Ray, We Salute You
The Fab Five start out their third season with a salute to the troops. More specifically, they “make-over” Ray, a soldier preparing to go to Iraq for about two years, leaving his wife, Maria, and daughter, Sabrina, behind. So this isn’t your typical happy-go-lucky show, although it does have its funny moments. The guys have already made over a military man and a police officer with lots of laughs. This time, it’s more sentimental for them all. You’ll see.
Thom, Ted, Kyan, Carson, and Jai run out to the SUV and discuss Straight Ray, who is pretty put together but has a home that needs improvement. Carson wants to make sure Thom buys those things to cover sockets so the baby can’t stick forks in the holes because he didn’t have that when he was a kid. Ha. Their mission is to make Ray okay for going away. Also, since he got married to Maria in Columbia with her family and it’s not legal in the U. S., they’re giving him a wedding with his friends here.
Credits. Love a guy with a beater, Ted.
The guys pound on the door of Ray’s house and go at it. Ray is in military fatigues and Carson asks him if he always wears his uniform. Ray says he loves the uniform because he worked hard to earn the right to wear it. Right on, Ray.
Thom calls the apartment “really bad” while Kyan is in the bathroom joking about the “toilet decoration.” Kyan is then holding the daughter, Sabrina, in one hand and clippers in the other. “Is this what Daddy shaves his head with?” Sabrina looks unimpressed. Meanwhile, the other guys are making fun of Ray’s laptop, which is pretty antiquated. Carson calls it the Etch-A-Sketch version of a computer.
Jai has gotten a hold of Sabrina. These guys love kids! He’s making a tiger growl at her. She simply stares back. He asks, “Nothing?” She stares at Jai. Heehee. Then Thom has Sabrina and is calling her Supergirl and making her fly through the air. She’s mildly amused.
Carson feels appropriately dressed for the military. He’s wearing a beige shirt with shoulder stripes that look military-like. He stands next to Ray for uniform comparison. Yup, Carson could be a soldier.
Thom knocks over the couch. He does it to be funny but then finds some hidden icky stuff underneath. His reaction? “Omigod, ew.” Heehee.
Jai digs up the dirt on Ray’s relationship. He finds out from Maria that he was her boss. Scandalous!
In the kitchen, Ted tells Ray he thinks it’s cute and special that Ray and his wife leave notes for each other. Ted hands Ray a scrap of paper and asks Ray to tell him what it says. I’m assuming the note might be in Spanish; otherwise Ted is illiterate or Ray has awfully bad handwriting. Ray reads something about loving and missing and loving again. This episode is all about the love.
Back in the dining area, Carson notes that the apartment has a lot of sharp corners, which really isn’t baby friendly. It’s true. The dining room table is a wrought-iron base with a square glass top. No chairs either. Meanwhile, Thom is “accidentally” pulling down some vertical blinds.
Jai goes back to digging up dirt. He tells Ray that he heard Ray was Maria’s boss. Ray admits that Maria was his worker and he tried several times to get her to go out with him. At one point, he tried to kiss her and she slapped him. That made Ray realize she would be a challenge. They’re lucky. That was a sexual harassment suit in the making.
Carson is going through Ray’s wardrobe. He says that Ray needs a new suit. Ray nods and says he knows that his tuxedo is old. Carson says the tux is from the Nixon administration. Then Ray tells Kyan that he has insomnia. And then he explains to Thom and Kyan that he will be away for at least five hundred some odd days and most likely he will be engaged in combat.
Meanwhile, Maria shows Carson, Ted, and Jai some notes she’s left for Ray when he went away and came home. She also keeps a journal so he can keep track of Sabrina. She gets teary eyed. Group hug!
Ray tells Kyan and Thom that he’s ready for combat. He’s had a lot of training. However, the military doesn’t train them for leaving his wife and child behind. Okay, this episode is already making me want to hug my teddy bear and never let go.
Jai tells Ray that they’re going to give him a wedding tonight. Ray is overjoyed. Sabrina and Maria leave. Thom tells Ray they’re going to make his house a home. Carson grabs Ray to go “GayWOL” with him. Ha.
In the SUV, Carson tells Ray that they’ve gotten a great wedding planner. Cut to people carrying tree branches and setting up the wedding. Back to the SUV where Ray talks about how he wants to romance his wife and wants to be sure she and Sabrina are taken care of. Carson and Thom do a simultaneous, “Check!”
