Queer Eye for the Straight Guy: Five gay men, out to make over the world — one straight guy at a time.
They are the Fab Five: an elite team of gay men who have dedicated their lives to extolling the simple virtues of style, taste and class. Each week their mission is to transform a style-deficient and culture-deprived straight man from drab to fab in each of their respective categories: fashion, food and wine, interior design, grooming and culture.
—Bravo's official website
"Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" is Bravo's smash-hit reality show, currently 10:00 (EST) on Tuesdays. Premiering on July 15, 2003, it features five fantasticly gay men who take one straight guy and fix him up right in just a couple days. The straight guys have had forgotten birthdays to make up for, proposals to make, art shows to put on and even a song for a loving wife who better to turn to for fashion, food, design, grooming and culture advice than gay men?
The Fab Five get a brief dossier on their subject as they drive to the location the first they (and the audience) see of the straight guy is when they walk in his front door. Evaluations are honest and very funny, and after getting to know their subject and what he does and doesn't like, they immediately get to work. As the men remake the man, the show points out all kinds of tips highlighted for viewers, like "work hair products in from the back," and just before commercial breaks and the end of the show, a couple of them appear and give a sentence-or-two-long tip, such as an easy way to avoid razor burn — they even have a tip-on-the-go hotline: 1-866-LUV-FAB-5. After the makeover is complete, the five professionals sit and watch the product of their toil at whatever his event may be, and discuss a job well done.
Episode Guide:1 (in airing order)
- "Hair Today, Art Tomorrow" (#101), in which Brian S., an up-and-coming artist, gets a new wardrobe, apartment and lady-dazzling look before his first opening at an art gallery. Aired on July 15, 2003.
- "A Great Mess in Great Neck" (#102), in which Adam Z., a kosher married-with-children man living in a house that's — well, cluttered is a bit of a compliment — gets the house and himself redecorated for a surprise birthday party for his wife. Aired on July 15, 2003.
- "Make Room for Lisa" (#103), in which Tom K., a bachelor living in a "frat house chic" apartment, is redone to ask his rockstar girlfriend to move in with him. Aired on July 22, 2003.
- "He's a Little Bit Country" (#107), in which John B., an "urban cowboy," has his bland fashion and barren apartment redone and gets a few valuable pointers for a romantic evening to ask his girlfriend to marry him. Aired on July 29, 2003.
- "For Better and Verse" (#106), in which Vincent T., a budding musician, gets the Fab Five Treatment to herald his solo vocalist career and dazzle his wife. Aired on August 5, 2003.
- "Queer Eye for Our Production Guy" (#105), in which Andrew L., utility grip for the show itself, got a reaming (not physically...) from the Fab 5 to prepare him for a romantic date out with his girlfriend. Aired on August 12th. [This one is, by far, the funniest.]
- "Law & Disorder" (#108), in which John V., a Port Authority cop, gets an edjication on what's so good and no good with his outfit and cooking skills. Aired on August 19, 2003.
- "My Big Fat Greek Haircut" (#109), in which George K., a walking nightmare about Bon Jovi in a thrown-together apartment, gets a hot new look and a fabulous pad before a barbeque dinner party — includes advice and review from the victim's charmingly Greek mother. Aired on August 26, 2003.
- "Tall, Dark & Dancin'" (#104), in which Josh D., a tall and recently slim dorky-looking guy, gets spiffed up and tries to get his rear in gear for a girlfriend who likes to go clubbing. Aired on September 2, 2003.
- "Make Over for Daddy" (#110), in which Tom M., twice-divorced father of two kids, has his hand-me-down style and kid-proofed apartment updated for today's dating dad. Aired on September 9, 2003.
- "Meet the Folks" (#111), in which Alan M., a "thrifty" just-out-of-college kid, gets his cheap appartment ready for the meeting of his and his girlfriend's parents over cocktails.
- "Neither Rain nor Sleet nor Length of Hair..." (#113), in which Jeff T., a long-haired mustachioed father of two, embraces his inner rock star and mountain man. He even sings a song he wrote, "the Fab Five Blues."
- "Mr. Clean Comes Clean" (#115), in which Richard M., a successful lawyer living in constant fear of his toupee, embraces his bald head and gets his bare apartment outfitted too. Aired November 26, 2003
- "Helping the Hard-Rocking Host" (#112), in which Steven S., style-less host for IMX, finds himself wearing stylish new threads in his now cardboard-furniture-less apartment. Aired December 3, 2003
- "Create an Officer and a Gentleman" (#114), in which Ross M., ex-marine sans taste, learns to shed dependence on military-style clothing and how to take care of his skin. Aired December 10, 2003.
