The TV Legacy Of ‘Queer Eye For The Straight Guy': VIDEO


Tabatha Takes Over

To be fair, almost all of Bravo's recent shows owe some degree of gratitude to Queer Eye for transforming the network from a high-brow arts channel to the more gay-friendly, pop-culture driven brand we know today. Tabatha in particular feels like the next iteration of the Queer Eye model — an LGBT guru delivers expertise (and witticisms) to those in desperate need of an intervention.

Hello Ross

Part of the appeal of Queer Eye was the likability of the Fab Five. Yes, they could be shrill, but they were ultimately sincere and good-natured. TV personality Ross Mathews has built his image with similar sweetness and established himself as a present-day pop-culture maven. One could see Mathews taking Jai Rodriguez's spot, if Queer Eye was recreated today.

The Chew

Even though What Not To Wear predated Queer Eye, much less fuss was centered around host Clinton Kelly's sexuality and it never rose to the same level of prominence. Kelly's current food-centric talk show, The Chew, has grown at least partially from post-Queer Eye Bravo's hit Top Chef (former Top Chef contestant Carla Hall is also a co-host). Not to mention the effect of Ted Allen introducing fine food and wine to straight guys (and audiences) everywhere.

The Fabulous Beekman Boys

Just as Queer Eye was a big part of the sweeping "metrosexual" trend of the early-'00s, husbands Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge are reflecting the kind of rustic-revival playing out across Pinterest pictures of mason jars, handmade goods on Etsy and musical acts like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers. In addition to chronicling the pair's transition from city boys to farm living, it's hard not to spot a little bit of Queer Eye in some of Beekman Boys' supplemental how-to videos.


RuPauls' Drag U

At the end of the day, Queer Eye's makeovers were never just about the clothes and the hair; they were about helping people change on the inside. On Drag U, where the outfits and makeup are taken to outrageous extremes, the experience transcends the typical makeover to place an even bigger emphasis on the overall transformation.

What other shows do you think were influenced by Queer Eye For the Straight Guy?


  1. will says

    I am not feeling nostalgic for “Queer Eye”. I have an aversion to Carson Kressley. Highlight a real show like “Will and Grace”. This show told America that we were hairdressers, interior decorators, chefs, and label queens. And we liked skin care products. Some legacy.

  2. jake says

    And the legacy of Stonewall would say we’re all crossdressers. These people fighting for change and making a difference don’t have to look or be like you — particularly if that you is some butch masc guy constantly feeling the need to remind everyone that he’s not like the other “queens”.

  3. says

    yes. it’s a shameful and embarrassing stereotype that we gays are associated with being paragons of culture and style and taste 😉

    the show was fun. i think what upset the naysayers so much is that those “stereotypical guys” were embraced. when the type of gay you’ve been conditioned to feel is “lesser” than you is Out in the world, enjoying life, and being embraced by people, it often burns the self-haters to their core; for all their self-styled “non-stereotypical” affectation, they’ve not found the acceptance, resilience and joy that *those Queens* have found.

    it’s bitter projection. when a guy says “You’re only accepted because you fit some mold of a stereotype that straight people want you to be” what he’s really saying is “I do the exact opposite of what you’re doing and yet I’m still not accepted, embraced, or loved”

  4. says

    The show exposed millions of Americans to real gay men. It showed straight men interacting with gay men in a way that had not been shown before- as equals, confidants, problem solvers. Queer Eye changed a lot of attitudes among adults and helped shape the attitudes of younger kids, just like the gay and lesbian kids on The Real World and Ellen.

  5. Karen Jack says

    A “real show like Will & Grace?” That’s rich. Let’s see… a neurotic single womn who can’t sustain a relationshiip, a money-hungry female lush who degrades and takes advantage of the men & people of color she has(or used to have in her life, a neurotic single gay man and his flambouyant gym-bunny, fashion forward, man gazing best friend.

    Ah yes, Will & Grace. A real show, written by & for heterosexuals. That’s a much better example.

  6. will says

    What I really hated was Carson Kressley taking a nice-looking guy and then dressing him in ruffles and scarves and pastels and “slimming pants”. He took a perfectly fine looking guy and queened him up.

