These days, the 1990s comedy series “In the House” is perhaps best remembered for bringing rapper LL Cool J to network television. But the sitcom, which ran from 1995 through 1999 on NBC and UPN, also featured a guest appearance by none other than RuPaul in a radical-for-its-time take on drag culture.
In the latest installment of his “Culture Cruise” video series, Seattle-based writer Matt Baume breaks down the episode of RuPaul’s appearance, “Boyz II Men II Women.” The installment aired in late 1995 ― a time that Baume describes as “a pivotal moment” for TV depictions of drag and gender roles.
“In the House” followed a retired football player, Marion Hill (LL Cool J), who rents rooms in his home to a newly divorced single mother, Jackie Warren (Debbie Allen), and her two children, Tiffany (Maia Campbell) and Austin (Jeffery Wood). In “Boyz II Men II Women,” RuPaul guest stars as Marion’s longtime pal Kevin, who announces plans to pursue a new career as a nightclub performer ― in drag, of course.
At the time this episode aired, RuPaul was a star on the rise. His 1993 dance-pop album, “Supermodel of the World,” was a hit, featuring the smash single “Supermodel (You Better Work).”
The success of the album helped make RuPaul a global media darling ― which, in turn, helped usher in a cultural boon for drag, as represented by the happy conclusion of “Boyz II Men II Women,” Baume told HuffPost.
“Prior to the ’90s, drag in the media was usually a punchline, a way to mock someone for not conforming to gender roles,” he said. “Men in dresses were often humiliated, or in a position where they had to keep their identity secret because it was shameful or a liability.”
Attitudes about women and trans people not being ‘as good’ as cis male performers need to be broken down just as much as the gender binary of previous decades.
He noted that RuPaul ― as well as the 1990 ball culture documentary “Paris Is Burning” and well-known performers like Lady Bunny ― showed that “drag could be a source of personal power.”
At the same time, Baume said, “Boyz II Men II Women” is a reminder of the “frustrating gatekeeping” that exists around drag and gender roles even today. He pointed to recent controversies over the inclusion of transgender artists on “RuPaul’s Drag Race” as an example.
“Attitudes about women and trans people not being ‘as good’ as cis male performers need to be broken down just as much as the gender binary of previous decades,” he said.
Baume, the author of the 2015 book “Defining Marriage: Voices From a Forty-Year Labor of Love,” has examined LGBTQ-inclusive episodes of “The Golden Girls” and “Married… With Children,” among other shows, for “Culture Cruise,” now in its second season.
In January, New York Times writer Margaret Lyons praised “Culture Cruise,” calling it a “thoughtful and thorough” look at “queer representation — the good and the bad — in pop culture.”
Watch: Hoya Takes On The Hip Hop Scene With Naeun And Han Hyun Min In Drama Teasers
SBS’s upcoming hip hop drama has released new teasers!
“Hip Hop King” (literal title) will be a six-episode drama that tells the story of the world of hip hop and the youth who grow through hip hop music. The castincludes Hoya, Cross Gene’s Shin Won Ho, APRIL’s Naeun, and model Han Hyun Min.
The first clip follows a young boy who faces hardships but gradually falls in love with hip hop. It then cuts to the present, and we learn that the boy has grown up to be Hoya’s character.
The second clip shows more of the adolescence of Hoya’s character. He goes through the daily struggles of life but embraces hip hop every step of the way, even rapping in front of his high school class to his impressed classmates, played by Naeun and Han Hyun Min. Together, they navigate the hip hop scene.
Ong Seong Wu And “Hotel Del Luna” Top Lists Of Most Buzzworthy Actors And Dramas
On July 23, Good Data Corporation revealed their rankings of the most buzzworthy dramas and actors. The results are from the company’s analysis of currently airing and upcoming dramas for the fourth week of July.
tvN’s “Hotel Del Luna” topped the list of most buzzworthy dramas for the third consecutive week. Netizens made their guesses about the past relationship between IU and Yeo Jin Goo’s characters Jang Man Wol and Goo Chan Sung, helping the drama maintain its spot on top of the list. IU and Yeo Jin Goo were each pushed down one notch and ranked No. 2 and No. 3 on the list of buzzworthy actors, respectively.
tvN’s “Search: WWW” recorded its highest points for the sixth week in a row with its finale, placing No. 2 on the list of buzzworthy dramas. Lee Da Hee andIm Soo Jung each rose one spot to No. 4 and No. 5, respectively. Jeon Hye Jinranked at No. 6, while Jang Ki Yong placed No. 9.
In third place was JTBC’s “Moments of 18.” The drama’s main lead Ong Seong Wu topped this week’s list of buzzworthy actors with his stable acting as the high school student Choi Joon Woo.
Check out the top 10 TV dramas this week:
- tvN “Hotel Del Luna” – 26.47 percent
- tvN “Search: WWW” – 16.21 percent
- JTBC “Moments of 18” – 11.58 percent
- SBS “Doctor John” – 5.68 percent
- MBC “Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung” – 5.21 percent
- tvN “Designated Survivor: 60 Days” – 4.45 percent
- OCN “Watcher” – 3.62 percent
- KBS “Perfume” – 3.21 percent
- MBC “Partners for Justice 2” – 2.53 percent
- KBS “Mother of Mine” – 2.38 percent
Watch: “Doctor John” Cast Is Detailed And Professional In New Behind-The-Scenes Video
On July 2, SBS uploaded a new behind-the-scenes video of their main cast of the upcoming drama, “Doctor John.”
“Doctor John” stars Ji Sung, Lee Se Young, and Lee Kyu Hyung, and tells the story of doctors who try to uncover the unknown causes of pain that their chronically ill patients experience.
The video begins with Ji Sung, who looks daringly into the camera as he takes his photos as doctor Cha Yo Han. His character is a highly skilled anesthesiologist and pain management doctor. The cast utilizes smog, glass, and water to enhance their shoot, and they are all sure to meticulously monitor their photos.
Next up is Lee Se Young, who plays empathetic resident Kang Si Young. Lee Se Young poses with a lively but warm gaze, and a light smile. Although feeling a little awkward, as it is her first time in a doctor’s lab coat, the actress fits the look perfectly and she is able to overcome any nervousness. Once again proving her professionalism, Lee Se Young consistently discusses the concept of the shoot with the staff.
Lee Kyu Hyung looks fierce and powerful during his shoot as he transforms into fundamental inspector Son Seok Gi. As he smirks into the camera, the actor hilariously takes a break from shooting to comment, “My smile looks so rotten.”
“Doctor John” premieres on July 19 at 10 p.m. KST and will be available on Viki!
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