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10 February, 2018

Netflix’s ‘Queer Eye’ Might Make You Cry This Weekend

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Three TV recommendations, plus a roundup of the week’s entertainment news

This post originally appeared on February 9, 2018, in “Eat, Drink, Watch” — the weekly newsletter for people who want to order takeout and watch TV. Browse the archives and subscribe now.


Wow, what a week! So much stuff happened, including the Super Bowl, the Dow crash, and Lady DoritoGate. My guess is that you were slammed with work or busy doing other stuff, but now it’s time to put all that business aside and settle into some uninterrupted TV watching. Here are a few recommendations, plus some food entertainment news.

Queer Eye is the rare reboot that’s better than the original

 Courtesy of Netflix

The most important thing to know about Netflix’s Queer Eye for the Straight Guy reboot — now called, simply, Queer Eye — is that the new cast of lifestyle experts is just as dynamic as the original Fabulous Five. The second most important thing to know about Queer Eye is that the show follows the exact same format as the old one, but the new iteration has more emotional depth than the original. Every episode has at least one moment that might make you tear up, just a little bit.

The campiness of the old Queer Eye burned off on its way to Netflix, leaving a leaner, sharper-looking endeavor that feels more like a docu-series than a reality TV show. It’s no longer set in New York City, but rather rural Georgia. Many of the guys getting the makeovers — the crew calls them “heroes” — are middle-aged bachelors or family men who have clearly taken some hits in life. And in a first for the Queer Eye franchise, one episode revolves around a gay man who’s preparing to come out to his stepmom — so the Fab Five aren’t just working with straight guys, anymore.

The makeover segments are just as entertaining as always, but the series’ focus is less about building a style arsenal and more about embracing the idea of self care. The “heroes” are not just getting a closet full of new clothes and a handful of recipes; they’re getting inspiration for how to live their hashtag best lives.

The food expert, Antoni Porowski, is a relative unknown in the culinary world, but like his predecessor (and mentor) Ted Allen, he clearly knows how to put together a good dinner party. Perhaps most importantly, Porowski also has a knack for suggesting little flourishes that will elevate a home-cooked meal and instill confidence in the person cooking it. Sometimes he brings the makeover subjects to a restaurant to get fresh inspiration, and other times he just riffs on what the guys are working with in their own kitchens. Like all the lifestyle experts on the show, he’s knowledgeable but never condescending, and happy to talk about his own life experiences while coaching the dudes.

The new Queer Eye doesn’t have as much ground to break as the original, but it feels like an improvement on the formula that’s also perfectly suited to 2018. It’s an especially fun thing to watch if you’ve got a group of people — maybe your own version of the Fab Five — hanging out around the TV.

All eight new episodes are now available to view on Netflix.


Streaming recommendations du jour

 Comedy Central/Broad City

Broad City Season 4

Watch it on: Hulu

The gist: Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s comedy about two fun-loving, often-broke New Yorkers is perhaps best enjoyed in a marathon setting, because you can fully lock into the gonzo spirit of the show and also notices little recurring gags and callbacks to previous episodes. Season 4 finds Ilana navigating the service industry via a job at a “Manhattan restaurantery” called Sushi Mambeaux, where her boss is none other than RuPaul. This series also includes the instant-classic episode “The Trip Begins,” where our heroes hit up a macaron bakery after ingesting a bunch of psychedelic mushrooms. Broad City Season 4 is one of several noteworthy additions to the major TV libraries this month.

Heartburn

Watch it on: HBO Go, Amazon Video, Google Play

The gist: This extremely ’80s dramedy depicts a lightly fictionalized version of Nora Ephron’s rocky first marriage to Washington Post reporter Carl Bernstein. Meryl Streep plays the Ephron character, Jack Nicholson portrays the Watergate hero, and The Graduate’s Mike Nichols is in the director’s chair. Like most of Ephron’s screenplays, there’s a lot of food involved — a post-coital pasta dinner is arguably the most famous scene in the film — and some very snappy one-liners throughout. This could be a fun, outside-the-box pick for a Valentine’s Day viewing.


And in other news…

 Netflix/The Cloverfield Paradox

Have a great weekend and if you’re looking for a cooking project, perhaps consider making these Instagram-famous salted chocolate chunk cookies from Alison Roman’s Dining In book.