  7. Francis #1 says

    The thing is, Queer Eye, Will and Grace, softened people on homosexuality because it allowed people to see us as…real people. Not freaks. Not demented, and not out trying to get anyone. That’s the primary thing. Ellen is another pioneer. Pedro Zamora. As people saw these gay, lesbian men and women on air, they realized we do have value as people and we’re really not that bad, quite the opposite.

    Yes, stereotypes still run rampant but that’s a separate issue, and doesn’t have any relevance to the impact Queer Eye did have on Americans.

  8. says

    I found Queer Eye to be totally inoffensive. Yeah, the guys specialized in areas that are considered stereotypically gay: fashion, grooming, decorating, and cooking, but it came across as an honest desire to help, not criticize.

    In fact, my mother was a big fan of the show and it was through talking about it that she was finally able to talk to her church-lady friends about the fact that she has two gay sons. They might critique the clothes and decor, but they all agreed that “those boys” were very nice and were really trying to leave their clients better off than they found them. That’s a much better stereotype than that of the judgemental snap-queen and I think it did change some minds, made gay men seem less foreign.

  9. GB says

    Kyan was the narcissistic one. He still is to this very day. Carson was the Phyllis Diller wannabe. Thom was the lesbian. Ted was the “please stay away from me” in the bar. And Jai was the after thought.

  10. Just_a_guy says

    @Lil Kiwi: Hmm. Ok. Well, I admit I grimace at the thought of queer eye for the straight guy– and I have never had the patience for a whiole episode. I’m not affecting when I’m not all fey; I’m just being ME. Ever since high school, in some ways I envied the obviously gay guys: they didn’t HAVE to FEEL like they were hiding because without even disclosing ANYTHING, they took on tons of backlash from mean fellow students who assumed their sexual orientation, and treated them poorly. I never treated them poorly, but I didn’t have to face what they did. In some ways, I didn’t GET to face that–as these more obvi kids DID face it, front and center, and owned it early because they had to. Meanwhile, I was genuinely unsure for a while, and then went through kind of a crisis when I found myself hooking up with my best (male) friend in college, and then feeling frustrated because I hadn’t really prepared for owning this new identity.

    So, no, Kiwi, it doesn’t mean I’m self-loathing for not acting super fem all of a sudden. That has never been ME, and the pressure from straight people for me to be stereotypical as soon as I come out to them is wierd and a little uncomfortable to me. I mean, to the extent I have a feminine side, I think I’ve gotten in touch with it, in part because I come out, and people wonder why I’m not super flamey.

    But, kiwi, this isn’t me devaluing guys who ARE more fem or flamey, whatever. I’m just trying to get you to understand that there is FAR more to it than some partially-imagined bias against effeminacy among gay men.

    More to the point, Kiwi, my frustration about the straight community’s impulse to erase my identity as just a regular guy who happens to like guys…is NOT about YOU, lil kiwi. Nor does it inherently involve ANY devaluing of effeminacy. (Heck, the IDEA of gender play has even become a tad erotic to me, probably because so many straight AND gay people act like they EXPECT some femmy performance from me. In practice, I can’t be someone I’m not, though.)

    In short: kiwi, do you GET that my concerns are NOT about YOU?!:-).

    And, more on topic, do you mind that the queer-eye idea boors–and bugs–me? ;-). (And of course you’ll psycho-analyze me? Lol; if so, let’s hear it!)

  11. Michael Bedwell says

    Legend in His Own Mind Little Kiwi posits himself as The More Liberated Than Thou Defender of all of us stereotypical gays, then resorts to misogyny (“Invest in a bidet and get that sand out of your vagina”) to slime someone who dares disagree with him. Fail.

  12. Rick says

    “The thing is, Queer Eye, Will and Grace, softened people on homosexuality because it allowed people to see us as….real people”

    Wrong, wrong, wrong. Do you think it is a coincidence that the only gay male characters that have been accepted by straight audiences–including the characters on Modern Family–are silly, prissy, stereotypical queens?

    These characters are all laughing stocks and if you don’t see that, then you are as blind as a bat. They allow straights to isolate “gay” in a box, a box that is non-threatening because it is detached from the mainstream of society…..the way gay hairdressers, interior decorators, and florists have always been accepted in feminine roles, but rejected in masculine roles.

