Originally posted on Film Inquiry.
Queer Eye, now in its fourth season on Netflix, takes us to Illinois and Missouri, where the Fab Five create more life-changing upgrades to people’s lives in the space of one week. In the eight new episodes, we meet a range of people and come to understand the challenges they each face in re-modelling various parts of their lives. This season marks a slight change to Fab Five’s presence, since they have now become a lot more famous, through the show, their social media following, and side projects, including book deals and a touring show. Queer Eye continues to focus on self-care and embracing change, reminding its participants and audiences about the importance of acceptance of oneself and of others.
Self-Care & Self-Love
Integral to the show is Jonathan Van Ness, the grooming expert of the Fab Five, and in the eight installments, he continues to embrace the individual style of each hero, while reminding them how easy it is to adopt some simple self-care techniques and boost their confidence in the process. The first episode takes us to his old stomping ground, Quincy Senior High School, where the Fab Five help his former music teacher Kathi to upgrade her wardrobe, priorities, and hairstyle. The Fab Five also take time in this episode to remember and thank their own teachers for molding them into the people they are today, thinking about their selflessness and the useful guidance they received in younger years.
When Antoni Porowski is let loose in any one of the kitchens on the show, he always manages to find some interesting insights into the eating habits of the homeowner. Whether it be the unused counter-tops at Wanda’s place, or Kenny’s kitchen, layered in dust and grime, Antoni explores their fridges with caution and intrigue. Then in episode six, Antoni meets Deanna’s mother-in-law and the main cook in their family, and this episode is important in the way it celebrates all aspects of Deanna’s Mexican heritage. Instead of Antoni teaching her about Mexican cuisine, they both learn from her older relatives how to make traditional dishes so Deanna can become more comfortable in her own kitchen.
The main cooking upgrades this season come when Antoni continues to teach some basic recipes with healthy and locally-sourced ingredients. In episode three, John is brought back to the kitchen through making almond flour pancakes for his daughter, Matt the farmer in the eighth episode learns to make a healthy soup, and Antoni’s passion for food paves the way for further transformations in the lives of the show’s heroes. By teaching them how to create these meals, Antoni also reminds them about the enjoyment that can be found in food and taking the time to create something for friends and family to enjoy.
Karamo & Culture
Karamo Brown, the Fab Five’s culture and lifestyle expert, helps the show’s heroes with their attitudes towards the changes occurring and their outlooks on life. The biggest moment in the season for Karamo comes when Wesley, in the second episode, was face-to-face with the man who shot and paralysed him. Karamo creates a safe space, providing emotional support for Wesley, and they are able to discuss what happened and clarify why he was shot in the first place.
Karamo also later helps John open up about his depression, Wanda work on her relationships with her daughters, and Deanna overcome her fear of approaching her neighbours. Helping with their outlooks on life, Karamo gets to the emotive and testing subjects with the heroes and frequently has the biggest impact on their mental health, relationships, and personal goals.
Bobby & Tan Redesign Some Lives
Tan France and Bobby Berk primarily redesign the visuals of the heroes lives. Tanprovides a new wardrobe and aesthetic to match each of the show’s guests and their lifestyles while Bobby, the design expert, is tasked with creating a new space either in the home or workplace.
Fashion expert Tan selects outfits for each of the show’s guests with their lifestyles and individual needs in mind. For farmer Matt, he makes sure he has options for important meetings, while also keeping everyday farming attire too. Wanda gets some professional looks for representing her brand, while Wesley is dressed in wheelchair-friendly tailored jackets and shirts. The heroes are visibly delighted with their new fashionable wardrobe updates, and Tan‘s input in this season thoroughly heightens the heroes’ confidence levels.
Bobby renovates the staff room at Quincy Senior High and completely changes the way the school’s teachers spend their lunch breaks. The contemporary style he incorporates at the school is also extended to the heroes’ homes and businesses in the other episodes. Wanda ends up with actual furniture, turning her house into a home; Kenny‘s place is updated from its 1970’s decor; Deanna becomes the tenant of an office space which exhibits her Mexican heritage and personal style. The big reveal moments in the show come when the heroes walk through their modern and furnished spaces, demonstrating the physical impact the Fab Five have on the lives of Queer Eye‘s heroes.
The Fab Five better the lives of eight people in each season through makeovers and by delving into the reasons behind the heroes’ need for change. The central cast now have other opportunities in their lives off the back of Queer Eye’s success, with book releases, tours, and other design projects, so it’s possible their Queer Eye days are numbered. However, there’s no doubt that the show continues to surpass its goals, help those in need of upgrades to their lifestyles, and broaden horizons by opening up discussions around gender, sexuality, and race with their heroes across the USA.