‘Queer Eye’ Season 3 Might Not Seem That Different, But It’s Actually A Quiet Revolution
This season they move cities, feature their first lesbian hero, and most importantly, learn how to ask for help.
It’s hard to believe it was only last February that Queer Eye, a reboot of mid-2000s reality series Queer Eye For The Straight Guy, sashayed into our lives.
I feel like I’ve been watching fashion philosopher Tan France, literal ray of sunshine and grooming guru Jonathan Van Ness, Christian Bale and John Mayer’s foodie lovechild Antoni Porowski, hardworking interior designer Bobby Berk, and kind-eyed culture expert Karamo Brown fundamentally renovate lives for years!
If you’re a fan, you’ll be pleased to learn that the boys are back with a third season that, thankfully, doesn’t mess with a winning recipe.
Warning: This story contains very mild spoilers for Queer Eye seasons one, two and three.
Tan’s still got a penchant for a French tuck. Jonathan’s catchphrase is still “Yass Queen” — though now to the tune of ‘Old McDonald Had A Farm’. Antoni is still bravely sniffing questionable leftovers. Bobby is still tragically slept on. Karamo still possesses the frankly frightening ability to make every ‘hero’ dip into their neatly tucked away emotional luggage and show some vulnerability.
And as a whole, Queer Eye is still absolutely incompatible with mascara — if you don’t get even a little teary when Bobby reveals an incredibly thoughtful gift to a widowed father of two, I recommend you slide into Karamo’s DMs for a heart-to-heart.
More Of The Same?
So how is this season different?
Most obviously, we see the Fab Five leave Atlanta, Georgia and set up camp in Kansas City, Missouri (in a loft on the corner of Gay and Straight Streets, no less).
They makeover their first lesbian hero as well as their first duo. And, in a development that I am yet to fully recover from, Antoni fails to wear a single t-shirt emblazoned with the logo of an early noughties indie guitar band.
I can’t get over the fact that @tanfrance makes a joke in the first episode of Queer Eye season 3 about taking the woman “from hunter to hunty” and whatever straight person was in charge of naming the episodes just didn’t get it pic.twitter.com/OcXBFdit1Y
— Caitlin J. Stout (@CaitlinJStout) March 18, 2019
The tongue-in-cheek montage that introduces season three clues us in to another key difference.
The camera pans over fields of wheat, frolicking horses and a ‘Town Of Gay’ water tower, as the voice of Mama Tammye (remember the selfless community leader from season two who reconciled with her gay son and adopted the boys to boot?) reminds the Fab Five they are using their “gifts” for “the good of humanity”.
It seems they’ve taken her words to heart because in the nine months since season two dropped, the guys have gotten even better at their jobs. The transformation of our first hero, camo-wearing, hunting-obsessed Jody Castellucci is a prime example of this.
The Jones sisters episode of Queer Eye season 3. That’s it. That’s the tweet. pic.twitter.com/ZgzeQUjWJb
— Maura Manor (@mmmmmaura) March 15, 2019
Although her mane of hair hasn’t seen a salon in 25 years, Jonathan somehow manages to transform her into literal Connie Britton. Am I using the word ‘literal’ correctly? Definitely not, but I guarantee you’ll be surprised when her big reveal doesn’t take place at a Dillon Panthers game.
Additionally, when Tan meets Jess Guilbeaux and Thomas Diggs later in the season, he takes the time to ask them who their personal style icons are (Janelle Monáe and Donald Glover respectively — smart choices, kids), and helps them build wardrobes that are inspired by but don’t cosplay their idols.
I thought I was emotionally prepared for #QueerEye Season 3 but I was NOT. Jess’ episode got me like… pic.twitter.com/DhSonRIL8N
— Tina Burke (@teeburke_) March 15, 2019
Antoni, who seems to have taken a vow of avocado abstinence this season, is also particularly helpful to Jess: he listens when she explains cost is factor to be considered and shows her how to create a version of her favourite dish (ramen) that uses relatively cheap ingredients but is still special.
