reality TV reviews and news

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuted 10 years ago today

Bravo’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy debuted 10 years ago today, and to mark that anniversary, the network is airing an all-day marathon, from the premiere to the finale. It’s amazing to think it has been a decade since Carson Kressley, Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, and Jai Rodriguez (after the first two episode) got messages on their now-hilarious flip phones and drove together in an SUV to make over a straight man’s pathetic life.

The high-energy intro gave way to an often funny, sometimes touching makeover show that lasted five seasons; won an Emmy in 2004; spawned a book and a one-season spin-off, Queer Eye for the Straight Girl; generated headlines; and made stars of its cast.

It did that while playing to stereotypes, reinforcing the idea that gay men are skilled in certain ways (and also stereotyped straight men as slovenly dummies), but also while showing gay and straight men bonding and helping each other learn and grow.

Queer Eye unquestionably did a lot for both Bravo and mainstream acceptance of gay people: Look, those gays are fun and nonthreatening and can help me! Look, there’s a network called Bravo that has yet to become overrun by assholes in over-produced shows!

While some seasons are still available, it does seem that the show has been mostly left behind. Hopefully today’s anniversary and marathon will remind people of what was a pretty decent series.