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Queer Eye for the Straight Guy
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the main characters in this makeover reality series are five gay men who, while witty, say and do things that might offend some audiences. There's also no shortage of celebratory drinking and subtle sexual references. As makeover shows go, this is one of the more positive, feel-good ones; the guys actually refer to what they do as a "make-better," and they're generous and engouraging as a rule.
What's the story?
In Bravo's QUEER EYE FOR THE STRAIGHT GUY, five gay men set out to make over (or, as they call it, "make better") the lives of unstylish, uncultured straight males. Carson Kressley is in charge of fashion, Thom Filicia dictates home décor, Kyan Douglas offers grooming tips, Jai Rodriguez teaches culture, and Ted Allen pitches in on food and wine. At the beginning of each episode, viewers are introduced to the hapless male in his (almost universally) untidy home as the Fab Five descend upon him and mercilessly tease him about his disheveled look and lack of sophistication. Then they begin their transformation, clearing out his mismatched furniture and replacing it with tasteful couches and chairs, outfitting him in tailored suits (or hip denim, depending on the subject's tastes), and teaching him how to cook a gourmet meal. In the end, his friends or -- most often his wife or girlfriend -- returns home to survey his new, improved look.
Is it any good?
Queer Eye, as it is known to fans, is delightful. The five stars are engaging and funny, and their personalities shine each episode -- from Carson's calculated camp to Ted's matter-of-fact friendliness. They're generous and encouraging and eager to please, whether they're throwing a surprise wedding for a teary young couple or babysitting quintuplets so a harried mom and dad can have some time to themselves.
All in all, it's not surprising that viewers watch with a smile on their faces. But there's a reason the show is on at 10 pm: The Fab Five often act like fraternity brothers, egging each other on with sexual innuendos and silly hijinks. Still, Queer Eye is one of the more intelligent makeover shows on television.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about stereotypes. Why are people judged on things like race and sexual orientation? Is it ever difficult to put prejudices aside when meeting someone for the first time? Why? How can people work to change that? On a more frivolous note, families can discuss the changes the Fab Five make in each subject's life. Do you agree with their suggestions and fixes? Which one would you most want to have come over to your house to work his magic?