As soon as we see our five favorite homosexual reality television stars (sorry RuPaul) cruising down a rural Georgia road in their black Escalade, two things happen. First, I sing a version of Janet Jackson’s song “Escapade” where I change the lyrics to, “Let me take you in my Escalade. Let’s go!” Second, I make sure that everything with the Fab Five is just as we left it. Karamo is wearing a satin bomber (one of three this episode), Tan is wearing a busy floral-print shirt that wouldn’t look out of place in Blanche Devereaux’s wardrobe, and Antoni is still so wonderfully adorable that just the sight of his face could make me forget about his thirsty Hanes ads. Check, check, and check bitches. Let’s get right to this damn makeover.
It turns out that the crew is going to the town of Gay, Georgia, a small town with only 89 people. I immediately thought, “Oh, it’s cute that they’re going to the town of Gay, but this is just a stupid gimmick and the dude they’ll be making over won’t be that interesting.” I was wrong on all counts. First of all, they were making over a woman named Tammye. Yes, this is no longer Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, they can make over whomever the hell they want. They could probably turn around the hairstyle and home of a shiba inu as long as it saved a child from a well or something. (Actually, I would watch that episode. Bobby would find a way to make a dog house look exactly like a Señor Frog’s in Times Square, I’m sure.)
Also, Tammye is one of the most inspiring and deserving makeover subjects we’ve seen yet on the series. Not only is she a teacher who goes to visit sick children after school, but she’s also very involved in her church and wants the Fab Five to complete their community center rather than redoing her house. She’s also a cancer survivor who just lost her mother to cancer a year ago and is trying to get her gay son who just moved back home to return to the church. And she just happens to live in a town called Gay. Do they give out Nobel Prizes in casting? Because whoever the hell found Tammye deserves one.
We don’t do much trashing of Tammye’s décor choices, wardrobe stylings, or cooking habits, because how the hell are you going to tear down a child of God as amazing as Miss Tammye? There is one thing that we notice about Tammye though: she’s a bathroom hoarder. I know there are plenty of you out there who do this, and dedicate one room to just housing all of your random shit and just close the door on it like it doesn’t exist. It can be a guest room, a dining room, an unused parlor, whatever. With Tammye it’s her bathroom, which has been rendered practically unusable, with a bunch of trash bags stuffed with God knows what just lying on top of each other like they’re stacked in an open grave.
To be honest, the Fab Five didn’t seem to really do a lot, other than perpetual workhorse Bobby, who transformed the totally empty and uncompleted community center into something that looks like the reception room for the swankiest pizzeria in Asbury Park, New Jersey. He also redid Tammye’s bathroom as a bonus. But where did he put all of the bodies, I mean trash bags? Where did all of her things go? I need answers.
Bobby was a little bit of a stunt queen this episode. When Tammye’s friend and neighbor, Gene, was showing the boys around the community center and church, Bobby refused to go into the building because he has been so harmed by religion in his life. That’s a little much, like showing off for the camera. You may be nonplussed about the church, but you can at least go in and grimace out a smile just to seem nice to Gene and Tammye.
All Tan did was pick out a beautiful black dress with a little leather detail around the neck for Tammye to wear to the homecoming service. “All of the women are going to be jealous and all of the men are going to say, ‘Are we in church?’” Tammye joked when she modeled it for the boys. Jonathan took her to a beauty parlor called Blendz and fixed her brassy hair color and gave her some good makeup tips. Easy, peasy.
Antoni found out that Tammye had to bring enough macaroni salad for 200 people to the homecoming service so he decided that he was just going to let Tammye make it and he was going to stand there and look pretty in a Strokes T-shirt. Wait, nope. His T-shirt said Elysian MacArthur Griffith, which are the names of three parks in L.A. Girl, you’re a Canadian who lives in New York and works in Georgia. What are you doing? Anyway, Antoni says, “For once I’m not here to teach, I’m here to learn from Tammye.” For once? Girl, all you ever do is teach people how to cut avocados. Who are you teaching? But at least Antoni is finally getting a cooking lesson. Watch, next episode he’s going to be teaching someone how to make macaroni salad with relish and just a bit of mustard.
Finally we have Karamo whose duty was mostly to coach Myles, Tammye’s gay son who just moved back home. Myles has a rough story. He came out at 14 to his mother who wasn’t very accepting because of her faith. When he graduated high school he went to college in the big city but found that he “lost himself” up there and abandoned the things that he loved, like going to church and singing in the choir. Now he’s one of three gays in the whole county (the nearest square on his Grindr is probably 20 miles away), is a total slob in his room, and has grown his hair and goatee out so it looks like the hedges at Grey Gardens.
Thankfully we get him to cut his hair, mend his goatee, and pick up his room. He tells his mother he’s going to start being tidier and he even gets a fresh suit for the homecoming service, which he’s agreed to attend. My favorite part of the whole episode is when Myles reclines on his now clean bed covered in a silky duvet cover to show his mother his new shoes. I mean, Queen of Sheba up in this piece just waiting for some hunky slaves to carry him into church on a litter. I love it. My second favorite part was when Karamo took Myles to the gay and lesbian chorus in Georgia and the director says, “We were going to make you an honorary member, but you can be a real member now.” That’s because they found out this boy can actually sang. Yes, “sang” is spelled correctly.
But for all the crying I did this episode, most of it came from Tammye. I teared up when she talked about how she asked her son’s forgiveness for not loving him unconditionally after he came out. I teared up when she said, “You can’t antagonize and evangelize at the same time.” I teared up when she went to each of the Fab Five and told them about their gifts and how they share them with the world. But I really lost it when Tammye was speaking in church, telling the congregation what blessings she’s received from a group of gay men, but especially the blessings she’s gotten from her gay son. The physical transformations may be the hook of this show. (Well, that and making fun of our adorable angel Antoni.) But the real reason we keep watching is the spiritual transformation that everyone goes through. Who knew the best one we would find would be in a place called Gay?