Everybody jokes that the first season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is the “lost season” of the franchise, as the budget was low and that vaseline filter on the camera lens was strong. That joke became the actual nickname for the season, after Logo re-aired it a few years later. As we all know, the internet has a way of uncovering things thought forgotten or never before seen, and today that’s the case for Drag Race Season 1.
What was recently uncovered is a seriously intense spat between Tammie Brown and Mamma Ru at the Drag Race Season 1 reunion. We’d never seen this extended clip before, and we bet you might not have either. Believe us, after watching this your jaw will be on the floor. Like we said, it’s intense!
The uncovered clip begins with Tammie Brown asking judges Santino Rice, Merle Ginsberg (who was later replaced with Michelle Visage) and RuPaul: “Why do we constantly have to feed into that negativity?” Brown was referring to critiques she received on the show for her runway looks and challenge performances.
“It’s there because this is a competitive television show,” RuPaul explains. “And [the show] wouldn’t have the highs and lows if it wasn’t there. If we just said, ‘You’re fabulous, you’re fabulous, you’re fabulous,’ there’s nothing to it.”
From there, Ru’s tone gets rather … pointed, and she ultimately declares, “It’s not my responsibility to make you feel good all the time.”
Brown still doesn’t let down. At one point she points to RuPaul and Santino and utters one of the lines she’s most famous for uttering: “You both called me a loser, and I don’t see you out there walking children in nature.”
RuPaul responds, “You’re not a loser. That’s why you are here today. You forgot who you were. You forgot you’re fabulous. Don’t blame me for that. That’s your fucking responsibility.”
Tammie talks back yet again: “Excuse your mouth.”
This moment initially reminded us of Pearl’s awkward confrontation with RuPaul during Drag Race Season 7, but honestly this Drag Race Season 1 fight is so much more intense. Is the hair standing up on your back
rolls of your neck yet?
After an awkward silence in which Ru honestly seems speechless at Tammie’s gumption, he offers an intense rant about the importance of understanding your own self worth. He says:
This is the same for all of you. The fact that you’re here is because you’re god damn stars. How many fucking times do we have to put that in your head? You’re a fucking star. Don’t let anybody ever tell you that you’re not. God damn it, if I had a nickel for every time somebody said to me, “You can’t become a star as a drag queen,” I’d have a fucking million, billion dollars. I know what I am. I don’t forget who I am. And that’s true for all of you. Never forget.
Praise be to Mother Ru.
There’s something spastic and off-the-script about this exchange that is really special. In 2018, so much of what RuPaul does is poised, planned and perfect — but this Drag Race Season 1 scene is anything but that. That may be why we’re loving it so much and have watched it countless times since we discovered it.
But haven’t we seen this before from another fabulous reality host? This moment is basically RuPaul’s Tyra Banks meltdown from Cycle 3 of America’s Next Top Model, when Banks famously put a model on blast. “I have never in my life yelled at a girl like this,” Tyra hollered. “When my mother yells like this it’s because she loves me. I was rooting for you! We were all rooting for you!”
That iconic speech became one of the best gifts (and GIFs) reality television ever gave us. But, when asked if she would do something differently today, Banks answered, “Oh my god, totally. I wouldn’t have done it. Actually, maybe I wouldn’t have aired it.”
Maybe that’s why reality television is becoming more and more contrived as time goes on — people’s ability to self-edit and actually edit the final result. Thankfully for us, we still have the internet to remember the good old days when shit got really real.
I mean, who can forget this moment?