How do you fight the rise of a dominant, homophobic, religious cult while doing battle against a haggard, evil queen? By transforming into magical, super-powered drag queens here to slay, of course. Or, at least, that’s the solution the Super Drags, three drag queens with mystical superpowers, come up with in Netflix’s new animated Brazilian series, Super Drags.
Super Drags is an outrageous, adults-only, gay romp filled with sardonic condemnations of the rampant erasure and destruction of queer people told through harrowing exploits, hypersexual superpowers, and hilariously floppy cartoon bulges. While all three heroes, Lemon Chiffon, Scarlet Carmesim, and Safira Cyan, are truly fabulous, they don’t exactly have the best track record as superheroes—even Champagne, their handler, says, “What did you expect? The Avengers? Girl, we don’t have that Marvel money.”
And, it shows. The Super Drags frequently blunder missions and get distracted by sexy men, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have the love of queers at heart! I mean, what’s queerer than turning into a super-powered badass and flirting with sexy people?
When they’re not the Super Drags, our fearless heroes all work in a department store where their homophobic boss frequently picks on them. In that manifestation, Lemon Chiffon becomes Patrick, Scarlet Carmesim becomes Donizete, and Safira Cyan, Ralph. They’re all rejected, sometimes even within the queer world, due to their body size, their femininity, or the color of their skin, respectively. The cause for their rejection, though, becomes the source of their strength.
The original series is in Portuguese and there is an incredible English-language dub featuring Trixie Mattel, Shangela, and Ginger Minj, all of RuPaul’s Drag Race fame. Each is worth watching. The overall effect is slightly different and many of the jokes that are made in the original are changed to be friendlier to U.S. audiences in the English language version—both versions are hysterical, so hold onto your tits, pick your poison, and get ready to sit back and enjoy.
When mega-superstar Goldiva comes to town for an epic performance, queers from around the world flock to see her, providing the evil Lady Elza with the perfect opportunity to steal their “highlight.” Of course, all queer people have a vital energy called highlight. “It’s what makes us so special—what makes us fabulous, super fierce, raunch-loving queens,” according to Champagne. (And, in case you’re wondering, yes, everyone who is queer, inclusive of all genders, has highlight.)
Meanwhile, a religious zealot named Sandoval is hell-bent on curing all queer folks of their queerness—and if that fails, he’s fine with physical beatings and institutional oppression.
The entire five-episode season is a treatise on the power—and superpowers—of being queer. The Super Drags are literally armed with the weenie wand which creates a condom force field, the shade fan, and the feather boa. They can also access a set of giant, animal-shaped, rainbow-emitting robots, which in and of itself is hysterical. Super Drags demonstrates, however, that the real power comes from Patrick, Ralph, and Donizete grappling with their own darkest fears, not just as the Super Drags, but also as their more mundane selves.
Patrick struggles with his confidence when he’s rejected by a potential love interest and a mission due to his appearance, an honest exploration of the body-shaming that takes place within queer communities. He fights back and learns to embrace his “chubby, loud, pansy-ass,” choosing to love himself in the face of abject fat-shaming and anti-femininity.
Ralph’s father rejects him when he comes out of the closet and he enrolls himself in a gay conversion camp that, spoiler alert, is filled with horny queer people in close quarters. Despite the how-to-be-a-man lessons and, frankly, torture, Ralph is unmoved, realizing that getting a diploma from a conversion camp won’t make his father love him and that he already has a family, his queer family, and they accept him exactly as he is.
Donizete tries to keep his head up while the effects of poverty and racism threaten to crush him—from being wrongly accused of robbing someone to being told that “his people” are good dancers. But, when a monster says horrific things about his friends, Donizete finds a new depth of rage and decides to “whack the bitch” out the monster, dissolving her with sunlight.
In each instance, both their own strength and their connection to one another help them overcome the challenge faced. When their mundane selves are strengthened, so too are their Super Drag personas—each of them gets to be the hero rescuing the other two once they have conquered their own internal demons. And when all the queers are full of highlight, full to the brim with the goodness that makes them, them, the Super Drags become unstoppable. It’s a beautiful illustration of the importance of loving oneself fully as a queer person and of being connected to a community of queer folks.
In a dark and scary world, one where the rights of queer folks are constantly under attack, where religious leaders paint targets on our backs and traitors try to steal our light, Super Drags shines like a beacon with a message of hope: Femininity is our weapon. Queerness is our superpower. And, if you can’t beat ‘em, laugh in their f*cking faces.