Netflix’s lifestyle transformation show Queer Eye is back for a second season full of grooming tips, appetizer tutorials, and poignant conversations that might make you tear up just a little bit.
Just like last season, the savvy lifestyle experts of the Fab 5 are back in the Atlanta area, fielding requests for makeovers from friends and family members of a few men (and one woman) who could use a little help in the style department. Antoni Porowski is in charge of the food, Tan France takes care of the attire, Bobby Berk is the interior design virtuoso, Jonathan Van Ness is the grooming expert, and Karamo Brown is the culture/confidence coach of the bunch.
Here’s what to expect from the eight new episodes of this hit show, which are now streaming on Netflix:
1) Almost no avocados this season: Food expert Anotni Porowski got a lot of flack on the internet for his love of simple avocado-based dishes in Season 1. But in this new batch of episodes, there’s only one dish that’s made made with that rich, creamy fruit, and its presence is rather subtle: He makes a green goddess dressing as a garnish for roasted cauliflower.
Elsewhere in Season 2, Porowski prepares a grilled peach salad, Persian tahdig, spiced nuts with cilantro, tuna poke, Amatriciana-style pasta, and a classic French omelet. All of these are light and relatively low-lift dishes, and most of them look appetizing, with the exception, perhaps, of the mayonnaise-heavy poke.
2) This season has three clear standout episodes: “God Bless Gay,” the season opener, might be the most emotionally-stirring episode of Queer Eye to date, since it’s a dual makeover of both a church-going mom and her gay son who recently moved back into their small town. Like all the best episodes, this one features the various members of the Fab 5 drawing upon their own personal experiences to help the people getting the lifestyle revamps process their feelings. The episode concludes with a touching homecoming event at a renovated church community center.
Episode 5, “Sky’s the Limit,” begins with footage of a top surgery being performed on a transgender man named Skyler. The Queer Eye makeover helps him feel comfortable with his body for the first time. This episode also features a poignant scene where Tan, who had never met a trans person before, asks Skyler about the discrimination and emotional struggles that he faced since he was a teen. By the end of “Sky’s the Limit,” it appears that Skyler has entered an exciting new phase of his life.
Episode 4, “The Handyman Can,” follows the classic formula of a sartorially-clueless dude who gets a dramatic style upgrade, but the Fab 5 also appear to influence the guy’s life on a more profound level. The dude in question is Jason, a middle-aged Burner who is contemplating giving up on Atlanta and moving to Reno to be closer to his beloved Burning Man festival. The makeover helps Jason realize how much the people in his community love him, and how he could follow his dreams without packing up and leaving town.
3) Even the lesser episodes still tug at the heartstrings: There are no proper duds this season, just episodes where the personal stakes are slightly lower than others. “Big Little Lies,” about a recent college grad who is losing touch with the world, and “A Decent Proposal,” chronicling the engagement of a pair of Walmart employees, are particularly engrossing.
4) Antoni still gets the job done: The food expert is not a Michelin-recognized chef (nor should he be for the purposes of this show), but he does know how to pick the dishes and menus that will inspire confidence in the guys he’s coaching.
In Season 2, Porowski brings the dudes to some great Atlanta restaurants to teach them the tricks of the trade, including Sotto Sotto, where bartender-dad Leo learns about how to make pasta, and Bacchanalia, where “hipster mayor” Ted sees how to properly set a table for a formal dinner. Jason, the Burning Man guy, also has a fairly mind-blowing lunch with Antoni at Eater Atlanta favorite Chani Pani.
Porowski’s culinary approach is best summed up by a line in Episode 7, when he’s teaching bashful musical prodigy Sean how to prepare an omelet for himself. “It’s not about the egg,” Antoni says after tasting Sean’s omelet, “it’s all about making it his own.”
5) This season is full of odd surprises: Sometimes they’re funny stunts, other times they’re WTF scenes that arise during the makeovers, but Queer Eye is full of moments that are bound to inspire plenty of internet memes.
“Big Little Lies,” takes an unexpected turn when Karamo makes hapless post-grad Ariane take a polygraph test, but the act of taking the exam ultimately helps the guy be more honest with himself. In “A Decent Proposal,” Antoni finds a bag full of actual human teeth while inspecting the couple’s bedroom. And In “Bedazzled,” the gang is surprised to find that the 18-year-old kid who they’re coaching, Sean, spends his days serenading old people in an antique store. But his god-mom Lulu’s extreme reaction to meeting the Fab 5 might actually be the most meme-able moment of the entire season.
Both seasons of Queer Eye are now available to stream on Netflix.
• Previously: Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’ Might Make You Cry This Weekend [E]
• All Food TV Coverage [E]