I’m Selina, Awards Circuit’s queer Girl Friday for everything LGBTQIA+ on film & TV! After too many Fab 5-less months of Netflix content, the Season 3 of “Queer Eye” finally dropped on March 15. Featuring even more inspiring heroes, memeable moments and Cinderella transformations, the Fab 5 moved from Atlanta, Georgia to Kansas City, Missouri to spread their message of self-love across America. After bingeing the entire season in less than a day (I missed Jonathan Van Ness, okay) I can safely say Season 3 is the best one yet. Here are the top ten highlights from the new season, in case you can’t sit down for a full Netflix & chill session just yet.
10. Goodbye French Tuck, Hello Leather Jackets
Okay, so Tan is still pushing the French tuck for all its worth, but at least we’ve got a new style trend I am so very into: leather motorcycle jackets. Several different heroes end up with a leather jacket in their wardrobe (including “Queer Eye’s” first lesbian hero, Jess). Expect your social media feeds to be bombarded with hot leather lewks for the forseeable future.
9. Seeing Past The Masculine and Feminine
The nice thing about watching “Queer Eye” is their adapted definition of a “makeover” show, which takes its cue from contestants– who are referred to as heroes– themselves. There are no expectations to conform to masculine or feminine representation, in personal style or home decor. This completely opens up the makeover process, and allows an open discussion about self-expression (and also features Jonathan strutting his stuff in some great heels). I loved that Jody, Season 3’s first heroine who enjoyed many masculine-typed pursuits, wasn’t given a wardrobe of heels and tight dresses, the usual treatment on most makeover shows.
8. Another Great Cast of Deserving Heroes
Every season of “Queer Eye” has been progressively more diverse, with Season 3 boasting 9 heroes, with a record four female heroes this year. Additionally, four of the heroes were black and six were parents, with an age range spanning from 21 to 49. We even got our first lesbian hero, Jess! As per usual, every hero more than deserves the Fab 5 treatment, with many being pampered for the first time in years. One of my favorite moments was watching Mary (aka “Shorty”) see her new smile after getting her front teeth fixed, a scene you will most definitely ugly cry over.
7. The Fab 5 Make Personal Connections With Their Heroes’ Struggles
The Fab 5 are known for talking about their personal struggles with heroes who share those experiences, and Season 3 tripled down on this tradition with discussions about coming out, adoption, homelessness, and the grieving process. Hearing about Bobby’s early struggles with homelessness (even living in his car for a time) and Jonathan’s grief over losing his stepfather provide a touching, deep connection between the heroes and the Fab 5, not to mention the “Queer Eye” audience. These one-on-ones alone make the series worth a watch, if you’re on the fence between “Queer Eye” and all the other Netflix content that’s just come out.
6. Self-Care Is Key, Honey
Karamo continues to make everyone have all the feels with his kind-hearted, serious conversations about past trauma, self-love and self-care with “Queer Eye’s” heroes. Messages about appreciating the person you are (not the person you can become, one day, if you try hard enough) are incredibly rare in reality television, much less the world at large. If you’re struggling to be kind to yourself right now, I’d suggest watching the episodes “When Robert Met Jamie,” “Black Girl Magic” and “Sloth to Slay” so Karamo can remind you how great you are.
5. Parents Take Center Stage
Quite a few of this season’s heroes were parents, including single dads Joey and Rob. Kids are often flying in and out of frame this season, with Karamo and Bobby, the resident Fab 5 dads, often striking up discussions about fatherhood with the episode’s hero. Seeing dads talk about fatherhood in such a positive light is a wholesome breath of fresh air in a dark TV landscape, and I’m very here for it. If you’re a parent yourself, prepare for extra feels this season.
Oh, and Antoni had some good ideas about getting your kids into healthier food and making cooking/baking fun, if you’re at your wit’s end in that regard.
4. Finding Support Systems That Will Stay After The Fab 5 Depart
“Queer Eye” tries to set up their heroes for long-term success, including introducing new support systems so their heroes don’t slide back into old ways after the Fab 5 leave. As this season featured more women than ever before, we got to see some awesome female-centric support groups, including a ladies’ group of all ages for Jody (see above) and a fantastic group of black ballet dancers for Jess (along with reconnecting Jess with her sister Jenise, which I’ll get into later). Seeing women support other women is always great, and for a show that tends to be a little male-heavy, gay or straight, these moments were very much needed.
3. “Little” and “Shorty,” The Coolest BBQ Pitmasters In Missouri
“Jone Bar-B-Q” is, bar none, my favorite episode of these season, and it’s completely down to hearts of gold Deborah (“Little”) and Mary (“Shorty”), who reopened the family BBQ restaurant to help put Izora, Deborah’s daughter, through college. The family restaurant boasts a hell of a lot of good press and a long line of regular customers, with demand almost out-pacing the sisters’ abilities. The pair are also some of only known female BBQ pitmasters in Kansas City, making their success even sweeter.
The episode is more business-oriented than “Queer Eye’s” usual fare, setting up the sisters with a bottling plant to sell their prized BBQ sauce (which I suspect will go viral very soon) and revamping their restaurant kitchen and guest seating areas. Little and Shorty got had their own physical transformations (Shorty even got her teeth fixed, letting her smile without covering her mouth), but the business angle of this episode, especially with two black heroines, was a great watch.
2. We Finally Get Our First Lesbian Hero on “Queer Eye”
Meet Jess, a 23-year-old “lumberjack lesbian” who was kicked out of her adoptive parents’ house at 16 for being gay. Though Jess had built her own circle of friends (including best friend Carmen), she struggles to find a sense of family and belonging as a black lesbian who was adopted and then rejected by her parents. This was one of the hardest episodes to watch as a queer person because you could feel the hurt Jess still felt at the rejections she’s dealt with, and Karamo and Bobby (also adopted, then rejected for being gay) had some amazing conversations with Jess about loving herself and making her own family. Bobby also reconnected Jess with her accepting sister, Jenise (see that moment above), and literally gave Jess part of her family back. Also, Jenise’s daughter Jamia is possibly the cutest baby I have ever seen.
1. The Fab 5 Kill Toxic Masculinity With Hugs
Unlike previous seasons, the overall message of “Queer Eye’s” Fab 5 wasn’t necessarily about bridging the gap between gay and straight people (though that of course did feature). Instead, it was a quiet unraveling of toxic masculinity, which often prevents men from showing their emotions, openly loving parenthood, or even sharing casual touches with other men. On “Queer Eye,” conversations are peppered with Tan fixing someone’s shirt cuff or Jonathan playing with someone’s hair. Every time we see Karamo, you know there’s going to be a deep conversation about emotions. Antoni feeds everyone in sight, and Bobby’s home makeover always reveal just how much he’s been listening to the hero’s needs. Best of all, the Fab 5 are always showing physical affection towards each other, a rarity between men even in 2019. With every hug, Tan, Antoni, Karamo, Bobby and Jonathan break down social barriers and expectations. Of all the stunning moments this season, these hugs rules all.
Season 3 of “Queer Eye” is on Netflix now. Watch the official trailer below.