Archive | 7:48 pm

Spring 2014 Review: Looking

24 Jan

Looking indeed

Looking is a show about three gay friends in San Francisco and their quest to find love, sex, and just, you know, life. It’s a show that seems to be largely engulfed in realism and I think that’s an admirable pursuit; there aren’t enough TV shows that aspire to realism these days, and it can be really enriching to watch people’s lives that feel real rather than mythological or epic or far-removed from reality.

They hang out, they date, they look for love. One of the main characters, Patrick, played by Glee actor Jonathan Groff, gets a botched handjob in a park at the beginning of the episode, but that turns out to be a bit of a false flag; that’s more salacious than the show actually is and aspires to be. All he really wants is to find someone he really likes to get along with; the centerpiece of his episode storyline is an incredibly awkward date with a pretentious doctor, in which he deals with the consequences of a failed attempt at escaping loneliness. The upshot is he meets a less well-credentialed, but gentle bouncer on the way home on the subway, and after quickly bailing and calling it a night, he decides to go to the party the guy mentioned and take a chance. It’s an optimistic ending to a show that seems to have a well-meaning bent.

His two friends, Agustin and Dom have their own dating issues. Agustin decides to move in with his boyfriend Frank, and Dom is frustrated at the restaurant where he works, and considers attempting to hook up with an ex.

I don’t really have strong feelings about the first episode. I think there were some good things; but there was nothing compelling; nothing that made me instantly want to tune in again for a second episode. Admittedly, that’s a serious danger of a show that’s just about, you know, life – there’s no big hook of a murder or large science-fiction conspiracy to keep you glued, and it’s not a comedy so while there’s some humor, there aren’t whole lot of jokes or enough laughs for that to be the sole reason to watch.

It was well-produced and acted and it’s obviously a competent show. I’m just not sure it’s a must watch either. Although I admire and do want to reward Looking for its promising realism, I wasn’t hooked, and I feel relatively ambivalent going forward. It’s a show that could easily be rewarding by season’s end, but it’s hard to get a sense of how rewarding it might be from the first episode in and of itself; it doesn’t make any sort of grand statement about the direction of the show, and while that may be the point, and a valid one, it also makes it feel less like immediate required viewing.

Will I watch it again? Not right now. In baseball there used to be something called a draft-and-follow, where you could draft a player and then wait and see how they do before you decide whether you want to sign them.. I’m not so invested after one episode that I’m going to keep watching week to week, but I’ll wait and see how the buzz comes around, and then watch them later on if I hear good things.