When Queer Eye for the Straight Guy first premiered on Bravo in 2003, the Supreme Court had yet to legalize same-sex marriage and the mere thought of TV shows like VH1's RuPaul’s Drag Race and FX's Pose was simply a dream—nothing rooted in reality.
Fifteen years later, Netflix’s revival of the fabulously over-the-top show has turned its lead “fab five” characters into overnight celebrities, the kind who model for Hanes campaigns and hang out with Justin Theroux.
If you’re living under a rock, here’s the premise: Five gay men (each experts in a category) are tasked with making over the life of a not-so-polished straight guy buy helping him rediscover grooming products, clothing, and a whole new set of lifestyle ideals over the course of an episode. Originally, the show was more about the aesthetics, and its cast—Ted Allen (food), Carson Kressley (fashion), Kyan Douglas (grooming), Jai Rodriguez (culture), and Thom Filicia (design)—managed their makeovers with a light, funny touch.
So what’s the difference with Netflix’s reboot? Yeah, Jonathan Van Ness (grooming), Antoni Porowski (food), Tan France (fashion), Bobby Berk (design), and Karamo Brown (culture) each flex their expertise to transform straight (and this time, also queer) dudes, but unlike the original series, this version will make you laugh, cry, and pray—with well-manicured hands—for a season 3 return.
In other words, it’s less vain.
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It’s also key to mention that as we saw in the first season, Netflix’s Queer Eye does a fantastic job of chronicling the perception of LGBTQ people in the American South, with some of the fab five members grappling with how the “heroes” (the designation given to the men they are making over) and their peers will react to a group of super out-of-the-closet, confident men. Spoiler alert: One episode of the season one revival even involves a touching coming out tale.
In honor of Queer Eye’s season two return on June 16, here’s how the original fab five stack up to our new stars.