Queer Eye is an American reality television series that premiered on the cable television network Bravo in July 2003. Originally Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the title was later shortened to broaden the overall scope. The series was created by executive producers David Collins and Michael Williams along with David Metzler through their company, Scout Productions.
|Created by||David Collins|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||5|
|No. of episodes||100 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||43–54 minutes|
|Original release||July 15, 2003– October 30, 2007|
The premise relies on the stereotype of gay ("queer") men as experts in matters of fashion, style, personal grooming, interior design, and culture. Each episode features a team collectively known as the "Fab Five" performing a "makeover" (in the parlance of the show, a "make-better"), usually for a heterosexual ("straight") man: revamping wardrobe, redecorating, and offering advice on grooming, lifestyle, and food.
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy quickly became a surprise success, resulting in merchandising, franchising of the concept internationally, and a woman-oriented spin-off, Queer Eye for the Straight Girl. Queer Eye won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program in 2004. The series' name was abbreviated to Queer Eye at the beginning of its third season to include making over individuals regardless of gender or sexual orientation. Queer Eye ended production during June 2006 and the final episode aired on October 30, 2006. During September 2008, the Fine Living Network briefly aired Queer Eye in syndication.
The "Fab Five"Edit
- Ted Allen: "Food and Wine Connoisseur", expert on alcohol, beverages, food preparation and presentation
- Kyan Douglas: "Grooming Guru", expert on hair, grooming, personal hygiene, and makeup
- Thom Filicia: "Design Doctor", expert on interior design and home organization
- Carson Kressley: "Fashion Savant", expert on clothing, fashion and personal styling
- Jai Rodriguez: "Culture Vulture", expert on popular culture, relationships and social interaction
|First aired||Last aired||Network|
|1||25||July 15, 2003||December 16, 2003||Bravo|
|2||30||June 1, 2004||April 12, 2005|
|3||19||June 7, 2005||February 7, 2006|
|4||16||June 6, 2006||September 19, 2006|
|5||10||October 2, 2007||October 30, 2007|
Producers Collins and Metzler were given approval by Bravo to develop Queer Eye after the ratings success the network experienced when it counterprogrammed a marathon of its 2002 series Gay Weddings at the same time as Super Bowl XXXVII during 2003 January. The pilot episode was filmed in Boston, Massachusetts during June 2002. Of the eventual Fab Five, only Kressley and Allen appeared. The culture, design and grooming roles were filled by James Hannaham, Charles Daboub, Jr. and Sam Spector, respectively.
The pilot was delivered to Bravo during September 2002, and was well received in audience testing. Soon thereafter NBC purchased Bravo and ordered 12 episodes of the series. NBC promoted the show extensively, including billboard campaigns and print advertisements in national magazines.
Kyan Douglas and Thom Filicia joined the show for these episodes, along with Blair Boone in the role of "culture guy." Boone filmed two episodes (which were broadcast as the second and third episodes and for which he was credited as a "guest culture expert") but was replaced by Rodriguez beginning with production of the third episode. Each episode was shot over a span of four days and edited to create the perception that the events of the episode took place in a single day.
The majority of Queer Eye episodes use the same basic format. The episode begins with the Fab Five in an SUV (usually in New York City, where the series was based) discussing their heterosexual subject. The Five review details of the subject's personal life and note problems in their various areas of expertise. The Five usually have a specific event for which they plan to prepare the subject. These included everything from throwing a backyard barbecue for friends to preparing to ask for a salary increase to proposing marriage.
Upon arriving at the subject's home, the Fab Five go through his belongings, performing a running commentary of catty remarks about the state of his wardrobe, home decor, cleanliness and grooming. They also speak with the subject and family members to get an idea of the sort of style they like and their goals for the experience and to discuss the planned event.
The remainder of the first half of the episode follows the Fab Five as they escort the subject to various locales to select new furniture and clothes. Often, Ted demonstrates how to select and prepare food for a particular dish that the subject will prepare for the special event, and Kyan takes him for spa treatments and a new haircut. Each such segment includes a style tip superimposed on the screen, summarizing the style issues addressed in the segment. Interspersed with this are interview segments in which friends and family members of the subject discuss his style issues.
In the next section, the subject returns to a completely redecorated home and models articles of his new wardrobe for the Fab Five. Each of the Five offer final words of advice and encouragement, accompanied by supplies of grooming products, food and kitchenware, and in some cases expensive electronics items such as entertainment centers and computers.
The final section follows the subject as he prepares for the special event, with the Fab Five watching edited footage of his preparations and critiquing how well or how poorly he followed their advice. Finally, the subject is followed through the event itself, with the Five again performing a running commentary and the subject often expressing his deep gratitude to the Fab Five for their counsel. A final tip from each of the Fab Five, usually relating to one of the topics covered in the episode, plays just before the credits.
