Looking: S2

looking s2Naysayers be silent. No seriously I love a good argument, so flame on. From my corner of the world, I couldn’t be happier with Season 2 of HBO’s Looking. Patrick, Dom, and Augustin are back. Patrick chose Richie in Season 1. This year he focuses on Kevin. Doris gets an expanded role and the comedy writers pour their soul into her, Richie comes back with a ginger boyfriend, Augustin meets Eddie, a poz bear, and Doris falls for an African-American man who works a Cher wig as good as any gay man. There’s lots of drama, lots of lazy, quiet moments and cinematic beauty. Slowly the boys begin to grow up in surprising ways. Augustin becomes human, Dom takes a risk on dating an older man – Lynn but his heart beats faster for his restaurant idea. Patrick seems to want to grow up but instead of following his passion, he follows an outdated rule book made for someone else. The final episode contains a bitter fight between Patrick and Kevin which makes you want to either hate Patrick, hate Kevin, or hate them both for rushing into things too quickly. And then there’s Patrick visiting Richie in the final moments. My discomfort came not from disliking the episode. On the contrary, the fact that I see myself in Patrick’s fucked-up, delusional, striving-for-something-meaningful reality means the creators of Looking are getting under my skin. And I like it. There’s lots of pleading online to get Looking to Season 3. HBO has yet to announce a renewal. One reviewer said it’s the only show where gay people are in the majority. In every other show it’s about gay people interacting with the rest of the  world. Looking is all about gay men. It’s been a long time since we’ve had a show like this and I’m not willing to let it go. So HBO if you can hear me, do the right thing and renew this beautiful, haunting, awkward postcard of San Francisco and modern gay life for one more season. Especially before San Francisco becomes financially off-limits for every character. I need more of my boys. 5 out of 5 for Looking.

12/2/2016: Watching Season 2 after seeing the final Looking movie gives the season more depth. I continue to feel that the Promised Land outdoor dance Molly scene is some of the best television ever created. Celebratory, sensual, communal, introspective, and beautiful. Watching Looking makes me fall in love all over again. 5 out of 5.

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2 Responses to “Looking: S2”

  1. urbanfoodguy Says:

    Yeah well maybe if they had focused on making it less boring and unfunny and featuring truly unlikable characters like Patrick and last season Augustine, it might have had a chance. It’s beautifully shot and has some lovely honest moments in it. But since the start it’s been deeply problematic for me, then I watch that last episode with Patrick nearly breaking up with the “love of his life” Kevin over Grindr? WTF you would never be that in love with someone and move in and be so unable to have a conversation about something so basic. Kevin tries to get him to talk but oh no…Patrick is too busy putting on his tiara and wanting to be Cinderella. OH PLEASE.

    I thought season two started off much better. I loved the first episode in the woods. Augustines magical change seems totally contrived to me how did he end up going from super asshole to someone so rational and real? And why didn’t we see it? If the answer is love well then wow thats amazing most people who are as fucked up as Augustine was in the first season need meds and serious therapy for years to get it together. I feel like his ex who he meets in a cafe and asks : what happened to the old Augustin ?

    Patrick is problematic and has been since the start, but the last episode was it for me. Who wants to spend time with someone like that? Obviously you love it as do others, but I just find him in need of medical help and his over privileged white boy inability to find the idealistic relationship of his dreams that doesn’t exists would be better dealt with in therapy behind a closed door where none of us would have to be part of.

    Not that I want you to think I have strong feelings about this 😉 But I want my highly functioning tv characters to be people I can root for and love in spite of their flaws. Take Girls for example everybody loves it not just girls, Looking is only watched by gay men who want to see their lives reflected in a series on TV and even they are not watching it in droves. I’m the only person of my friends in NYC who watches it and for the most part of the people I know who have watched they all basically say what I have said here.

    This show should be a funny, raucous, expose about gay men and SF. HBO has sabotaged it on some level by giving it a 30 minute format….it’s really disappointing as I really, really want it to be good and essential viewing, but more times than not I want to either fast forward (the drunk party episode) or turn it off (last episode) and that makes me sad. I would be shocked if HBO renews it.

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    • reelcharlie Says:

      Thanks for the lengthy reply! I wish we could discuss this over a glass of wine. I get where you are coming from. From my vantage point, I don’t see Patrick being unrealistic as a character. I think there are lots of boys who come to the big city with hopes and dreams and then either figure out how to make those dreams work in a more realistic way, or leave the city and go find their comfort zone someplace else, or there are some people who just never step into reality. I think it’s fascinating seeing a character so up front about how naive he is. Does it make my skin crawl? You bet. Have I known guys like him? Yes, lots. Am I cutting him some slack because he’s 30. Absolutely. I think we all have our idea of what the perfect “gay show” will be. So many hated QAF, so many hated L Word, now many hate Looking. Does anyone remember Noah’s Arc? The Lair? Basically unwatchable except for the booty moments.

      I hate Girls, so that wasn’t a good example of a TV show everyone loves but I get your point. Maybe The Walking Dead is a better example for me. Still I think Looking is gorgeous and nuanced and leaves you with a lot of questions and I don’t mind that. Lots more to talk about but this is a start.

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