By Joe Fritts
YouTube has become an incubator for hilarious and creative people, and has birthed some brilliant big(ger) screen television shows, from Web Therapy to Broad City. Add to that list The Trixie and Katya Show, starring RuPaul’s Drag Race alumni Trixie Mattel and Katya Zamolodchikova. With a very 90’s-era MTV vibe, Katya and Trixie bring the spirit of their web series, UnHhhh to a larger format. The Trixie and Katya Show is executive produced by RuPaul, who no doubt was absolutely giddy at the prospect of two of his proteges going on to actually become the next drag superstars.
The premise of The Trixie and Katya Show is a pretty simple mix of late night talk and daytime lifestyle shows. The two pick a topic for the week, then the gals gab about it for the episode, in weekly, 30-minute doses. The first episode is called “Hooking Up,” and revolves around different aspects of gay dating and the app culture surrounding it. They send some men out into the streets to have frank sex talk with a variety of local yokels, and even lure a candidate onto the set using Grindr, where the (literal) talking heads grill him about his past. At first, the rapid-fire editing typically reserved for internet content is a little jarring on the TV screen, but it settles in pretty quickly after the introductory segment.
Selling subversive drag to a larger, (probably) dumber American audience will be a real task, but there are subtle ways in which the show works magically, if on a subliminal level. The opening titles and transitions borrow from The Tracey Ullman Show, while the onscreen emojis, “fun facts”, and inner thoughts will feel familiar to those who understand the original web content from which the show was inspired. Bridging that generation gap is done seamlessly, though this is clearly no big budget project. This is thanks to the production of World of Wonder, who have made huge successes out of small concept series.
The show is airing on Viceland, the lifestyle channel from Vice Media, best known for their print, online, and television news magazines. Viceland’s creative director, filmmaker Spike Jonze, is trying to insulate the channel from the mindlessness of other so-called lifestyle channels, while also distancing the channel from the news branch for which the brand is best known. If The Trixie and Katya Show is any indication, expect more drag queen shows, more gay lifestyle shows, and definitely more of Trixie and Katya.
Check out the pilot episode here: