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Queer Eye needs to return, and other things we learned from the Fab Five’s reunion

The cast of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy reunited on Bravo last night, and although it was an Andy Cohen-hosted reunion with all of its usual annoyances, the hour offered a lot of insight, and made one thing exceedingly clear: Bravo needs to resurrect this show, now.

With a few exceptions, Bravo has been mired in a swamp of asshole-fueled reality shows, and what it really needs is the joy, positivity, and authenticity that Queer Eye brought to the network–and helped define the network as a home of smart reality TV.

Carson Kressley, Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, and Jai Rodriguez proved during the reunion that TV still needs them. As Jai pointed out, “There is something magical when the five of us get together.” It’s all about the chemistry, and the reunion demonstrated that they still have it–and it may even be stronger now.

It was also very real, full of actual transformations and genuine emotion. Talking about the episode where the Fab Five help a man transition to life without his toupee, Carson cited the show’s “really authentic moments” and said it communicated to people that “there’s nothing wrong with being 100 percent you.”

It’s probably impossible to recreate the original series, and it certainly won’t be the cultural phenomenon it once was. The show was groundbreaking, and five gay guys helping and bonding with straight guys wouldn’t have the same awe factor. But the format still has life, especially if it’s updated.

There are lots of ways to play with the show’s format: Make over gay men who, counter to stereotypes, aren’t great at managing their lives, homes, or appearance. Make over the lives of guys who really excel at one thing–say, dressing well–but completely fail in other areas, such as maintaining their homes. Find couples who need help.

Andy Cohen actually asked them at the end if they’d considering bringing back the show, and Ted said, “Not a chance.” While he does have the most high-profile job now, as the host of Chopped, it wasn’t clear if he was joking or not, because he soon joined in the general appreciation their chemistry and the experience. And honestly, as good as he is on Chopped, it underuses him and his wit tremendously.

So, Bravo, do the world a favor and rediscover what once made your network great. Bring back Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

Besides proving that the show needs to return, the reunion also offered a lot of interesting information and insight about the show. Here’s what we learned: