Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is back as simply Queer Eye. I loved the original series and I love the new series, which is streaming on Netflix.
The new Fab Five are Bobby Berk in charge of interior design, Karamo Brown in charge of culture, Tan France in charge of fashion, Antoni Porowski in charge of food and wine, and Jonathan van Ness in charge of grooming. The series has moved to Georgia and the settings move around from Atlanta to smaller towns in Georgia.
Just in case you aren’t familiar with the original show, the premise is that 5 gay men come in to makeover a man and his environment in just a few days. They remake his living space, his appearance, and his clothing. They teach him something about cooking. They help him connect to the power of his own personality.
It’s wise that the name was shortened to only Queer Eye, because the Fab Five work with not only straight men but also gay men. In one episode they makeover a whole fire station along with the firefighter in charge of training other firefighters.
There’s so much going on in Queer Eye. It isn’t so much the externals of the cleaned up apartments or the better wardrobes. The chief job the Fab Five have is to instill confidence in the men they are helping. They do this in many ways including overt praise and approval – with enthusiasm.
These 5 men bring their gayness to everything. Jonathan is the most flaming and flamboyant while Antoni is the most reserved and quiet. But they all bring their enthusiastic gayness into every situation: to the hyper-religious, the ultra-conservative, the closed off. They bring gay to men and families who have never know a gay person before. By the time they leave, those men and those families have a new perspective on their own attitudes and a new appreciation for gay men.
Invariably, the people they help become grateful and loving towards the Fab Five. There’s so much emotion at the end of each episode, it always made me cry, every time.
The new show is political in many ways. Changing misconceptions, bursting stereotypes. Some of the Fab Five are married and have children. Just them talking about their husbands and children with southern white men from Georgia is a political act.
Karamo is black. In one episode they help a cop. His buddy stops them on the way into town and Karamo is driving. You can see so much history in Karamo’s eyes when he is pulled over by a white cop. It turned out to be a prank, but when Karamo and the cop talk about it at length later, you can see a veil lifted on both sides.
There’s lots of humor with these guys, lots of joking around. But there’s also genuine caring. The help they give each person is tailored to that person’s needs. One of the men they help had Lupus and his face was broken out. Jonathan helped him find a way to treat his skin that was helpful.
When I compare the Fab Five to my own gay friends, none of them are as out there as the Fab Five. But the Fab Five are in a bunch and on television. I’m guessing if you met any one of them alone in the world, you wouldn’t even know they were gay unless they chose to tell you.
There are many people who don’t think they know a single gay person – even though they probably do. Simply watching these guys is enlightening for someone like that. I remember how personally changed I was by the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy 12 or 15 years ago.
Queer Eye is fun to watch and it makes me feel good about life. I recommend it. I can’t wait for a new season.
Have you seen Queer Eye? What did you think of it?