Pictured: the Fab Five. (Clockwise from top left: Antoni Polowski, Jonathan Van Ness, Karamo Brown, Bobby Berk and Tan France.) (Image via pinknews.co.uk)

Netflix’s New and Improved ‘Queer Eye’

Bravo's old reality show 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy' changed the lives of dozens of men. This year on Netflix, it's coming back with a vengeance.
March 1, 2018
8 mins read

From 2003 to 2007, Bravo ran a reality show called “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.” The name pretty much explains the gist of the show. Five gay men, known as “The Fab Five” would go out and attempt to makeover a random man’s life — more often than not, a straight man.

The makeover artists would focus on revamping five different aspects of their subject’s life: fashion, interior design, personal grooming, food and culture.

Now the show is back on Netflix and made over for a new decade. A lot has changed since 2007; the taboo on homosexuality is fading away and society tends to be more willing to talk about gay culture. People all over the world have become more open about their sexuality and more comfortable with others doing the same.

With that being said, this time around the show is called “Queer Eye.” The Fab Five use their specialties to help men remake their lives, regardless of their sexualities.

The new “Queer Eye” has an entirely new Fab Five. Jonathan Van Ness, Tan France, Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski and Karamo Brown each have their own specialization to fit with their unique personalities. Throughout the show, the subject ventures out with each of the men separately to learn more about each of the five categories.

At the end, the Fab Five come together to see their finished product and present the made-over man to his family and loved ones.

Jonathan Van Ness is the grooming and skincare expert of the show. With his radiant locks of long hair, it would be a sin to say he doesn’t look the part. In addition, Van Ness has an aura about him that commands attention, even when he is not speaking; he is confident without seeming arrogant and frank without ever coming off as mean.

Even when it appears as though a man is skeptical about changing an important part of their look like their hair, Van Ness can gain their trust. By showing the makeover subjects how to take pride in their grooming, he gives them the confidence they need to reinvent themselves. And, of course, his final product never fails to amaze them.

Tan France is the fashion expert of the group. He always stands out in a crowd with zero effort, no matter what he’s wearing. And it’s amazing to see how he transforms the men under his care.

He always finds clothes that perfectly suit the men and their lifestyle, while also encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone. France educates subjects and viewers alike on the importance of fashion, and shows them just how important the cut, color and fit can be to making or breaking your style.

Pictured: the FabFive. (From left to right: Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Polowski and Tan France) (Image via Cosmopolitan)

“Making a home personal is my number one priority,” says Bobby Berk, the team’s interior design guru. Berk has a knack for reinventing a room without completely erasing the original space. He always manages to keep bits and pieces of items from the original space and implement them into the newly renovated area.

What’s nice about the work Berk does is he doesn’t just do it alone; instead, he allows his subjects to assist him and uses their input while he gives their home a makeover. This way, the subject has a voice in the designing of their new space, instead of going to the clothing store with Tan France and coming back to find their beloved man cave unrecognizable.

Although he is not technically a chef, Antoni Porowski knows his way around the kitchen. With hacks for making the world’s best guacamole and unique recipes for everything from margaritas to mac-n-cheese, Porowski can do practically anything with food.

More importantly, he also shows the men on the show that they can do it as well. He finds dishes that are near and dear to the heart of these men and shows them how to either make those foods themselves, improve what they can already make or put their own personal spin on the dish.

The last member of the Fab Five, Karamo Brown is the team’s jack-of-all-trades. Since the others each have their own specialties and he doesn’t, he’s often overshadowed by his costars.

However, Brown actually plays a crucial role in the makeover, showing the men how to make the best of their lifestyle changes. With advice on physical fitness, dancing or even simple ways to impress your partner, Brown has a “queer eye” for anything and everything.

Before watching the show, you wouldn’t really realize how much effect these changes could have in shaping the life and personality of a man. And you wouldn’t be alone either.

When the made-over men see their new and improved self, most of them have no idea why they didn’t change on their own earlier. However, sometimes you have to look at yourself through someone else’s eye to see what changes need to be made.

“Everyone wants [and deserves] an opportunity to be the best version of themselves,” says France in an interview with Money Magazine. That’s exactly what the Fab Five do for every man who comes on the show. In just one week, they revitalize the men, giving them the push they need to go out and become better than they were yesterday.

One of the best parts about “Queer Eye” is that anyone who watches can learn something. The Fab Five often give advice not directed at the show’s guest, but rather at the audience. They make their viewers feel that they can make these same changes in their own life.

In other words, you don’t need the Fab Five to come into your life to be part of the show; you can try out all of the things they do on the show in your life, pick out what works best for you, and develop a queer eye of your own.

Taylor Miller, SUNY Cortland

Writer Profile

Taylor Miller

SUNY Cortland
Communication Studies

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