Series Premier: Nicole H. Is Hot
Spinning off with a vengeance, Queer Eye For The Straight Girl is down to four fashion mavens who will transform one down-on-her-luck gal into The Goddess Fortuna. As the Gal Pals ride in their SUV, we meet the straight girl, Nicole H. The Gal Pals gab about how Nicole is all about business and not about a social life, although she has a crush on some guy named Joe. Their mission is to give Nicole a fabulous change for a fabulous thirtieth birthday.
In come the standard Queer Eye credits with pretty colors and cartoon reenactments of make-overs. The Gal Pals apparently also live on Gay Street, one block over from their Fab Five cohorts on their sister show. I wonder if they play in a gayborhood weekend stickball league. The theme song? Sounds like the same woman but it’s a different song with the same upbeat rhythm. The creators obviously realized that a fifth stylist is pretty unnecessary (Sorry, I do love love LOVE Jai Rodriguez but seriously, why is he there? Doesn’t the “culture vulture” pretty much do what the other four already do, aside from teaching people how to shake hands properly?). So we have only four L’s here.
The Look is Robbie Laughlin. He is blonde and cute as a button.
The Life is Danny Teason. He’s a bald eagle of a man who looks like he has abs of steel. And he has a British accent. Hooray, we’re international. Yum. Oh, wait, I almost forgot. I have no chance—he’s gay and I’m a girl. Still, some great eye candy.
The Locale is Damon Pease who looks alarmingly like he could be the missing half-brother of Roger Lodge from “Blind Date.”
Finally, there’s The Lady. Now, The Look, Life, and Locale all connote an area of expertise (The Look being clothes, Carson’s counterpart; The Life being food, wine, and culture, Ted and Jai’s counterpart; the Locale being the living quarters, Thom’s counterpart). The Lady? Well, that tells me that the stylist is sporting breasts and a vagina, not very creative for the Queer Eye people. However, thankfully we have a woman on board who I assume is Kyan’s counterpart. She’s a sassy-chic lesbian named Honey Labrador. No, really, that’s her name. How absolutely fantastic is that?!
So the Gal Pals, complete with customized license plate, raid the house of our straight gal. Nicole meets them at the door in a baseball cap, black t-shirt, and denim shorts. Her house just has crap all over the place. The walls are white but there are drapes and decorations and junk all over. Oh, and Nicole’s friends are there. I’m not sure why. The Gal Pals start pulling apart and trying on the stuff they find in the piles and piles of stuff. Danny finds a sari from India and tries it on while Honey wears a Batman utility belt (at least that’s what it looks like) and then shows up in some glow-in-the-dark beads wrapped from head to toe, claiming she should be a stripper. Since when do strippers wear Christmas-tree trimming?
Danny drags Nicole into the kitchen to get her to make him her specialty, the ultimate sandwich. I have no idea what goes into it as we never really see him eat it. While in the kitchen, Nicole’s friend asks Robbie where he got the glass that he’s drinking water from. He points to an overhead cupboard. She points to the same one and says, “This one?” He nods. “Oh, that’s okay then.” Robbie almost spits out his drink. That’s real nice—rat out your friend’s poor cleaning habits.
Damon and Robbie then find their way into the bedroom with the friends and start tearing apart the wardrobe. They get to a pair of pink pants and the friends don’t want to say where Nicole got them from. All they’ll say is that the pants were a gift. Robbie wants them to give up the information, as they gave up the fact that Nicole has germy drinking glasses, but right now their lips are sealed. Robbie works to unseal them using the fourth grade tactic of “I’m your best girlfriend!” Hey, wait a minute. Isn’t it Honey’s job to be the best girlfriend? I mean, she’s The Lady! No matter—the friends open their lips and admit that Nicole’s ex’s mother gave her some clothes. That was the big secret?
Meanwhile, Danny is berating Nicole in her living room about her sex life. He asks her when the last time was that she had sex. She answers with ers and ums, obviously uncomfortable with the question. Before forming a response, Honey jumps in with, “How about, how long has it been since you’ve had some heavy petting?” As if that’s a less personal question. My response would be, “None of your freakin’ business” but Nicole comes up with she can’t remember so it must be a long time and then offers a weak embarrassed laugh. Now that was just cruel. They had already discussed how they wanted to boost her self-esteem. Did they think pointing out her lack of a sex life would improve her image?
