TV

Queer Eye is a beacon of hope not just for straight men, but all humanity

It took her a while to appreciate the joy of Queer Eye, but Lucy Sweet reckons the show offers a soothing balm in these troubled times

I’m late to the Queer Eye party – so late in fact that if it actually was a party, a group of well- groomed men sipping jalapeño-infused margaritas would tut, look me up and down and say, “Girl, you need help.”

I resisted this year’s Netflix reboot of the mid-2000s reality show because everyone was talking about it – which is always a huge turn off – and well… I mean, REALLY? Originally known as Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, it seemed to belong to a fun, yet unenlightened period of the early 21st century, when nobody questioned why Carrie Bradshaw could afford an apartment in New York on the strength of one newspaper column and people thought R Kelly was a great guy.

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The premise was simple. Fabulous gay men give makeovers to crappy straight men who have awful clothes, miserable lives, stained futons and wonky CD towers. It felt pretty stereotypical and reductive then. What would it be like now?

Weirdly, though, Queer Eye and 2018 are made for each other. It’s a salve for all those trolls and haters and terrible presidents. In it, people are actually nice! They encourage, help, understand and restore order. It’s about bringing out the good in people via the medium of fresh food, interior design and sharp tailoring. Yes, it’s a trashy reality show, but here we all live as one and there’s fresh guacamole on tap, everyone is hydrated and there’s a lovely bunch of flowers in the gazebo. Hooray!

Antoni has an angelic smile so persuasive he could probably programme you to kill on command

Our new leaders do not disappoint. Known as the Fab Five, there’s Jonathan, the Jesus of male grooming with his lustrous parted hair, perfect beard and infectious enthusiasm. Karamo is the sweet and approachable Minister of Culture, who teaches his subjects to live and to love. Bobby somehow manages to single-handedly remodel everybody’s house while they’re out shopping. Then there’s Tan, English, suave and able to detect exactly which shirt will match your skin tone. Finally, we have Antoni, who is in charge of changing diets from bags of Cheetos to avocados, and has an angelic smile so persuasive he could probably programme you to kill on command.

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But like all superhero squads, they use their collective powers for good. They gently soothe, delicately dispose of stained shorts, and fill kitchen cupboards with healthy grains. Judgement is kept to a minimum, as they gently (but, let’s face it, not too deeply) find out the root causes for their subject’s deterioration. The response is incredible. People who always thought they were ugly losers open up like flowers in a gazebo. Their confidence grows before your eyes, wounds heal and they all become friends. Meanwhile, I’m at home weeping extravagant tears, yelling ‘OH MY GOD!’ and hopping around the living room like an evangelist preacher. It’s all rather joyful, and in a world so mad and divided, makes a refreshing change.

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