On Wednesday, a new trailer for Netflix’s “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” revealed that the show will blaze back to TV on Feb. 7. But is it time to give this reboot the boot?
The reality program, which originally aired on Bravo from 2003 to 2007, featured a quintet of perky gay men — dubbed “The Fab Five” — who would enter the homes of heterosexual schlubs, impart some homosexual wisdom and leave the dudes looking like freshly minted Patrick Batemans. Back then, “Queer Eye” glittered.
The series was fun, sassy and, above all else, representational. But more than a decade later, the premise of a pentagon of gay Henry Higginses temporarily entering a man’s life to turn him into a metrosexual is hopelessly antiquated. It fuels the damaging stereotype that gays are good for nothing more than just a few giggles and style tips — that they make better caterers and finer hairdressers than people’s friends and neighbors.
When “Queer Eye” originally premiered, the show was rightly lauded for the groundbreaking visibility it afforded homosexuals. Sure, “Will & Grace” brought gay characters to the forefront — but Jack and Will were fictional. Here were five real people, having a good time and being presented likably in a volatile moment when even Democratic politicians feared being publicly in favor of gay marriage.
Many shows throughout TV history have walked a similar path and, despite being arguably offensive, helped make waves for other groups.