Switch over to Robbie and Damon who are destroying Nicole’s closet. Robbie is now holding up a heinous vest with large buttons. Her clothes are pretty bad.
Back to Danny and Honey who now make Nicole cry by bringing out her “Dad Box.” Nicole explains that her dad passed away a few days before her first final in college. The box has a bunch of letters and other things that remind her of her dad. Danny half hugs Nicole as she sniffles. So that’s twice they made her feel crappy. Off to a good start, they are. Now if only she overhears the smack they’re talking in the other room about her wardrobe and they won’t have to complete the episode because she’ll be sent off to a psych ward for a borderline emotional breakdown.
Speaking of the other room, Damon tries to inject Robbie with some mysterious substance. Robbie tells Damon to get away because he doesn’t want to mess up his shirt. After all, he IS The Look. Danny throws curtains out the window. Then encourages Nicole to throw some stuff out the window too. I guess that’s how these Queer Eye shows work. Want to change your life? Just throw stuff out the window. It does look like fun. Robbie has found, I’m guessing in the closet, some sort of satiny black cape. He wraps it around himself and plays on the organ a la Phantom of the Opera. Or Liberace.
Nicole then shows Danny her “panic room.” It’s a small room. Whatever.
Robbie and Danny play darts. Robbie jumps up and down when he hits the board with a dart. Honey tries on Nicole’s cowgirl gear. Damon finds a shirt that fades from one shade of pink at the top to a darker shade at the bottom. He starts to get all fake nostalgic about shirts that would change color when you touch them. He calls them “mood shirts.” I think he’s talking about Hyper Color that basically changed color when you sweat. I remember this kid from fourth grade who used to wear those shirts all the time. And he was really sweaty so it was always a different color at the end of the day than it was in the beginning except for the very bottom hem. I never had those shirts but I did have a pair of gloves that had appearing and disappearing pom poms and cheerleaders.
Nicole somehow winds up in a leather jacket and stands on the bed next to Honey who is still sporting the cowgirl hat. The boys yell for Nicole to stay away from the Lesbian when she’s wearing leather. Nicole comes down from the bed and the Gal Pals reveal their plan to “release the Nicole inside.” Her house in now in shambles—yes, even more than it was in the beginning. Honey and Robbie drag her out while Damon and Danny stay behind.
Some friends and co-workers interview that Nicole has a messy apartment and bad clothes. Nice friends and co-workers.
In the car, Honey starts checking out guys on the street. She asks, “Is that your type?” Robbie answers, “Yes!” They all laugh because Honey had been asking Nicole. Nicole agrees that the guy was cute.
Back at the house, the Hunky Helpers show up. Ooh, la, la. They have shirts with Queer Eye logos and everything. Are they gay too? Can we please have some straight good looking men on this show eventually? Please?
Meanwhile, Honey, Robbie, and Nicole are all a-gossiping about Joe, the guy Nicole has a crush on. He apparently is everything she ever wanted in a guy. He’s perfect. But isn’t that how all crushes are? That’s why we crush on them. They hold the ideal qualities we all want in someone and since we’re not with that person we magnify those qualities in that person and become infatuated with the idea of being with that very fake image that we think is real because we want it so badly. And so ends the psychoanalysis for now. I’ll bill you.
The HH move furniture in slo-mo. Aww, I love the HH.
Honey and Robbie make fun of the woman in the car next to them. They joke that she puts on make-up while at the stop light. A lot of women do that. Then they realize that she’s plucking her eyebrows while driving. Okay, I’ve never seen a woman do that. That’s just plain dangerous. You can lose an eye, dammit! They arrive at Nordstrom’s and Nicole goes into shopping panic mode. Every time Robbie holds something up for her to look at, her eyes grow wider. I feared for a second that her eyeballs were going to pop out but then realized this wasn’t a cartoon, and my fear subsided.
Robbie and Nicole discuss heels. She says that guys don’t wear heels. Robbie starts to get offended. Nicole defends her answer by saying only Prince can wear heels. Robbie says, all dignified, “I wear heels.” Nicole holds up a shoe with a pretty large heel, “Like these?” Robbie smirks, “Well, at home!” Heehee. I love Robbie. He’s so darn cute.
