If you’re not watching Untucked, you’re only getting half the story, Or so RuPaul claims at the start of each episode of the RuPaul’s Drag Race after-show as they air on VH1. Since its first episode during Drag Race's second season (before it made the leap from Logo to VH1), Untucked has offered a chance to see the queens unvarnished, hashing out their issues with each other over cocktails as the judges debated their fates on the main stage.
However, for years the first several seasons of Untucked have been unavailable for easy public consumption by fans. This made old seasons of RuPaul’s Drag Race (which have been more readily available) bordline incomprehensible. How could newbies to the franchise understand its rich history while only getting half the story? Luckily, this past weekend Hulu dropped not just the first six seasons of Drag Race on their platform, but also the corresponding seasons of Untucked. Combined with the three seasons available on YouTube, we now have the most complete library of Untucked episodes ever available for easy streaming. (Sadly Seasons 10 and 11, along with the one season of All Stars Untucked, still require separate purchases.)
To celebrate this rich new treasure trove, we've compiled the 15 must-watch episodes of Untucked. Whether you’re a newer fan who missed them the first time around, or a long-time fan who wants to revisit the afters-how's greatest hits, this list will get you up-and-running in a flash.
(NOTE: Because there was no Untucked for Season 1 of Drag Race, the season numbering on Hulu is not equivalent. I’ll be listing the seasons based on their corresponding Drag Race season, but know that each is numbered one back on Hulu: Season 2 episodes are listed as Season 1, Season 3 as Season 2, and so on. Seasons 7-9 are more intuitively numbered on YouTube.)
Since Season 1 didn’t have Untucked — it had an different after-show called Under the Hood — this first episode was basically a proof of concept. And for most of its runtime, it was a fine show, if a little underwhelming. Then Mystique Summers Madison and Morgan McMichaels dug in their heels and fought bitterly about Mystique’s drag. When Morgan spat, “Go fix your hair! Go fix your mug!", it suddenly shifted into focus what Untucked really could be. It wasn’t just a detox session: it was the gasoline poured on the main series’ dynamite, with the queens ready to light a fuse.
Best Quote: "Bitch, I am from Chicago! I will whoop your ass!" — Mystique Summers Madison
If Mystique and Morgan’s fight lit a fuse, Tatianna and Tyra Sanchez’s fight in this episode set the whole keg aflame. A remarkably intense main-stage critique, in which Tatianna attempted to sway the judges from loving Tyra, led to the two young queens battling it out. Tyra accused Tatianna of lying. Tatianna held her ground. That they were doing all this in wedding dresses only made the scene better.
Best Quote: "Why are you talking?" — Tatianna
Raven spent most of Season 2 talking shit about Tatianna in confessionals. Tatianna, because she’s a person with eyes and ears, correctly guessed that. But when she confronted Raven about it, the runner-up queen’s denial — edited with evidence of her doing exactly what she claimed she didn’t do — made for an instantly iconic moment.
Best Quote: "I would never say that." — Raven
This may be the single best episode on this list. Not only do you have Mimi Imfurst and Shangela brawling over whether or not Mimi’s outfit was camp, and not only do you have MImi hurling the accusation that Shangela had a sugar daddy, you also get Mariah Paris Balenciaga’s impassioned, out-of-nowhere speech about their duties and responsibilities as drag queens in America. Haleloo indeed.
Best Quote: "Girl. It was camp." — Mariah Paris Balenciaga
Uncomfortable silence dominated the first half of this Untucked episode, as the Heathers and the Boogers — rival cliques who spent most of Season 3 facing off — prepared for one of their members to go home. They each advocated for a member of the opposite group (Shangela for the Boogers, Carmen Carrera for the Heathers) to go home on the runway, and you could cut the tension backstage with a knife.
Best Quote: "Okay, work." — Manila Luzon
A great Untucked premiere can set the stage for the season. Season 4, notorious for being one of the most drama-fueled, hit the ground running with a brawl between early eliminee Lashauwn Beyond and the messy-but-endearing Jiggly Caliente. Lashauwn’s declaration that she wasn’t there to make friends set the tone for not just this season, but several beyond. She’s still quoted by queens on the show to this day.
