Queer eye needs glasses

Hit Netflix show would benefit from slight improvements

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"Queer Eye" season three premiered on Netflix March 15.

Courtesy Wikipedia

“Queer Eye,” the Netflix show, which returned for its third season March 15, is back and tugging at heartstrings worldwide. The new season features the Fab Five — Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Karamo Brown, Tan France and Bobby Berk — branching out from Georgia to Kansas City, Mo. With this expansion they take on a wider array of heroes/heroines and alter the ways in which they aid the struggling subjects of each episode. Despite these changes, the show still needs to make some adjustments. 

The first episode of season three features only the second heroine the Five have helped, a woman named Jody. In her episode, the show challenges femininity. Jody works as a security guard for an all-male prison. She does not dress or furnish her house in an effeminate manner, nor does she wear much makeup. Rather than forcing Jody to embrace something she is not, the team finds a style and design for Jody which leans more towards gender neutral.  

While the team does well not adhering to traditional roles of femininity, the show needs to ensure the way it discusses gender is correct. For example, Berk says at one point, “everybody is a different point on those scales between masculine and feminine. And whatever point you’re at, at the scale, is just fine.” The overall message Berk preaches is fine. However, on a show with a potential audience of millions, some nuance is needed with those broad statements. Not everyone identifies with the gender binary, and a statement like the one previously mentioned has the potential to alienate such viewers and miseducate the general population. 

Another area for growth is the way the show addresses social issues. In the first episode, France brings up gun control with Jody, who enjoys hunting. Of course, conversations such as these may naturally arise when interacting with people, but there is a particular way these topics should be broached. Attempting to address or make a statement on such controversial issues with little depth or nuance — as the show does with such brief scenes of these discussions — feels ingenuine. 

Two of the Fab Five have upped their game this season. Porowski — at least for the first episode — abandoned avocados, which were all too frequent the first and second season. Meanwhile France, who has a tendency to come off somewhat Miranda Priestly-esque in his critiques, was able to look through the wardrobe of Jody without criticizing every piece of clothing she owned. Unfortunately, even though France has changed how he approaches the closets, he still has not let go of the French tuck. And he is fully aware of the disdain audience members hold for the fashion trend. He addresses the camera, telling viewers at home to shut up as he dresses Jody in one. After three seasons, a bit of stylistic variety would be welcome.

Unfortunately for Berk and Brown, they still take a backseat to the other three men, getting minimal screen time in episode one. Being that they play such integral roles in the makeovers — Bobby redesigns the subject’s house in a week or less and Kamaro guides the heroes and heroines through their internal struggles — their comparatively limited roles in the episodes are troubling. 

“Queer Eye” is a program for all audiences, entertaining and warming the heart at the same time. Each of the Fab Five contributes so much to the show, and this needs to be represented in the amount of screen time they recieve. With this and a change in the way social issues are discussed on the show, “Queer Eye” has the potential to become an ideal program to spread messages and positivity in the current political and social climate.

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