by Kelly Kuhn, Columnist
The 2017/2018 television season has been a quandary to me. Critically acclaimed shows like Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, set in a near-future New England, in a totalitarian, Christian theonomy that has overthrown the United States government or NBC’s This is Us, a story of family lives and connections of several people who all share the same birthday and the ways in which they are similar and different and what I believe to be the best show ever on television.
But then something happened in Hollywood. Originality seemed to have flown out the window and reboot mania has taken hold. NBC’s Will & Grace is back and it won’t be long before ABC’s Rosanne debuts in March. But then came a surprise, Netflix’s Queer Eye.
The original Bravo series, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, seemed to focus on the awkwardness between the straight guy and the gay guys. The reboot still focuses on homosexual stereotypes that “queer” men are superior in matters of fashion, style, personal grooming, interior design, and culture. But what is different about this go-around is the storyline. The emphasis isn’t on the discomfort between the straight and the gay, but the real reason the “client” is on the show. What has happened in their life to let themselves go.
Spoiler Alert! Let us look at some of the details of episode one. Season 1 Episode 1 focused on Tom, a thrice-divorced middle-aged man. He is living in a basement apartment, smoking outside while looking through an open backdoor at his TV. His face is covered with a disheveled beard to camouflage the facial redness due to Lupus. Nominated by his daughter, we learn he is a vintage car fanatic but still holds a burning flame for the love of his life—is ex-wife Abby.
The Fab 5 arrive and quickly learn Tom’s mantra, “You can’t fix ugly.” While the 5 continue to do their thing with grooming, style etc. an extraordinary transformation happens before our eyes. Tom turns from a recluse to the outgoing fun-loving guy everyone remembers. When he and Abby divorced some three ago, he just let himself go. His daily routine consists of stop at his favorite Tex-Mex restaurant and his evening “redneck margarita.” A combination of Tequila and Mountain Dew. The episode concludes with Tom asking Abby to an upcoming car show.
I then continued to watch the first six or eight shows. I couldn’t continue much longer because these episodes had me tearing up—OK, had me blubbering on sofa. I don’t want to give too much away, but the shows are inspirational. Whether it’s a struggle of coming out to your family or breaking down self-imposed barriers, this reboot is something special and shouldn’t be missed.