Best Quote: "This is not RuPaul’s Best Friend Race!" — Lashauwn Beyond
What did Willam do? It’s a question that kept fans guessing for years. What could Season 4’s bad girl have done that was worthy of disqualification? This Untucked episode didn’t give us any answers, but it did show that Phi Phi O’Hara was pissed enough at Willam to blow the whistle on her.
Best Quote: "Your tone seems very pointed right now." — Willam
Phi Phi O’Hara and Sharon Needles spent most of Season 4 at each other’s throats. From “Go back to Party City where you belong!" to this final fight — a brawl over Sharon’s constant complaining that she hadn’t yet won a cruise prize — the rivals kept the season spicy. That said, I’d be lying if I pretended my favorite part of this episode wasn’t the queens’ dog partners from the challenge reenacting their fights in the Interior Illusions Lounge.
Best Quote: "You’re trying to make me seem like a fake bitch when you’ve done the same shit!" — Phi Phi O’Hara
Serena Chacha, she of her art school training and hatred of “ghetto lexic," was exactly the wrong type of queen for Drag Race. And after just two weeks, the other queens were ready to let her know. From Roxxxy Andrews dismissing her very place in the competition to Detox telling her to “go the fuck home!", this was a glorious episode. We’d had it, officially.
Best Quote: "...Except for Serena." — Roxxxy Andrews
Sometimes, Untucked is best when you just put three pissed-off queens in a room and let them go. Bitter rivals Coco Montrese and Alyssa Edwards rip into each other, Coco assisted by the young and pretty Jade Jolie. This episode has more quotable lines per capita than your average 30 Rock episode.
Best Quote: "Back rolls?" — Alyssa Edwards
Just to emphasize that Untucked isn’t all drama and reads: Often, queens will get messages from home to give them an extra boost of love and support. One in particular, from dancing queen Alyssa Edwards’ dad, offered up a genuinely heart-wrenching moment of healing for father and son. Combine that with an emotional moment from queen-in-crisis Alaska, and you have a tearjerker of an episode.
Best Quote: "Oh my gosh, that’s my dad." — Alyssa Edwards
Season 6’s Untucked is less about big moments and more about expanding the narrative from the core series’ episodes. One installment did turn up the heat, however: Weed queen Laganja Estranja’s post-stand-up challenge meltdown. The true Drag Race experience is watching a queen in a giant pink wig scream through her insecurities.
Best Quote: "I feel very attacked!" — Laganja Estranja
This is the single most uncomfortable episode of Untucked, but it’s also one of my personal favorites. After blasting them on the runway, Ginger Minj and Kennedy Davenport attempted to explain their comments to their younger competitors, Violet Chachki and Pearl. When Violet and Pearl didn’t let them off the hook, it exploded into a battle of the generations.
Best Quote: "Maybe she’s not ready to be America’s Next Drag Superstar." — Ginger Minj
What artist would turn down a true, personal workshop with Lady Gaga herself? Certainly not the Season 9 queens, who were treated to an artist’s critique of their runway looks in the premiere. This isn’t your typical volcanic Untucked premiere, but instead lifts all the queens up as stars in their own right.
Best Quote: "It’s the gay men in my life who helped me to become a woman." — Lady Gaga
Aja vs. Valentina, also known as the Linda Evangelista rant. Dissatisfied with her own critiques and livid about her competitors’, Brooklyn banjee queen Aja unleashed a torrid of aggressive compliments on the beautiful-but-distant Valentina. After viewing, make sure to listen to the remix, too.
Best Quote:"They eat her up every single time she’s on that damn stage!" — Aja
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Kevin O'Keeffe is a writer, host, and RuPaul's Drag Race herstorian living in Los Angeles. Follow his musings and rantings on Twitter @kevinpokeeffe.