Queer Eye's fourth series explores more stories both from the heroes and from the Fab Five that humanises them through emotional stories and dazzling makeovers.
Only two years after first spectacularly crashing onto the streaming scene in an explosion of self-care and ‘yas queen!’s in 2018, season 4 of Netflix’s Queer Eye premiered this July. Using the tried and tried again makeover show formula, the show follows makeover experts, the ‘Fab Five’, as they travel across the country transforming lives with the power of positive affirmation and a good moisturiser. A reboot of the original noughties Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the show has been lauded by fans and critics alike; Antoni, Tan, Karamo, Bobby and Jonathan may as well be household names at this point!
With four seasons in just two years, and a fifth one on the horizon, its easy to see that Netflix has no plans to stop pumping out more and more Queer Eye any time soon; and after the joy of this season, a never-ending stream of episodes doesn’t sound that bad. The beauty of the show is that it combines a simple repetitive episode structure (meet the contestant, share some emotional moments, French tuck, and repeat) with likable, genuine hosts who are themselves willing to open up. It’s a system that works. Note Jonathan tearfully discussing his tough time in high school in the first episode of the season, or Tan revealing his struggle in coming out to his family. The fab five are no longer pillars of their own individual talents, but themselves individuals with individual stories and experiences that, despite sometimes differing on an obvious surface level to that of their heroes’, we can all relate to. That, in my opinion, is the winning aspect of this new season.
Yet the focus primarily remains on the ‘heroes’, each of which differs inherently from their previous counterpart, creating a diverse and fresh experience with the roll around of each new episode. From a band teacher, to a woman trying to reconnect with her culture, to a father accepting help for depression, to a leader of a disability non-profit, each episode brings something new to the table for the Fab Five to tackle, providing a fresh and engaging viewing experience for the audience (along with a few tears!). As the heroes learn from the Fab Five, the audience learns from the heroes; it’s a hugely rewarding experience overall.
The key difference with this season in comparison to previous ones is audience expectations. We know the Fab Five now, and expect certain things from them, like inside jokes (Antoni’s obsession with avocadoes and Greek yoghurt, for example) and style choices such as the iconic French tuck; the ‘novelty’ (not that LGBT people should be a novelty in the first place) has worn off. I’m nowhere near tired of our fabulous hosts yet, but nothing will ever feel as good as the first time we were first introduced to all their glorious hilarity.
The episodes this season weren’t as brilliant overall as their predecessors (although ‘Disabled but Not Really’ definitely deserves a spot in top 5 best Queer Eye episodes of all time), but that doesn’t mean that this season was any less important in the grander scheme of things. Queer Eye provides crucial LGBT representation without being solely focused on said representation; the Fab Five are not the Fab Five because of their LGBT-ness, they’re the Fab Five due to their skills in their respective professions. That there is a great display of representation.
There’s no way to talk about this show without sounding as soppy as anything, because the show itself is so gloriously and unapologetically soppy. And rightfully so! The leading message of Queer Eye, as shown through this season, is that accepting and striving to become the best version of yourself is nothing to be ashamed of. It’s authentic, it’s emotional, and it’s darn good feelgood TV. Well worth a binge-watch!
Queer Eye Season Four is available to stream on Netflix now. Watch the season trailer below: