I've seen bits and pieces of those seasons, mainly great lip syncs (Manila/Delta Raja/Carmen etc) and Snatch Games and I think the 'Reading is Fundamental' mini-challenge that they do in each season, but not entire episodes of anything before season 4. I've heard... let's say 'mixed' things about them both, hence my hesitation in going back and rewatching them in full, but I'll take your word for it!
You're the first person I've talked to that likes Violet! Everyone else seems to find her personality completely toxic, albeit they admit she can polish off a good look! It's interesting what you say about the shift in focus. I started watching in season 4 so, to me, the comedy/crazy queens have always been the ones I've been more drawn to, knowing absolutely nothing about drag apart from this and Paris is Burning. I think maybe because the 'fashion' queens that went far in those seasons often had really nasty personalities such as Phi Phi and Roxxy, I tend to prejudge ones that have such an unrelenting focus on that side, rather than the other myriad of sides of drag. Which is bad, I know.