Queer Eye For the Straight Guy - Home By Thom
Wellspring // Unrated // $24.98 // July 26, 2005
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted August 5, 2005
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Graphical Version
In 10 Words or Less
Focusing on the smart-ass Queer Eye home designer

Reviewer's Bias
Loves: IKEA
Likes: "Queer Eye," Thom
Hates: Painting

The Story So Far...
This is one of five "Queer Eye" DVDs released by Genius Productions, the company behind the completely different "Baby Genius" DVDs. Three of the four guys got their own releases, Carson, Thom and Ted, while Kyan and Jai shared a DVD, and the Boston Red Sox special received their own disc. DVDTalk has reviews of the discs, including Carson (here), Kyan and Jai (here) and the Red Sox (here).

The Show
When it comes to credentials, Thom might be the most qualified of the Fab Five to dispense make-over advice, as the head of this own highly-acclaimed design-firm. He sizes up the straight guys and while taking their design ideas and turning them 180 degrees, he does make them connect with the personalities of his "victims." The other guys frequently change the straight guys, but since Thom is working on their homes, he can't completely change them, and instead needs to adapt their homes to his vision. Most people don't respond well to having their living space change completely, and he's able to walk a fine line.

Thom truly shines during the tear-down portion of each episode, as his sharp wit and willingness to insult are used to great effect. More often than not, he is completely horrified by the decorating choices (and non-choices) that have been made before his arrival. As he rips through what is essentially the guys' lives, he knocks down their personal barriers and makes them more open to change, though some get a bit defensive when they are told their home design is that of a crack den. Luckily for the show, Thom can balance his critiques with humor.

When it comes time to make his changes, Thom usually has more work to do than any of his colleagues, simply due to the amount of changes needed and the physical nature of those changes. He certainly gets his hands dirty, as he can frequently been seen hard at work, repurposing a fridge or painting a bathroom. The most apparent and shocking changes come at his hands, with some help from the many companies he calls upon during each episode's shopping excursions. Though not everyone can afford to shop at the stores he frequents, the concepts he practices are certainly doable, and they are highlighted by the show's trademark "Straight Guy Tip" moments.

The great thing about seeing all these home make-betters in one package is the opportunity to see just how unique Thom's designs are. No one's home is the same as another's, and the concepts utilized run the gamut, allowing viewers to pick and choose from a large range of ideas. I certainly know that watching this disc made me look around my own living room thinking about what I would change.

The DVDs
In the same standard white keepcase that holds the other "Queer Eye" DVDs, two Thom discs arrive on store shelves. The first disc, which holds the main feature, has a static, full-frame main menu, which offers the options to play the 65-minute special, or select a chapter. The chapter menus feature still previews and titles for each section. There are no language options, no subtitles and no closed captioning. The second disc is similar, but the options on the main menu include play, chapter selects and a special feature.

The Quality
These full-frame episodes look better than they did when they originally aired, with just a spot of noise, and some pixilation along straight lines. Color is well reproduced and there's excellent detail in the video, while there's absolutely nothing in terms of dirt or damage in the transfers. There's nothing to complain about when it comes to the video quality of this disc.

The Dolby Digital 2.0 track is nice and strong, with decent separation between the channels when it comes to the peppy dance music that scores the show. The dialogue sounds clear and crisp, without a single bit of trouble. There's nothing too challenging in the mix, but it all sounds good.

The Extras
The extras for this release are found on the second disc, which includes a 20-minute outtakes featurette and a bonus episode of the series. The outtakes are pretty good, as Thom is a rather outrageous guy, rivaling even Carson in his behavior. Like Carson's DVD, the moments that were cut from the show are often much funnier than the actual episodes.

Also included on the second DVD is the first aired episode of "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy," "." This is the show that started the Queer Eye phenomenon. Butch, a rough-edged artist from New York, would like to get a gallery show for his artwork. He also needs his chaotic apartment done over, along with his own chaotic look. Everything that has made the show popular is seen here, as the creators figured out what worked and didn't work early in production. This is a fun show with a lot of good things going on, including a great tear-down segment.

The Bottom Line
In many ways, Thom is one of the most underrated members of the Queer Eye crew, as his sense of humor isn't as over-the-top as Carson's but just as funny, and his efforts tend to happen behind the scenes, being revealed later in the episodes. But there's only one guy's contributions that get a before-and-after showcase, and that's Thom's redecorating, which is often the biggest change in the straight guys' lives. This DVD looks and sounds very good, and the second DVD provides a couple of entertaining extras. Considering the available disc space, more content would have been appreciated, but what's here makes for a disc worth checking out, if only to get some decorating ideas.

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