I began watching Queer Eye, the reboot on Netflix, several days ago. At first glance, it emulates an average makeover show, with offerings of a quick progression from complete mess to a completed man, as well as the quirky personalities of each of its five hosts.
It exemplifies the before and the after of a person’s life, with the hosts acting as the gateway to that. On a deeper level, the reboot of the show represents something greater, especially when it comes to the definition of masculinity in today’s America.
Queer Eye originally stems from the Bravo Show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, which ran from 2003 to 2007, starring five hosts who represent different aspect of a man’s life (grooming, fashion, food and wine, culture, home). Together, they weave through a forty-five minute episode, changing a man’s life from disastrous to hopeful. The original was followed by a slew of makeover shows, and many believed that the reboot would be lost in the noise. With so many similar, hopeful stories out there, how can it stand up on its own?
With a stunning 96% on Rotten Tomatoes, the show demonstrates its capabilities and popularity in the new age.
It has key differences that diverge it from the original, but ultimately make it more relatable to current audiences. The show even acknowledges that the shows were certainly made for two different audiences with vastly different purposes.
Many worry about the implications of pushing traditionally gay stereotypes with a makeover show like this. But, as the show continues, it is clear that it deals more with other hard-hitting topics. First and foremost, it undermines the traditional views of masculinity as you watch the hosts and the guests change their ideals. More specifically, masculinity means something different to each of the men on the show and how they want to express that. The hosts don’t intend to change their guests, but rather boost their confidence so they want to change something about themselves. And, in that way, the show’s importance is clear.
The show touches upon social justice, demonstrating its multifaceted capabilities in a world that devours cheap reality television. In particular, viewers saw how Karamo Brown, a black man, discussed his fears about living in America with a white police officer in the third episode of the series. The hosts open up the dialogue, allowing their guests to understand the struggles they face each day, while also cleaning them up.
The show juxtaposes social justice along with clips of the hosts dancing and drinking with their guests in various parts of southern United States. It allows people to experience every aspect of their favorite reality show, while also feeding them important messages about very real and often forgotten American struggles.
With its prime spot on Netflix, Queer Eye captures the hearts of many in a time where such a show cannot be forgotten.
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