My issues with this episode start with the title. Sure, it’s unwieldy and uninspired, but didn’t anyone think: “REN-aissance. REM-ington. REM-y. REMY-ssance?” If that never even occurred to you then you’ve no business naming TV episodes. Go talk to whoever comes up with the puns in Bob’s Burgers and then try again. Beyond that, there’s just not a lot to get your teeth into here. It’s the first time Queer Eye has felt like it’s reaching for the tears and that in itself is enough to ensure they never come. Remington seems like a nice chap, his family are all nice people, his situation is fairly unique (he lives in his dead grandmother’s house which is still full of her stuff and hasn’t been redecorated since Watergate), but none of it adds up to anything compelling.
Worse still, there are some obvious bum notes that, while minor, knock the episode off kilter. One is Karamo’s Blaxploitation pimp impression while wearing Remington’s grandmother’s hat and coat. It’s pretty clear from Remy’s reaction that he finds it inappropriate that this absolute stranger is cavorting around in his grandmother’s clothes, doing a bit that Adam Sandler might have done in the 90s. But fair play to Karamo, he keeps giving it all he’s got.
As frequently happens, Karamo is a bit of a spare part in this episode, not really serving any purpose beyond hanging around and trying to get people to talk about their feelings. He should be pretty embarrassed that Antoni is just trying to talk about mac and cheese and inadvertently ends up having the most heartfelt conversation of the whole episode. What Karamo does manage is to make a pretty crap photo album with letters he bought in Claire’s Accessories and then suggest to Remy and his friend that it would be dope to bring girls to a whiskey distillery and mansplain whiskey to them. Oh, yes! Please lean in closer with your booze breath and tell me all about how rye is actually a whiskey. I didn’t know that!
Actually, nobody is really bringing their A-game this week. Jonathan gives Remington a trim and a water flosser (I have one of those and they are actually great), Antoni just steals Remy’s mother’s recipes, Bobby takes the most straight-up crazy bananas house I’ve ever seen and strips all the fun out of it (although it’s still pretty damn nice) and Tan dresses Remy in the same short-sleeve shirt, jeans and boots that he puts on everyone. This is also the first time that the show’s product placement has started to feel a little too in-your-face (the close-up on the blind manufacturers’ label, the Art.com box lingering in the background). It might be that this is a poor episode or it might be that the formula is starting to feel a little too obvious, but this is the most disappointing Queer Eye yet.
Jonathan highlight: “I know I swore that I would not be attracted to you and not make you feel uncomfortable but I’m not sure I can keep to that promise right now.”
Antoni smell test: A big old box of rotten salad. “You’re a glutton for punishment,” Ponder tells him. “I love a good bad smell,” he replies. We know Antoni, we know.
Fab fives out of five: Two. Time to step it up boys.
Epilogue: Not much to report except that Remington appears to have stuck with the makeover.