Furthermore, Karamo has whittled his ‘meeting to emotional breakthrough’ time down to seemingly seconds, and Bobby executes perhaps his biggest design achievement to date when he gets his mitts on a tiny local barbecue joint that’s cramped, sweaty and lacking even a sign. Plus, he convinces me that my parents have better taste than I thought by incorporating their IKEA rug and mirror into Thomas’ new crib! Thanks Bobby!
Season three also features the Fab Five getting more personal than ever before.
Bobby has previously opened up about own painful relationship with the church having been rejected by his religious adopted family when he came out as a teenager, and in the episode ‘Black Girl Magic’ he talks of his past with even more heart-wrenching and completely admirable honesty.
His candour helps Jess, the episode’s hero, to feel seen and understood and also serves as the foundation for a reflective conversation that allows her to work through a persistent feeling of inadequacy that has impacted her relationship with her sister.
Likewise, when episode two’s Joey Greene admits a battle with addiction caused him to lose his love for cooking and, therefore, his ability to bond with his son, Antoni reveals his own “intimate relationship with addiction” and engages Joey in a discussion free from judgement or shame.
Season 3 of #QueerEye dropping today just in time to clear my seasonal depression and save my weekend like pic.twitter.com/6gBrsVTQlV
— Kelly (@kelbottweets) March 15, 2019
Asking For Help
More so than in previous seasons, the Fab Five know when to outsource help when they need to.
For example, Karamo recognises the irony of five men entering Jody’s life to teach her how to embrace her femininity so introduces her to a circle of diverse women who all have different and equally valid ideas of what it means to be a woman.
Similarly, when discussing the black identity with Jess, he takes her to the Friends of Alvin Ailey studio in Kansas City’s “cultural epicentre for all things African-American” to include the perspectives of her peers in their discussion.
“I want Jess to get to a place that she starts to understand there’s no one way to be black,” Karamo says. “I want her to meet other black women who are also defying expectations of what it means to be black.”
When Queer Eye started, I was a ball of anxiety, stressed I made a mistake moving, underemployed in a miserable shit job. Now at Season 3, I'm in a permanent, pensionable job I like, in a house I love, absolutely kicking life in the arse. Coincidence? I think not.
— Teresa C (@sorobotic) March 15, 2019
Let’s Get Self Aware
There’s also an element of self-awareness to this chapter that will please OG fans, evident from episode one when Tan says, “All I’m doing is yes, giving her the French tuck — shut up everyone”.
Best of @QueerEye season 3 so far 😅 pic.twitter.com/z54oBbiI3n
— Greenish (@GreenishQ_) March 16, 2019
Basically, I refuse to believe the producers didn’t know what they were doing when they had Antoni — objectively the most handsome man in the world — seductively wipe down a spit and give the camera a wink or wear eye liner after I specifically tweeted that his use of this cosmetic in season two gave me heart palpitations.
But this awareness extends beyond inside jokes to reference classic movies like Legally Blonde, Ghost and When Harry Met Sally. Perhaps these are nods to the fact that although rooted in reality, Queer Eye is still a curated show and there’s something inherently cinematic about the way lives are transformed, relationships mended and complex issues simplified in neat, 49-minute packages when in real life, this is not always the case.
My favorite scene from season 3 of #QueerEye pic.twitter.com/jNe7gsQvYa
— dani (@_DaniellaPerez) March 17, 2019
Last but not least, I can’t talk about crucial Queer Eye changes without mentioning the newest edition to the cast.
His name is Bruley, he’s a French Bulldog, he encourages Antoni to speak le français and feed him “sneaky snacks” (be still my beating heart), and he already has more Instagram followers than me. Nope, I’m not bitter. Not. At. All.
You can watch Queer Eye season 3 right now on Netflix!
Yazmine Lomax likes people, places and things. More specifically, she likes writing, pop-culture and pizza and especially loves when these things intersect. She tweets @yazminelomax.