    Portraying gay men as masculine and powerful remains strictly taboo, because that would be deeply threatening to society, since it would suggest that heterosexuality and masculinity are not synonomous–and if that idea ever becomes accepted, then the prevailing culture in which men attach themselves emotionally to women and only women would be doomed, with all kinds of consequences flowing from it.

    So stop kidding yourselves. Effeminate gay men are simply clowns to laugh at…..and their continued presence, in the total absence of any non-effeminate gay men is an indicator of NON-acceptance, NOT of acceptance.

  13. Just_a_guy says

    Monsieur Rick, hmm. No, effeminacy in gay men does not make them clowns to be laughed at. Heck, varying levels of effeminacy in ANY man probably makes him a notch more attractive and human in a nuanced way.

    I’m right about that. But that does not mean that many TV portrayals don’t put gay men in a box, as you begin to articulate–however clouded you seem to be by a chip on your shoulder against proudly-effeminate men, no?

  14. anon says

    I was looking forward to this reunion show, but Cohen is not a good choice for a host. They should just host the show themselves. It would nice to see them well adjusted to reality again after the heights of fame, but I’m not holding my breath.

  15. UFFDA says

    It’s true Kressily was outright awful, hideous actually with his blond whiteness pulled over a serpents head.
    He was as sickening as his taste. And Kai really was a flop. Still, this was a game changer…it helped people recognize – and then get over – how far a whole lot of men are from the usual American male stereotypes. It was definitely entertaining.

  16. UFFDA says

    It’s true Kressily was outright awful, hideous actually with his blond whiteness pulled over a serpents head.
    He was as sickening as his taste. And Kai really was a flop. Still, this was a game changer…it helped people recognize – and then get over – how far a whole lot of men are from the usual American male stereotypes. It was definitely entertaining.

  17. Matte says

    Initially, I was a bit enthralled with the show. It was the first show in my experience about successful and out gay men. But the luster dimmed fairly quickly. Kressly actually had really bad taste and Kyan promoted that empty rhetoric common to most stylists – use of skin and hair products equating to self-esteem. I stopped watching before the end of the first season as it was already becoming boring, especially the fake uplift.

  18. says

    @Just a Guy – I *do* get it Same with “Rick”.

    You guys are surrouned in your own lives by straight people who don’t like gays. So you get butthurt and think it’s the fault of “Queer Eye” that your family is anti-gay, and that you never grew the orbs to stand up to them. Queer Eye is not the reason your family and the straight community that surrounds you are piece of S**t idiots. My parents love LGBT people. Don’t care if they’re masc/fem (meaningless terms btw) or camp or whatnot.

    “So, no, Kiwi, it doesn’t mean I’m self-loathing for not acting super fem all of a sudden. ”

    Strawman. Never said that, or anything like it, and I never will.

    so, “just a guy” – your strawman argument proves me right. CHILD, you have an insecure chip on your shoulder. want more “guys like you” to be represented? stop typing, turn your cam on, record yourself and Your Type Of Gay, and post it online. represent yourself.

    it’s the same old story – the guys who complain like you are are always the least willing to stand up to be counted and represent themselves. you make your statements from a place of complete anonymity.

    take RICK, for example, who is one who would best help the world by deep-throating a loaded shotgun: he, and others, have said that i’m effeminate. ok .*elegant curtsy*
    but if i’m so effeminate, and effeminate guys are so bad, then how come my entire family, and my straight friends, are outspoken and visible advocates and allies for our communities?

    clearly, this lil’queen is doing something right 😉

    but “just a guy” – nobody is “erasing your identity” – you don’t have an identity. at all. there’s nothing to erase when you don’t put out something to be seen.

    wanna prove me wrong? become a visible presence. wanna keep proving me right? keep doing what you’re doing.

    queen kiwi. Out. and Proud. 😉

  19. says

    whenever a gay man says “these effeminate stereotypes make us look bad! they make straight people mock us and think they’re better than us!” what he’s really saying is “My dad hates effeminate gays and only tolerated me as long as i acted as uncultured as he was.”

    wanna prove me wrong on that one? grow some orbs and put a face to your comments.


  20. says

    longstoryshort: if you’re such an empowered masculine gay man who isn’t hiding and is such a great freakin role model, stop being an anonymous internet troll and put your money where your mouth (fingers?) is/are.

    if my queen @ss can do it, why can’t you? mhmmmm child.

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