Special episodes of Queer Eye that deviated from this formula included episodes in which the Fab Five journeyed outside the greater New York area, including shows filmed in England, Texas, and Las Vegas. In two episodes, the Fab Five made over homosexual men (both of which aired during June, Gay Pride Month, during 2004 and 2006) and in one episode made over a transgender man. The show also featured makeovers of members of the Boston Red Sox after their 2004 World Series victory, several holiday specials, and, in the final season, a "Mister Straight Guy" pageant featuring subjects from the series' history.
Popular and critical responseEdit
Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuted on July 15, 2003 and the series quickly attained high ratings, peaking during September of that year with 3.34 million viewers per episode. The popularity of the series established the Fab Five as media celebrities, with high-profile appearances at the Emmys and a "make-better" of Jay Leno and his The Tonight Show set in August of that year. Fab Five members parlayed their celebrity into endorsement deals, notably Thom Filicia's becoming the spokesperson for Pier 1 Imports.
The American press almost universally complimented the series and the Fab Five. Out magazine listed the Fab Five in its "OUT 100", the "greatest gay success stories" of 2003. Instinct magazine declared Kressley one of the "Leading Men" of 2004.
The series attracted criticism for making generalizations about sexual identity, namely that homosexual men are inherently more fashionable and stylish than heterosexuals. Among those making this critique were Tom Shales in the Washington Post ("stereotypes on parade"), Richard Goldstein in Village Voice ("Haven't fags always been consigned to the role of body servant?") and United States Congressman Barney Frank speaking to the New York Post.
With the success of the first season, original "culture guy" Blair Boone sued the show for breach of contract, claiming he should be paid not just for two episodes but for the season that he had been contracted to film.
The popularity of the series inspired a number of parodies. Comedy Central hosted a satirical television series named Straight Plan for the Gay Man, which featured four heterosexual men teaching homosexual men how to be more stereotypically straight, redecorating their homes with neon beer signs and teaching them about sports. South Park spoofed the show and its hosts in the episode "South Park Is Gay!", in which the protagonists learn that the Fab Five are actually evil Crab People trying to control the world by converting heterosexual men into metrosexuals.
Queer Eye won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Reality Program during 2004 and was nominated for another Emmy in the same category during 2005. The series also received GLAAD Media Awards for Outstanding Reality Program during 2004 and 2005, and was nominated for a third during 2006.
In the second season, ratings decreased, averaging about 1.8 million viewers per episode with an average of 804,000 viewers in the important 18-40 demographic. New episodes continued to be broadcast for two more seasons. Bravo confirmed in early 2007 that Queer Eye had been cancelled. The remaining fifth-season episodes were billed as Queer Eye: The Final Season and aired twice weekly beginning October 2, 2007.
During January 2005, Scout Productions premiered a spin-off series titled Queer Eye for the Straight Girl, set in Los Angeles. It featured a cast of four lifestyle experts (three men and a woman, known as the "Gal Pals") who performed makeovers for women. The show was cancelled after one season.
Queer Eye's American success caused television networks in several countries to syndicate the American episodes, with a number of countries creating their own local versions of Queer Eye for broadcast in their countries. However, few of these homegrown versions have proven as successful as the original, and most did not last long before cancellation. Licensing of the format is managed by NBCUniversal.
NBCU licensed television producer David Hedges and his UK production house vialondon.tv to produce local versions for Europe, with Flextech's Living channel doing the same to produce the United Kingdom's version after a first attempt at a UK production by Making Time was abandoned.
The first episode of the Finnish version, Sillä silmällä, created controversy, not for the homosexual content but for the blatant product placement considered to be a transgression of a Finnish law against "hidden advertising".
|Country||Channel||Program name||Seasons||Episodes||First aired|
|Australia||Network Ten||Aussie Queer Eye for the Straight Guy||1||6||9 February 2005—23 February 2005 NB: Three episodes were broadcast later in the year.|
|Belgium||KanaalTwee||De heren maken de man||2||2005|
|Chile||Mega||Ojo con Clase (Classy Eye)||1||5 April 2013|
|Finland||Channel 4||Sillä silmällä||2||24||30 March 2005|
|France||TF1||Queer, Cinq Experts dans le Vent||1||8||2004|
|Germany||RTL 2||Schwul macht cool (Gay makes you cool)||1||8||10 November 2003|
|Greece||Antenna 1 (ANT1)||Fab 5||1||10||2011|
|Italy||La7||I Fantastici Cinque||2||22||2004|
|Portugal||SIC||Esquadrão G||1||8||11 September 2005|
|Spain||Antena 3||El Equipo G||1||10||2005|
|Sweden||TV3||Fab 5 Sverige||1||12||2003|
|UK||ITV1||Queer Eye For The Straight Guy UK||2||14||2004|
|Norway||TV3||Homsepatruljen (The Gay Patrol)||3||36||2004 & 2012|
|Queer Eye for the Straight Guy|
|Soundtrack album by various artists|
The soundtrack for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was released February 10, 2004, in the USA. It reached number one on the electronic music chart, number two on the soundtrack charts and the top 40 in the Billboard 200 album chart. In Australia, the soundtrack was released for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras, and the popularity of the series in Australia resulted in the soundtrack scoring in the top 10 of the Australian album chart on March 8, 2004. It was certified gold in Australia in March 2004. The song "Superstar" by Jamelia from the soundtrack also went to number one on the Australian singles charts in the same week, and the theme song of the show, "All Things (Just Keep Getting Better)" by Widelife, went to the top 20 that month. "All Things" scored a 2005 Juno Award for "Dance Recording of the Year" for Widelife (Rachid Wehbi & Ian Nieman). Rob Eric was the executive producer for the album.
