If you find yourself surfing Netflix, unwilling to rewatch episodes or subject yourself to the world of hit-or-miss Netflix original movies and wondering what would happen if “Extreme Makeover” was mashed up with “Property Brothers” and “Ellen,” then “Queer Eye” is the show for you. Even if you’ve never wondered what such a mashup would look like, “Queer Eye” is still probably the show for you.
A reboot of the 2003–2007 show of the same name, “Queer Eye” features five gay men, affectionately referred to as the Fab Five, helping a man (straight or not) makeover his life in each episode.
Each of the Fab Five has their own specialty: Antoni with food and wine, Bobby with interior design, Karamo with culture, Jonathan with grooming and Tan with fashion. Armed with their skills, taste and liberal open-mindedness, the Fab Five always end up not only remaking a living room or lifting a man out of a world in which every day is a bad hair day but rebuilding confidence and having conversations that resonate with both the participants and the audience.
On the surface, “Queer Eye” is fun to watch. The show always starts with these five undeniably fabulous men wading through a mess of clothes and leftover pizza boxes in disgust, pointing to the greasy chairs that need to be trashed or the pants hidden in closets that should never see the light of day again. Then a mustache gets shaved off, and you realize that the man beneath it wasn’t hopelessly trying to live a life intended for Great Britain in the 40s, or some paint gets slapped on a wall, and you realize that maybe a self-respecting woman actually would enter that apartment someday. The show always ends with before and after shots of a house that looks ten times cleaner and a man who looks ten times more stylish.
However, beyond the fun of seeing the conditions some men can stand to live in and how five gay men transform them from a fire hazard into a safe, healthy and trendy living space, the show is engaging on another level. Five gay men, including a Pakistani and a black man, have a lot to teach. From explaining offensive stereotypes to older bearded gentleman to heartfelt conversations between Karamo, a black gay man, and Cory, a police officer featured in Episode 3, the show always ends with somebody crying, and not just on screen.
The show may be insanely exaggerated—electronic music, transitions reminiscent of “Wizards of Waverly Place” and participants so agreeable it would make the realtors on “House Hunters” cry—but in no way do these qualities weaken the messages the show communicates. Realistically, it’s hard to imagine that the men in the show will keep their closets color-coded or their bathroom floors swept, and the stories may be a little too formulaic to be completely unscripted, but the disregard for realism isn’t necessarily a flaw. In fact, the boundless energy of the show may be the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine of complicated social issues go down easier.
Alex Houdeshell is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.