“Queer Eye” star Jonathan Van Ness is embarking on a solo journey on Netflix, exploring a wide range of topics that fascinate them in the new series, “Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness.”
Across the show’s six-episode Season 1 run (which debuted on the streamer Friday), Van Ness is driven to seek out more information and have conversations about a host of topics that pique their interest. Among them is the premiere episode, titled “Are Bugs Gorgeous or Gross?” Another episode focuses on hair, which involves a serious hair-story look into the follicle fashions of the Romans. They explore figure skating, the chemical-related reasons we love snack foods, and one episode asks, “Can We Say Bye-Bye to the Binary,” where Van Ness explores “why systems of power are threatened by gender nonconformity.” Van Ness said they found deeply impactful moments throughout filming the show.
“I think that the episode ‘Can We Say Bye-Bye to the Binary?’ and [visiting] Stonewall felt extremely moving, and taking the walk with ALOK around Stonewall, I felt the energy of the people from our community who have come before us, whose shoulders we stand upon to even have the conversation that we had. So that felt really surreal,” Van Ness told TheWrap. “And I really did have like, tricep chills, like that whole hour and a half. [It] felt really palpable. I couldn’t believe that I was like in that room where so much important queer history has happened. I’m even just getting chills down thinking about it. So that felt really impactful.”
“Why Don’t You Love Figure Skating as Much as I Do?” is another episode taping that left its mark on Van Ness.
“My hips felt really impacted after I fell on like seven single axle attempts. That was less emotionally impactful, but like my hips were really literally black and blue,” they said. “I can’t believe I didn’t fracture something on those falls. So, I know it’s a different kind of impact.”
Thanks to Van Ness’ curiosity, there is both emotion and humor in every episode, with each one involving experts, like in the snack foods one, where a scientist explains how eating sweet, tasty little treats like powdered donuts light up our brain in the same way as certain narcotics.
“I was just like, ‘Dang. Really? Like, snacks and coke?’ Our brain … and they’re in the same neighborhood,” Van Ness shared. “I was always told that those were like, separate neighborhoods. But as it turns out … they do like similar [things] – it just goes to show how strong the urge is to get our gorgeous snickety-snack snacks on because they are tasty.”
Fans of Van Ness, who has a podcast the show is based on, will expect more than just indulging JVN’s curiosities in this series. And they deliver. There are cameos from cartoons and little JVN angels and devils, as well as songs and dance routines with costumes and wigs.
“Yeah, it was really challenging. I think under normal times it’s challenging. Filming whilst in COVID times … I mean, we had like one makeup artist, one wig person for … all of that, like with five costumes. It was a lot. But I’m so proud of us. We had so much fun and we really did it and we kept everyone safe. We like, did the damn thing,” Van Ness said. “I love how it turned out. And really, my inspiration for a lot of those sketches and that comedy and the dancing was … I get really intrusive thoughts. It’s like, I’ll just be minding my own business, and then I’ll just get this daydream of like, five muses coming in and like doing like a Fifth Hair-mony dance – and that happens in the hair episode. … Sometimes it makes sense more than others, but that’s part of the fun, that’s part of the curiosity journey.”
Van Ness has been a longtime Netflix star, appearing not just in “Queer Eye,” but lending their talents to “Spinning Out,” and “Big Mouth,” and their new one “Getting Curious.” And if JVN gets their way, they’d love a “Bridgerton” moment – even one far, far, far (“like in the back, back, back”) from the center of the action. JVN is, afterall, friends with Lady Whistledown herself, actress Nicola Coughlan (who they called “the best quiz maker of all time”).
“That is my ultimate – like it didn’t happen yet. But I have actually – it’s funny you say that, I pitched that to her several times, like I just want like a ‘Where’s Waldo?’/JVN moment where like I am just like in full costume. And you can just have me in the background just having like some whatever like stuff they drank then,” Van Ness said.