Ask any fashion fan about their favorite makeover story and you are sure to get a variety of responses. It could be from a movie or book that stirred them at a specific time in their lives (Cinderella’s ballgown upgrade scene pretty much set the bar and The Devil Wears Prada is a constant grown-up reference) or something closer to home—perhaps the intervention of stylish peers or a personal eureka moment right inside a fitting room. Then there’s reality TV where swan-like transformations and big, no-turning-back reveals are aplenty.
Of all the makeover shows that aired in the aughts (there were a lot) Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (Bravo TV, 2003-2007) stands out as the most hilarious and heartwarming. The thought of five gay guys weighing in on a straight man’s unibrow, ill-fitting jeans, poor diet, inability to strike a conversation, and shabby living quarters and helping address each one was the kind of reality TV that cable viewers deserved at that time. Furthermore, the theme of expert gay men giving advice and lending a hand resonated with the creative community, too, what with all the LGBT fashion folk, beauty practitioners, culture experts, design masters, and culinary professionals that are part of it.
You may also know the show’s former hosts by their other pursuits: food and wine connoisseur Ted Allen hosts Food Network’s Chopped, design doctor Thom Filicia hosted a couple of home design shows and is still a practicing interior designer, fashion savant Carson Kressley judges at Ru Paul’s Drag Race and provides commentary on Miss Universe, culture vulture Jai Rodriguez also acts onstage and on TV, and grooming guru Kyan Douglas went on to author a beauty book and work as brand ambassador.
Fortunately, the landmark TV show got a much-needed reboot for this era care of Netflix (ta-dah!). Now retitled Queer Eye, the new season is filled with the elements we loved from the show’s previous iteration and so much more.
Here are 7 reasons why we are loving 2018’s Queer Eye and are already wishing for a second season:
1. There’s a new Fab Five on the block—and they’re racially diverse.
Bobby Berk (design), Karamo Brown (culture), Antoni Porowski (food and wine), Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), and Tan France (fashion) are the new hosts of the show.
Notice how the cast addresses the need for a racially diverse America: Tan is an Englishman of Pakistani descent, Karamo is a black American with Jamaican roots, and Antoni is born Canadian.
2. The show’s makeover subjects (a.k.a. nominees) are real people with relatable, suburban backgrounds.
Queer Eye was shot in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia.
Each episode introduced us to an everyman with real problems. Among them, a thrice-divorced retiree who wants to woo his last wife back, a thirty-something who still lives with his parents, a father of four with no time to pamper himself, and a gay man struggling to come out. That all of them live in the conservative south and not in more cosmopolitan cities like New York or L.A. adds an extra layer of authenticity and accessibility.
3. The Fab Five have back stories themselves—making them even more loveable.
Bobby Berk once asked God to not make him gay.
All throughout the season, each member of the Fab Five would cite their personal experiences as a means to empathize or drive a point. The most relatable back story in the Filipino context is probably interior designer Bobby Berk’s.
Born and bred in conservative Texas, he grew up serving in church—even fronting a Christian rock band in his youth—and praying that God not make him gay. Imagine this hosting job he’d have lost if God actually intervened!
4. The fashion and grooming solutions the Fab 5 offer are realistic and sustainable.
Tan France’s approach to fashion is less couture and more street while Jonathan van Ness, an actual hairstylist with enviable locks, walks the talk.
Stripped off of glamourous big city conveniences such as fashion houses and big-ticket salons, the reboot offered affordable and realistic solutions to the fashion and grooming conundrums in each episode.
Fashion guy Tan—he has a predilection for tropical prints and white sneakers—offered wardrobe solutions from establishments within the Atlanta area including a vintage store, the neighborhood Target, a local tailor, and a shopping mall.
Grooming guy Jonathan did most of the haircuts while collaborating with and referring nominees to various barber shops around the city. He also recommended grooming products that are readily available and inexpensive.
5. Food and wine guy Antoni is pure eye candy—and kind of looks like John Mayer.
The show hasn’t been on for a month yet but the interwebs is already abuzz with images of easy-on-the-eyes Antoni Porowski. Antoni, a deadringer for John Mayer but is a looker all on his own, was endorsed by previous Queer Eye food guy Ted Allen to the producers of the reboot.
6. Jonathan Van Ness is giving us life, hunny.
We love this scene stealer.
Queer Eye’s grooming guy is packed with positive energy, speaks a mile a minute, is not shy to take a selfie, owns the limelight, and has hair better than yours. And we love him for it.
Bonus: Grooming aside, he is a fan of figure skating and can talk nonstop about the sport. Watch this!
7. Each episode will make you cry—and more woke than the last.
Unfortunately, your Netflix subscription does not come with a box of tissues.
Karamo Brown’s culture discussion goes beyond art appreciation or fine-tuning table manners. His role in the show is to probe, determine the root cause of the nominee’s tangible challenges, and address the problem from the inside out.
Case in point: While the rest of the Fab 5 worked on giving the closeted black gay man in episode 4 a flattering wardrobe, streamlined facial hair, and a fitting home redesign (he thought that wearing ill-fitting cargo shorts was a way of not making him look gay!), Karamo sat the nominee down for a deep dive discussion. Speaking from a place of truth, Karamo discussed the hardships of being a closeted black gay man in America and helped the nominee tie loose ends with the dead (his father) and the living (his stepmother) The result? Waterworks, hugs, and a glorious coming out party to seal the deal.
The entire first season of Queer Eye is available for streaming on Netflix.