If a good cry is healthy, the new season of “Queer Eye” has gotta be a cure-all


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Photo: Getty Images/Matt Winkelmeyer

What does a perfect day look like for you? Maybe it includes an epic meal, jet-setting adventures, romantic moments that make Call Me By Your Name seem gray and boring…and of course: cathartic sobbing. (Just me?)

Any great day for me can be made better by getting at least a little teary, because the high from that release is the quickest stress-buster I know. Medical experts agree that letting those tears flow, even if they come up at unexpected moments (like yoga class, during movies, and even, yikes, post-orgasm), is really good for you.

So if you judge Queer Eye seasons purely on sob factor (again, just me?), let me give the third outing for the Fab Five, which dropped yesterday on Netflix, a hearty two (Kleenex-covered) thumbs up.

When the Netflix series debuted in early 2018 (God, was it only a year ago?), the crying was the point. Call it must-sob TV.

Watching Queer Eye is like a beautiful detox to cleanse your tear ducts, your eyes, your lymphatic system, and your very soul. Or at least it feels that way. When the Netflix series debuted in early 2018 (God, was it only a year ago?), the crying was the point. Call it must-sob TV. It was a cultural moment where America took a break from its red state-blue state stalemate for some seriously therapeutic hugs. ( Oh, A.J…I hope you and your stepmom are okay.)

And this season, as it strays further from its “for the straight guy” roots than ever, the show is melting my heart again, as it did back when JVN was an acronym no one would recognize. This time around, I fell in love with the women most of all.

It’s not the first time the QE crew has made over a woman—that happened for the first time in season two. But the three episodes that feature women steal the show. Here’s what you need to know about them before you settle in for a good, healthy cry.

The Jones sisters: Little and Shorty

This duo has built a Kansas City barbecue institution over the past 35 years but are reaching the limit of what they can achieve through sheer grit and hard work. As they say again and again, they were raised to be able to handle things on their own and never, ever expect help. (Oh, Joneses, I relate—and the tears started welling up there.)

Watching the terror on their faces as they share the recipe for their father’s secret sauce to chefs at a bottling company, part of me expected them to bolt. I felt the decades of working long hours in a cramped, sweltering kitchen—and I felt the life-changing gravity of trusting it to complete strangers to bet on a bigger future. This drama is generational and epic, and bigger than any makeover. Get ready for serious waterworks with these two.

Jody, a hunter who loves camo a little too much

This late-40s Kansas mom runs a farm with her husband and works a full-time job as a prison guard. And, as the QE crew realizes as they walk around her taxidermy-stuffed home, it’s obvious that she loves to hunt. How much? Two words: camouflage lingerie.

But this is not the culture-clash standoff you think it’ll be. In fact, the tears started flowing during a pretty darn touchy-feely gathering of women that Karamo Brown organizes for Jody (yep, it was a literal women’s circle, minus the crystals and sage).

Another high point (unlikely to make you cry, but still): when Jonathan Van Ness teaches Jody how to werk in heels. She takes to it like a baby supermodel—and even adds a twist to the Legally Blonde bend-and-snap that makes him gasp. Respect, Jody.

Jess, Queer Eye’s first lesbian hero

And finally, there’s Jess, a 23-year-old whose family kicked her out of the house at 16 because she is gay. She’s a teeny wisp of a woman who you just want to hug because she wears her vulnerability on her sleeve—or rather, in her huge, expressive eyes—so you feel her struggle as she says again and again, like a mantra, that she wants to be a  “strong, black, lesbian woman.”

You know she’s going to get there (this is Queer Eye, after all)—but I won’t spoil the details, which keep you sniffling throughout. Bring out all the Kleenex for Jess’ story. Plus, as Dolly Parton says in Steel Magnolias, “Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion”—and this episode delivers just that. As the Queer Eye guys watch Jess with her friends at the end of the episode, Van Ness tearfully says, “I love these midwestern queens!” Aaaaand I’m that much closer to a perfect day already.

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