Season 5 of ‘Queer Eye’ brings positivity, gorgeous glam during dark times

queer eye
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QUEER EYE (L to R) ANTONI POROWSKI, TAN FRANCE, KARAMO BROWN, BOBBY BERK, and JONATHAN VAN NESS of QUEER EYE. Cr. RYAN COLLERD/NETFLIX © 2020

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Grade: 4.5/5.0

Two years ago, Netflix’s “Queer Eye” managed to globally infiltrate self-care practices and positivity into millions of households. Suddenly, a new era of french tucks and avocado-themed recipes took the world by storm, making individuals reevaluate their mental health and invent new ways to incorporate the word “gorg” into their everyday vernacular. 

 Following in the footsteps of its predecessor, “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” Netflix’s reboot of the reality show follows Karamo Brown, Tan France, Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness as they travel around the United States, giving makeovers to a diverse group of heroes in five areas: culture, design, food, fashion and grooming. 

Straying away from merely exposing straight white men to basic hygiene and progressive ideology, season five of “Queer Eye” exemplifies how the show has masterfully evolved from its roots, gradually turning toward a more interesting and dynamic group of individuals to make over. 

In true “Queer Eye” fashion, season five opens with an iconic dance number to none other than Elton John’s “Philadelphia Freedom” — because, of course, this season is set in Philadelphia! This sequence immediately sets a precedent for the rest of the season: It is innovative, undeniably iconic and will single-handedly boost serotonin levels in anyone who watches it. 

But the good vibes don’t stop there. The entire season feels extremely therapeutic, perhaps more so than usual given the current state of the world. The positive energy exuded from this season is contagious, giving hope that humanity can solely survive on kindness, positivity and a couple pairs of well-fitting jeans.  

The first episode of the season wholeheartedly demonstrates this concept as the Fab Five work to guide Noah, an openly gay pastor, to truly accept himself and, as Jonathan puts it, “take the past out of pastor.” 

The last four seasons of “Queer Eye” have touched on Bobby’s religious past, noting his discomfort in the church. This episode allows natural, raw conversation to take place between the two, culminating in Noah expressing to Bobby, “The church owes you an apology.” 

This moment, though incredibly emotional, clearly demonstrates the importance of a show such as “Queer Eye” in unearthing the goodness in people. This season shines in its simplest moments, emphasizing the importance of engaging in heavy conversations in order to move forward and advocate for change. This gem of a life lesson, along with how to make the perfect skillet cornbread is, at its heart, what “Queer Eye” is all about.  

Though the show has often faced criticism for emphasizing materialism, this season uses its budget to move away from solely aiding suburban families and toward actively working to help small business owners achieve their dreams. 

This model is notably exemplified in episode two of the season, “Groomer Has It.” The episode follows Rahanna, a mobile dog groomer whose business comes out of an old unoperational RV. Rahanna’s tenacity and passion for her business is incredibly palpable, making it all the more satisfying and emotional when the Fab Five step in to spruce up her business. 

“Groomer Has It” is chock-full of iconic moments. Antoni fangirls over a herd of corgis, Jonathan wins his first “gold medal Olympic living room performance” and, of course, all of Rahanna’s dreams come true. In one of the season’s most tear-jerking moments, the Fab Five surprise the young entrepreneur with a new, fully operational van complete with her very own business logo. If watching a hardworking business owner achieve their dreams can’t get you to cry, surely watching Antoni sob at this event will. And although season five was filmed long before COVID-19 wreaked havoc in the United States, it is still refreshing to see a show with such a huge platform work to fund small businesses with the tools they need to succeed.  

“Queer Eye” may thrive off of silly gimmicks, but after five seasons, it is incredible to see how far the show has come. Whether the Fab Five are supporting entrepreneurs, helping someone gain self-confidence or performing flamboyant dance numbers, this season has shown, as the theme song suggests, that “Queer Eye” will just “keep getting better.” 

Sarah Runyan covers television. Contact her at [email protected].