Back in the early 00s, I did a lot of babysitting. It was how I earned the majority of my spending money in high school and college, though I did have a few part-time jobs during the holidays and summers. But babysitting – babysitting I loved, because I got to hang out with kiddos, and often it was just a matter of playing with the kids for a while, giving them dinner, and getting them to bed, and then getting to stay up late watching TV or movies. Basically, my dream job. I still think I would be a babysitter full time if I could get paid as much as I do at my current job (plus benefits) because who doesn’t want to hang out with kiddos and watch TV?
In any case, the point of this all is that I have a distinct memory of it being the summer of 2003, and babysitting for a family that I only sat for once, but they had cable, and there was this new show which had premiered on Bravo and the kids had gone to sleep, so I watched it. That show was Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and it was awesome. I just adored that show SO MUCH. Watching these five men swoop into the life of another man who was struggling, and to help him find himself, and to make the best version of himself through grooming, clothing, food and decor was delightful (I’m skipping the culture because…that was always kind of a weird aspect for me that felt very tacked on). The QE guys weren’t making over the guy in their image – they were just zhuzhing him up. It was perfect and delightful.
So when I heard that there would be a reboot of Queer Eye on Netflix, I knew I would watch it. It went onto my list of “to-watch-during-maternity-leave”, and sat there for a little while. I didn’t get around to watching the show until after I had finished up with Jane the Virgin, and it was my first non-fiction show that I watched during this time off. So much of watching JtV was tied up in emotions related to breastfeeding and generally being post-partum, so when I finally moved on to something that wasn’t about any of that, it was totally refreshing.
I LOVE the new guys. Every one of them is delightful in their own way. It makes me laugh how people have decided that Antoni can’t actually cook – I think he just wasn’t given much of an opportunity to do much on the show. Obviously Jonathan was a favorite for having THE MOST over-the-top personality. That dude is the definition of OTT, and I loved when I remembered him from his Game of Thrones recaps called Gay of Thrones (he is not subtle). Karamo probably has the most emotionally stirring experiences with the subjects on the show because he’s trying to turn the culture slot into one that is more emotionally-centered. Tan France is pocket-sized (maybe? or is it just my imagination), and does wonders with the guys he works with. And then there is Bobby – sweet, adorable Bobby who I started out thinking was boring, but was perhaps my favorite by the end of the series. It didn’t hurt that Bobby did amazing things with decor as well.
The best part of the show, apart from our Queer Guys making over their subjects, who – spoiler alert – are not all straight this time around, is the emotional resonance of everything. And that’s always been the best part of the show: the QE guys going in, getting the subject to tell his heart-wrenching story, and then making things lots better. Whether it’s helping a man get back together with his ex-wife/love-of-his-life, helping a closeted young man come out to his step-mom, or getting a macho-man police officer to open up about police brutality AND to be more loving with his wife and daughters. Basically, it’s all awesome, and you will find yourself crying on the regular.
I’m so glad that Netflix renewed the series for a second season. I only wish that they would film outside of their Atlanta-adjacent locale (which is probably for the sweet Georgia-filming-location tax breaks that they can get), because I know a couple guys in my life who could use a makeover. I’m just saying Dad, if they ever film in the DC area, consider yourself nominated. For the rest of you, if you’re looking for a heart-felt show that is funny, emotional, and highly satisfying (OMG MAKEOVERS!), then get yourself to Netflix and watch the new series of Queer Eye STAT.
Update: Apparently the second season comes out June 15, so I had perfect timing with this post!
Details: Queer Eye is streaming on Netflix.