They run into J. C. Penney, which is my favorite department store, so yippee. The first item on the shopping list is a new dining room table. They find one with rounded edges, a lot more toddler friendly. Thom suggests pairing the dark wood table with the white painted chairs. I don’t like it but I’m trusting Thom. Plus, I don’t have to like it because it’s not my house. They also choose a red sofa, which I do like very much and now I wish they were decorating my house because I could really use a sofa. Then Carson helps Ray pick out baby couture so Sabrina has enough clothes for the next year. The last outfit he finds is a cheerleader-type outfit. Carson says, “Sabrina can be a cheerleader and I could be a queer leader!” Ray smiles and takes the clothes. Carson’s tip on buying clothes is to buy them one size bigger because toddlers “grow like weeds.”
Carson has Ray try on different types of suits. Ray needs to wear an athletic fit suit because he is a fit man. Oh, yes, he is. Maria is a lucky gal. Ray has broad shoulders and a trim waist and the suit fits him perfectly without needing any tailoring. The guys have never seen someone who doesn’t need a suit tailored so they are enamored. They choose shades of blue for the suit, a few ties which include a striped tie and a purple tie, and brown shoes.
After shopping, Ray runs to a hotel and finds the presidential suite. Ted shows Ray the suite that’s bigger than my apartment. Hell, it’s bigger than my apartment and the apartment below me. The bed is bigger than my apartment. They have a view of Central Park, which is absolutely gorgeous. Ray says Maria will love it. Ted doesn’t teach Ray how to cook. Instead, he teaches him the correct way to open a bottle of champagne. He can either twist out the cork (that sounds dirty!) or pop the cork across the room (not as dirty, but fun!). Then they talk about how he’s going to miss Sabrina and that the last time he went away, Sabrina didn’t remember him when he came back. Ted says that it could be different this time. Ray says no, that she’s still at the age when she probably will forget even if they send pictures. Ted says that he’ll make the best of the situation. That’s Ted’s advice for the rest of the show—do the best you can.
Jai takes Ray to a jewelry store where the jeweler has picked out a bunch of expensive necklaces that he can choose from. The jeweler, by the way, is wearing a blue shirt and purple tie, much like the ones that Ray bought with Carson. And, the jeweler is hot. Anyway, they show Ray a charm necklace that has a heart. He can break the heart in half, wear one half, and give the other half to Maria. Jai says that he should engrave his initials on hers and her initials on his. Ray asks if he can also engrave their new wedding date on them. Jai says it’s a good idea. The jeweler tells Ray that no other heart half will fit either piece because each charm breaks in a unique way. Ray decides it’s the perfect gift for Maria.
Ray meets Kyan at the spa for the usual grooming. However, Ray is not such a dirty boy as other straight guys have been. Kyan tells him that this would be the time he would usually make the guy get a manicure and other girl/metrosexual stuff done because he’s about to get married all over again. Keeping with the theme of not-your-typical-Queer-Eye-show, Kyan instead gets Ray into a robe for something special. Nope, not a personal massage. Kyan brings Ray into a hot tub rose bath room. Who’s in the tub? Maria! Maria and Ray gaze at each other as if they are seeing each other for the first time and it’s love at first sight. Awww! Now even I’m getting sentimental, and that never happens. Usually I hate these sappy moments.
Maria and Ray arrive home and they love the house. Both of them are almost in tears again, but at least these are happy tears. The walls are green. The accents are red. Christmas year round! Thom created fake windows and sliding glass doors by hanging checkered curtains on the walls. The dining room is awesome; Thom was right and I was wrong about the mix ‘n’ match chairs. The bedroom is also very pretty with lilac walls and brown bedding.
The Fab Five call the couple over for a bridal shower. Since it’s for both of them, Ted calls it a “wedding shower” instead. Gifts for the happy couple! Thom gives them a $5000 gift card for J. C. Penney. Jai gives both of them laptops and a video camera to send movies back and forth of themselves and Sabrina. Carson and Kyan are now wearing wrapping paper and ribbons. Jai tops off his gifts with a large box of DVDs. Carson gives them cashmere sweaters to trade so they can smell each others’ scent when they are apart. Kyan complains that his gift is so lame compared to the electronics but gives Ray an eye mask and book and CD set to help with his insomnia. Ted gives them a cool red toaster, a standing mixer (because “gay guys can mix it up”) and Peapod online free groceries with delivery for a year.
