With the debut of Queer Eye season two, Tinder profiles all over the country have surely been upgraded from “Netflix and chill” to “Queer Eye and cry.” In its first season, the rebooted reality show created a safe space to indulge stories of self-improvement, and in this new batch of episodes, the Fab Five kick the emotional-speedometer on their signature Denali into overdrive. Queer Eye is all about encouraging (mostly) men to embrace their feelings and take care of themselves, and sometimes that means just letting it all out.
As surely as Bobby will bust out the navy-blue paint, Tan will cuff a printed sleeve, Jonathan will fire up the beard clippers, Karamo will gently prod someone into spilling their guts in the passenger seat, or Antoni will dollop Greek yogurt somewhere unexpected, Queer Eye will make its audience cry our little eyes out. Best of all: These are happy tears! As Jonathan might put it himself: These tears are giving you life, they are restoring your faith in humanity — these are tears of acceptance, honey!
But how much will any given episode of Queer Eye make you cry? Will these be hushed movie-theater sobs? Will you bravely only let one single tear loose? Upon hearing your wails through the wall, will your neighbor become concerned that you’re in grave danger? We’re here to guide you through which Queer Eye episode to turn to when you need a good cry, or perhaps, which ones to avoid when you’re wearing mascara. To be clear, this is not an assessment of which Queer Eye episodes are best; it is a definitive guide to how much each episode will make you cry, from “Aw, that’s sweet” to “I just watched four different compilations of soldiers coming home to their dogs and I’m about to pass out.”
To do so, I’ve gathered the following data:
• Do the Fab Five cry? Do the Fab Five cry a lot?
• Does the subject cry? Does the subject cry a lot?
• How greatly is the subject’s life changed in every conceivable way by one week with the Fab Five?
• Is there a weep-worthy surprise?
• Could I breathe at the end?
Like snowflakes, every tear is different, so each episode has also been assigned a Tear Classification. Binge accordingly.
16. “Below Average Joe” (Season 1, Episode 7)
Joe comes a long way in his time with the Fab Five — internally, externally, and especially in his comedy set. But as Joe is an aspiring comedian slightly held back by the shadow of his fellow-comedian brother in a way that’s never fully addressed, this episode is more about nervous laughter than leaky ducts.
Tear Classification: Tears of Confusion (because WHERE did that heretofore unmentioned girlfriend come from?!)
15. “Saving Sasquatch” (Season 1, Episode 2)
Neal is a nice, funny tech guy, but his biggest changes during the episode are physical (that hair, that house). The Fab Five leave with Neal able to be more vulnerable than ever, though, telling them the experience gave him “a glimmer of hope” that his future could be brighter.
Tear Classification: Tears of Hope
14. “Make Ted Great Again” (Season 2, Episode 8)
Ted Terry, the “Hipster Mayor” of Clarkston, Georgia, is proof that drier Queer Eye episodes are not necessarily lesser Queer Eye episodes. Mayor Ted is already as dutiful a civil servant as they come, so his makeover is mostly aesthetic (that house, that beard), but you better believe that his final speech about how “immigrants and refugees can make a community stronger” will get ya.
Tear Classification: Progressive Tears for Shorn Resistance Beards
13. “Hose Before Bros” (Season 1, Episode 8)
Much like Mayor Ted, Jeremy is putting in the work for his community, so his episode has a more diplomatic feel. But still, Jeremy’s earnestness provides many a sweet moment. Personally, my throat got tightest watching him toss a dish towel over his shoulder before making hot dogs because it was what he’d seen Antoni do, although his genuine gratitude for the Fab Five’s help might take you over the edge: “I don’t say this lightly, but I love them very much.”
Tear Classification: Happy Hero Tears
12. “Big Little Lies” (Season 2, Episode 6)
For a significant portion of this episode, it seemed like there would be no redemption of Ari, who could not stop lying to everyone around him. It doesn’t help that when Ari takes that photograph, it’s the only moment in Queer Eye history that leans more toward a horror-film vibe than a beach-party movie. But all of that, at least, builds to a floodgate of relief when Ari finally does come clean to his mother about not graduating from college.
Tear Classification: Tears of Frustration, followed by Tears of Relief
11. “Unleash the Sexy Beast” (Season 2, Episode 3)
Leo is a vulnerable sweetheart from the jump, and his unique declaration that he intends to share everything he learns from the Fab Five is a heart-clutching sentiment, even if this episode’s lighthearted appeal won’t have you grabbing for the tissues.
Tear Classification: Heart-Eyes-Emoji Tears
10. “Dega Don’t” (Season 1, Episode 3)
Cory’s episode is … complicated. When his fellow police officer pulls the Fab Five over as a joke, it immediately makes Karamo apprehensive to meet Cory. That’s not an emotion we often get from our fearless leaders, but Cory and Karamo’s honest and open-minded conversations throughout the episode create a number of emotional moments. Plus, Cory’s adorable family’s response to their patriarch’s changes has everyone in tears.
