Metro Weekly

We’re Here Season 2 review: Shangela, Bob, and Eureka spread even more drag fabulousness

The queens of "We're Here" spread another season of love, tolerance, and fierce drag across the small towns of America

 
We're Here: Eureka O'Hara, Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen
We’re Here: Eureka O’Hara, Shangela, Bob the Drag Queen

Changing attitudes and lives through the fabulousness of drag, We’re Here (★★★★☆) isn’t just feel-good TV. The Emmy-nominated HBO Max docu-reality series appears to truly do good, following drag stars Shangela, Eureka, and Bob the Drag Queen on a tour of small-town America, offering community, counsel, and uplifting drag to LGBTQ folk and their family and friends.

The smiles are infectious, and the tears sincerely touching, almost in spite of a formula familiar from decades of daytime TV, makeover reality series, Queer Eye, and RuPaul’s Drag U. Rolling through their second season, bumped up to eight episodes from last season’s sixWe’re Here‘s drag moms, creators, and casting team have honed their heartfelt take on makeover magic. From Spartanburg to Selma, each queen preps their respective drag protégées for a climactic live performance, while guiding them through an engaging combo of reconciliations, reunions, revelations, and lots of costume reveals.

Eureka, Bob, and Miss Laquifa Wadley likewise have honed their skills as coaches for the gays, lesbians, trans women and men, straight allies, parents, siblings, and children whose lives they touch on the show. Attentive listeners, they all also prove to be swift at helping their charges translate some momentous personal statement — be it coming out or getting married — into a performance that might speak to both the live audience, and the audience watching at home. Of course, they are again assisted by a crack team of costume and production designers, as well as wig, hair, and makeup gurus who get plenty of camera time. And, professionals though they may be, the show’s stars are human, so, on occasion, we can detect when they are more, or less, inspired by the assignment at hand.

 
We're Here
We’re Here

There’s entertainment value regardless of which way that wind blows, but the season feels most enriching watching, say, the pride and excitement Shangela takes in presenting a drag performance by the gay mayor of Del Rio, Texas, or seeing Bob sobbing in solidarity with Black women activists in Selma who recount being beaten and arrested on the Bloody Sunday of March 7, 1965.

All the queens get in a good cry before the trip is done, along with the laughs and top-notch live performances (from the pros, that is). The network seems to have spared little expense in granting a soundtrack of hits for their stars to lip-sync to while spreading the gospel of drag and celebrating the courage it takes anyone to be themselves. —André Hereford

We’re Here streams new episodes Mondays on HBO Max. Visit www.hbo.com.

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