We end with beginnings: Doris and Dom turn over a new leaf, Ag starts a new medication, Eddie unveils a new mural, and Kevin and Patrick start a new living situation.
Our doe-eyed lead kicks things off by doing what he does best: walking wide-eyed into a situation without the knowledge or equipment required to handle it effectively. Today’s microcosm of his childlike nature is the journey from the sidewalk into his apartment. Carrying a box of valuables literally labeled “valuables” in block letters (which is a bad idea when you’re the most muggable person on the planet), he can barely open an unlocked door. The doors on this building, however, do indeed lock. And not with keys: with fobs. But he doesn’t get stuck outside because help is on the way in the form of two slightly sinister neighbors. They fob him in, and then fob him again in the elevator. If that sounds like innuendo, just wait.
Upstairs, Kevin is already unpacking his things. Somehow, Patrick is just now realizing that he has never seen Kevin’s belongings (not counting the sweaters he’s slowly stealing). Things that don’t cause him doubt: bareback sex with his partnered boss in their office. Things that do: a Field of Dreams poster. Priorities, ladies and gentlemen! They drink, discuss sleep numbers, and begin to disrobe when WHOOPS! There’s a knock at the door. The neighbors have impeccable timing, huh? They invite the new tenants to a gathering in their apartment. It conflicts with the party Ag and Eddie are throwing, but they decide to go anyway because Patrick adheres to the time-honored WASP tradition of coldly ignoring his loved ones at Christmas.
Across town, Dom is casually stalking Malik. Which makes sense: we’re talking about a man who’s built like five twinks Voltronned together, wears suits by day and Cher wigs by night, and enjoys rimming his partners. People should be following him in vans like the Grateful Dead. But this meeting isn’t about that, it’s about patching things up with Doris. She’s at home obsessively cleaning and pointedly avoiding any contact with her former best friend, and it’s time to patch things up. Malik is happy to facilitate, because he is the best person ever. This show’s secondary characters are consistently the anchors holding down the bubble-headed leads.
Back at the apartment party, things are getting a little weird. First off, there’s a very Stepford vibe about their attendees, who are whiter, leaner, and more uniform in appearance than grocery store chicken cutlets. Plus, people repeatedly suggest that the already-flirty vibe is about to kick up several notches once everyone’s drunk enough to get in a mistake-making mood. Which Patrick is giggly about (we’ve seen how well he holds his liquor) until one of the hosts accidentally outs Kevin as a current Grindr user. So yeah, party over.
Ag calls to figure out where Patrick is. Patrick is all, “can we make this, like all things, about me for a minute?” and Ag is all, “thanks for supporting this event. Also something about PrEP because we’re being topical now.”
After months of blissfully letting things slide, Patrick is suddenly chock full of questions. Again, for a man who didn’t see any moral ambiguity in a little unprotected workplace bonding, he’s pretty invested in the number of steam room hand jobs Kevin has received. The man cheated. Multiple times. We all knew this. Moving on.
The real catastrophe is when Kevin decides that, in the spirit of honesty, he’d like to discuss right at this moment that he’s not necessarily interested in a monogamous relationship. He could use a lesson from the neighbor couple on timing, because he’s got none. Predictably, Patrick does not take this suggestion well. He spends the rest of the night wandering the halls of the building, lost and fobless, making weird metaphors about how their relationship is a sleep number bed and they’ll always be mismatched mattresses of different toughness levels with different numbers of people sleeping on them. Kevin wants to make it work, and eventually they hit a weak note of compromise, but the wafer-thin veneer of confidence that was holding them together is just about broken.
Dom and Doris at least have a clean, amicable breakup. They’re still friends, but they admit that they were codependent and that they will better support each other if they let go and pursue other people. It’s exactly how I’d want to be dumped by my gay bestie if I were a woman dating a white collar fuckopotomas with a golden tongue.
