Netflix’s Queer Eye is one of the very few reboots that’s better than the original.
Though each and every single member of the new Fab Five is a tantalizing thirst trap (yes, even the married ones), and there are definitely goofy/campy parts—like every piece of dialogue out of grooming expert Jonathan Van Ness’s mouth—this reboot is also kind of serious in a way that will touch your heart.
“The original show was fighting for tolerance,” Tan France, the fashion expert, said in the first episode. “Our fight is for acceptance.”
This new fight shines through: though the show is undeniably about the makeovers, there’s an undercurrent of understanding underneath every episode. Unlike the first series, which was set in New York City, this reboot is set in Atlanta and its surrounding rural towns. The effect is kind of radical: the men being made over connect with the Fab 5 on a deeply personal level. The trust in the Fab 5 lets the recipients of the makeovers rethink themselves as men, even masculinity as a whole, and emerge as better versions of the people they used to be. This show is not about changing, per se― it’s about evolving.
On top of tackling the excesses of masculinity in a tight hour-long episode, Queer Eye also takes on huge social issues like police violence, homophobia within religion, and coming out. Of course, the show is set up in a way that guarantees a happy ending― what would a makeover show be without one? However, even within the decided structure of this show, these moments hit a very vulnerable spot. I’ve cried at least once during each episode.
Without further ado, here is a comprehensive ranking and short recap of every new Queer Eye episode from worst to best.