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Queer Eye for the Secret Life of Alias

Over the past couple of years, it's been hard to avoid the hype surrounding the TV show Alias. Let me be honest here - I've never seen a whole episode. It looked vaguely intriguing when it was being first promoted in Australia, but the reliance on Jennifer Garner's physical attributes were enough to turn me off of tuning in. The proclamations that it was a hit in America only served to cement the notion that the average American was a twerp. (Thank God the U.S. readership of this site aren't average.)

However, I've started asking people who profess to watch and enjoy the show about it, and it's starting to seem that there's more than they readily show off (Jennifer Garner scantily clad and/or looking slutty) in the advertising (to be fair, there are only thirty seconds in an ad). I'm beginning to wonder whether I've actually been missing out on something good.

Then again, I've usually been watching good stuff instead. Monday night is fairly competitive as far as TV goes, and over the past few yars Channel Ten has done a pretty good job of securing our television time. The Secret Life of Us has been mandatory on a Monday night; sure, it's soap opera, but it's well-written and acted, and far from being unrealistic, I can easily imagine having characters like those on the show living in the flats upstairs. Heck, I'm pretty sure I used to hang out with similar types at one point, and I tend to see parallels between Evan and myself (generally on the writer and insensitive prick fronts).

Now that Secret Life is off the air between seasons, we tried its replacement, Crashburn, but it's just not as interesting. Thankfully, it's been shoved out of the way to make room for the latest U.S. reality/lifestyle show, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. I didn't think I was going to be particularly interested; I find a lot of renovation-based lifestlye shows particularly dull; while the results can be spectacular, the process bores me, despite the enthusiasm of the handypersons involved and their best attempts to jazz painting a wall up a bit. Also, this whole "get a makeover from five gay fashion gurus" struck some politically-correct nerve somewhere; I wasn't sure I was comfortable with supporting the stereotype (I remember reading an article in the SMH editorials by some poor gay bloke worried about stereotyping - and I do mean bloke here; he readily admitted that he was so slovenly and blokey that even his gay friends were questioning his sexuality).

But you know what? It's actually bags of fun. You can throw around the stereotyping label all you want, but the Fab Five, as the quintet of lifestyle makeover artists are known, add some character to lifestyle infotainment. It doesn't half help that almost all of them are characters, especially the token blonde, Carson - he's the sharp-tongued one of the group, but even when he's dissing someone's wardrobe, he's usually not half-right. (Then again, why would they be sent to someone whose wardrobe and house were already good?)

And for some odd reason, where the details of home handypersoning bore the crap out of me, I'm actually interested in what the advice the Five dispense on clothes (Carson's bailiwick) and personal grooming (Kyan, master of the - I don't know how you're meant to write it - "jhuj"). It's a little hard (quit giggling, you lot) to remember any specific advice Thom has given out, usually because he lets his re-decorating jobs do most of the talking for him, but Ted and Jai are good to keep an eye on - Ted especially (from my perspective, as I reckon I'm weaker on food and wine than I am on personal interaction), but don't worry; I do know I could still use some help there, and Jai is a very pleasant, positive young man, so I be sure to pay attention.

I think that's the thing with this show - say what you will about the premise and stereotyping, the Five are lively enough and different enough that while - or more accurately, because you're laughing (and, where Carson's concerned, occasionally being shocked) you're remembering some important stuff.

Needless to say, Vickie and I make sure to tune in for Queer Eye on Monday nights. Rumour has it an Australian network is considering an Oz-based version. I'm a little worried whether it'll be able to match up with its U.S. parent; then again, I was worried whether the parent itself would be entertaining.

Oh, that's right, I was writing about Alias, wasn't I? I think it's about time I made up my mind myself, and I wouldn't mind doing some catching up; maybe them Americans are onto something after all. So does anyone have any of the series on tape or DVD, and if so, could I borrow some, please? No rush; we're off to the U.K. in a couple of weeks, after all.

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