“Queer Eye,” a new Netflix original series which became available to stream Feb. 7, is a reboot of Bravo’s hit show “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” which premiered in 2003. The premise of the show is fairly simple: a group of five gay men — each with an area of expertise such as decor, fashion, grooming, culture and food — makeover the lives of several straight men who are in dire need of the five hosts’ help.
While the show’s premise is one that heavily relies on the idea that gay men are inherently stylish or cultured (a stereotype that feels years past its prime by today’s more socially aware standards), its contrived moments are outweighed by its genuine, and even heartwarming, ones.
Episode three, in which the crew visits a NASCAR-loving police officer named Cory in Georgia, touches on police brutality. As they drive to their next location, they get pulled over with black host Karamo Brown at the wheel; it turns out to be a joke and the police officer is a friend of Cory’s. But the setup feels particularly cruel, especially toward Brown, who visibly tenses up and gets out of the car with a palpable dread.
Later, Brown engages in a conversation with Cory about the everyday reality of police brutality that black people face. These moments, while potentially scripted, felt real in a very unexpected way.
In episode four, the team meets a closeted gay man named AJ in Atlanta who keeps his family and social life completely separate. While it feels voyeuristic to see AJ privately come out to his step-mother, you can’t help but root for him and be touched by his decision to live openly.
There is one message that ties the episodes together: the more cosmetic improvements that the five hosts implement are only a means to help along with a more spiritual transformation.
While it’s up to viewers to determine the truth of that, it’s certainly uplifting to see everyone’s improved living situations and newfound confidence at the end of each episode.