a pose

 

A mother whose daughter committed suicide after struggling with being a lesbian wants to do a performance with her other daughter in order to pay tribute to her, she says afterwards ‘I need to let her be at peace, I need to start living’ (cue me weeping again).

 

There are kids that don’t feel wanted, straight men who want to do it because they want to stand by queer people in a place where they don't see much solace for them, it's artfully crafted. Channel 4 show Drag SOS sort of did a similar thing (I'm not sure if they might even be jumping on the phone to their lawyers to be honest) but this is well made and entertaining stuff worthy of the Emmy they've been nominated for. 

 

Due to Coronavirus restrictions the last episode is more of a look back on the five prior episodes but it works nonetheless. Luckily we got enough of the show before the virus hit to get the format and get involved with the stories. Sky One is currently carrying all six episodes and we highly recommend it but make sure you have a box of tissues at the ready. 

Sam Dowler

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