This episode we get to see the stunning transformation of William, a Walmart employee who met his girlfriend Shannan while they were both in the managers’ training program at the store. Wait, did America’s largest retailer set this whole thing up so that we would think some nice things about their employees that live at the end of a dirt road in rural Georgia? Is this product placement of the most insidious kind?
The Fab Five really were in the middle of the woods this time around. While driving out to meet William, Jonathan says that he gets uncomfortable when he’s this far away from the city. Antoni says something to the effect of, “Oh, it’s not that bad.” Ah, the refrain of pretty gay white privilege. As Karamo points out, ask the two brown people and the one who is dressed like a gay Jesus in a half-caftan what it’s like to be outside of a city and get back to them.
To make Antoni recognize their level of discomfort, Jonathan suggests they put him in a tiny crop top and make him parade all around town. Wait. I’ll be right back. I’m going to need some more tissues to clean up the mess that I just made thinking about Antoni parading around in a crop top, short shorts, a pair of striped tube socks, and a mustache like he’s in the cast of Everybody Wants Some!!
The crop top was a bit of a theme for this episode. Not only did we have William and the rest of the crew parading around in them at the top of the episode, Jonathan shows up in one later that is traffic-cone orange with some white stripes and he’s wearing it over a white mesh shirt. After showing William how to do his hair he says, “Do you love my top? Are you obsessed?” Yes, Jonathan. We all are.
Jonathan seems to be obsessed with Bob Ross because this is the second episode in a row that he brought up the late painter of happy little trees and puffy clouds. He is not wrong that William looks a bit like him with his big beard and large man-fro. Is it just a coincidence that Bob Ross’s old episodes are now on Netflix? Is this what vertical integration looks like? Is this whole episode about marketing?
Just when I forgot about the Walmart connection, Tan takes William shopping at Bonobos, a menswear store owned by, you guessed it, Walmart. Oh my god, they are totally paying to be a part of this season. If they want to ingratiate themselves into the hearts of liberal Americans who love Queer Eye maybe they should stop selling guns and start giving their employees affordable health benefits. Just a suggestion.
Tan does a great job remaking William’s wardrobe, which usually consists of hole-y T-shirts that he tucks into baggy cargo shorts. You know, the American straight-dude uniform. The thing that made Karamo the most upset is that William said that his fashion icon was Frasier Crane. Not only has he been off the air for about two decades, he mostly looked like someone who uses extra starch when he gets his clothes dry cleaned.
William learns what Tan calls the “French tuck,” which is what I thought the drag queens at the Moulin Rouge did, but apparently its when you just put the front part of a shirt loosely into the pants. It works for William. And, as usual, just giving him some new clothes that fit well and teaching him the basics of how to put an outfit together goes a long way.
Jonathan had his work cut out for him this week because he had to get rid of this dude’s beard and give him a good haircut. As usual he does it while flirting with the guy which is the most uplifting way to have a #MeToo moment. Jonathan cuts the big beard down to stubble and takes William to the dermatologist. The doctor puts Williams face in some weird light cone thing and on a screen appears a glowing dotted face that probably looks like what Alexa or Siri would look like if it decided to one day give itself a body before it entirely takes over the world. Molly, you in danger girl.
Bobby also had a harder job than usual because William and Shannan live in a trailer, but he got around those laminated walls with the plastic seams running down them by covering the whole thing in shiplap and painting it some warm-but-dark colors. This is what they teach you on the first day of class at the Joanna Gaines School for Eminently Repeatable Interior Design. So, you guessed it, at the end their house looks like the “after” picture on an episode of Fixer Upper. (Erotic digression: I would watch William and Chip Gaines’s sex tape if they ever decided to make one.)
Antoni actually taught William how to make cauliflower, because they’re vegetarian and Shannan is having a bit of a cauliflower moment. Then he taught him how to make a dressing in the food processor. This is the most cooking Antoni has done all season and he has yet to use an oven or a stove top, so congratulations to him.
Now we need to talk about Antoni’s wardrobe choices. First, we will pause for a moment to jealously ponder the life of his perfectly stretched polo shirts. Ah. The glory. With that out of the way we need to talk about him wearing a Strokes T-shirt with the sleeves cut off and a bandana knotted around his neck like he was a background extra on the ill-fated gay reality show Fire Island. This is what Queer Studies professors will one day refer to as “peak Antoni.” I don’t know exactly where this bandana came from, but it is suddenly on him in every single scene. Worst of all, the idea of waking up in bed next to Antoni with him only wearing that bandana is making my pants so tight I might have to go to Bonobos and get a new pair. I don’t want to like this. How can I like this?
Karamo had the biggest job of all this time around. It’s so weird to see him actually doing some work. William wants to propose to Shannan and he helped him come up with a really cute way to do it. These two are so in love and so romantic it’s almost sickening. She made a book about their “love story.” He shares a note he once left on the pillow next to him. I mean, if it weren’t so adorable I would tell them to just get a room already.
Since they both love movies, he decides they should go to an outdoor movie and they’ll play a little film before the movie starts and then he’ll come out and propose. The movie is a little long and stupid, with William running around trying to find a word that means more than “love” and it ends up being “Shannan.” I thought it was awful until I realized that I was crying and was so happy for both of them that I just wanted to die. Shannan is someone in love with romantic comedies and to have a proposal that is right out of a movie (brought to you with the help of some TV magic) is probably the best thing that ever happened to her. I mean, what’s the best thing that’s ever going to happen to her working at Walmart? Maybe a flash mob? Instead she got the proposal of a lifetime, and no one can be mad about that.