In the week after season four of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” premiered, it’s time for a little stocktaking of how extensively the show’s stars have spread their wings into ever-broader ventures.
Among these are food expert Antoni Porowski’s (pretty good!) turn on Bon Appétit’s “Back-to-Back Chef” YouTube series, in which he made a croque madame with Carla Lalli Music, as well as his shining moment of drag glam with them magazine. There’s also, of course, the recent conclusion of “Gay of Thrones” by Jonathan Van Ness, in which our grooming expert offers frequently not-so-helpful recaps of each “Game of Thrones” episode while styling the hair of (and talking at) celebrity guests who have included Tiffany Haddish, Gabrielle Union and “GoT” star Alfie Allen.
Beyond Karamo Brown’s extraordinary engineering of a reunion moment in the present season 4 (spoilers!) and Bobby Berk’s immaculate tastes and astounding work ethic, there’s also fashion guru Tan France, whose YouTube series “Dressing Funny” has become one of my favorite things on the otherwise devastating emotional wasteland that is the internet.
I’m a little late to the party (fashionably late?), as BuzzFeed’s Ehis Osifo wrote over a month ago about becoming “obsessed” with the recently premiered series. In an interview with Vanity Fair late last month, Tan stated “Dressing Funny” was “the most real version” of himself. From the opening of that VF piece, he hilariously sets the record straight (well, you know what I mean):
“I think that they pitched me as, like, the classy one,” France said of the series in a recent interview. “But I’ve told people time and time again: trash, through and through. They just edit me well!” (For those wondering, France would say the “classy one” is “probably Antoni [Porowski]; he’s a bougie bitch.”)
Tan France and I might differ on the definition of trash, but it’s a thrill to see him in a different context, dressing and quietly interviewing some of America’s renowned comedic actors and writers. Here are some of the best, most hilarious, most thought-provoking moments from each episode of “Dressing Funny” to date, in no particular order. (Obviously, if you’d prefer to go in blind or have missed anything so far, there are spoilers galore below.)
Tan (with Tina Fey) Helps Rachel Dratch Feel Fabulous at Fifty
Rachel Dratch is turning 50, an opportune time for a makeover. The “Ariana Grande” look, pictured above just before its fantastic on-camera reveal, was not the most-successful of Tan’s efforts in this episode, admittedly, but it’s a lot of fun. Between Tina Fey’s solo monologues (while Dratch changes and Tan assists) and the super-chic, all-black number that wins the day, it’s wonderful seeing Tan hold his own with two living comedy legends.
Ali Wong: Two French Tuck Queens
Ali Wong is a comedy and film star, riding high off back-to-back acclaimed standup comedy specials and the recent “Always Be My Maybe.” But she’s also a mom, one who has to balance her established fashion sense (she’s fabulous) against the various body horrors of having young children. Enter Tan, who hilariously helps Ali master the art of the French tuck while discussing how best to serve a look on a red carpet or mitigate kid-based risks to good style. Given Ali’s gorgeous smile prominently featured throughout this episode, it seems she’s got the red carpet part down already. I want to go shopping with both of them more than any other combination on this list.
John Mulaney Leaves His Comfort Zone
From the opening scenes of this episode, wherein Tan brutally subverts John Mulaney’s “physically-and-spiritually-older-than-he-looks” persona, this is an especially funny “Dressing Funny” entry. With greater success than pop-starlet-Rachel Dratch, Tan helps Mulaney find his “inner hypebeast,” breaking out of his bespoke suit comfort zone with pastels, double-breasted blazers and some new poses to try out in the future. Watching the typically restrained and controlled Mulaney nervously glancing over his shoulder as Tan monitors his shopping habits is worth the watch in itself.
Miranda Sings Has Strong Opinions on Tan, Color Schemes, Conventions of Marriage
In sharp contrast to the cases above and below, Miranda Sings and Tan take on an immediately antagonistic repartee in this one. From sharp jabs at Tan’s on-trend overalls to Miranda’s questionably precise understanding of hues (Tan is the expert after all, right?), the sparring stars in this episode somehow approach nuptials by the end. Sort of. It’s the weirdest one, so your mileage may vary. (I enjoyed it! And it exemplifies how Tan’s funnyman flexibility is grossly under-appreciated both on “Queer Eye” and in general.)
Andrew Goldberg and Nick Kroll Are Just Seem Like Really Nice Guys?
Andrew Goldberg and Nick Kroll are the comic minds behind the critically acclaimed Netflix animated series “Big Mouth,” an irreverent show about the horrors and horniness of growing up. Like their series, though, Andrew and Nick have heart, perhaps especially in this delightful entry in the “Dressing Funny” canon. While Mr. Kroll’s fashion sense is praised regularly by his lifelong friend, Andrew, both men get to have fun exploring new looks and, I sincerely mean this, the very nature of friendship.
Nick also gets into a somewhat exhibitionist mood for Tan and viewers at home, so if that’s your thing, this could be a Very Special Episode. (Full disclosure: I’ve thought he was cute since “The League” premiered a decade ago, so his striptease and, again, his under-credited sweetness, are most welcome validation.)
Pete Davidson Gets Glam — and Real
I said these episode blurbs weren’t in any order at the top, but truly I saved my favorite for last. Pete Davidson takes the irreverence of Goldberg and Kroll, then dials it up to 11.
He and Tan, though, also go back a ways! A year ago, a viral video of Tan taking Pete shopping for an “SNL”/”Queer Eye” crossover showcased their on-camera chemistry. In this “Dressing Funny” episode, they take it up a notch not just in terms of the jaw-dropping, “Did-he-just-say-that?” kinds of humor, but also in the depth of questions Tan poses to the “SNL” star.
Tan, for his part, quickly turns to the elephant in the room: Pete’s much-discussed … peter. Pete, you may recall, played a … big role in the euphemism “BDE” blowing up last year. (Pete plays it pretty coy.) In the same early scenes, Pete makes graphic (but strangely … loving?) reference to supporting his mom’s sex life. It’s a wild start.
To his credit, our beloved style expert knows when to shift toward more-serious matters. Tan asks Pete directly about mental health, partly in a “just checking in” way, but also in a more meaningful sense, as a means of giving some room for earnestly discussing how mental illness can isolate and alienate those who struggle. The exchange also underscores how openness about one’s struggles can be liberating, with Pete commenting on how his relationships with close friends have become more honest after his public disclosures. It’s a surprisingly poignant moment, somewhat unexpected after all the other episodes tend to emphasize humor first and foremost.
Finally, it must be stated that Pete looks great. Despite his self-deprecating humor from the opening moments of his Tan-led makeover, Pete looks healthier and happier these days and, when he pulls on some duds picked by Mr. France, he really stuns.
The Pete Davidson episode is on the shorter side at just under eight minutes (most of the others are in the 10-to-12-minute range), but it truly contains multitudes.
As a whole, maybe Tan’s quote about being typecast as “classy” is somewhat right. Still, while Tan can (and does! hilariously!) delve into his “trashy” side on “Dressing Funny,” he also shows off a range of comedic talents, skillful interviewing instincts and the same kindness any “Queer Eye” fan would expect.
Have you had the chance to see “Dressing Funny” yet? If so, tell us about your favorite episode and favorite moments in the comments below. If not, check out the trailer here to see what it’s all about, in Tan’s own words.