Neil Runge | Staff Writer
Queer Eye is back and there’s a reason its thumbnail on Netflix is now a box of tissues. Get ready for tears, laughter, smiles and a renewed sense of hope. From start to finish, the Fab Five made up of Antoni Porowski, the chef of the crew; Karamo Brown, who handles culture and the more mental aspects of each person they visit; Tan France, the man in charge of fashion; Bobby Berk, the leader of home design and Jonathan Van Ness, who can take a shaggy dog to a great dane with his grooming finesse.
Much like the first season, the Fab Five visit one person per episode and give them a makeover, or in the words of France, a “make better.” These men enter the lives of each person with a whirlwind of queer lingo and a promise of change. Unlike the first season, though, this one began with a “make better” of a woman.
Episode one, the Fab Five meet Tammye. She is an older black woman that lives in the small town of Gay, Georgia. The crew spends the episode learning about the town and the people who live in it. Bobby finishes the transformation of a community center, Tan shows that age doesn’t mean letting go of a style and Karamo talks to Tammye’s son about also being a young, black, gay man in a small town. Each member of the five brings something to Tammye and to the town of Gay.
Tammye is just the start of Queer Eye’s mission to show diversity in all shapes and sizes. Another stand out point is episode five, when the audience meets Skylar. In another first for the show, this one starts in the Fab Five loft and in silence. The men are sitting on the couch watching Skylar in the operating room while he undergoes top surgery, an operation to remove breast tissue to make the chest flatter and appear more masculine. This is the first episode with a member of the transgender community and it begins with an expensive operation that many trans men go through. Starting the episode this way shows that the crew of “make better” specialists are serious and willing to learn and respect the transgender experience.
A number of shows that include one or more LGBT characters rarely put said characters in such a positive light. The “bury your gays” trope, wherein gay people in fiction works aren’t allowed a happy ending, is seen in TV shows like The 100, Arrow and In the Flesh. Many images of queer persons in mainstream media often focus on despair. It is even worse when it comes to the representation of transgender community: this part of the queer group is rarely shown and at the times that it is shown, death or being written out of the program often follows.
The Fab Five bring a refreshing point of view to the table. It shows that LGBT people are more than the sad endings that other works think they are. It shows this part of society can be happy, successful and just as diverse as any other section of culture. Queer Eye is a show about positive change, self improvement and how everyone has their own strengths. A third season is yet to be confirmed but when and if it comes, the show will continue to bring smiles and tears to viewers.