The world has changed a lot since 2003 when Queer Eye first aired on television. Originally known as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the show shortened its title in order to appeal to a wider audience and subject matter. After the series cancellation in 2007, the show returns eleven years later, but this time as a Netflix Original Series and with an all-new cast. All eight episodes of Queer Eye were made available for streaming on February 7th, 2018.
Set in Atlanta, Georgia, and surrounding communities, the show follows Tan France, Antoni Porowski, Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown, and Bobby Berk — the Fab Five. They specialize in fashion, food, grooming, culture, and interior design, respectively. In the first season, they meet men who are in serious need of a lifestyle overhaul. Whether it be how they dress or present themselves to the world, how they live at home, or, even, if they are dealing with a lack of self-esteem, the Fab Five are there to help.
The Queer Eye team engages each episode’s subject with sensitivity and makes it a point to never judge them, only to encourage and uplift. In return, they hope that who they are working with will return the favor by being open-minded and willing to try new things. This is something that can be especially difficult in Southern communities, as some of these men have had little to no interaction with gay men. You can sense their nervousness and trepidation as they make these life changes.
As the show points out, the original series was about fighting for tolerance. This was long before marriage equality and other LGBT issues were at the forefront of American society. Now, with this new series, the fight is about acceptance. Even in 2018, there is a long way to go to prove that people, gay or straight, male or female, aren’t all that different.
The show aims to break down stereotypes and to foster dialogue and understanding in American households. It is not about five gay men, but rather about five regular guys who are using their talents. Once a show that was new, curious and misunderstood, Queer Eye can now be considered prime viewing with family and friends.
The chemistry of the Fab Five is infectious. They are funny, kind, and observant. They take time to listen to who they are working with and show an earnest desire to help in whatever way they can. The show’s production allows each subject to be represented with respect and brings out their best qualities, as opposed to focusing too much on their problems.
Nearly a week after the show’s release on Netflix, there has been no word on a second season. However, it is likely that the show will be renewed. Queer Eye’s format could easily make way for not just another season, but several more, and allows the streaming platform to wade further into reality television, a genre it has little experience with so far.
This review was crossposted with Salt Lake Film Review