Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is an hour-long American television series that premiered on the Bravo cable television network on July 15, 2003, and promptly became both a surprise hit (at least by the standards of cable TV) and one of the most talked-about television programs of 2003.
Fitting into the genre of both reality television and "make-over" programs, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, created by David Collins and David Metzler, stars five openly gay men (Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley, and Jai Rodriguez), each of whom claims a particular talent (food and wine; grooming; interior design; fashion; and culture, respectively). The show is produced by Scout Productions.
Each episode features a new candidate straight (or heterosexual) man to be culturally transformed by the self-dubbed "Fab Five". Each candidate prepares for a special event and receives generous guidance from each "Fab Five" member in their respective categories of expertise. The Queer Eye cast has helped prepare for such events as a marriage proposal , a first dinner with a girlfriend's parents, and a backyard barbecue. The "Fab Five" redecorate, rewardrobe, and restyle to create a completely new "look" for the candidate.
In a typical episode, the "Fab Five" arrive at the candidate's residence to assess his "level of style." The cast ransacks the home, with a running "style" commentary on everything they find. Their critiques could frequently be seen as insulting, but are stated with the intent of helpful advice. In their investigation, each expert attempts to understand the unique preferences of the candidate in order to best advise him on how to improve.
Critical reaction to the debut in the mainstream press was mostly favorable, with praise for its unapolagetic portrayal of stereotypes. Its sympathetic representation of openly gay men won acclaim from both straight and gay viewers. Others criticized the program for its generalizations about sexual identity. Critics felt that it made unfair expectations of both gay and straight men, namely that the former group is inherently more skilled in matters of fashion and style than the latter. Some who felt attacked by the program called for a sequel with a reversed premise. Other critics felt it perpetuated innacuarrate and offensive gay stereotypes that supposedly belonged to history. Namely, that they're camp, preening, vain, bitchy, good with fashion, style and have good taste in food, wine, art and culture. Queer Eye has won much critical acclaim, the show winning an Emmy Award in 2004.
The series' success was such that television networks in many other countries, including the UK and Australia, created their own versions of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy for broadcast in their countries. In the UK, Channel 4, on which the original version appeared briefly before being cancelled, did not screen the local version, although several episodes of it were aired in the US. The Australian version received low ratings in its time slot and was quickly cancelled. The first episode of the Finnish version (Sillä Silmällä, literally "with that certain eye") was aired on March 30th, 2005 and it already has created some controversy - not for the homosexual content but for the blatant product placement which is being accused of breaking the Finnish law against "hidden advertising".
The show also inspired a Comedy Central spoof, Straight Plan for the Gay Man, which has the opposite premise, four straight men (dubbed the "Flab Four") make-over a gay man to pass as straight.
Other variations of the show from Scout Productions include the Queer Eye for the Straight Girl series which debuted in 2005, Queer Eye for the Texan Guy, a string of episodes set in Texas, Queer Eye for the British Guy, a series of episodes starring the US cast set in the UK, and a one-time Queer Eye for the Gay Guy episode, in which the Fab 5 helped out another gay guy. This ran during Gay Pride month, June 2004.
The soundtrack for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy was released on February 10, 2004, in the US. It has reached number 1 on the electronic music chart in the US and the number 2 position on the soundtrack charts while reaching the top 40 in the Billboard 200 album chart. In Australia, the soundtrack was released for the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras and the popularity of the show in Australia led to the soundtrack reaching the top 10 of the Australian album chart as at March 8, 2004. It was certified gold in Australia by the end of March 2004. The song "Superstar" by Jamelia which appears on the soundtrack went to number one on the Australian singles charts in the same week and the theme song of the show by Widelife has gone top twenty as at the end of March 2004.
1. "All Things Just Keep Getting Better" by Widelife featuring Simone Denny
This song is the show's theme song. The track has been released as a single and has reached top twenty of the Australian singles charts as of the end of March, 2004.
2."Good Luck" by Basement Jaxx featuring Lisa Kekaula
This song was a world wide smash dance track and reached the UK and Australian top 40 single tracks. It is the second single from the 2003 album Kish Kash. Lisa Kekaula is from US indie rock group the Bellrays who have toured with Rocket from the Crypt and Nashville Pussy.
Kylie Minogue has appeared on the program. "Slow" was number one in a number of countries including the UK, Australia, Spain and Denmark and went top 10 in a number of other countries including Canada, Spain, Italy, Taiwan and Portugal in late 2003 and early 2004. In the UK, Madonna is the only female artist to have more number one singles (Kylie has had 7, Madonna 10). The Chemical Brothers remixed the track.
Junior Senior from Denmark released D-D-Don't Don't Stop the Beat in 2003. The first single Move your Feet was the most played songs on Danish radio and eventually made the charts in 13 countries including Australia, France and Denmark. As one member of the group is gay and the other is straight, this infectious track was a natural for the soundtrack of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
5. "You Promised Me (Tu Es Foutu)" by In-grid
The "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" soundtrack is the only place this European hit is available in the US. In Europe, it is available on her album Rendezvous and is a cover version of "Tu Es Foutu" by French artist Lamur Sleeper.
6. "Superstar" by Jamelia
Jamelia is a r&b singer from the UK who has had several Top 40 hits in that country. Her song "Superstar" went to number one in Australia and New Zealand in early 2004 and went top 10 in the UK, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands in 2003 and 2004. The success of the soundtrack in Australia helped propel "Superstar" to the number one position in the Australian single charts.
7. "Everybody wants you to Emerge" by Fischerspooner vs Billy Squier Barry Harris revamp
This song mixes "Everybody Wants You" by 1980s arena rocker Billy Squier with 2003 dance hit "Emerge" by Fischerspooner.
8. "Sunrise (Jason Nevins) remix" by Duran Duran
This song is the first song performed by the original members of 1980s English rock group Duran Duran. The soundtrack's liner notes claim that Duran Duran were the first metrosexuals.
9. "Never Coming Home (Gonna Live my Life)" remix by Sting
This is a remix of a song from Sting's Sacred Love album released in 2003.
10. "An Area Big Enough to do it in" by Prophet Omega
This is the first single for US outfit Prophet Omega who are currently recording their first album.
11. "You're So Damn Hot" by OK Go
OK Go are a Chicago rock band whose debut self-titled alum was released on September 17, 2002 and features "You're So Damn Hot". Ira Glass of "This American Life" has described OK Go's music as "part indie rock, part stadium rock, part straight up pop with the occasional whiff of Pixies or The Cars or Elliott Smith." The website for the soundtrack claims that this track is reminiscent of the Cars.
12. "Extraordinary" by Liz Phair
"Extraordinary" is the latest single from Liz Phair's self-titled album released in 2003. It reached the top twenty of the Billboard Adult Top 40 in early 2004 while the "Liz Phair" album reached a peak of number 27 on the Billboard 200 in 2003.
13. "Are you Ready for Love" by Elton John
This is a Fatboy Slim remix of a 1977 song from Elton John as part of an aborted attempt to record a soul album with Thom Bell, known for his work with Philadelphia International Records. Elton John released the song on the Thom Bell sessions in 1979 and on the single "Mama Can't Buy You Love" which went to number 9 on the US charts in that year. The song was released as a single in the UK in 2003 and debuted at number one on September 1, 2003.
14. "All Things (Just Keep Getting Better)" by Widelife featuring Simone Denny
This is a multimedia track of the theme song for the show.