Now is just the right time for another season of Queer Eye’s compassion, empathy and understanding — none of which will ever go out of fashion.
If there has ever been a better time for a new season of Queer Eye, I certainly am not aware of it. With race riots raging, an unprecedented global pandemic keeping us all inside – unless its to rightly protest the unlawful execution of citizens by the state, obviously – and weird ecological disasters in the Arctic Circle, there’s nothing this world needs more right now than the Fab Five, self-styled (and stylish) superheroes whose powers aren’t flight or laser eyes but raw compassion and understanding. Their makeover show, now on its fifth season in two years, is a masquerade; it fronts as being about haircuts and wardrobe changes when it’s really about helping people fall in love with themselves.
We last saw the Fab Five in Japan, but nothing much has changed in their return to basics for Queer Eye season 5. The headquarters have moved to Philadelphia but the format remains unchanged. In each episode – there are ten – a deserving subject gets a lick of paint or some new furniture, but also a better understanding of themselves and what they want from life. In this first episode, in which Noah, a pastor struggling with his identity as a gay man, organically comes to terms with his place in the church and the wider world, Queer Eye effortlessly reminds everyone how it isn’t just a show about change but about asking the tough questions about why change is desirable and necessary – and about the progression that has made such change possible.
The simple power of transformation persists, though, and even though this season’s range of colorful, varied personalities are all unique studies in unusual circumstances and deeply relatable emotional anxieties, they’re all enhanced by the simple pleasures of looking and feeling better. It isn’t about materialism or fashion expertise or anything of that sort, though, but the idea of growth, of embracing who you are and energetically pursuing what you need, that maintain the show’s unrivaled sense of optimism and empathy.
There is so much of Queer Eye to binge that it can be easy to lose track. But that’s okay since, like the Fab Five themselves, the show is there when you need it; a limitless font of compassion, and a direct antidote to the bitter cynicism that is widespread throughout the reality TV landscape. Queer Eye season 5 might just be more of the same, but that’s exactly what we need more than ever.
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Jonathon is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has been Senior Editor and Chief Critic of the outlet since 2017.