Queer Eye Recap: The Beard Dilemma

Queer Eye

Saving Sasquatch
Season 1 Episode 2
Editor’s Rating *****
Photo: Courtesy of Netflix

This episode’s subject is Neal, the affirmative answer to the question, “Has anyone decided to live full-time dressed as Mike Myers in The Love Guru?” Neal works in tech, if you could not guess from his shoulder-length hair, beard, slouchy uniform, and characteristic posture of someone whose body looks like it’s a question mark.

Neal’s best friend is not a person, but a dog named Forever. A Dog Named Forever sounds like a bad, vaguely Christian animal show on TCM, but it is not. I will not make fun of her because she is really dang cute. However, this dog is leaving fur all over Neal’s apartment, which he hasn’t invited people to come visit in ten years. That’s because it is covered in dog hair, chewed-up vertical blinds, and so many sad, lumpy sectionals that even Jennifer could not convert them into anything resembling furniture. The whole place is the same shade of woody beige reserved for Ikea bookshelves and countertops in the tiny kitchenettes of Motel 6 rooms for business travelers.

There’s also an unfortunate outdoor area that looks like the world’s saddest frat party happened there about six years ago and still no one has cleaned up. Things aren’t great in the shower, either, which Jonathan accurately describes as a “skin tag”: “It’s not hurting anyone, but it looks disgusting,” he says. Also, I love that they’re going through his things and find his trimmers and Neal says, “Those are for my pubes. Glad you found ’em.” Okay, this man doesn’t cut his hair or his beard, but he meticulously shaves his nether regions? He’s single and doesn’t bathe, but thinks that if he keeps things nice and neat down there that women will just fall out of the sky and want to play “Whistlin’ Dixie” on Neal’s shaved “Oh Susanna”? The arrogance of straight men knows no bounds.

Tan is the first to get his hands on Neal, who says, “I never go shop in fancy stores.” So Tan takes him to … Bonobos, an e-tailer that wished super hard and made itself into a real boy. Tan is Pakistani and Neal is Indian, so he keeps comparing the two of them like they have so much in common. I get what he’s going for, drawing them together with shared Hindu cultural experiences, but he’s playing that one note really hard.

The look he finally puts together for Neal is pretty cute, though, and consists mostly of short-sleeved button-down shirts with patterns ranging from ironic flamingo lawn ornaments to the kind of florals you’d see on the bathroom wallpaper at a Margaritaville restaurant. Neal puts one of those over a T-shirt, a pair of not-too-dressy pants, and with a nice sneaker. Neal ends up looking like every straight guy who works at every advertising agency in North America. It’s not a bad look.

Then Karamo takes Neal boxing because, I don’t know. What is Karamo ever even doing? Karamo keeps harping on how Neal has all of his walls up and needs to let people in his life or something because otherwise Karamo has nothing to do on set except for holding all of Jonathan’s different snapping fans. Boxing is the absolute worst choice. Boxing is sort of like veganism: Those that are going to be into it have already found it and the rest of us think that it’s dumb, dangerous, and will probably make your pee smell funny. However, they take Antoni along and he’s not wearing sleeves, so, I’m cool.

But Karamo is just an absolute waste the whole time. Right before Neal has his party to show off his new space and his new look, Karamo says, “I wish your mother could be here to see this.” Neal says, “Oh, she’s going to be here.” Karamo, of course, is shocked. “Oh, okay. Cool. Well, then I’m going to shut up and go do crunches by the craft-services tent and pretend like I don’t want to eat all the Kit Kats.”

Jonathan takes Neal to get his hair cut and his beard trimmed, and he’s really nervous about this step because he doesn’t want to look like a boring person. I actually think the best he looked was when Tan put his hair up in a bun when they were trying on clothes. Maybe he just needed some hair ties and to cut off that awful beard. Instead, Jonathan gives him the standard issue floppy haircut and a trim beard. Neal now looks like an Indian Judd Apatow.

After showing him how to style his hair, Jonathan also teaches him how to spray cologne using a method he learned from Kyan Douglas on the original Queer Eye: the “spray, delay, and walk away” method. This really comes back in a brilliant way later, when Neal puts his cologne on and then gives a final spin and a, “Yaaaaazzzzz, queen,” just like Jonathan would.

Speaking of Antoni, he showed Neal, a man who confesses that he knows how to cook and likes to do it, how to make a grilled cheese. Girl, I think that cheese is a bunch of clotted cow mucus sent to us by the devil and even I know how to make a grilled cheese. At least give this man some new skills or something. Then, at the party for his app launch, Antoni forces him to make grilled cheeses for everyone. Yes, it’s nice, but he’s at the party, he shouldn’t be in the kitchen toiling over a hot stove.

Bobby redesigned the house and, yawn, he made it look like the outdoor seating area at a Panera Bread or something. Whatever.

All in all, Neal is a nice, fun subject who seems to improve quite a bit for the Fab Five. But let’s be honest, that house is going to go right back to being a disaster faster than Karamo can try to teach us how to properly use hashtags.

Queer Eye Recap: The Beard Dilemma