Full disclosure: I wasn't too bothered about watching Netflix's Queer Eye revival when it launched earlier this month. The original show was fondly remembered, I guess, but also felt like a relic from the early '00s. Surely in 2018, we've moved beyond the reductive stereotype that gay guys have "superior" taste to their straight male counterparts?
How wrong I was. After seeing a growing number of tweets about the show, largely from people saying how "emotional" and "heartwarming" it is, I decided to give the new Queer Eye a go. The basic premise is the same as before: an expert panel known as the Fab Five give advice on fashion, food, grooming, culture, and design to a man (of any sexual orientation) who could use a little help in these areas.
But at the same time, Netflix has subtly updated the show to make it relevant to our increasingly woke society. Yes, the guys who submit to the Queer Eye experience end their episode with better haircuts and fancier-looking flats, but they also come away learning something about themselves and their relationships with friends, family, and co-workers. On the surface, this is a show about improving someone's personal style, but if you've watched an episode, you'll know it cuts much deeper. Queer Eye is also a show about identity, empathy, and self-confidence. It promotes a message of tolerance and unity at a time when major political events like police violence and the Trump presidency threaten to divide us. At its best, it teaches us that the damaging and destructive rules of toxic masculinity can be un-learned.
It's also a lot of fun and highly likely to make you cry, as these appreciative tweets attest.
If you haven’t seen the new @QueerEye on @NetflixUK yet, do yourself a favour and watch it. It’s joyful, trashy, life-affirming, necessary TV especially in today’s shitty divided climate ? Also, it’s bloody funny ? pic.twitter.com/cqmJyB7OKo— Hannah Jane Thompson - Meditation Coach (@HannahsRhapsody) February 17, 2018
If you're in the mood for a binge-watch, all eight episodes of Queer Eye are on Netflix now. Just make sure you've got some tissues on hand.