The Fab Five is back for a season show of the hit remake show “Queer Eye,” and with them they’re bringing even more food, fashion and grooming advice. They’re also bringing back the love and equality and rivers of tears they brought with them in the first season of this Netflix revival of the early 2000s reality show.
I can’t help but feel wrong giving it that moniker, however. What “Queer Eye” accomplishes and what it stands for raise it to a higher bar than the majority of reality television on right now. The Fab Five, comprised of five gay men, each have their own specialty and focus that they attempt to help other people learn and use in their everyday lives. At the core of the show, however, are strong messages of self-love, confidence, acceptance and the tearing down of toxic masculinity and gender norms and stereotypes.
The Fab Five is comprised of Antoni Porowski, who covers nutrition and food; Tan France, who covers fashion; Jonathan Van Ness, the sassy grooming specialist we all need; Bobby Berk, interior designer; and Karamo Brown, who tries to find ways to confront and work through issues the subjects are facing. With this second season the group has really seemed to have found a rhythm and stride with one another. It’s obvious that the five became fast friends following filming the first season, which is more than apparent on their social media, but the chemistry that they have been cultivating is obvious on screen. Antoni, Tan and Jonathan frequently share quote moments and inside-jokes with one another that make the show feel even more heartfelt and sincere in its message.
Part of what made this season really stand out was that it seemed like each member of the team had a moment where they were allowed to shine. Bobby, who did great work in the first season but was often off camera redesigning whole houses, was able to confront his history with his church and religion in the first episode “God Bless Gay.” In another episode, “Sky’s the Limit,” Tan got to sit down with Skyler, a trans man, and educate both himself and the audience about the experience of the trans community in this day and age. Moments like these in the show allow for an education about some of these topics that the LGBTQ community often faces that not everyone thinks about, even other members of the community. This intersectionality that the show promotes helps compensate for some criticism that the first season of the show received for casting only gay men to make up the Fab Five. However, it’s obvious with this season that the show is making strides to promote equality, representation and education for many of the issues facing minorities in this country.
The focal point of the show, however, is not the hosts, but the people featured in each episode. The show explores the stories, lives, wants and woes of a large variety of people, which educates others about what everyday people face, and the positive effects that self-love and acceptance can have on someone’s life. This show does good work, it really, genuinely seems to help people, and in today’s world we cannot get enough of that.
In that first episode, “God Bless Gay,” which is set in Gay, Georgia and centers around a woman, Tammye, who has given up her life and personal happiness at countless turns to help others and serve her community. In a way the Fab Five try to thank her for all the work she has done, but also try to show her that she deserves to take some time to love and appreciate herself as much as she loves her neighbor. Other episodes like “Unleash the Sexy Beast” tackle issues such as what it means to be a father and trying to understand that struggling to spend time with your kids is hard for many people, and doesn’t make you less of a parent. While others like “Big Little Lies” take on issues of getting yourself out of a slump and showing that taking care of yourself and being honest with the people who want the best for you can be vitally important.
Overall the show brings as many laughs as it does tears and manages to be a bright light in a landscape of fake, manufactured, over-dramatic reality television. The message it espouts is worthwhile, and it’s a fun ride to get there.