Five full seasons, a Japanese spin-off, and an Australian special. Cameos on everything from Taylor Swift promotions to Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. All the autobiographies, other reality TV appearances, and relentless thirst traps (hello Antoni). By the time the Queer Eye gang took a long delay, if it was enforced, breaking our screens last year, it felt like they had been around for as long as the original Fab Five. In fact, they had only been advocating life-changing hacks like the French fold and “Spray, delay, go away” since 2018.
It would be difficult for any show that had screened 47 one-hour episodes in just two years to avoid a feeling of fatigue, much less one that stuck to such a rigid formula. In fact, even Jonathan Van Ness, the series’ permanently excitable shooting star, seemed to be just doing the moves, his typical “Yass Queen” calls sounding more and more like “Meh.”
Netflix’s jewel in the crown of reality would have stayed on the treadmill had it not been for the small matter of a global pandemic: its sixth season opener was already practically in the can before the lockdown broke it. give the quintet another option but to finally leave. But after an 18-month hiatus (except for a YouTube exclusive special in the summer), Karamo, Bobby, Antoni, Tan, and JVN are now making a comeback, and quite rightly at a time synonymous with change.
Marking the beginning of the New Year, Queer EyeInitially, the final ten-episode run was supposed to focus on the move to Austin, Texas – even their track “Keeps Getting Better” has been banjoined just to make the point. And while contestants like Terri, a Daisy Dukes line dancer who provides the season’s best makeover reaction of the season at home (“Okay, slap me”), and Josh, a rancher who sounds like Matthew McConaughey who lives Almost exclusively Wagyu beef, it certainly fits the bill, it is inevitably the response to the coronavirus that gives this season its true USP.
The gang works its magic on various people whose lives have revolved around, or been badly affected by, the virus. Jereka, a proud workaholic doctor who founded a COVID-19 testing center for her underprivileged community, may well be one of the show’s most impressive heroes to date – no wonder Jonathan suggests that he should follow in the footsteps. of his own idols, the Obamas, and running for president.
There’s also a beret-clad Sarah, who had the misfortune to open her own Asian bakery just a week before the disease took hold of her. And then there’s the lovely Juan P. Navarro High School class of 2021 who, after spending their senior year home school with Zoom, are determined to host prom night every prom night. You would need a heart of stone not to shed at least a tear watching them dance all their cares as they dress to the nines.
Of course, turning on the water plant has never been a problem for the Queer Eye lot. However, in recent seasons, the constant crying has felt artificial. Even Tan, who had previously admitted that as a Briton he was the most repressed of all, seemed determined to break out at every opportune moment. However, the stories here do not require any emotional manipulation, and that also applies to those that are not strongly connected to the pandemic.
The episode starring the exhausted owner of a special needs animal shelter (brace yourself for the blind goat following its furry friend through a hood), providing therapy for children with special needs, is so comforting by nature that it could prescribed as an anti-inflammatory. depressant. And while Karamo’s meddling can sometimes border on exploitation (did Wes from season 4 really need to meet the man who shot and paralyzed him?), The family reunion he facilitates for the trans Angel woman is genuinely affirmative television.
After a year of chasing several solo companies (it’s a switch between Bobby posing as a caterpillar in The Masked Singer and Jonathan writing a children’s book about a non-binary guinea pig for the more surreal) the five experts themselves also seem revitalized and happy to be in each other’s company again.
It’s true that their roles haven’t changed that much in the meantime. Bobby still gets little attention doing 95 percent of the hard work (he can now add building a barn from scratch to his resume) but getting only five percent of screen time. Tan still hasn’t learned that half-tucking his shirt is a terrible appearance, Jonathan still steals the show as a confidence-boosting quote machine, and Karamo is still determined to put the shoes on in countless self-help platitudes (the broken crayons still dyed, anyone?) with every tête-à-tête.
However, Antoni (by far the least qualifying member) has a rare chance to justify his place in the group, with his twist on gumbo bringing together the widowed Crayfish restaurant owner and his heir apparent daughter (him). which shows he’s a kind but grizzly old man). the men are strangely the strong suit of the gang).
Not all transformations get the same rewards. Hyper-masculine Josh (a man who thinks eating chicken is a sign of weakness) is a lovable figure, but his obvious discomfort with all of the experience means he’s not the most compelling candidate. Whereas BlackLight, a rapper who simply lost his creative spark, seems like an odd choice to wrap up a series that is otherwise defined by acts of genuine heroism or hardship.
Queer Eye He hasn’t always been so successful in bringing big real-life problems into his happy world ‘henny’ – remember he misjudged the All Lives Matter conversation between Karamo and the MAGA cop? Fortunately, there is little dull about his handling of the most universal problem of all in a return to form that proves that the Fab Five can still make television the equivalent of a much-needed big hug. But, and this is done with the utmost respect, let’s hope we won’t see them again until next year.
Queer Eye Season 6 will debut on Netflix on Friday, December 31, 2021.
Jon O’Brien (@ jonobrien81) is a freelance sports and entertainment writer from the North West of England. His work has been featured in companies such as Vulture, Esquire, Billboard, Paste, iD, and The Guardian.