The Fab Five are back for Netflix’s Queer Eye. Phoebe Matthews takes a look at this worldwide phenomenon after the release of its hotly anticipated third season.
For two seasons what made Queer Eye heartfelt and relatable was that the four queer hosts were just as vulnerable as the people they made over. Karamo Brown spoke candidly about his own feelings regarding relations between Black people and the police, even starting the episode not wanting to makeover of the policeman. Tan France admitted to having never met a transgender person or spending a lot of time fighting for LGBT+ rights and Bobby Berk refused to enter a church after struggling in his youth to balance sexuality and religion. None of these beautiful moments happen in season three and as a result, it feels like they may have missed the boat on some of the makeovers.
The past two seasons saw both the Fab Five and their makeover subject learn something. Most of the Fab Five admitted that they did not really understand transgender issues until they met Skyler in season two. However, season three’s theme is tolerance and while this is great, the guys aren’t tested like they were previously.
I had never watched Queer Eye until recently. I watched others utter fascination and astoundment with the show and with this new season, I decided to give it a go. Honestly, I was disappointed and completely bored. I couldn’t understand people’s fascination with the show and so I went back and watched the last two seasons and now I get it. But season three does not pack the same punch the first two series have.
My favourite episode in the latest season was ‘When Robert Met Jamie’, where a self-deprecating groom learns to love himself before he walks down the aisle to promise to love someone else. The best part of the episode was the editing and the interviews with other couples.
But overall, this episode, along with the entire season, felt repetitive. Moment’s in, I already knew what replacement glasses someone was going to get; I already knew everyone was going to get a ‘french tuck’ even if it did not suit them; and I already knew that most were going to be given a clean shave despite the fact the Fab Five often have beards themselves.
The season starts and ends with superficial makeovers that do not get to the route of any problems or why the subjects might need to change. This is especially the case in the last episode of the season, ‘Baby on Board’, where the makeover is for the introduction of a baby in the house. Recommendations by the Fab Five felt overall unsubstantiated and unhelpful. The one time the fab five don’t recommend shaving off a beard is the time when it was most needed. Baby’s grab beards. Though the glasses new father Tony was given were nice, new glasses around a baby felt ridiculous and at risk. Hair and glasses around a baby will get ruined. I speak from experience.
However, I also realise though that many people weren’t watching for the make overs per say but more for the chemistry between the Fab Five. If that is the case for you, then you will not be disappointed. The chemistry has not changed and is still just as fun to watch Bobby, Karamo, Tan, Antoni, and Johnathan make jokes, be silly and be their fabulous selves.
Overall, I was disappointed by Season three but after watching the first two seasons I can see why the show is so beloved. Hopefully season 4 will take note and bring back some vulnerability.