Featuring over 70 episodes and two specials, Netflix‘s Queer Eye has been captivating viewers since it first premiered in 2018.
The show follows five LGBTQ advisors as they attempt to improve someone’s life over the span of a week by using their respective areas of expertise. Food and wine expert Antoni Porowski handles culinary education. Designer Bobby Berk does home renovations. Fashion guru Tan France tackles the wardrobe. Grooming genius Jonathan Van Ness gives the makeover. Culture and lifestyle chief Karamo Brown guides them through the whole journey.
A reboot of the 2003 Bravo reality series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, this more modern Queer Eye doesn’t (always) rely on the novelty of put-together gay men “fixing” slovenly straight guys. Instead it often digs deeper into its subjects’ lives and uses its stars natural empathy to help unpack everyday folks’ issues and ultimately instill confidence. As you might expect, there are many tears.
Queer Eye is an excellent reality series and one of Netflix’s standout non-fiction efforts. In honor of the just-released eighth season, let’s take a moment to run down the show’s most essential episodes.
Season 1 Episode 1: You Can’t Fix Ugly
Queer Eye‘s first ever episode expertly set the table for the rest of the series. Truck driver Tom Jackson describes himself as “just a dumb ol’ country boy from Kentucky” and he really means it. He earnestly tells the Fab Five that “you can’t fix ugly,” giving the episode its title. By episodes end, however, he’s a blubbering mess of gratitude to his helpers for changing his perspective … and so are we.
Season 1 Episode 4: To Gay or Not Too Gay
This season 1 installment helped establish that Queer Eye was willing to go where its predecessor didn’t have the cultural cache to tread. In helping subject A.J., the self-proclaimed “Straightest Gay Guy in Atlanta,” overcome some internalized homophobia, the show established that self-improvement was for everyone.
Season 2 Episode 1: God Bless Gay
It’s just extra nice when the subjects (or “heroes” as the show likes to call them) are also extra nice. The hero of “God Bless Gay” is Tammye, an unfailingly kind religious woman whose gay son nominates her for a makeover. She even switches things up by getting the Fab Five to all cry at episode’s end rather than the other way around.
Season 2 Episode 5: Sky’s the Limit
Queer Eye helped expand its viewers horizons with the touching and empathetic season 2 installment “Sky’s the Limit.” The episode’s hero Sky is a transgender man recovering from top surgery. Sky’s community of friends and supporters is one of the more vibrant collections of folks in a Queer Eye episode and it all culminates with a party and a celebrity cameo.
Season 3 Episode 3: Jones Bar-B-Q
What could possibly make the already-entertaining Queer Eye even more eye-catching? What about ample shots of decadent Kansas City barbecue? That’s what viewers get when the Fab Five takes it upon themselves to fix up two overworked sisters’ family business. As of this writing, Jones B-B-Q is still around, and yes you can buy the sauce.
Season 3 Episode 5: Black Girl Magic
It’s always fun to watch an episode of Queer Eye and think “awe, this hero really deserves the makeover.” Such is the case for season 3 outing “Black Girl Magic,” which follows Jess – a young lesbian struggling to establish her identity. Jess is just a lovable little goober and remains so today.
Season 4 Episode 2: Disabled But Not Really
Season 4 episode “Disabled But Not Really” introduces the Fab Five to the amazingly charismatic and resilient Wesley. Wheelchair-bound after a traumatic injury, Wesley’s circumstances brings out the best of the experts. Bobby helps craft a more accessible home and Karamo, pulling up from half court, actually arranges a healing get-together between Wesley and the man who shot him.
Season 5 Epsiode 1: Preaching Out Loud
As gay men who grew up in challenging, often intolerant circumstances, the Fab Five sometimes express complicated feelings when it comes to religion. None more so than poor Bobby Berk, who experienced severe trauma from his Christian upbringing. It was so severe in fact that he nearly refused to do the church makeover in the season 2 premiere (which was something that the show’s producers sprung on him in a pretty not chill way). By the time the fifth season rolls around, the show is better able to approach the complicated feelings that faith brings up for its cast. Here, they are even able to help Noah, a Lutheran pastor who is trying to reconcile his sexual identity with his religious creed.
Season 6 Episode 7: Snow White of Central Texas
Queer Eye frequently likes to help those help others, even if they can’t help themselves. That is the case with season 6 installment “Snow White of Central Texas.” The hero this time around is Jamie, an absolute saint of a woman who opened a ranch of rescue animals that children with disabilities can visit for emotional healing. Fans are blown away by Jamie’s selflessness and really hope she takes the gang’s self-care message to heart.
Season 7 Episode 1: Queer Eye for the Lambda Chi
Occasionally, Queer Eye will spend an episode making over an institution rather than just a single person. Our favorite example of this comes from the season 7 premiere in which the Fab Five attempts to whip the University of New Orelans’ chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha into shape. This episode is great for all the usual reasons (breakthroughs, weeping, brotherhood, etc.) but I’ll forever remember it for the fraternity’s building password being “BOOBS” and their calendar being set to “Augussy.”
Season 8 Episode 5: The Flying Nun
Season 8 is a both a return to New Orleans and a return to form for Queer Eye. Most of the season’s six episodes are gems but the best is undoubtedly “The Flying Nun.” This time around the crew meets up with Allison, a bubbly former nun who is trying to figure out her sex life outside of the habit. Really Allison is just very giggly, kind, and charitable and we wish her all the best.
All eight seasons of Queer Eye are available to stream on Netflix now.
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