The Fab Five:1
Kyan Douglas, the Grooming Guru, called "professionally gorgeous"2, is an expert in men's skin care and received his certification in cosmetology from the Aveda Institute New York. From hair styling tips to shaving, Kyan does his best to ensure the straight guy is neat and trim.
Quotable quote: "There's no excuse for nose hair. Ever!"
Ted Allen, the Food and Wine Connoisseur, is co-author of "Things a Man Should Know," a column in Esquire magazine, and four books that came from it. Ted cruises the local grocery store for the cream of the crop and shows the straight guy how to make the perfect food for whatever the occasion might be.
Quotable quote: "By the time the bottle gets dusty, the red wine's not good anymore."
Carson Kressley, the Fashion Savant, is the most flamboyantly gay and the most amusing to watch. He worked for many years with Polo Ralph Lauren and supervised the company's national retail advertising campains. He helps the straight guy pick out the perfect (or maybe more than one) outfit for the occasion, and is always ready with a quip about his fantastic homosexuality or his victim's fantastic lack of style.
Quotable quote: "Boxers are hot, and by boxers I mean guys who box, not the underwear. So get rid of 'em!"
Jai Rodriguez, the Culture Vulture, is the lead role in the off-Broadway hit Zanna, Don't! after finishing a stint playing Tony in Broadway's Rent. He offers advice specific to the situation and individual to maximize the effect had on the observers of the straight guy's transformation.
Quotable quote: "The perfect handshake should be made out of rock, not silly putty."
Thom Filicia, the Design Doctor, founder of his own interior design company, has done both commercial and residential work in metro New York, the Hamptons, Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Washington DC, Florida, California, Utah and Bermuda. Receiving a BA in interior design from Syracuse University, he will paint, retile, and shop until the victim's pad is dashingly modern and suave.
Quotable quote: "Oh my God, it's horrrrrrible!"
After watching the premier (the first two episodes back to back), I was hooked. A friend and I love the antics of each and every one of the Fab Five (even the license plate of their SUV reads "FAB5"). The boys are pretty well behaved — well, except for Carson...his antics include threatening to assist in showering duties and forbidding the straight guy to utter the words "K-mart." He even makes shirts for many of the victims, converting an "I ♥ NY" shirt into "I ♥ NY BOYS," and giving Adam Z. a shirt emblazoned with "SUPERJEW". Ted creates some of the most delicious-looking food I've seen on TV (I want him to cook for me!), and keeps a great attitude despite some of the looks people make as they eat his delicacies. Thom's sense of what a room could look like is amazing, Kyan's knowledge of skin care and hair styling blows me away, and Jai's role is perfect as culture expert (plus every girl I know can't get over how cute he is). A couple early episodes featured the part of Jai played by a guy named Blair, and while he did a fine job, I'm glad to see that Jai is a keeper. The transformations these guys have created are incredible, and each one of the Fab Five is a delight to watch.
Also, some member of the Five has managed to say tjuz ("jooj") at least once in every episode but one (#104) it's pronounced like the French juge, so I don't know who the hell decided to spell it with a T and a Z. The first few episodes were covered by Carson, who used it (and still does) to describe the stylish rolling up of one's long sleeves. Kyan has also been using it to refer to styling one's hair, and in a recent episode it was used while referring to wine. On an Internet board3, one poster says the word may come from the Hebrew stem zuz, which means "to move".
Finally, the Fab 5 were on a special episode of the Tonight Show to put Jay Leno and his studio under their watchful eyes. Word has it that they got Jay to kick his habit of wearing denim shirts and jeans every day, dressed Kevin Eubanks and the band up a bit nicer, and updated the food choices backstage. And, in the holiday spirit, they're making a Holiday Special: revisiting the first couple Straight Guys to see how they've taken to their newfound lives.
The site's official web site contains bios of the boys, episode guides, shopping guides, and hints and tips for the envious. You can even see before/after pics of the straight guy and his habitat, or get information about how to see you or a straight guy near you on the show.
1: Bravo's official web site: http://www.bravotv.com/
2: Newsweek magazine, August 11, 2003: "Queen for a Day," pp. 5052.
3: Straight Eye for the Queer Shows: http://www.gravytrainfilms.com/cgi-bin/mt-comments.cgi?entry_id=374
My own observations
5 August 2003: New episodes added to the Episode Guide.
8 August 2003: Added quote from Newsweek.
27 August 2003: New episodes added to the Episode Guide; added info on "tjuz".
10 September 2003: New episodes added to the Episode Guide; added info on "tjuz"; added info on the Tonight Show special; added info on Blair; reworded and updated bits of the rest of the text.
11 December 2003: New episodes; a little more on "tjuz".