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Monday, April 15, 2024

Review: “AJ and the Queen”

 A lesson in learning not to make assumptions of others  

“AJ and the Queen,” a new comedy-drama show on Netflix, is the perfect example of how two individuals, though completely different in almost every way, can find connection through shared hardships. 

 AJ and Red help each other to grow into better versions of themselves by becoming more understanding of one another’s unfortunate situations and learning how to overcome them. The show focuses on the friendship between the ten-year-old AJ and drag queen Red — though the two may seem like an unlikely duo, they help each other gain a better understanding of themselves.

After being scammed by her boyfriend, Drag Queen Ruby Red plans a cross-country tour to make up for the money she has lost. Around the same time, Amber Jasmine, AJ, is left on her own and decides to sneak onto Ruby Red’s RV to be with her grandfather in Texas to avoid being put in the foster system. 

AJ is a scrappy kid who changes her appearance to look like a boy, thinking that no one will question her lack of parental guidance this way. She is smart — she manipulates others into giving her money — but she has no filter. Her hard exterior, however, is all a front, meant to hide the harsh reality of her situation. 

Though AJ’s blunt outbursts might come off as rude, she speaks her mind. Red learns to hear AJ’s truth through her outbursts and, in turn, teaches her to not be so hard on the world around her, especially on her absentee mother. Over the course of the tour, the wall AJ has constructed between herself and the world begins to come down. 

The show is uplifting even during sad moments, promoting the message that individuals should be true to who they are and in how they present themselves to the world. During the trip, Red comes to terms with who she is now that she no longer has anything to her name. Both AJ and Red begin to understand that they can’t make assumptions about anyone, including one another. 

Red has supportive friends, such as Louis, who help her regain the confidence she’s lost after her bankruptcy. Even though AJ assumes that some parts of the more conservative states they visit will not accept Red for who she is, the people she meets on tour are all understanding and caring, and have more similarities to each other than they initially thought. They additionally connect through  similar experiences of financial hardship, and witness the positive attitudes these struggling individuals are relying upon to get by.

Both AJ and Red grapple with the issues they have in regards to the way the world views them and the way they present themselves, but over time, they accept their true selves — their anger, occasional lack of confidence, loneliness, heartbreak and betrayal. Though both might have been dealt a bad hand, they learn to deal with it with each other. 

Written by: Gabriela Hernandez — arts@theaggie.org

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