BUTCH PAL FOR The straight gal
Synopsis: In a world where societal pressures often force women to act, dress. and conform to unrealistic feminine stereotypes, five queer women, each with their own specialty, help straight women re-discover their true identity and offer tips on how they can overcome outdated gender roles.
The Fierce Five are here, they’re queer, and they’re not going to take any shit
Okay folks, it’s here. Since the resurgence of Queer Eye, we’ve all been waiting not-so-patiently for the version where five queer women turn up to smash patriarchal expectations. The Fierce Five are here, they’re queer, and they’re not going to take any shit.
For anyone who hasn’t seen the hype, Queer Eye For the Straight Guy was originally released in 2003 and had a reboot in 2018 becoming simply ‘Queer Eye’. Here, four queer men and a nonbinary person visit people across the world to revamp their life by ‘upgrading’ their style, mindset, food, clothes, and house. Finally, we have the queer woman’s alternative, prepped with their crystals and sensible footwear.
In the crowdfunded pilot episode, the group arrive at the house of ‘Meckayluh’, or Mickey, (Elizabeth Ellson) a social media influencer who, according to her Aunt Paula (Dot-Marie Jones), has lost touch with reality, and has no desire to reconnect. With some grit, a couple meltdowns, and a lot of vegan chili, the Fierce Five show Mickey that life is more than perfectly designed houses and the opinions of Internet followers.
Butch Pal for the Straight Gal boasts charm, wit, and possibly the best intro music you’ll ever hear. Johnson’s writing is hilarious, and the Fierce Five deliver with a flair that makes you feel like you’re in a room with your queer pals, where everyone is taking the piss out of themselves and each other. From the spiritually-aligned but permanently enraged Tegan (Lauren Flans), to the board-game-night expert Moana (Teresa Lee), the detail in the stereotypes makes it clear that the jokes are for a WLW audience. Is this how straight guys feel all the time?
Ellson’s performance is excellent too; there would definitely be an easy, vapid way to play this character, but she gives Mickey more depth with her nuanced delivery. Still, I would have liked more from how the character was treated in the storyline. There are moments where Mickey was interacted with in a way that felt slightly uncomfortable.
Anyone who has had the expectation of femininity put upon them will understand how damaging it can be in terms of the way we view and treat ourselves. Being exposed to an unapologetic, joyful alternative can be so liberating. Occasionally, it felt like the Fierce Five were chastising Mickey for the ways she currently seeks comfort, in the way she presented herself, or her choices around food. As Butch Pal grows, I’d like to see more consideration of where we land our jokes, and be conscious of what we are punching when we swing – is it the oppressive structures, or those who have been affected by them?
Watch the trailer
This REVIEW was written by:
Reviewer and Writer
Molly has been studying and working across film for almost a decade – from production to impact campaigns, analysis and the occasional acting stint.