Honey and Robbie put Nicole into fitted jeans, a sexy top, and a sparkly heeled sandal. Robbie comes out of the dressing room a few seconds later wearing NICOLE’S CLOTHES—the hat, the tee, and the shorts. Heeheee. Nicole does look a lot better, very sexy, actually feminine. Robbie needs to put his own clothes back on. The next outfit is a chocolate brown suit (mmm, chocolate) that she can wear for a sophisticated look. If she takes off the blazer, she has a party outfit.
Nicole then shows up at Interior Illusions to meet up with D&D. They want to get her girly furniture. Damon does the obligatory sitting on the couch. Danny does the obligatory lying on the bed. He suggests that Nicole bring Joe over as an accessory. Then further suggests Nicole purchase the hanging lamp so she and Joe may have something to swing from. I whimper into my pillow knowing that I will never have Danny as a bedroom accessory. Damon then shows Nicole a bookshelf that spins around to reveal a mirror. He calls Nicole “Miss Stuff” and tells her she can hide her stuff behind the mirror.
Nicole makes her way to a spa to meet up with Honey and Robbie who are taking a soak. They reveal that she’s going to get pampered from head to butt—she’s getting a butt treatment so she can wear a thong.
Meanwhile, Nicole’s friends show up at a bakery and meet Danny in the kitchen. Since when are friends such an integral part of the make-over? I can’t tell if I’m annoyed because they break up the flow of the show or because they get to be with Danny. Oh, Danny Boy, why are you gay? Silly me—you’re gay because I like you. Moving on. The gals are going to decorate a birthday cupcake tower. This is a really cool idea. Instead of having to cut pieces of a cake, everyone at the party can grab an individual cupcake. They’re decorating the cupcakes with real flowers that are edible. I’m not a big fan of that; I’d rather have my pure sugar icing flowers. But it’s Danny’s idea, so that’s okay.
Back at the spa, Nicole gets a salt scrub and a warm honey full body massage. And who shows up to watch but Honey Labrador who is intrigued by honey. Then the three of them get butt facials.
Nicole’s co-worker makes fun of her decorating.
Nicole’s friend says her apartment looks as if a hurricane hit it.
Back in the car with Robbie, Honey, and Danny, Nicole tries to answer the question, “What do you think of what you’ve learned so far?” She starts out with, “Don’t take this the wrong way, but…” which is always code for “Now I’m going to insult you.” She finishes by saying that everything she’s learned is superficial but that’s what she needs to work on. She needs to care about her appearance to make herself more confident.
They make it back to the house that no longer has The HH at home but only Damon Lodge. Nicole is amazed. She hugs Damon and is practically in tears. The room now is purple and cream tones and everyone can see the floor. There’s no crap anywhere, which is a nice change for Nicole. There’s no more mismatched wood or drapes. Damon says he got a lot of the accessories from Target. The bedroom has even more purple tones with black furniture. The Gal Pals urge her to lie on the bed even though she doesn’t want to. Why not? Danny’s on the bed! They joke that her padded headboard will help her avoid bedroom injuries. An easy joke but still funny. Damon has also made gold curtains that accent the room perfectly.
Damon has also created a little garden outside with a bed. There are a few live plants that Nicole stresses over and then asks for future instructions about how to care for them. I’m guessing water them but I could be wrong. The five of them lounge in the Zen garden and tell Nicole that there’s even more. Then they joke that the even more is Turtle Wax or a washer/dryer. You know, like the consolation prize on the Price Is Right.
Honey is back in the bedroom with Nicole and gives her facial products for her skin problems. Honey uses some of the stuff herself to maintain a glow. The key tip she gives Nicole is to drink a lot of water. That was actually one of my New Year’s resolutions and I’ve been sticking to it. I’ve also been running to the ladies’ room every ten minutes, but, hey, my skin is all aglow.
Danny comes in to talk about relaxing and tries to make Nicole cry again by talking about angels and her dad. He gives her oracle cards to talk to her guardian angel. She picks a card that stands for new beginnings. Oooh, spooky. Or coincidence. Nicole talks about how her dad never let her quit in the face of change and that now her dad is her guardian angel who challenges her to change.
Robbie schools Nicole on cheap shoes versus good shoes. Good shoes are stitched and not glued! His mother owns lizard shoes from 1962! Wow. He makes Nicole put on her little black dress for a fashion show, but she still has her baseball cap on. Enter Honey, who shows her how to finger tease [insert your own innuendo—it’s too obvious for me] her hair for volume.
