Looking, HBO, Manhattan, Manhattan Digest
Credit to: SF Weekly

Looking for… Substance?

HBO’s highly anticipated and publicized show “Looking” premiered last night as the latter part of the comedy hour they are now sharing with “Girls”. There has been a ton of hooplah surrounding “Looking” even before it started, as social media exploded with its accusations of the cast alone looking very one note without much diversity (something that I agree with). Also, to some annoyance, it has been touted by websites such as Buzzfeed as “The Next Great Gay Show” which is a bit premature as I’m sure they only got a screener of the first episode and can only judge so much from that. Seeing as there isn’t much gay shows on TV where we aren’t supporting characters but much more an entire cast, I severely looked forward to dissecting this show to it’s fullest content.

Then I watched it, and my primetime erection went down faster than Chris Christie’s political dreams. This happened for so many reasons honestly, but there is a smidgen of hope I feel for this show as a whole. That hope is Jonathan Groff, who many people know as being Rachel’s love interest on the former hit now please cancel it before I shoot myself “Glee”. He plays Patrick, the lead of the show who starts at the beginning attempting to get fellatio in a park from a rather hot bearish type guy. This was the high point in the show as he nervously answers his phone in the midst of it as he thought it was his “Mother”. Cute.

Here is my problem with his character- the problems he encounters throughout the episode would be cute if he was in the 21-24 age range, but I feel if you are an out and proud gay man at 29- these things shouldn’t be happening to you still. The BJ thing maybe, but the awkward date, the “6 month relationship” and so on and so forth. I just think his character lacks maturity that is made up for in his cuteness and impressionable behavior which is lose it’s gum flavoring very fast if things don’t pick up.

Murray Bartlett, who most gays know as the shoe maven who stole Carrie away from her wing eating time with Aiden on “Sex & The City” plays Som, a pushing 40 waiter who whines and bitches that a twinky 20 something rejected him mainly because of his age. At the end of the show he tries to get redemption on said twink by going to the bar with Patrick to make himself feel better about the rejection. So boring, no depth and if there is one character that should be a one off it’s him.

Lastly the one diverse character we have in this show is Agustin, played by Frankie J. Alvarez, who is Patrick’s roommate. He is in a relationship with Frank, played by OT Fagbenie. They run into the ever so present problem of having an open relationship which seems to be a big topic of debate in the gay community and end the episode not necessarily wanting the same thing. Should be interesting to see how it plays out.

Overall I would give the first episode 3 out of 10. Sorry if it’s harsh, but “Looking” is “Queer As Folk” for the iPhone digital world. The semi digs at bears or guys that don’t fit the size 29 stereotype, the severe lack of diversity ESPECIALLY in a place like San Francisco, and the dialogue which no one really says (“Are You Drug and Disease Free”, on a first date) lead this show to be just like the rest. I am not saying I need to watch this show to find a guy exactly like me, however this show has been done before. So until I see some changes and maturity in the upcoming episodes, my thought process is this.


  1. To have such a negative reaction to this show in one (less than 30 minute) episode is kind of silly… It appears to me Ryan had it in for this show Before it even aired…. As a member of the gay community at the age of 50 I found the show a snip-it of my community … Yes some 29 year olds are awkward … we dont know how this character has developed and what he has been doing since the age of 18? These are just three men in a vast gay community and yes these three men do exist in our community … Of course we come in all shapes, sizes, attitudes etc… We are diverse in our beliefs etc… Hopefully if the show runs more than six episodes we will meet other characters and friends of these men etc to show more of the community… but if we rip it apart before it even gets off the ground we will probably never get that chance… Any show about gay men on the air should be embraced by the community until it starts showing us in a negative vile lower than life species (which this does not)…. Relax and try to enjoy

  2. Gilbert Dipiano

    I disagree with you Ryan….but you are entitled to your opinion…I think gay people are always so anxious to see a gay theme show and rightful so…since Queer as Folk and the L Word there hasn’t been a big gay theme show on Cable.. now that being said..I think gay people are so damn critical of any gay theme show cause for the most part people care what the Heterosexual Community think of us..so if they see something that “represent” us and its not “True” in their world they get up and arms about it….. how I seen it…it was the 1st show..its only 30 mins….they had to set a tone and try to show case the characters a bit to see what they were about..so the 1st episode I wasn’t expecting a big POP ….. I think for the character to be 29 and still awkward and shy about things happening in his life is totally normal…not everyone is adventitious and willing to do everything being a out open gay man… so lets all keep watching and see what happens….I have high hopes for this show I want it to do Good..

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