Sleep does not come easy for Patrick, who deals with it by digging through his box of valuables, which isn’t fragile things like I assumed but reminders of his friends, like pictures and stuff. It’s a sweet moment until he fishes out Richie’s necklace from the first season. Despite the underlying sentimentality of the gesture, I’m really hoping that he’s done fucking with coupled dudes. He’s going to be like Gay Relationship Godzilla soon, stampeding through the city destroying loving connections the way Republicans think we’re going to do to straight people when we get legally married. Rather than a monstrous rampage, he settles for an early morning meeting with his ex that he specifies will involve no talking, just hair removal. I’m sure he’s trying to start fresh by getting a buzz cut, but the truth is that he’s going to look even more like Kevin when he’s done. If we’re lucky, Season 3 will just be Single White Female: The Homosexual Miniseries.
Emotionally, Patrick is 30 going on 16. He’s shocking immature. Relationship matters like monogamy go to values. Patrick, has a lot of growing up to do.
I’m glad Queerty can see Malik is hot.
Malik is HOT HOT HOT.
I would love for him to turn out to be bi and start dating Raul Castro’s character.
As for the rest of this gang other than hottie Daniel Franzese, meh!
That should be Raúl Castillo’s character, Richie.
So 1st season Story Arc/cliffhanger is “Will Patrick go with Richie or Kevin?”.
And 2nd season Story Arc/cliffhanger is “Will Patrick go with Richie or Kevin?”.
Seriously, these writers should feel guilty taking a paycheck.
I found it strange that Kevin is going to move into the apartment Kevin got for them and hasn’t even been given the ‘fob’ to navigate the building. Don’t you usually give someone a key if you are going to have them move in? Bad sign from the start.
The sexual predators party was a little over the top. It looked way more like parties I’ve been to in LA than anything I’ve ever heard of in SF.
This is too awesome. Chris J Kelly, u r a genius! Always so spot-on!
No season 3 announcement yet?
This show is becoming incomprehensible. I’ve heard of couples stuck living together AFTER breaking up, for years or even decades, because of the tough housing market (in NYC and I assume SF is maybe worse).
But it makes no sense that Patrick, who already had a place to live, would move in at the drop of a hat without even having The Discussion about expectations, with someone he already knows fucked around on his previous bf with Patrick himself. And who would invite someone to move in if you didn’t even know he hated peanut butter? (or baseball for that matter), it makes no sense!
These reviews are entertaining though, and much better written than the show!
I have to give them credit, as contrived and eye rolling as it was, the actual fight between Patrick and Kevin was decently-written and well acted. Jonathan Groff is actually really good when he has to be bitchy.
“But it makes no sense that Patrick, who already had a place to live, would move in at the drop of a hat without even having The Discussion about expectations,”
But that is somehow what the writers seem to want Patrick to be. Somebody who doesn’t dwell in the real world. How did he break his lease on the other apt. so easily? Agustin is supposedly his best friend and yet he ditches out with no way for the other guy to cover the rent with no notice?
None of this is real.
This could very well be the end. If that is the case, I want to congratulate the full cast and crew for an uncompromising, engrossing two seasons on HBO. The show gets better and better, and they have so much to be proud of. They became a flashpoint for debate in the gay community.
Patrick and Kevin’s fight was amazing. Everyone should read Vox’s recap of the episode (it’ll be the best “Looking” analysis you read today). It captures the intensity and realism of the sequence. I was struck by the high quality of the writing in that fight. How many gay couples have had this fight? How many gay men have felt Patrick’s confusion and loneliness? How many have felt Kevin’s frustration and determination?
It’s possible for two people to genuinely love each other and have different perspectives on monogamy, marriage, or children. Last night’s episode illustrated how much it hurts to learn that you and the man you love are on different pages. It also shows that Patrick and Kevin were too hasty to move in together.
Although it was a bit of a storytelling cop-out, I really appreciated the ending. Patrick going to Richie, and trusting him with his haircut. He’s changing with Richie’s help. I love that he didn’t go there to cheat on Kevin, profess his love for Richie, or try to break up Richie’s relationship. He went there for comfort, meditation, and transition.
