No, Ben isn't updating. It's me testing out guest author functionality.
Bravo's new show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is the show I've wanted to see for a long time. Back when I was watching Makeover Story and Changing Rooms religiously, I remember thinking that a true makeover show would combine the clothing and hairstyle from a show like Makeover Story with the lifestyle and interior decoration from a show like Changing Rooms.
And now Queer Eye has gone and done that wonderfully, with the added bonus that it's a show targetted at men (as well as the, er, men, who love them).
And after thinking about it a bit, I realized that the focus on men is why I like it so much: I like seeing a makeover show where men aren't treated as second-class citizens in the world of the makeover. Subconsciously this is what always bothered me about a show like TLC's Makeover Story--it's completely geared towards making over women, and when they do happen to make over a man (usually a husband or boyfriend), they dress him up in a drab two-button sports coat from a chain store, give him a shave and perhaps a spa treatment, and send him on his way. Compare that to the women on Makeover Story, who get like 5 new outfits (although they always do seem to give them the same lame new haircut, but that's forgivable, I guess).
The situation is better--as is the overall show and makeover--on BBC America's What Not to Wear. The one show I've seen that featured a man was one of the better episodes, partly just because his outlook and self-confidence was so improved by the end of the show. But even What Not to Wear has its flaws: among them, an over-reliance on that standard makeover haircut where the hair just kind of curves around the face, and an apparent mission statement to make over only the dumpy middle-aged women of England.
But in Queer Eye, the focus is on doing quality makeovers of both lifestyle and fashion/grooming. And what's more, the results--really, the ultimate test of a makeover show--are good. In the two episodes on last night, the end results of the interior decoration were better than most I've seen on dedicated design shows. Which is perhaps to be expected--Thom Filicia, the decorator, was named one of the Top 100 American Designers, and isn't just some woman with a glue gun whose friends told her that she had a "really great sense of space."
Other things I like about the show:
Sure, Queer Eye is a little unbelievable, particularly the interior decoration--painting, buying furniture and having it delivered, buying storage solutions, etc, in one day? I don't think so--but in a weird sense that almost makes it better. After all, all makeover is based in fantasy: the fantasy that the makeover is not just a temporary façade, and that the made-over will actually keep up his/her hair/lifestyle/fashion regimen for more than a week. And if Queer Eye can make me believe in the makeover fantasy for an hour, that's good enough for me.