Why “Queer Eye” makes me cry


Demons, be gone!


By Caitlin Kelly

We  live — in the U.S. anyway — in such cruel times. Money is tight for far too many and compassion for those struggling in increasingly short supply. It can feel overwhelming and dis-spiriting to even glance at the news: racism, sexual violence, terrorism, etc.

Which is why the Netflix reality TV show “Queer Eye” is such a treat, now in its third season.

It features five gay men — Antoni Porowski (food expert — and fellow Canadian), Bobby Berk (decorator), Jonathan van Ness (grooming), Tan France (fashion) and Karamo Brown (culture.) If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to check it out.

In every show, the fab five — setting out in a shiny black minivan — choose a man or woman (in one case, a pair of African-American sisters whose barbecue shack is a local legend) to help pull together their life, whether a cramped kitchen, shredded self-confidence or someone just feeling really lost and overwhelmed.

We’ve all been there!

The men are funny, loving, insightful and there to offer the soul balm everyone needs so desperately — empathy, compassion, wisdom, advice, hugs and a lot of kind laughter. Just watching them swing into action is inspiring. Reality TV can be gross, but this feels lovely.

We watched a few episodes this week and one featuring Jess, a 23-year-old African American lesbian living in Lawrence, Kansas, was astonishing. She was adopted — and thrown out by her conservative Christian parents when she came out as gay at 16. She had lost touch with her sister and baby niece. Working as a waitress, she struggled with a host of challenges — but with energy and good spirits.

When the Fab Five show up, Jess is trying to figure out how to be fully who she really is — not uncommon at 23 — with no parental support or love. Karamo, 38, who worked for 10 years as a social worker, is of tremendous help to her, both as a gay American but also an African-American; their scenes together are really powerful.

I love Tan, whose is of Punjabi Pakistani descent — and (!?) speaks with a thick Yorkshire accent.

If you’re simply craving some feel-good entertainment, with a healthy side dose of inspiration, grab the tissues and settle down with me on the sofa!

8 thoughts on “Why “Queer Eye” makes me cry

  1. I love Queer Eye so much!! The guys are so kind, and I really love how open they are about their own experiences and shortcomings and how that informs their interactions with their person of the week. And they find so much positive in each person. Favourite bits? Tan talking to the transgender person in season 2. Bobby with the very religious woman. Bobby again making the memory chest. All of their tears and hugs and smiles and how they are so much themselves – a position I am sure it took a lot of courage to get to. I veer between bingeing and saving this show!!!

    1. Right? I was very struck by how open they are about their own struggles —without which one can feel like a project or a bug on a pin. Real empathy from shared experience makes a difference.

  2. Caitlin – so funny you should mention this. I’d never watched the show until a few months ago and I got hooked on it. I spent the weekend at my friend’s house on a northern bay and we just hung out, cooked, read, walked into town, and watched a bit of t.v. – she introduced me to this show and I had no idea how emotional it would make me and it was not what I expected at all. she let binge on it for as long as I wanted and each show had something so touching that happened. what a mix of lovely, open-minded, kind, creative, and intelligent people.

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