Television’s endless capacity for self-reproduction – some might call it self-cannibalization – continues Tuesday with a new spinoff from the “Queer Eye” makeover hit.

“Queer Eye for the Straight Girl” (previewing at 11 p.m. EST today on Bravo and repeating in its regular slot 10 p.m. Wednesday) offers a new ensemble of gay lifestyle experts, this time based in California and including a lesbian member (the remarkably named Honey Labrador). Moreover, this foursome, dubbed the “gal pals,” will barge, their way not into bachelor pads, but into the homes of women, who, despite their gender, are in dire need of fashion, decor, hairstyling and spa-spruced makeovers.

There is little new Tuesday, except for the four stylists themselves. They seem as self-consciously fey and outrageous as their originals on “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy,” though not, for the most part, as witty. Blond, brassy Robbie Laughlin, for instance, is a cuter but less funny clone of the original’s Carson Kressley. Laughlin is almost too deliberate and calculated in his insulting, risque rant.

Indeed, as with “Guy” and television’s innumerable other makeover efforts, the success of each episode probably will turn more on the receptiveness and appeal of the makeover target. In that respect, the opener’s honoree/victim, Nicole, is warm and likable. A refreshing, earnest tomboy with something of the mien and vocal timbre of Julia Roberts, Nicole is a sweet-natured, unpretentious blond, about to turn 30, given to cutoff jeans and baseball caps and still somewhat mournful over the death of her father.

Laughlin, Labrador, interior decorator Damon Pease and “lifestyle” adviser advisor Danny Teeson rush rudely into her cluttered, messy apartment, dissing her hair, wardrobe and low self-esteem.

A session at the spa later, replete with seaweed masks for the buttocks, Nicole sheds what the group terms her “matronly wear” and learns how to decanter port wine, prepare attractive appetizers and recover from her brightly redone apartment, which now boasts a plush, curtained bed on its outdoor balcony.

Nicole is both a good sport and an eager guinea pig, not to mention grateful makeover-ette. She weeps at least half a dozen times, enduring the bitchy putdowns and embracing the omni-sexual bonhomie that fuels the whole “Queer Eye” aesthetic.

Unwittingly, perhaps, during a rare moment of reflection, Nicole inadvertently sums up the appeal and weakness of the entire “Queer Eye” juggernaut: “It’s all,” she tells them, begging not to be considered ungrateful, “so superficial.”

Duh. Clearly the original, which launches its third season at 10 p.m. EST Tuesday, has its fans, although there are those of us who find it an overly cute, overly loud onetime idea entrapped in perpetual repetition. This new version isn’t likely to relieve that monotony. But, for those eager for more, this is a passable imitation that breezily aims a gay magic wand at a nascent Cinderella instead of a frog prince.



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.