Follow TV Tropes


Series / Queer Eye
aka: Queer Eye For The Straight Guy

Go To
Tom M.: At this point in my life, I'm like, "Here I am, I threw this all together, I hate that couch, I hate the way I look, I'm gaining weight — I need, I need, like —"
Thom Filicia: "—I need five gay men to come to my house!" You know, I say that all the time.
Queer Eye ep. 10

Queer Eye was a makeover reality series that ran from 2003 to 2007, called Queer Eye for the Straight Guy in its first two seasons. The format involved a subject — usually, a straight guy, as implied by the original title — getting an all-around aesthetic upgrade from five gay men known as the "Fab Five":

  1. Carson Kressley (fashion)
  2. Thom Filicia (interior decorating)
  3. Ted Allen (food and wine)
  4. Kyan Douglas (hair and grooming)
  5. Jai Rodriguez (culture, which usually means things self-presentation and selecting appropriate gifts)
This is all geared toward a significant event planned for the end of the show, such as a family reunion, marriage proposal, career-related gathering, engagement party, or sometimes just a regular old party. The Five indulge in a lot of catty remarks and Camp Gay humor along the way, which kept the show entertaining but also led to accusations of gay Modern Minstrelsy from some quarters. Nonetheless the show was well received by much of the gay press and led to a tie-in book, a hit soundtrack album and a short-lived Spin-Off series, Queer Eye for the Straight Girl.

Netflix launched a revived series in 2018. The first season of the revival is set in and around Atlanta, Georgia, and the series features a new Fab Five.

It fueled an (American) Cyclic National Fascination over a heavily stereotyped "gay culture" that lasted throughout The Noughties.

Queer Eye contains examples of:

  • Artifact Title: Averted- the show changed its title from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to just Queer Eye around the same time it started featuring women and queer guys.
  • All Gays are Promiscuous: Played with but also defied to some extent. Much of the humor is raunchy, but during one more serious conversation a nudist client remarks to Kyan that both nudists and gays are wrongly assumed to be all about sex. Kyan agrees: "Sex is just a tiny part of it."
  • Beauty Contest: Affectionately parodied in the 100th episode special, which brought back past clients to compete in a "Mr. Straight Guy" pageant.
  • Big Applesauce: Almost everything happens in New York City; in the early episodes even going to Long Island is seen almost as foreign trek. In later seasons they do visit a few other cities, however.
  • Camp Gay: All five of them are to some degree, but especially Carson and Thom.
  • The Cast Show Off: Jai, who acted in RENT before this gig, sings and dances on camera on some occasions. He even does the National Anthem complete with Melismatic Vocals at one point.
  • Celebrity Edition: The show rearranged its format for one episode to make over five members of the Boston Red Sox and participate in a charity exhibition game.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Played for Laughs with Carson, who brazenly flirts with every cute guy he sees and enjoys dressing and undressing his clients a little too much.
    Jai: There's one word in the English language you need to learn when you're around him: NO.
  • Christmas Episode: Some Thanksgiving specials, too.
  • Cosplay: One straight guy is a medieval reenactor, who proposes to his girlfriend in costume, at a costumed feast, in a castle.
  • Deadpan Snarker: They all have their moments, but especially Ted.
    Ted: The theme in the kitchen appears to be: A bomb went off.
  • Disco Dan: Some of the straight guys are this. One first-season episode was aptly titled, "Do You Know The Mullet Man?"
  • Distaff Counterpart: Queer Eye for the Straight Girl.
  • Double Entendre: A staple of the show's humor. For instance, here's Carson instructing a client on putting in a contact lens:
    Carson: You want to use a dry finger. Sometimes a dry finger is good. Hold it erect. If you need to use two fingers you can.
    Straight Guy: (laughing)
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: In the original pilot, shown later with a Framing Device, three of the Fab Five were different men. Jai Rodriguez didn't arrive until a couple of episodes in.
  • Eating the Eye Candy: The Five like to do this to clients, often with comic exaggeration. It ultimately serves the project's purpose of making the straight guys feel more attractive.
  • Fanservice/Fan Disservice: Almost every straight-guy subject gets into his skivvies on camera at some point. Whether this is a service or disservice depends on the guy (and personal taste).
  • Five Temperament Ensemble: Ted is melancholic, Kyan is choleric, Jai is leukine, Thom is phlegmatic, and... do we even need to say who the sanguine one is?
  • Guys are Slobs: Straight guys, anyway. Though even the Fab Five seem to have some nostalgie de la boue given how eagerly they go sniffing around in the most disgusting parts of the homes they visit.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Gay?: Because of the show's format, the Five's personal lives never explicitly come up. But they sure like to mention that they're gay a lot.
  • Incompatible Orientation: A common source of jokes for Carson, in keeping with his Chivalrous Pervert persona.
    Carson: What's Tina got that I don't? Besides a working vagina?
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Another staple of the show's humor.
    Ted: I hope he doesn't rush too much shucking the oysters or he might shuck his hand off. That would be a shucking tragedy.
  • Lock-and-Load Montage: A spoof version is done for the opening credits in the first two seasons. Each of the Five gets a phone summons and loads up the relevant equipment (shopping bag, cooking whisk, hairdryer etc.) to charge into the next makeover.
  • Magical Queer: The premise is based on this idea to a great extent, which is part of what drew criticism.
  • Makeover Montage: Like all makeover shows, it compresses a lot. Actually it compresses more than it first seems: each episode was shot over four days, but edited to make it seem like one.
  • Manchild: A few of these turn up on the show. Learning to cook and clean for oneself is considered an important passage to adulthood.
  • Manly Tears: Sometimes shed if the event at the end of the show is a particularly significant one. One episode ended with the engagement party of an injured war veteran, which also included the doctor who saved his life and a comrade who was injured in the same accident, and had Manly Tears flowing all over the place.
  • Men Are Uncultured: One of the show's premises is that straight men are pretty uncultured, though this is not universally true of all subjects. Some of them are artists or intellectuals, they're just not cultured in the particular areas at which the Fab Five excel.
  • N-Word Privileges: The Five freely use words for gay people that are insulting in other contexts, including in the title. In fact, Ted has said that the title was a hard sell because many people didn't realize that "queer" could be positive.
  • Porn Stash: A few of these are unearthed as the subjects' homes are taken apart.
    Kyan: Finding the porn is always a heartfelt moment.
  • Product Placement: A particularly blatant practitioner thereof. Products aren't just shown or mentioned, but actively talked up.
  • Rhyming Title: The original Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, though the rhyme was lost after the title was retooled to reflect the show's expanded focus on additional genders and orientations.
  • Safe Word: Parodied in one episode where the straight guy is being lusted after especially hard by Carson. Kyan tells him that if he gets uncomfortable, his safe word is "zucchini".
  • Shout-Out: A lot of jokes involve pop-culture references, in keeping with Camp Gay tradition.
  • Tears of Joy: A not-uncommon reaction to the Fab Five's changes, especially by the womenfolk.
  • Transatlantic Equivalent: Several other countries made local versions of the show, of which Norway's The Gay Patrol lasted the longest with 36 episodes.
  • Viva Las Vegas!: A couple of later episodes are shot in Las Vegas, where they make over an aspiring magician and Jai ends up dressed as a showgirl.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: See Cosplay above. But really, every marriage proposal on the show is wacky, unless you think that proposing marriage on national TV is normal and sane.
  • X Called; They Want Their Y Back: In a show like this, from this era, the formulation is almost inevitable.

Alternative Title(s): Queer Eye For The Straight Guy