North Texas Daily

Why ‘Queer Eye’ is not that great

Why ‘Queer Eye’ is not that great

Why ‘Queer Eye’ is not that great
July 13
11:00 2020

The Netflix series, “Queer Eye,” first aired in 2018 after a substantial break from the previous show to reboot the infamous “Fab Five.” The show was first broadcasted in 2003 under the pretenses of five gay men who try to improve the lives and confidence of straight men by giving them makeovers and advice. While this was a fairly popular show the first time around, many people could argue that it lasted only four short years due to the negative perceptions of gay people at the time, despite the positive spin this series showcased. However, the reboot premiered with overwhelming popularity, and the sexuality of these men never seemed to pose an issue years later as society has progressed to a more equitable understanding.

This series has had major changes from the original show to make it more inclusive and welcoming to the general public while focusing less on the sexuality of the men but more on the connections made between them and the people seeking their help. The show has transformed from solely offering help and transforming straight men, into helping women, men, disabled and often poor people. 

This notion of “fixing the poor” has come off as classist, as five well-off men come into smaller, poorer communities to fix up their place, by buying new clothes, bedding and a haircut to transform their life. However, this leaves out a major part of helping a person develop, that being the mental state and psyche of a person. This is where one of the five plays a role in Karamo, who is known as the one who fixes their past damage, trauma, etc., but often this is barely touched on and not the most important part as to why people live such lives.

This show often pushes the narrative that if you buy new things, your problems will go away, and while they do attempt to help with the other issues in a person’s life, it is often just focused on mistaking poverty for a lack of taste. Many people will label them synonymous with gentrifiers as they’re mainly privileged white people who try to bring a new perspective to a person’s life when that is sometimes unrealistic. Such as, Antoni, the foodie of the five, who introduces luxurious, expensive ingredients to people who lack the proper income and then suggests they make this again after he and the show’s money leaves.

Despite the premise of the show, while clearly well-intentioned, is a bit out of touch, there are multiple other things that make you question who exactly thought certain things were good in a show about queer people. Such as the constant resurgence of one of the main five’s religious trauma to exploit it in an attempt to make viewers have a sense of sympathy or even relate to the show better. Or the prank pulled by the production team in an episode where they had a police officer pull over the men, while the only black person of the five was driving. This episode touches on the topic of police brutality towards black people, but yet again one of the main five’s trauma is exploited for the purpose of the audience. Lastly, in the newest season, there is a heavy amount of imagery that points towards colonization and romanticizing colonizers, as the men wear costumes and act in similar manners. This is off-putting, to say the least, as five gay men are promoting imperialism when they know the effects that it has had on other minority groups, including themselves historically.

Overall, most people will enjoy this show, it stars five talented men whose goal is to make the life of their participants better. The choice of people they choose to help, how they go about it, and even how they interact with each other all could come across to their audience better.

Featured Illustration: Miranda Thomas

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Keaton Hare

Keaton Hare

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