Carson and Kyan carry over a big wooden crate for more gifts. Carson gives Ray a waterproof backpack, sunglasses, underwear, and cross training sneakers. Maria starts crying. Kyan adds in sunscreen, soap, and deodorant. Thom hugs Maria.
They grab Sabrina and show her the new room Thom made for her. They have a new crib that converts into a bed for when Sabrina gets older. Then they tell Maria about the clothes Ray picked out for Sabrina.
Jai leaves Ray with a notebook to write his vows in. They all toast. Jai thanks Ray for doing what he’s doing for his country. Kyan thanks Maria for being so brave. Ray thanks the guys for a miracle. Maria thanks them for everything. They all toast. The Fab Five leave.
Hip Tip: Kyan says eat six meals a day to lose weight. Okay, I tried that once. Apparently, the trick is to eat six meals and NOT snack on Everything But The . . . Ice Cream in between.
The five guys gather round on the critic couch. Carson has cupcakes to substitute a wedding cake. Ray and Maria arrive at the place for the ceremony somewhere in downtown Manhattan. They’re having the wedding on the rooftop. Cool.
Everyone prepares for the wedding. Ted says Maria looks excited all the time. And what song is playing? It’s awesome!!! Ray puts on the suit with the striped tie, opting against the purple tie. Good choice. Carson shouts at the screen, “Daddy’s a hottie!” and the other guys agree. Then they gush over Maria in her Vera Wang wedding dress. Wow.
Ray writes his vows in a moleskin journal and puts them in his inside jacket pocket. The wedding planner people come in and give him two bouquets, one for his sister and one for his mother. They also give him his boutonniere, which is a flower from Maria’s bouquet. Aww, sweet. His mom and sister arrive and he re-explains how he can get called away at any time and that these ten days are for him to say goodbye. Jai and Kyan are about to cry. His mom and sister didn’t look all that excited to be there at first. Now, after he has explained his situation (why didn’t they already know all this?), his mother looks ill. The guys comment that she’s upset. Thank you, Master of the Obvious. Ted says, “You gotta make the most of it.”
The hall inside the building has two staircases that come down facing each other, becoming one staircase leading towards the doors to the rooftop. Red and gold material drapes down from the ceiling. Very pretty. The happy couple meet where the stair cases meet and link arms to go outside. The Justice of the Peace gives a speech about destiny. She then asks for the rings and Sabrina throws the rings on the floor. Heehee. Ray picks them up and says, “thank you,” to her, so right there you see what a good father and sweet person he is. They read their vows, they exchange rings, and then they kiss. Hooray! They’re married again.
Back inside, Ray’s friend gives a toast. Ray’s sister gives a toast which you can tell is heart-wrenching for her. Ted comments, “That’s hard.” And then says, “You make the best of what you have.” Again. They dance. Ray’s mom is now smiling. They guys comment that she’s a lot happier now. Well, yeah, it’s a happy moment.
Ray tells Sabrina they have to go to a private room. I immediately break out into Tina Turner’s “Private Dancer” but then stop myself because this is a serious moment. The guys comment on how calm and “serene” Ray is throughout this whole thing. They say he puts on this calm face to make Maria and Sabrina and everyone else at ease with the situation. In the private room, Ray pops the champagne open and gives Maria the heart necklace. She cries and he tells her that no matter how far apart they are, they’ll always be close at heart. He whispers the last part because he’s trying not to cry. He doesn’t. Maria says, “You have to come back.” Ray says, “I will.” Okay, now I’m about to cry. He puts her half on her. Maria kisses his half and puts it on him, telling him that her kiss will now always be with him.
Fade to black and all the guys are in some stage of crying. Carson says they gave Ray peace of mind. Kyan says, “Let’s have a toast to them.” They all toast, “To safe returns.”
This week’s tip is how to make a care package for a soldier overseas.
Ted says include healthy snacks like granola bars.
Carson says throw in a waterproof bag.
Kyan suggests soap and eyedrops.
Thom throws in a blanket.
Jai includes a letter.
Another straight guy off to a new start thanks to the Queer Eye guys. Good luck to Ray and all the other troops in Iraq. We salute you.
–Christina M. Rau/GatsbyGirl
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