Queer Eye: We're in Japan!
Updated: Nov 30, 2019
A thoughtful, gorgeous burst of positivity
Streaming on Netflix | 2019 | TV-14 | 1 season, 4 episodes
Genre: Heartwarming, tear-inducing reality TV Why We Watched: This week was rough, y'all. By the end of the work week, I felt like the wrong combination of tired and defeated. I wanted to watch something that would soothe the soul and, when I saw that Queer Eye had dropped a mini-season, knew this was exactly what I needed.
You Might Also Like: To start with the obvious: you should watch Queer Eye. The show's four other seasons on Netflix are just as wonderful, and will leave you wanting to be JVN's bestie. And, if you're in need of even more feel-good TV, look no further. The Great British Baking Show and The Good Place both recently dropped new seasons and will give you the best wholesome, cozy mood boost.
I have never been a big TV or movie crier. In fact, I can list the number of times something has pulled on my heartstrings enough for tears. I cried twice during the first episode alone of Queer Eye: We're in Japan!. Not only does this put this mini-installment on my personal shortlist of emotionally touching TV, but it also speaks to the show's ability to transform lives and connect cultures. The first episode features Yoko, a 58-year-old hospice nurse who turned her home into a residential hospice after her sister passed away. Explaining that her sister died in alone in a hospital, Yoko wanted other patients with similar circumstances to spend the end of their lives in more comfortably. In the process of opening the hospice, though, Yoko abandoned her private life and stopped taking care of herself, described in Japanese culture as giving up on "being a woman." Within the 50-minute episode, viewers watch as Yoko blossoms into a new version of herself with an appreciation for self care. Some of this is surface level. Tan gives her a more mature, yet colorful wardrobe. Jonathan provides her simple makeup tips to start her day. Bobby even creates a small garden that she can visit to connect with her sister. But the changes become more palpable, as Yoko exudes a newfound confidence and liveliness in how she engages with family and friends. This type of transformation is typical of Queer Eye: We're in Japan!, a snack-sized version of the larger Queer Eye series. Although it's packaged as a makeover show, this is TV that underscores the importance of emotional and mental transformations even more than physical ones. If you've watched the Queer Eye series, this approach to changing lives isn't new. But what We're in Japan! does exceptionally well is navigate new cultures without assumption. As a recent Vice article explained, the Fab Five are typically positioned as "experts" on the show, often front and center to provide advice. In We're in Japan!, the Fab Five passes the mic to locals—ranging from a Japanese monk and makeup artist to a well-known chef—with a deeper understanding of Japanese society and culture, and facilitate conversations from the sidelines. This move thoughtfully frameworks the mini-series as a showcase of Japanese culture, rather than an Americanized attempt to control the narrative.
Queer Eye: We're in Japan! offers up a heartwarming dose of self-love, motivation, and, of course, gorgeous skincare realness. It's also the perfect length for a long weekend binge. Cozy up with a big blanket and enjoy! Happy streaming,