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'Queer Eye' spinoff lacks wit, charm of original series

| Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2005

Bravo's original series "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" shot to the top of popular culture, thanks to its ensemble of charming homosexual men who turn a bland guy into a classy man. As with all successful shows, there must be a spinoff. Welcome "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl."

The hourlong series introduces three gay men and one lesbian as "The Gal Pals." Together, they infiltrate a straight woman's life and use their makeover magic. Despite their best attempts, this crew is definitely the B team. They lack the humor and wit that imbibe the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" with its intrinsic charm.

Lesbian Honey Labrador leads the team. She holds the team together while providing a woman's viewpoint. Robbie Laughlin does "The Look." He oversees wardrobe, hair and makeup to provide a sleek look. Danny Teason creates a new lifestyle for women by introducing them to wine, dance, exercise and culture. Damon Pease rebuilds a woman's home to reflect a new, sophisticated spirit.

The team obviously enjoys working with each other, perhaps a little too much. They spend far too much time playing around instead of focusing on their task.

Nicole, a technology executive, is the first woman brave enough to face a makeover. She is afraid of turning 30, which does seem hard for a woman who still looks and acts like a 12-year-old tomboy.

"She's got a problem with turning 30," says Danny. "We basically need to teach her that 30 is the new 20. We need to 'Sex and the City' this girl up."

The Gal Pals' goal is to spend one day with Nicole and change her look and home in time for her 30th birthday party. The task is tremendous. This is a woman who lives in cut-off jeans and baseball caps. Her apartment is a mess, with dirty dishes littering kitchen counters and tool benches serving as cabinets in the living room. The team pesters her with intimate questions, such as "When was the last time you had sex?" and "When was the last time you had heavy petting?"

The crew does a wonderful job redecorating the apartment and helping Nicole choose new clothing. Along the way they offer helpful tips such as mix trendy clothing and classic pieces, honey hydrates skin and use seaweed for smooth skin.

"Sometimes it's the simplest things that make the difference," says Honey.

At the end of the day, the Gal Pals gather for "the show." Cameras follow Nicole around as she dresses and prepares snacks for friends. The camera also follows Nicole to her party. All the while, the four makeover mavens are spouting comments and wisdom. The show goes on a little too long.

"She realizes 30 isn't fatal and she's got the rest of her life," says Robbie when the evening is a success.

Good for her.

"Straight Girl" ends up being a bunch of friends having fun for the day. There's no controversy and the makeover is nothing stunning. One can't help but wonder why Nicole needs someone to tell her to ditch the baseball cap.

The original "Straight Guy" series is fun because it asks men to do things that are alien to masculinity. Burly men receive facials and actually go to designer stores. Those are things that make most men shake in their boots. That is the beauty of the original show. "Straight Girl" doesn't seem as new because women are expected to buy girlie shoes and enjoy facials no matter how tomboyish they are.

"Straight Girl" will have some serious problems living up to the icon status of the original "Straight Guy" series. Additional Information:

Details

'Queer Eye for the Straight Girl'

11 Tonight, Bravo

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