Netflix Review: Queer Eye (Seasons 1-3)

I recently said that I wanted to shift over my “streaming services” reviews to shows and films that are more current, meaning those mostly on Netflix and Amazon Prime (and soon to be others…) that people might actually be watching through right now. At the very least, I want these new reviews to be more recent than shows that ended some number of years back and have since been picked up and presented by a streaming platform. Well, here’s the first of the bunch. A show that I was pretty much not interested in, until I sat through an episode. One episode. How often does that happen? I can probably count on one hand the number of times it’s happened for me, and I’ve watched plenty. Although I wouldn’t say Netflix’s Queer Eye reboot is one of my top favorite shows, I do look forward to hearing the announcement of each new season. And I chose to include all three current seasons here instead of just the latest one because I make the rules and I can do that. Also because I’m mostly reviewing the show rather than specific content in this one, since I don’t want to discuss all 25 people they’ve worked with and what happened in every episode. I’m not Reddit.
The premise of the show is simple: 5 gay men (The Fab Five) drive around a different state each season visiting several individuals who have been suggested by friends and family to receive a “makeover.” That part is very similar to the previous show that aired in the early 2000’s, Queer Eye For the Straight Guy. But I never really connected with the original show. Maybe it was the stars of the show or just that time in my life, but looking back on it I also feel like the intention was different. I remember the first show seemed to spotlight how the fashion and self-care of male gay culture was superior, or at least beneficial, to straight culture, and therefore the gay men could step in and “fix” the lives of straight men. Since I’m not really a fan of reality TV, I don’t know too much more about themes or individual episodes other than the episode format which also closely resembled the current show. Jump forward 15 years to the new show, which I do connect to. The men in Queer Eye feel sincere in both their efforts to help and their care for the people they work with. They listen well, and their aim isn’t to “fix” people lacking style or game or direction in life, although they address those things in most episodes. They focus on helping people find a place that allows them to feel more confident while still feeling true to themselves. A genuine care for self-worth, relationships, motivation, and overall health. And the inner changes are used as motivation to improve outward appearances. This is what pulls me into clicking ‘yes’ when Netflix asks if I’m still watching, and what has caused a few “there’s just something in my eye” moments along the way. Seriously, some great ways they are helping people.
There is a fair amount of backlash to the show for the still-apparent disconnect between the stars and the clients. Many have found it distasteful that the ability to relate is lacking and that it continues to hearken back to the “gays need to help straights” movement. But like I’ve said, I disagree because it feels like the belief behind the show has been revitalized and set straight. I also think they do a great job at representing diversity in the people they work with: Old and young, black and white, country and city, gay and straight, single and married. The connections made and stories shared about current cultural struggles and hardships are brought forward to help motivate positive change in the lives of those they meet and hopefully also for those who are watching to a certain extent. I’m sure we could all use a makeover in one way or another, but I’d like to end this post by suggesting that we strive less to end up on a show like this and maybe a bit more toward coming up in conversations around topics like social justice and fighting for equity. Be the change, right? Makeover that part of you that can help others, and find some people around to stand with you in solidarity. And while you’re working hard on being that change, it also doesn’t hurt to take a few of their “QE Hip Tips” to heart 🙂 Cheers!

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