A show as rigidly formatted as Queer Eye has the potential to grow stale quickly – there are only so many down and out Americans Tan can French tuck into a better version of themselves, after all – so four seasons in, a quick trip to Japan is the perfect remedy for any rumblings of ‘been there, done that’.
At just four episodes long, it’s a quick trip indeed, though the Fab Five are sure to choose their heroes wisely. From a hospice caretaker who puts everyone before herself to a husband who’s become so out of touch with himself, his marriage is barely functional, the gang have their work cut out for them.
With the help of Japanese model, actor, designer and all-round superstar Kiko Mizuhara to help them navigate any cultural barriers, the Fab Five work their magic on their chosen subjects, learning a few things about the Japanese way of life along the way. The team are experts when it comes to keeping things fun and fresh and Queer Eye: We’re In Japan! stands as the perfect shakeup for their tried and tested methods. Not to mention the fun Tan has playing with Japanese fashion while Antoni experiments with traditional flavours and dishes.
Bobby proves that no hurdle is too high for his interior design prowess as the spatial limitations of Tokyo’s micro-apartments put him to the test, and Karamo is joined by a parade of Japanese special guests in unpacking the cultural restraints this handful of heroes face. As for Jonathan, he proves that his wardrobe was made for the streets of Tokyo, honey, wielding the scissors like an absolute hair god, of course.
Queer Eye is like a makeover for the soul and their Japanese stint is no exception. The transformations are super kawaii, proving that an inner glow and healthy change in perspective are the best ingredients for rejuvenation.
What’s most enlightening about this mini-season is the cultural differences it depicts – however small they may seem – and the ways in which these norms impact the lives and self-esteem of those who feel restricted by Japan’s comparatively traditional and conservative ideals.
With Queer Eye: We’re In Japan!, the Fab Five seem to have tapped into something very special. Perhaps we’ll see them jetting off again soon to spread their love and positivity around the world.
Queer Eye: We’re In Japan! lands on Netflix on Friday November 1.
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