- "All Things (Just Keep Getting Better)" – Widelife with Simone Denny
- "Good Luck" – Basement Jaxx featuring Lisa Kekaula
- "Slow" (Chemical Brothers Mix) – Kylie Minogue
- "Move Your Feet" – Junior Senior
- "You Promised Me (Tu Es Foutu)" – In-Grid
- "Superstar" – Jamelia
- "Everybody Wants You to Emerge" – Fischerspooner/Billy Squier
- "Sunrise" (Jason Nevins Remix) – Duran Duran
- "Never Coming Home" (Gonna Live My Life Remix) – Sting
- "An Area Big Enough to Do It In" – Prophet Omega
- "You're So Damn Hot" – OK Go
- "Extraordinary" – Liz Phair
- "Are You Ready for Love" – Elton John
- "Five Gay Men in One House" – Jai Rodriguez and Ted Allen
- "All Things (Just Keep Getting Better)" (music video)
A tie-in book titled Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: The Fab 5's Guide to Looking Better, Cooking Better, Dressing Better, Behaving Better and Living Better was published during 2004 by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Random House.
Several DVDs were released in conjunction with the series. Kressley, Filicia and Allen each had individual releases emphasizing their topics of expertise. Douglas and Rodriguez were featured together in a single DVD focused on grooming. Additional DVD releases include Queer Eye for the Red Sox (featuring the team makeover episode) and a multi-disc box set.
In January 2017, Netflix ordered 8 new episodes of Queer Eye, to feature a new Fab Five. Scout Productions continues to be involved in the revival, which promises to venture beyond New York City, presenting tough challenges for the new cast.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the season holds an approval rating of 100% based on 13 reviews, and an average rating of 7.35/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Queer Eye adapts for a different era without losing its style, charm, or sense of fun, proving that the show's formula remains just as sweetly addictive even after a change in location and a new group of hosts." On Metacritic, the season has a weighted average score of 73 out of 100, based on 7 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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- Engstrom, p. 346
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- Dossi, Joel (2005-01-03). "The Rise and Fall of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy". AfterElton.com. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- McFarland, Melanie (2007-01-12). "Hello Pasadena, Goodbye "Queer Eye"". TV Gal. Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- "Bravo's Emmy-Award Winning Series 'Queer Eye' Kicks-Off Final Season" (Press release). NBC. 2007-09-13. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- Rogers, Steve (2003-08-10). "U.K Indie ViaLondon To Produce Local Queer Eye". Retrieved 2007-10-31.
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- "Ten takes Aussie Queer Eye off air". B&T. 2005-02-24. Retrieved 2007-12-29.
- "Vijf homo's maken van hetero een betere man". 2005-01-14. Retrieved 2016-02-18.
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- Queer Eye at AllMusic
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- "Official Tie-in Book for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy to be Published by Random House, Inc.'s Clarkson Potter" (PDF) (Press release). NBC. 2003-08-23. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- "The Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (2003)". tvshowsondvd.com. Retrieved 2007-10-31.
- "Netflix Rebooting 'Queer Eye for the Straight Guy' for Red State Tour". EW.com. 2017-01-24. Retrieved 2017-08-11.
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- Engstrom, Erika. "The 'Reality' of Reality Television Wedding Programs". Based on "Engstrom's "Hegemony in Reality-Based TV Programming: The World According to A Wedding Story (Media Report to Women (2003) 31(1) 10–14) and "Hegemony and Counterhegemony in Bravo's Gay Weddings (Popular Culture Review (2004) 15(2) 34–35). Collected as chapter 13 in Galician, Mary-Lou and Debra L. Merskin (2007). Critical Thinking about Sex, Love, and Romance in the Mass Media: Media Literacy Applications. Routledge. ISBN 0-8058-5615-3. pp. 335–53.