The Fab Five are back, back, back again

Art by Mags Ocampo

 

Just when I thought that I couldn’t write anything more about Netflix’s Queer Eye (I’ve written about it twice before), in comes the third season. Hot off the heels of its highly regarded first two seasons (which were actually filmed as one but split into two, if the grapevine is to be trusted), the makeover show is back with even more joy-sparking magic.

In this season, the Fab Five (once more, for those living under a rock: Karamo Brown, Antoni Porowski, Bobby Berk, Tan France and Jonathan Van Ness) move from Atlanta, Georgia to Kansas City, Missouri. The season is kicked off with Jody, a prison guard who has a seemingly undying love for camo and hunting — so much so that she and her husband went hunting on their first date. The episode takes a while to pick up its pace, or maybe it’s just the fact that I, a person of color from the Philippines, cannot relate to her. I don’t want to say it’s because she’s so white, but that’s just it.

Anyway, that’s all beside the point. It gets interesting when Jody has a conversation with Tan at a boutique while shopping for clothes, and it’s about gun control. It’s a pretty safe and short one, but that’s when the show reminds you that this is not, once again, just a frilly show with five gay dudes. It’s a frilly show with five gay dudes with an agenda. In this age of Trump and Duterte, it’s not the LGBTQ+ community’s place to be neutral, nor is it in our best interest. Jody’s stand is that people must still have a right to own guns, but with very thorough checks and balances.

As we move through the season, there’s an overarching theme that ties together all of the “heroes” (that’s what they call the featured people in each episode): self-care. I mean, it’s a pretty obvious one, considering that this is a show that gives people makeovers, but it’s more than that. In this season of Queer Eye, Karamo, Antoni, Bobby, Tan and Jonathan remind us that there is no one way to care for ourselves. It really is about knowing yourself, and then discovering (or rediscovering) how it is you should take care of yourself over time.

It can be as simple as finding out what your style is, or knowing what to wear to make you feel good. For example, in “Black Girl Magic” (Episode 5), Jess first identifies as a “lumberjack lesbian” but evolves into a “soft butch” after going through some sartorial selections with Tan. In “When Robert Met Jamie” (Episode 4), Robert hides his insecurity with self-deprecating humor, but learns that he needs to remind himself of his positive qualities rather than think about what people say about him. Yes, even if it takes renting out an entire dance studio and reminding yourself to see your positive qualities by writing them on the mirror (I’m kidding; it was a very touching moment). Even with Jody from the first episode, she discovers that treating yourself to something fancy once in a while isn’t selfish, nor should it be intimidating.

I don’t want to spoil too much of what happens, because the experience of watching it all unfold is what makes the show’s absolutely tearjerking moments work. Even though we’ve come to know to expect these moments, a lot of them still manage to catch you off-guard. And that’s the special skill of this show, I realized. It creeps up on you and surprises you with the fact that, even if you don’t seem to relate to this person on the outside (again, we’re in the Philippines), in the end, we’re all human.

Some moments may feel a little performative (I mean, it is a produced show). But when everything else on the airwaves is barely even halfway to what Queer Eye is showing the public in terms of talking points, it’s hard to complain about this. It sends a message of good either way you look at it. More and more, they are diversifying what the mainstream sees and are normalizing it in a way that’s never really been done before. And on a platform like Netflix, with a subscriber base of at least 139 million, it’s going to make a dent one way or another. So yes, the third season is worth a watch. And don’t forget to be your own hero — a little self-care (in your own special way) goes a long way.

 

 

The third season of Queer Eye is now streaming on Netflix.

Tags:
#beauty #fitness #gender #self #tv

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