Queer Eye took the world by storm in February of 2018. This reboot of the original series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which aired from 2003-2007, is an updated version through a new lens. Being a fan of the original, I knew I had to check this out. I had reservations because there was a feeling like I wouldn’t love the cast as much as I did the original one. Boy was I wrong. That being said, I am here to review my top five episodes from the last five seasons. One from each season to prepare for the arrival of season six on December 31st.
First, let’s get introduced to the Fab Five. Jonathan Van Ness who is the grooming expert, Karamo Brown the culture specialist, Antoni Porowski food genius, Bobby Berk interior designer extraordinaire, and Tan France fashion connoisseur. This new Fab Five are professionals in their field and bring their knowledge to each episode and cater it to that specific person. And they do it in a genuine and powerful way.
WARNING! Before you go forward, there are mega spoilers within. If you have not seen all seasons, please proceed with caution.
S1E1 – You Can’t Fix Ugly
The debut episode of the new series focuses on Tom Jackson, a self-proclaimed “dumb country boy.” He at one point asks Bobby who was the man and who was the woman in his relationship. Bobby and Jonathan take the moment to teach him without judgment. It was a significant situation for Tom and showed the world that moments like this can happen. Conversations about the reality of being LGBTQIA and in relationships can be civil and end in new perspectives and a desire for growth.
This episode also features a happy ending to a love story no one knew they would be so invested in. Tom expressed hope that he could win back his ex-wife, Abby, who he still had feelings for. His transformation both internally and externally won her back over and they ended up getting re-married in the epilogue of the episode.
S2E 5 – Sky’s the Limit
This was a first for the series. Skylar Jay, the participant in this episode was the first trans person to be featured on the show. The episode opened with him getting top surgery and the moment he first saw his flat chest. The pure and genuine happiness he has was magic. The episode didn’t feature a true makeover, more like a refinement. The Fab Five allowed Skylar to really come into himself and find the man he always knew. Even with little things like Johnathan convincing him to trim his beard and hair, which gave him a more masculine look.
This episode also featured some truth-telling about the gay community. Tan reveals that he has never met a trans person before, leading to a discussion about how the LGBTQIA community doesn’t know everything about each other’s plights. There is a community within it, though not everyone can truly understand the situations of other subgroups. This is such an important piece of information because it shows the reality of being within the grouping of humans. It also gives a better understanding to the cis-gendered and straight audience of what it is like to not be.
S3E3 – Jones Bar-B-Q
This episode has stood out as one of my favorites since it aired. Deborah and Mary Jones, co-owners of Jones Bar-B-Que, a famous barbeque place their father founded in their hometown. Their pride in their work and upholding the legacy their father started has taken over their lives and they have neglected to take care of themselves. Izora, Deborah’s daughter nominated them so they could get the tools to take the restaurant to the next level.
The transformations of the sisters were some of my favorites. Especially when Mary gets a new set of veneers and is so stunned she can’t speak. I am always a sucker for things like this because of the emotion that is exuded by the person on the receiving end. You can see how grateful they are. The restaurant’s transformation is out of this world and I think it may be my favorite design transformation ever. Though I am sure I say that about a lot of them.
S4E1 – Without Further Ado
This episode is special because we travel back to Johnathan’s high school to makeover his former music teacher, Mrs. Dooley, who still teaches there. This episode is very emotional for Johnathan who opens up about being bullied and made fun of during his time there. The person he got the most help and support from during that time was Mrs. Dooley. This selfless woman, who has spent over 30 years dedicating herself to her students, has made such a lasting impact and is loved by everyone at the school.
Jonathan really opens up to her and gets to thank her for being a shining light in his time there. This episode showed us that we can face the past and that we can get through the other side stronger and better. I am proud of Johnathan for facing his past and for having the courage to walk the halls that held such darkness for them again with pride for who they are.
S5E1 – Preaching Out Loud
This episode is another special moment for one of the team. This time it’s Bobby who has a healing moment with the episode’s participant, Noah. See, Noah is a pastor, whose church is about to celebrate 125 years. He also came out in his late 30’s after suppressing his true feelings and trying to fight his true self. He now fights to teach acceptance, love, and healing. Bobby and he have a great conversation about the church and the pain that it has caused them. In one of their conversations, it is acknowledged that he worked on a space that represented something so painful for him. That is such a powerful statement and really eye-opening. This was such a special moment for Bobby because he could see there was hope to have faith in something and be true to himself.
Getting something like a new set of teeth or a new haircut that truly allows a person to feel so good about themselves and allows them to take that confidence forward is something that will never get old. Though this version of the show goes farther than the original did and puts more focus on the internal transformation than the external. The original show was great for what it was and when it was. This new version of the show really brings it higher.
The inclusion of all genders, orientations, political beliefs, and ages really makes Queer Eye something special. The show’s nominations and wins for Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program and Outstanding Structured Reality Program prove that this show speaks to the audience on a level that they can connect to and find themselves in.
On top of that, not only do the participants learn things about themselves from the members of the Fab Five, they in turn learn from the people they are helping. This show is about before and afters in every sense. Each episode and each season has given something more to the participants, the viewers, and the cast of the show. I am so glad I gave this show a chance and did not let my love for the original show stop me from getting to see all the lessons of life this show has given.
Thank you, Johnathan, Bobby, Karamo, Tan, and Antoni. Thank you Queer Eye.