Queer Eye should really be called Teary Eyed, because after watching an episode of this, there won’t be a Dry Eye left in the house.
Which is quite something, when you consider that this is just another makeover show, and we rarely find ourselves crying at 60 Minute Makeover. But this is a classier, more expensive, and more camp. It’s a show, where the worn-down homes are replaced with beat down people, and the makeover isn’t conducted by locals with paint splattered aprons on, but five, fabulous gay men, each with their own speciality.
This Netflix favourite is a reboot of the early noughties show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, where a team of gay men take on a person as a project, giving them advice on fashion, food, culture and interior design, hoping to reboot their life and inject some joy. And for us viewers, they certainly achieve that. We’re in the company of the ‘fabulous five’, comprised of foodie Antoni, the resident avocado lover, head of hairstyles Jonathan Van Ness with their luscious locks, interior design master Bobby, fashion fiend and king of the French tuck Tan, and captain culture, Karamo. Together they travel around America – and Japan, in a special season – focusing mostly on the red states of the deep south, meeting people who are down on their luck and needing a bit of pizazz in their lives, and for whom turning to a bunch of gay men for advice is a rather radical experience.
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This is where the emotions start kicking in – each episode we learn the stories of the subject, as the fab five offer them advice on every aspect of their lives, uncovering that though their sexualities may differ, their needs do not. And through these interactions, deep subject matters come up, covering issues like homophobia, the black lives matter movement, mental health and heartbreak.
From the very first episode with now famous Tom, a redneck desperate to win back the love of his ex-wife, fans of this show have consistently cried through every episode, touched by these moving tales and the warmth and love that radiates from Antoni, Tan and the team. Their message of self-love and self-improvement is utterly uplifting, each episode leaving you feeling better after an hour of TV crying catharsis. Before you know it, you’ll be three seasons in, and eating Antoni’s avocado toast whilst wearing a bright pink blazer inspired by Tan, coiffing your hair like JVN and searching Pinterest for rugs that Bobby has picked, as you recount Karamo’s positive affirmations.
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Vulture’s Kathryn VanArendonk says “the charm of the series is that each episode reaches a triumphant end,” adding that “it is fascinating to watch a series about men trying to fix masculinity.” The Telegraph’s Kat Brown called two “one of the most talked-about TV shows of the year,” saying it “shines a light on the toxic environments that can lead to stagnancy and unhappiness, and cheerfully shows the viewer the tools to deal with them,” adding “In a world driven by social media, Queer Eye helps us to recharge our empathy cells.” And it has done so for five solid seasons now, each of them as good as the last, according to Rebecca Nicholson of The Guardian. She says: “This is a format so good that the five of them know it doesn’t need a makeover.”
First shown February 2018. You can watch the trailer by pressing play on the show image or by clicking here.