Cut to the dining room where Nicole learns that bread, olives, and nuts should replace her ultimate sandwich gimmick. Everything is either cheese flavored or pickled. Danny then gives a mini-red-wine-lesson from sediment to serving. They all toast to Nicole and then give her a gift. I assume it’s a journal she can write in. The book has an inspirational inscription from the Gal Pals that makes Nicole all teary-eyed. They leave and tell her to enjoy herself.
Hip Tip: Lighten up. Vase plus light kit from hardware store equals cheap homemade electrical fire hazard. Thanks, Damon.
Nicole’s friend says Nicole is stressed about turning 30.
Nicole’s in-law says Nicole doesn’t realize her own beauty.
The Gal Pals gather on the couch and compliment each other. They all agree that Robbie is a dead ringer for 007. Okay. He’s cute enough. Nicole showers and Honey says she’s hot. Robbie says she’s doing a good Joan Crawford Scrub. Danny notes that Nicole is really, really concentrating. She is! Her face is scrunched in determination. They are all impressed with how Nicole volumizes her hair using a roller brush and the hairdryer. It looks as if Nicole has done this before and she probably does it whenever she goes out which may not be that often. Anyway, they’re impressed.
Kneeling in front of her closet, Nicole has a Loafer/Heel dilemma, and chooses the heels to everyone’s sighs of relief and glee. She then puts on her make-up like a madwoman, poking and pushing colorful brushes all over her face. Damon thanks God that she doesn’t have an eyelash curler because that could cause some serious damage. Ha.
Nicole goes back to the kitchen and prepares all the snacks she learned about. She puts dips in bowls instead of serving them in their jars.
Nicole’s friends show up at her house and are shocked with the place and her shoes. Nicole says her shoes could also double as a weapon. Hee. She then shows them the mirror-bookshelf. And then, three cheers for diva shoes. Nicole goes to serve her friends some wine. Danny comments that she needs to learn to balance in her heels because she walks like a bricklayer while Damon calls her a truck driver. Nice.
Nicole makes a toast to her “Yin, Yang, and hot-ass apartment.” Her Yin and Yang take her out of the hot-ass apartment to a club called Deep, which is where her birthday party is. Nicole looks awesome. Volumized blonde hair, reflector sunglasses (which are allowable only because she has just been made-over), a little black dress, and diva shoes. She walks with much more confidence.
Danny talks about how Nicole doesn’t know that Crush Joe will be at the party. Honey calls Nicole a rock star. Nicole spins for the crowd as the party cheers for her. Nicole’s mom loves the new look. Nicole says that the Gal Pals brought the inner diva out.
A server brings out the cupcake tower which Robbie says looks like a Christmas tree. It kind of does but since Danny made it, it’s perfect.
Nicole’s friends cover Nicole’s eyes and Joe comes into the room. Honey asks if the guys think she has a chance with Nicole before Nicole sees Joe. Danny says Honey has two chances: Fat and None. Aww, so mean yet so true. Crush Joe is a hottie! They bring Joe right in front of Nicole and then tell her to open her eyes. She hugs his neck and keeps saying that she was hoping it was him. He keeps telling her that she looks beautiful but she’s always looked beautiful. That’s so sweet and such a guy thing to say. He’s probably telling the truth and saying it from his heart but he’s also covering his ass so she doesn’t turn around and say, So I look good now and before I looked horrible? Joe is hot and smart! And straight! But taken. Drat. They lock lips. Yippee. She can’t stop hugging him. Neither would I.
They all grab champagne and toast to Nicole because she’s amazing. Robbie says that it’s a goosebump moment but can’t get goosebumps. Damon says it’s from too much Botox. Hee.
Nicole says that everyone has goodness inside. And then she keeps complimenting herself. She’s so hot. She’s got a great body. Whoohoo.
The Gal Pals see how she’s now so confident. Honey says Joe is sweet. Damon adds, “And HOT!” as do I. They wish her happy birthday.
This episode’s tips? Danny says to store wine in a cool, dark place. Damon says to create your own original signature centerpiece. Honey says to go biking for a great butt. Robbie says you can freshen your hair with baby powder.
And the world is better off with one more woman with more self confidence and a new hottie in tow.
–Christina M. Rau/GatsbyGirl