Since it came out two months ago, Queer Eye has become a cultural sensation for the LGBTQ community (again). We love that gay shit. We watched every episode, and we have thoughts.
The premise is simple: five gay men invade a Georgia man’s life for a week to renovate his home, give him a makeover and show him how to take care of himself. They teach him about skin care, flattering clothes, guacamole and self-acceptance.
Some people like Bobby, the show’s design expert. They are wrong. Some people don’t like Karamo, the culture expert, and they are even more wrong. Antoni is hot, but pretty useless (food and wine expert, my ass), and Tan, the fashion expert, feels like a check on their diversity quota. That leaves Jonathan, grooming expert, the undeniable fave of the Fab Five thanks to his bubbly personality and gorgeous brunette locks.
We wanted to rank the episodes from best to worst, but we suffer from homophobic word count limitations. Instead, here are our top four:
4. Below Average Joe (S1 E7)
In this episode, the Fab Five help aspiring stand-up comedian Joe build his brand with a hot photo shoot, some fresh threads and a boost of self confidence.
Joe is a sweetheart, and his self-deprecating comedy is endearing, but this episode is missing a few crucial elements that kept it from making it higher on the list. Namely, Antoni. What the fuck, Antoni? Bobby builds you a kitchen and a minibar, so why don’t you use it?
This one is a standout for Karamo, who does a lot to delve into Joe’s insecurities about his performances. Joe even makes out with a girl at the bar after his final set, which is gratifying, even though it’s quite hetero.
We were charmed by this episode because Joe has one of the best transformations we’ve seen. It’s great to see Joe go from the failing 30-year-old comedian struggling to move out of his childhood bedroom to the confident, sexy guy who ends up dominating the stage.
3. Saving Sasquatch (S1 E2)
At the beginning of the episode, Neal is a guy who lives alone with his dog and his mass of facial hair. He never has friends over and is uncomfortable with both physical and emotional intimacy. The Fab Five brings him out of his shell and out from behind his beard.
This episode is really Jonathan’s time to shine. With as much hair as Neal is sporting, he offers unlimited opportunities for Jonathan to try out different looks. Eventually, Jonathan settles on something that suits Neal’s reserved personality but still makes him look hot and professional.
We should also give credit to Tan, who gives Neal a bit of confidence after opening up about the experience of growing up with an emotionally distant Pakistani mother. Pushing against white narratives of queerness is something we’re glad to see and expect more of from Tan in the future, because as a fashion “expert,” his job is pretty much just buying clothes that fit.
At the end of the episode, Neal hosts a work party in his apartment, which receives a hot facelift from Bobby. Interior design aside, Neal wins us over with his charm (and his cute dog).
Once again, what the fuck, Antoni? Grilled cheese? Come on. Neal says he likes to cook but just doesn’t do it enough. Teaching him how to make grilled cheese just wastes everyone’s time.
2. Dega Don’t (S1 E3)
At first, Cory embodies everything we’ve come to despise in stereotypical Straight White Men. He’s a loud, gross party animal who stockpiles Trump signs in his garage. Let’s not forget that this episode begins with Cory’s Police Bro™ friend pulling Karamo (a black man) over just for shits and giggles.
We worried that they would just let this slide after the traffic stop was revealed to be a prank, but luckily Karamo has enough sense to bring it up with Cory later. The two have a heart to heart about police brutality against black people, and it is an incredibly emotionally vulnerable moment.
Woke as this episode is, all Antoni does is lay a couple of avocado and grapefruit slices on a plate. What the fuck, Antoni? You’re looking like a snack, but that dish isn’t.
Seriously, though, this episode challenges the all-white makeup of the original early 2000s Fab Five by broadening the narrative about sexuality to include other identities. It’s great to see the show using its platform to encourage those conversations.
1. To Gay or Not Too Gay (S1 E4)
Obviously, this is our pick for number one. When we (Jacob) saw AJ come out in that harness, Antoni finally does something we (again, Jacob) can all relate to: He has to get some water to quench his thirst.
But actually, Antoni shines in this episode, and it’s not because of the cooking (he literally just steals a recipe from AJ’s stepmom). He opens up about how he’s uncomfortable presenting himself as a “flaming” gay guy, giving AJ the confidence he needs to finally come out and embrace his true identity.
Karamo is also invaluable, offering his perspective on the difficulty of being both black and gay, something that AJ had been struggling with for years.
In the most emotional moment of the entire season, AJ comes out to his stepmom with a letter to his dead father. Both shed more than a few tears as AJ reads his letter, and his stepmom pulls him into a hug.
This moment gets to the meat of the show. It’s okay to be yourself; it’s okay to take time for yourself; and it’s okay to make guacamole and pretend that it’s life-changing.
It’s okay to thirst after Antoni while acknowledging that he’s the weakest link of the Fab Five. In each episode, they come together to start conversations about sexuality, religion and race that make real differences in the lives of ordinary Georgia men.
Bearing this in mind, we should all appreciate how different (better) this show would be if the Fab Five were all lesbians.