In the new reboot of Queer Eye, one of the case studies in season 1 was a gentleman by the name of Bobby Camp. Bobby lives with his wife and six kids in Georgia. Bobby’s biggest issue that the Fab Five tried to help him with was that he was struggling to function – or as Jonathan Van Ness (Mr Grooming) put it, he was “strugs to func.”
It’s a cute term, but why was Bobby doing it so tough? Because he was working 2 jobs to support his family, and consequently was living on 3-4 hours of sleep a night, and had been for quite some time.
I remember thinking (and tweeting) as I watched this episode that this lifestyle was just totally unsustainable. It’s not just about being “strugs to func” in the short term, it’s what working that hard does to you long term. It literally kills you (yes, this blog will includes references below.)
As I browsed twitter, I realised I wasn’t the only person worried about Bobby Camp’s health and longevity, and that many people were joining the same intellectual dots that I was: situations like Bobby’s are precisely why we should have social security, not just in terms of social security payments like New Start or the Family Tax Benefit, but also the broader welfare state apparatus, like universal health care, free education, protected wages that ensure a full time job is enough for a person and their family to survive, and so on.
The Fab Five did what they could to help the Camps get things together: Bobby the decor and home guy did his usual miracle worker routine and completely transformed their home into a much nicer space, and spent some time bonding with case study Bobby while planting some veggies in the garden (an activity to do with the kids, plus free food in the long run.) Jonathan (Grooming,) Tan (Wardrobe,) and Antoni (Food) took Bobby and the kids to Target to work on Bobby’s makeover and to find solutions for a time and cash poor big family. Karamo (Culture) introduced Bobby and his wife to a chore roster for the kids, and helped him plan a wedding reception reboot to make up for the disastrous original event.
They didn’t touch on the biggest problem: Bobby can’t keep working 2 jobs and only sleeping 3-4 hours a night. But the solutions to that problem are way beyond the scope of a reality tv show, even Queer Eye and its mission to make people happier.
Here’s the discussion they could have had on screen.