Although it’s quite a bit of campy fun, AJ and the Queen suffers from several plot holes, including one that is worth $100,000.
Going into it, I knew well enough not to expect high-caliber acting, and for the most part I got exactly what I expected. RuPaul – whom I love – did feel a bit too preachy, a bit too cliched, and bit too “woke” on several occasions throughout the season, and some of the supporting actors were so campy that it came off as forced.
At times (many, many times) the script came off as a weird “Are you gay enough???” quiz.
And let’s not overlook the titular character, played by Izzy G., who came off as a thoroughly unlikable, snarky, snarling, & screechy mess for the first part of the season.
But I did LOVE the multiple cameos from previous Drag Race alumni that were woven throughout the entire show. Which is not really a surprise, given the premise of the show.
In all, there were reportedly 22 cameos sprinkled deliciously throughout AJ & the Queen, including Monique Heart, Chad Michaels, Jujubee, Manila Luzon, Mayhem Miller, Vanessa Vanjie Mateo, Jinkx Monsoon, Pandora Boxx, Valentina, Bianca del Rio, Latrice Royale, and more.
And Josh Segarra (whom you might recognize from The Other Two) was surprisingly funny & oddly endearing as the ne’er-do-well boyfriend.
However, there was one small piece of continuity that kept bugging me throughout all 10 episodes of this campy dramedy.
SPOILERS AHEAD, GUUUURLLLL!
The overarching premise is that an aging drag queen, who – after saving up for many, many, many years – is about to open a drag club using the crisp One Hundred Thousand Dollars (a nice call-out to the prize money from RuPaul’s drag race).
However, his romance with charming but flaky boyfriend / business partner Hector, ends up costing Robert/Ruby everything when he discovers that Hector is a grifter who has taking off with all the money.
The dramatic reveal served a purpose, of course.
On the day that they are supposed to sign the lease on the new Club, Robert discovers that Hector has maxed out the American Express corporate credit card that was designated for club expenses.
The card gets declined, and a call to the credit card company leads to an “Oh, Shit!” worthy revelation that the money is gone.
Next stop is the police station to report the theft, where the immediate question is raised…
“Why would you give your credit card to someone whose apartment you have never been to???” to which the answer is a quick peak at Robert’s phone.
Not much – apparently – can be done about the theft because Robert voluntarily gave his boyfriend the credit card.
But that’s where things get dicey. $100,000 worth of dicey.
The Monetary Plot Hole Issues in AJ and the Queen
First of all, as a credit card holder who has (more than once) received the “We just wanted to make sure it’s you spending this money” call from the credit card company when unusual spending activity occurred, I can’t begin to imagine that any credit card company would let this happen.
Would American Express really allow $100,000 of charges to be processed on the very first day that a card is activated without a courtesy phone call to the primary account holder? And who – in their right mind – extends a $100,000 line of credit to a struggling drag performer?
But that’s the not biggest issue. That I can let slide for the purposes of moving the story along.
The bigger issue is that the total amount of money that Hector (that’s not his real name, BTW… SHOCKER!!!) stole.
How much money did Hector (whose real name turns out to be Damien) actually steal???? Your guess is as good as mine at this point.
At one point, it’s the entire $100,000 Robert saved, which was accomplished by maxing out the limit on their shared credit card. But then, during another episode, Robert still owes the credit card company $80,000 after making regular payments.
If Hector maxed out the credit cards, why didn’t Robert use the $100,000 he bragged about saving to pay off the cards? If Hector maxed out the credit card AND drained Robert’s bank accounts, why was that not reported to the police as the total theft?
Then, later, in an unexpected twist (kidding, of course, the entire show is entirely predictable), Hector decides to make good and return the money he stole. All $100,000 of it (minus $4k to buy a nice suit, because a boy’s gotta look good!).
It’s not entirely critical to the overall story. Whether the theft was $100,000 or $200,000 makes very little difference. And the plot points with Robert talking to the credit card company could easily have been eliminated.
But it made for a sloppy hole […pause for snickering….] in the middle of an already somewhat sloppy show.
Despite it all, I enjoyed AJ and the Queen
Putting all of that aside, I did enjoy the series and I do hope that they come out with a Season 2.
To my surprise, by the end of the season you actually don’t hate AJ enough to want RuPaul to toss her snarly butt to the street from a moving RV anymore (well, at least I didn’t).
And as long as you don’t go into it expecting Emmy Award winning performances, exceptional writing, or well-thought-out character arcs, you’ll enjoy it too.
Let’s be honest, this is no Downton Abbey, but the costumes and the cameos are AWESOME!