Why We Need Shows Like Queer Eye Now More Than Ever

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Netflix
Netflix

In 2003, the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy premiered and was the first of its kind on television. The series was fun and energetic and featured a cast of men that were hard to forget. When the show premiered my father and I quickly found comfort in being able to label daily viewings of the series, “our thing.” We would eagerly wait week after week and then dissect each aspect of the choices the stylists, designers, and artists made. Referencing them all throughout the week, quoting our favorite catchphrases and laughing hysterically every time one of us mentioned “spray, delay, and walk away.”

The revival, of which Season 1 is now available for streaming on Netflix and Netflix Canada, has switched a few things up, mainly that there’s new members of the hosts, better known as the Fab 5. The latest members are five gay men who are top professionals in their respective fields who help a straight man better his appearance and overall stylings, though this season did feature one gay man as well. The Fab 5 consist of Bobby Berk whose specialty is interior design, Karamo Brown who focuses on culture and helping the men gain confidence, Tan France handles fashion, Antoni Porowski teaches the men to cook and pair wines, and Jonathan Van Ness handles all of the hair and grooming.

So, when I sat down to watch the revival (without my dad because I grew impatient — I know, I’m terrible!) I was genuinely shocked and moved by what I saw. In the first episode, the men assisted a southern man who at first glance, wouldn’t look like the type of man to ever be seen with the Fab 5. A few minutes after their introduction, the man was embracing the Fab 5 in his arms with tears flowing down his face, deeply expressing the level of gratitude he had for them.

Near the end of “Dega Don’t,” the third episode in the series, Karamo Brown respectfully expresses how he felt uncomfortable upon first arrival with their “mentee” Cody. Cody’s fellow cop friend pulled them over as a joke when he saw them driving towards the house. This eventually led to Georgia cop Cody breaking down. Karamo and Cody go on to share a sweet moment of openness as they reminisce about an emotionally charged moment they shared in their travels in the middle of the episode. Both men ultimately agree that the conversation they shared not only meant a lot, but changed them as people as well. Yes, we’re talking about a reality show having conversations like this. A reality show where five gay men surprise a style deprived man and extreme makeover his life. How is it that a show like this is engaging in necessary conversations when primetime cable series aren’t?

Netflix
Netflix

In “Camp Rules,” Bobby, the recipient of the makeover, gives a breathtaking speech to the Fab 5. He explains that while other religious families might not have accepted them or welcomed them into their homes, his family prayed that they would receive love and acceptance. He expressed how genuinely grateful he was for these men and their presence in his life. This isn’t the only episode in the season that features a poignant exchange between the Fab 5 and their latest project. Every episode not only unites the men, but it gives them a chance to spotlight pressing and timely topics, all while helping a fashion-challenged man pick out the perfect blazer and sneakers.

In the eight episodes that make up the season I never stopped crying, I never stopped smiling, and I never stopped being grateful that this show exists. Sure, at first glance it’s an entertaining show that brings ample amounts of laughs but also this truly inspiring show is overflowing with compassion. It’s imperative viewing and a series that I implore you to not only watch when you need a good laugh, but it’s a series that will help your family better understand the strength and beauty of diversity and the power in welcoming change.

It’s been fifteen years since the original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy premiered and a lot has changed in the world. However, a lot still hasn’t changed, but this show is a beautiful and glorious start.

 

Are you excited to check out the Netflix revival? Sound off in the comments!

Queer Eye Season 1 is currently streaming on Netflix and Netflix Canada.

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