“Queer Eye’s” Fab Five are back again for another season of southern sweethearts, rivers of tears and makeovers galore. After Netflix revived the show in February of last year, it immediately connected with audiences. It’s been over a decade since the original “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” was on the air. As members of the new crew state in the show’s pilot, the original show was “fighting for tolerance,” whereas this new Netflix revival is “fighting for acceptance.”
With its catchy theme song to boot, “Queer Eye” has managed to be a fun, sincere and refreshing look at reality TV that was desperately needed in the space. Not only is it a nice change of pace for reality TV but for entertainment in general. It’s a show that puts emphasis on bringing people together, when so much of the media we consume focuses on driving us apart. Obviously politics do drive us apart, but it is also important to see that at the core, we are all the same, and that through education and exposure, people can be taught to love and accept things they may not understand.
The show was so popular that it managed to lock down a second season within the same calendar year as the release of its first. Sprinkle in a few specials since, like a trip to Australia and an as-yet-released trip to Japan, and you get the “Queer Eye” cocktail that has led up to this highly anticipated third season.
For the uninitiated, the show centers around a group of five gay men: Antoni Porowski (food), Karamo Brown (culture), Bobby Berk (design), Tan France (fashion) and Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), as they make over people who don’t necessarily take the best care of themselves. But what makes this show so special is that it’s more than a makeover; it feels like a genuine attempt to help the “hero,” as they call them, overcome issues that they are facing as well as teach them about the LGBT community.
One of the big differences between this revival and the original is the diversity of the heroes. Rather than being mostly straight white men, the heroes of this revival consist of a camo clad huntress, a pair of sisters running a barbeue restaurant, a black lesbian and a young black nerd who finds himself lost after the death of his mother. And that’s all just this season.
The diversity of the show’s heroes is part of what makes it so charming and refreshing. In many episodes, it feels like the Fab Five and the hero learn a lot, not only about one another, but from one another. This season featured some fun episodes like “From Hunter to Huntee” and “Jones B-B-Q” that followed nice people as they underwent a process of taking care of and loving themselves. But it also featured some heavy hitters like “Black Girl Magic” and “Elrod and Sons.”
The first follows a young black gay woman in Kansas City as she struggles to love herself for herself and mend her relationship with her family. It’s an episode that contains a lot of the strife that members of the LGBT community regularly face. The latter is a heart wrenching episode that focuses on a single father of two as he attempts to move his life forward after his wife was recently taken by cancer. It follows him trying to move to a new house where he believes he can restart things and give his sons the best life possible while also respecting and mourning his wife. It’s an episode where a box of tissues is more than required for viewing.
As the show enters its third season, I was pleased to see that it still has everything that made it so special in the first place, except that now the members of the Fab Five have an even stronger bond, and it shows both on and off screen.
Judging by the track record of the show’s release schedule, I’m sure we’ll have another season before the end of the year, and I can’t wait to sit down and watch it all in one sitting again.