Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Queer Eye or Straight Guy? 

When you discuss Bravo's show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, if you indeed discuss it, do you use a shorthand reference? The Girl and I simply call it "Queer Eye," as do our friends, both straight and gay. I've heard the Fab Five referred to as the "Queer Eye Guys."

But The Guyfriend tells me that recently our local CBS affiliate, WBZ4, apparently decided that they just couldn't bring themselves to use the word "queer" during a local newscast. Five notoriously shaggy Boston Red Sox players are getting Queer Eye makeovers, and filming began this Monday. It's news of note for a Boston station when Doug Mirabelli (click here for a photo of him with Carson Kressley), Johnny Damon (no, he won't be cutting his trademark locks - he's under contract to keep his coif long because of his book deal), Kevin Millar, Tim Wakefield and Jason Varitek are putting themselves in the hands of the gay fashion, style, grooming, cuisine and decor gurus, so it's understandable that WBZ would mention it during the local news.

However, the newscaster referenced the cast as being "The Fab Five, from Straight Guy." Straight Guy? Who calls this show Straight Guy? Even the show's logo emphasizes the "queer eye" portion of the title. A feature of the show is the "Queer Eye Hip Tips." Not the Straight Guy Hip Tips. The Straight Guys on the show are simply the canvas on which the Fab Five apply their fashionable gay artistry.

What was the hangup? Did the news announcer (sorry, I don't know who it was) balk at saying "queer" on air? Was it a fear of offending gay people or of being somehow associated with gay people? Was it reticence to put the word "queer" in such close proximity to the words "Red Sox?" Was it simply a matter of not wanting to reference directly another network's show (Bravo is owned by NBC)? If this last was the case, then why do the story at all? Oh yeah, because it's the Red Sox. Were they afraid that children might be watching the news, and that they might be confused, curious or even influenced by the word? How do you explain "Straight" without comparison to its opposite?

Well, guess what? If the Red Sox organization and the participating players are okay with BEING ON the show with the Queer Eye Guys, maybe it wouldn't really have been too damaging for the newscaster to use the show's name. I wonder what Buster would think?

Programming Note: The episode will be the season opener for Queer Eye, on June 7, and proceeds from the episode will be used towards rebuilding a hurricane damaged Little League field in the Ft. Myers area.

Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:46 AM