Queer Eye and the Future of Television

Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, the latest reality-tv show, features five gay men who remake a “style-deficient and culture-deprived straight man from drab to fab.” The show is a huge success and has created much commentary on the changing nature of social mores in America.

Less noticed is that the show is artfully disguised product placement. Each week the fab five carefully name each and every product that they use to remodel the straight guy – like Polo jeans, Ray Ban eyewear, KMS Hair care products, Benjamin Moore paint and Hold Everything furniture, to name a few recently featured items. Love that desk but miss the item number? Got to the website and you can find each product categorized by the show it appeared in.

As usual, a Ralph Nader connected group, Commerical Alert, is complaining that consumers are being ripped off. They want every paid product placement to be overlaid with an on-screen “advertisement” sign. The shift to within-show product placement, however, is a natural response to Tivo and other similar technologies that are making it easier to skip the commercials. I hope that within-show product-placement eliminates commercials altogether – this is the future of television.


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