You'll laugh. You'll cry. You'll clip your nose hair.

Or so says the "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" poster the Bravo Network sent. You'll definitely do the first. You might do the second. And if you don't do the third, you'll probably feel guilty about it.

TV's most surprising cultural phenomenon of the past year returns with new episodes — finally — tonight at 8 on cable's Bravo network. And the formula remains the same.

Five gay guys remake the looks, living space and life of a straight guy. Ted Allen takes on food, Kyan Douglas grooming, Thom Filicia interior decorating, Carson Kressley fashion and Jai Rodriguez culture. And, as always, the straight guy needs a lot of help.

Ralph Sutton is a 30-ish guy who shares his New York apartment with his twin brother.

"Two twin brothers sharing an apartment? It's like 'The Odd Couple' without the clean one," Ted says.

And, as is generally the case, the apartment is indeed "scary." Among other things, Kyan teaches Ralph how to clean a toilet, which, apparently, he's never done before. Which could explain all the anti-itch creams in his medicine cabinet.

"Hey Ralph, just a little heads up, my friend. If you bathed more often you wouldn't need all the anti-itch creams," Kyan says.

The Fab Five, as they're known, are always cracking wise. And they're generally a hoot. But they're also supportive and genuinely seem interested in improving the straight guy's life.

They agree with Ralph's mom that it would be nice if Ralph, who works as a deejay at strip clubs, could get out of that line of work and date someone other than strippers. (While most of the Fab Five's one liners are considerably more tame than the written dialogue on "Will & Grace" and "Friends," tonight's episode is the raciest yet because we get a few too many glimpses of the strippers Ralph works with.)

But, while he doesn't learn all his lessons perfectly, he does try. And if he needs a refresher course, there's the newly published "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" book, which Ralph could read while listening to the "Music from Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" CD.

Cultural phenomenon? "Queer Eye" is becoming an industry.


E-mail: pierce@desnews.com