When I finished watching the first season of the rebooted Queer Eye, the first thing I thought of was, “When is the next season coming out?” My prayers were answered because just four months after the show premiered, the second season came out!
If you’ve been living under a rock and you have no idea who Jonathan Van Ness is, Queer Eye is a reality show that followed five gay guys as they gave “make-betters” to clueless straight men. The reboot has an entirely different cast made up of Jonathan for grooming, Tan France for fashion, Bobby Berk for interiors, Antoni Porowski for cooking, and Karamo Brown for culture. And while the original (which aired from 2003 to 2007) was fun and light, the reboot was so much more. It was heartfelt and empowering, and I found myself crying in many of the episodes.
Queer Eye‘s second season continues the Fab Five’s mission and I decided to rank all eight episodes:
8. “Make Ted Great Again” (Episode 8)
In the season finale, the Fab Five must make over Ted, the mayor of a little town called Clarkston. Unlike many people in public office, Ted is a total hipster with a full beard and sneakers, and a girlfriend covered in tattoos. He’s hoping to improve his image so people will take him more seriously. The make-better is good and he looks younger and more polished, but the episode lacks the emotional depth the show has delivered in the past. Not sure why they chose this as the final episode.
7. “Unleash the Sexy Beast” (Episode 3)
Leo is a bartender who works at night, looks sloppy, and takes home leftover bar chow. He also doesn’t socialize with the other fathers in his children’s school since he’s intimidated. But he has a great personality and it’s fun to watch him interact with the Fab Five. Karamo introduces Leo to the dads and he is natural at it, easily gaining friends. Antoni plays a big part in this episode but old cooking habits die hard. During the watch-through, Antoni shrieks, “I’m horrified!”
6. “Big Little Lies” (Episode 6)
In this episode, the Fab Five meet Ari, a pathological liar who can’t keep a story straight. We see him fumble for details and in one cringe-worthy scene, Bobby confronted him when he lied about having a job. The Fab Five obviously aren’t pleased but they get to the root of the problem: Ari is worried because his mother doesn’t know he didn’t really graduate. The guys are tough on him and the turnout is great: he looks amazing and he’s put on the right path. Let’s just hope he’ll stop lying.
5. “Bedazzled” (Episode 7)
For “Bedazzled,” we are introduced to the musician Sean, a 70 year old guy trapped in an 18 year old boy’s body. He was homeschooled by his godmother Lulu and only hangs out with her friends, so Sean is awkward. Even his style is dated: his godmother styles him like Elton John, complete with dazzling jackets with his name on the back. The Fab Five must prepare him for adulthood as he enters college and moves out of his godmother’s home (just 30 minutes away). For someone with no social skills, Sean is surprisingly charming and Karamo helps him make some friends. Bobby designs him a cozy Pottery Barn type of loft and I wondered if Sean will be able to sustain it. More importantly, will Lulu give him space to be a kid?
4. “The Handyman Can” (Episode 4)
Jason is totally obsessed with Burning Man, an annual desert event where people gather to experiment with community and art, culminating in the ritual burning of a wooden effigy. It is as hippie as it sounds and this episode’s hero is considering moving to Nevada to be closer to the event. The Fab Five must prepare his move and I was honestly confused why Bobby would have to renovate his home if he’s leaving. In the end, Bobby transformed his home using Jason’s unique furniture and Jonathan gave him a fresh, new look. The best parts of the episode are when Jason’s friends expressed how sad they would be if he really moved and when Karamo helps him unpack his issues.
3. “A Decent Proposal” (Episode 2)
In “A Decent Proposal,” the Fab Five meets William, a Walmart employee living with his girlfriend Shannan. He looks totally adorable: he’s warm, fuzzy, and looks totally like the painter Bob Ross. But like many straight men, he’s confused with matters of style, grooming, and proposing to the love of your life. Karamo helps him put together an unforgettable proposal and I found myself sobbing after the episode. And oh, William looked debonair after the makeover!
2. “Sky’s the Limit” (Episode 5)
In one of the most touching episodes of Queer Eye, the Fab Five is tasked to help Skyler, a transman who has recently undergone top surgery (a procedure to remove the breasts). Because he’s always had to assert his masculinity and queerness, his style is a little prepubescent and his home is littered with Pride paraphernalia. Bobby and Tan worked to upgrade his look, with Tan even bringing in a suitmaker who understands the nuances of transmen. There’s so much to learn from this episode, especially on the daily struggles of the trans community.
1. “God Bless Gay” (Episode 1)
In my favorite episode of Queer Eye‘s second season, the Fab Five visit the tiny town of Gay, Georgia, where only 89 people live. One of them is Tammye, a ball of sunshine radiating so much positive energy and a personal relationship with Jesus. But this woman has gone through so much: her mother passed away from cancer, she survived the disease, and her gay son is distant because of her faith and his sexuality. Tammye is hoping the Fab Five can help her redecorate the community center in time for the homecoming. The heartwarming season starter focuses on compassion, unconditional love, and forgiveness, and I was bawling my eyes out by the end of the episode. We need more of Mama Tammye.
BONUS: Yass, Australia!
The Fab Five visit the town of Yass in Australia for a mini make-better for one of its residents, George, a cattle farmer and former rodeo cowboy. They also redecorated the local pub, giving it a new look and even a new signature dish. At the end of the episode, they even got to meet the town mayor!