Looking: The Complete Series and Movie

| December 9, 2016

Given that Looking only ran for two seasons, I guess I’m not surprised I haven’t heard of it.  Many of HBO’s TV series are cultural phenomenon so it’s rare for them to have a dud that comes and goes without having any impact whatsoever.  This is why I tend to keep an eye out for HBO stuff to at least give them a try, but somehow Looking came and went without so much as a blip on my radar.  The show seems to be trying to capitalize on the popularity of Queer as Folk or The L Word for drawing in a LGBTQA audience.  Given what I saw of the series, I can see why maybe it fizzled out.

The story follows a group of gay male friends living in Los Angeles and dealing with the day-to-day drama that comes with trying to date in a big city, gay or otherwise.  The main character is Patrick (Jonathan Groff), who is a video game developer who’s never had a real relationship before but keeps “looking” for something to stick.  He’s not the strongest character in that what he wants changes from episode to episode.  In one episode he’ll want to try hooking up with a stranger in a park, in the next he’ll want a real boyfriend, in the next he’ll want something casual with a Hispanic man.  It makes it difficult to relate to him as a character or care about him because his mood changes as the inconstant moon.

Patrick’s former roommate Augustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) is an artist who explores his sexuality with his boyfriend Frank (O.T. Fagbenle), engaging in group sex and what it means to be in an open relationship.  Unfortunately that is all that really defines his character.  There is an interesting inevitability built with his reluctance to talk about these things with Frank, giving the impression that everything is going to explode in his life.  Not much else to him or their relationship however, but I will say that generally the sex scenes in the show are not gratuitous.  Of all the things happening in each episode, who’s sleeping with whom is the most interesting device the show has for developing character and pushing the story forward.

A real treat for me watching the show was the inclusion of Russell Tovey (Doctor Who) as Patrick’s new boss.  If I were going to keep watching the series for any reason, it would be him and his interactions with Patrick.  There is simulatenously a flirtation between them but also a professionalism, which makes me think the flirtation is us seeing things from Patrick’s POV as he falls for this guy, who has no interest in him.  That would be my guess, but I would have to watch more to see where things go.

The set also includes the HBO Original Movie Looking which I assume was used to wrap up the series.  I didn’t want to skip ahead and watch it in case I decide to someday finish  the series and don’t want to know how everything wraps up.  In the meantime, I have to get caught up on Girls, Westworld, and Veep.  You keep me busy, HBO.

Available now on Blu-ray and DVD from HBO Home Entertainment.

About the Author:

Joe Sanders Joe Sanders is a podcaster, playwright, and college instructor in Kalamazoo, MI. He has a master's degree in playwriting and a bachelor's degree in creative writing from Western Michigan University, where he currently teaches thought and writing, and is the host of the Quote Unquote Guilty podcast, part of the Word Salad Network.
Filed in: TV on DVD
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