Tear Classification: Tears of Growth
9. “Camp Rules” (Season 1, Episode 5)
Similarly, designer Bobby Berk and makeover subject Bobby Camp have a difficult but meaningful conversation about Berk’s rejection by his very conservative childhood church. Add Camp’s words of acceptance to Bobby on top of his commitment to throwing his wife a wedding reception do-over, and we’re moving into mighty tearful territory, my friends.
Tear Classification: Tears of Acceptance
8. “Bedazzled” (Season 2, Episode 7)
Oh, what a sweet piano boy! This episode is all about 18-year-old Sean’s relationship with Lulu, the godmother who raised him. You will cry every time Lulu cries, which is to say, every time Lulu is onscreen and talking about how much she loves Sean and/or the Fab Five.
Tear Classification: Tears of Adolescence, plus a few Tears of Jealousy for teenage Sean’s apartment
7. “The Renaissance of Remington” (Season 1, Episode 6)
Family is key to many of the most emotional Queer Eye episodes, so now we’re hitting the real teary territory. If you aren’t sobbing when big ol’ Remy becomes completely overwhelmed by the photo wall Bobby created — featuring Remy’s dearly departed father and grandmother — I would suggest booking an appointment with your eye doctor because it’s clearly a health issue.
Tear Classification: Tears of Nostalgia
6. “The Handyman Can” (Season 2, Episode 4)
This is what we call a good old-fashioned switcheroo! Everything is juuuuust fine when the Fab Five visit Jason, a mild-mannered handyman, until the last five minutes of the episode. That’s when all of Jason’s friends profess their unending love for him at what was supposed to be his going-away party, but ends up being something completely different because — BOOM! — Jason and his gorgeous nominator Beth are now in love, just like we knew they were all along! Pass the Kleenex, please.
Tear Classification: Tears of Requited Romance
5. “A Decent Proposal” (Season 2, Episode 2)
Um, a decent proposal? I’ll say! William and Shannan found love in a hopeless place (Walmart, as it were), and every time they turn their heart-eyes on each other, it’s waterworks central. The tears reach a fever pitch when Shannan walks into an amphitheater for an unsuspecting movie-and-a-picnic, only to have her boyfriend don a full tailcoat, screen a film he made with the Fab Five, and get down on one knee to propose to her. We all sob in unison.
Tear Classification: Tears of Wedded Bliss
4. “You Can’t Fix Ugly” (Season 1, Episode 1)
No matter how many seasons of the Queer Eye reboot we get, Tom will always be our first, and what a charming introduction he was. You’ll start crying when the burly bachelor calls his precious grandson the “love of his life,” you’ll keep crying when he talks about the ex-wife Abby he desperately misses, and you’ll lose your ever-loving Mountain Dew mind when Tom bursts into tears after the Fab Five express their love to him. Bonus: After the episode aired, Tom and Abby got remarried!
Tear Classification: Old Dog, New Tears
3. “Sky’s the Limit” (Season 2, Episode 5)
Watching Skyler, a transgender man, look down at his chest immediately after getting the top surgery that his friends helped him afford is an emotional moment for everyone: Skyler, the Fab Five, and also us at home. And that’s just the first two minutes of the episode. After getting to know this brave man and hearing how much the YouTube personality Todrick Hall helped him find confidence during his transition … oh, yes, TODRICK HALL SHOWS UP AT HIS FRONT DOOR. Skyler loses it, we lose it, and it is the best.
Tear Classification: Tears of Confidence
2. “God Bless Gay” (Season 2, Episode 1)
From the moment you see that “Town of Gay” water tower and hear a twangy “Amazing Grace” kick in, you know this is going to be a special episode of Queer Eye. Tammye, the show’s first woman makeover, seems a saint. But when she tells the Fab Five that she needed to ask for forgiveness from her gay son, Myles, it is such an honest moment. Then she gets up in front of her rural church and preaches acceptance right in front of Myles, saying, “How can I say I love God, when I cannot love the ones that are right there next to me?” Add onto that Antoni completely breaking down when Tammye tells the Fab Five that God divined that they would come together, and you’ve got yourself a weeper of an episode. Antoni crying is a religious experience of tears, no matter your creed.
Tear Classification: Tears of Blessed Forgiveness
1. “To Gay or Not Too Gay” (Season 1, Episode 4)
It simply had to be A.J. He’s cute to start, hot to finish, and everything in between is an emotional journey of fulfillment. A.J. always regretted not coming out as a gay man before his father passed away, and hearing him read the beautiful words he would have said to his father is so meaningful. Even more so because he’s reading them to his lovely and supportive stepmom. More tears will come from this series, surely, but A.J.’s episode will always stand as the first moment we knew Queer Eye was something truly special.
Tear Classification: ALL THE TEARS, JUST ALL OF THEM