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‘Queer Eye’ needs more makeover, less sap

One-time hit losing its luster as Fab Five shift focus to warm moments
/ Source: msnbc.com contributor

Why doesn’t anyone care about “Queer Eye” anymore?

“Queer Eye” (Bravo, Tuesdays, 10 p.m. ET) used to be the hippest thing on television, and now you’d be lucky to hear its name dropped anywhere other than in a commercial airing during a “Project Runway” marathon. What happened?

Well, for one thing, the show apparently ran out of raw material. It used to be a makeover show for schlubs — guys with one eyebrow, guys with nothing in their closets but flannel shirts or hockey jerseys, guys who invited women over and drank out of NFL juice glasses. Apparently, all those guys have been cured, because now it’s all attractive, successful guys learning about warmth.

Witness the new episode that aired on Tuesday night as part of what’s being promoted as a “wedding season.” The plot concerned a marriage proposal from pretty boy Joe, who’s been dating Laura for 10 years. Rather than working much in their actual areas of expertise like fashion and design, the QE guys droned on about the relationship, chatted with Laura’s friends, and took Joe sailing. Joe got an exfoliating mask and a new suit, but mostly, he got a lot of prearranged warm moments.

“Queer Eye” has always loved tearful endings, and this episode delivered. It’s even done more than one proposal before. But what began as a sharp-witted makeover show where a guy was scolded hilariously by actual experts and then rebuilt from his hair to his living room furniture has turned into an Oprah-like extravaganza that’s all about hugging.

Granted, there are only so many times Kyan can tell a guy to moisturize or Thom can look stricken at someone’s atrocious taste in knickknacks, so the difficulty in keeping the formula fresh is understandable. But for people who loved the original, witty, informative “Queer Eye,” this uplifting sapfest is a real disappointment.

Linda Holmes is a writer in Bloomington, Minn.