We're not sure if the point was to make us feel old, but that's what happened when Bravo premiered the "Queer Eye Reunion: 10 Years Later" special. It's been a decade since "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" put the network on the map with its male makeovers, making stars out of the five designers. The special reunited Ted Allen, Kyan Douglas, Thom Filicia, Carson Kressley, and Jai Rodriguez, alongside Andy Cohen, to relive the show and its legacy, and reveal a few surprises along the way.
Cohen talked to Kressley about coming out to his family as a result of the show. "I think probably the pink Doc Martens and the parachute pants in the eighth grade did that, but I wasn’t officially out to my family," Kressley revealed. "For me it was really ironic that it took something like a makeover show for me to actually be honest with who I was and be empowered and get rid of that fear.”
Allen revealed that he had a similar experience. "I don’t really understand to this day why I tried so hard to get that job," he said. "And I almost wonder if that’s a part of it. It forced me to tell them.”
As Allen put it, it was "courageous" to be out and help straight viewers understand that gay people were -- for the most part -- just like them. The cast did admit that they weren't huge fans of the word "Queer" in the title of their show at first. They felt it was a very loaded word. In fact, the families of both Allen and Rodriguez refused to use the name while talking about the show, thought they were both accepting of Allen and Rodriguez themselves.
Entertainment Weekly spoke with cultural experts, who weren't shy to label "Queer Eye" as landmark television. "In many ways, 'Queer Eye' was the next step in a natural evolution that started with Ellen DeGeneres’ coming out on a 1997 episode of 'Ellen' and the 1998 debut of 'Will & Grace.' 'Queer Eye' did for reality television what 'Will & Grace' did for scripted television,” said reality veteran producer/editor Troy DeVolld. "It was definitely a landmark moment within the last 10 to 15 years."
Slate's June Thomas agreed with the cultural significance of the show. "As hokey as the original series now seems, that confrontational title got the Q word in TV Guide, and this reunion leaves no doubt that the show’s brashness helped to establish that Middle America was ready to watch gay people prance around on television," she wrote. "Sunday’s show also makes another point: Ten years ago, reality TV required people to go out into the world and do something. These days, it involves communing with Andy Cohen on an overstuffed couch.”
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