Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Bravo's 'Queer Eye' takes look at style



By Lynn Elber
The Associated Press

Want help in transforming a schlub of a husband or boyfriend into one who's attractive and socially adept?

Get the right man for the job - the right gay man. That's the premise of a Bravo series in which style-challenged straight men are overhauled by experts whose credentials include being gay.

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy (10 p.m. today, Bravo), with two back-to-back hours, is a clever and entertaining twist on the newly popular makeover shows. It even manages to impart a message.

Straight and gay men "are just guys, and they want to feel good about themselves," said David Collins, the series' creator. "We all do."

In Queer Eye, gay and straight men forge a new kind of brotherhood, one cemented by properly applied hair gel.

Gays, at least the ones featured in the series, are leagues ahead in knowing how to achieve lifestyle perfection. The straight men are a group of sad sacks in need of rehab, Eliza Doolittles one and all.

They don't know how to dress or groom themselves properly, make their homes comfortable or entertain for business or family.

While there is some stereotyping at work, Collins emphasizes that each of the style mavens - dubbed the "fab five" - stands on their professional credentials and not their sexual orientation.

The pros include food and wine connoisseur Ted Allen, co-author of Esquire magazine's "Things a Man Should Know" column, and Thom Filicia, named by House Beautiful as one of America's top designers. Culture maven Jai Rodriguez, "grooming guru" Kyan Douglas and fashion sage Carson Kressley are the advisers.

Kressley is a hoot. "You put a living room where a crack den used to be," he exclaims, lauding a colleague's decorating makeover of an apartment.

The experts, however, are quite serious about helping their straight charges look, feel and live better. In the first episode, they get a scruffy artist ready for a gallery exhibit.

The second hour features a scruffy husband - there's a trend here - and his home getting overhauled in preparation for the wife's birthday.

Like NBC's gay-themed sitcom Will & Grace, the Bravo series is groundbreaking, said Gaspin. "We're taking a common genre, the makeover show, and we're being really honest with it, we're having fun with it."

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On the Net:

http://www.bravotv.com

TV today

Cincinnati's Wes Cowan determines if a Wisconsin woman really has five bullets pulled from the bodies of gangsters Bonnie and Clyde in 1934 on PBS' History Detectives (8 p.m., Channels 48, 16), while other experts research Sears, Roebuck & Co. homes in Akron.

One thing is for sure about the 74th annual Baseball All-Star game today: It won't end in a tie, like last year (8 p.m., Channels 19, 45).

Talk show guests

Regis and Kelly (9 a.m., Channel 9): Sean "P. Diddy" Combs

The View (11 a.m., Channel 9): Carnie Wilson

Caroline Rhea (3 p.m., Channel 19): Rachel Weisz

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John Kiesewetter and TV Data contributed to this report.




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