‘Super Drags’ is an unconventional and thought-provoking superhero show
In the horrifyingly antiquated, backwards-looking town of Belt Buckle Bay, three superhero drag queens — Scarlet, Lemon and Safira — take a respite from their day jobs in a bland department store to protect the city’s LGBTQ community by night. The result is a very entertaining satire of the conservative establishment’s continuing bigotry towards LGBTQ groups.
“Super Drags” was originally created in Brazil, as evidenced by the fact that most of the text displayed remains in Portuguese. Netflix recently produced an English dub, with the main trio of drag queens voiced by Ginger Minj, Shangela and Trixie Mattel of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” fame. Their main nemesis is an evil drag queen intent on stealing the life force of the LGBTQ residents of Belt Buckle Bay.
“Super Drags” is nothing short of constantly entertaining. The animation is expressive and colorful, and the English dub is full of life, which is rare among dubs. The protagonists in the trio are each distinct and quite charming. The dialogue is fast-paced and full of wit, although it is evident at points that some jokes may have been lost in translation. The show is intended to be a full celebration of drag and LGBTQ culture in general.
The humor ranges from extremely low-brow dick jokes to clever satire on “Fox and Friends”-style programs and personalities who harp on and on about the proliferation of “political correctness.” Ironically, the show was protested by conservative action groups in both Brazil and the U.S., with groups in the latter boycotting Netflix.
The show uses its fast-paced style as a framework for exploring broader social issues, such as the continuing harassment and prejudice members of the LGBTQ community face around the world. It also tackles issues of body image and racism both within and outside of the LGBTQ community. It is worth noting, however, that “Super Drags” approaches these issues through a Brazilian lens. While minority communities in both countries face many of the same issues, the cultural and historical differences of the countries make the more nuanced aspects of the discussion seem rather unfamiliar to American audiences.
I must disclaim, however, that as someone who is not a part of the LGBTQ community, I am not entirely qualified to judge whether “Drag Queens” is an entirely accurate, positive form of queer representation on TV. While ostensibly very inclusive in terms of its rhetoric, some have raised the point that the show reinforces stereotypes of the drag community (for example, the show’s campiness) and is not necessarily a positive representation. Others on the internet have pointed out the differences in drag culture in Brazil and America and how the show is a more accurate portrayal of the former. While “Super Drags” is entertaining, it is worth keeping these issues in mind.
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