I don’t know whether HBO will renew “Looking.” If they don’t, I’ll always be grateful for these two gorgeous seasons.
Why refer to Augustine as “Ag” repeatedly? He is not called that on the show.
The only mature character on the show is Richie.
The reason this show is not embraced by a larger community and lacks ratings is because it is not racially diverse and ultimately supports and promotes white privilege. The nonsense writing that worked in the 80’s and 90’s is no longer acceptable-lack of viewership will tell you that.
I’m so tired of watching these broken people do stupid things. This is like an unfunny version of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”. You know those broad, broken characters are meant to be caricatures not taken seriously. Looking can’t decide whether it’s a slow motion drama with cartoon characters, or an unfunny, overly dramatic sitcom.
First we have Agustin, whom should have been written out of the show for his more appealing ex at the end of last season. His relationship is completely forced with the obese, HIV+ bear who is the bitchy Mother Superior with the Troubled Angels of homeless transgender teens. Instead of stealing rent money to trick his partner to have sex with rentboys, he now wants to save the world, while still not paying rent.
Then we have Dom, the aging clubkid/waiter who keeps turning away every wealthy benefactor for his chicken hut. BTW, why has no one in SF heard of Peri Peri Chicken? We have an entire chain of Nando’s here in DC.
Patrick is the only interesting character on the show, but he keeps acting like an undergrad in a 30-something body. The Ross-Rachel dynamic between him, Kevin and Richie has gone on 2 seasons too long already. How did we have 10 episodes to end up exactly where Season 1 left off? Are we going to have a 3rd season of Patrick dithering between two beaux that he’s not really compatible with?
I don’t think I can take another episode of the lazy writing, risible characters and overly predictable plotlines. I knew as soon as Patrick helped Ritchie with the ice cream truck where the last episode would land us. As for Dom, I forget he is on the show, and Agustin is better when you fast forward over his forced scenes.
This was a disappointing series for so many reasons. The first season was very hard to watch, I did like the second season better, as is the norm for most series, they took some time to find their way.
However, my favorite character was Doris. Perhaps, some of the other characters were too close to home (briefly) for me to relax with, perhaps the story lines were not close enough for me to identify with, probably both.
For myself, “Looking” suffers by comparison to other Showtime, HBO, Netflix series, like “GIRLS,” “Nurse Jackie,” “House of Cards,” but not to shows Like “Will and Grace” or “Sex and the City.” it’s about as “real” to me, as the latter two, though it will never be considered ground-breaking (as those shows were).
Finally, I hope they get one more season to finish “Looking”; a final chance to shoot a look, as it were.
@Cam: I can’t say I feel sorry for Agustin. It would serve his leaching butt right to end up living in the teen homeless shelter after he threw away his art career, then his live-in boyfriend, and now his friends by living off them like a pathetic character from “Rent.”
I have a vague hankering to watch this series. And then I read the comments.
Hopefully there is going to be 3rd season, but i highly doubt it, which makes me really sad.
So many people hate Patrick, but to be honest i love him, he is so innocent, childish and even naive, but he is so full of life, full of hopes and i love him for that!
if you’re afaid your bf may cheat- you might want to move out of Hook Up Gardens Condo Complex…..Best written show yet!
the show’s called ‘Looking’ if Patrick were happy and settle down- he wouldn’t need to look- the title is the ultimate spoiler 🙂
@Saint Law: You can hate watch the show like most of the people who comment here. Binge watch it and then go back and write on each week’s episode recap on Queerty for both seasons and talk about how much you hate the show, the episodes, the characters, the writing, the length of the episodes, how it’s not like this or that show, etc–but continue to watch. It’s probably not the same as hate watching it on a weekly basis, but it’s better than nothing. Just make sure you keep watching even though you hate it. Then write to HBO and ask them to bring it back for Season 3 so you have more episodes to hate and complain about. Watching something you enjoy is overrated anyway.
The UK has way better gay content than America. It’s no wonder LOGO picked up Cucumber and Banana.
Will continue passing on Looking.
@Saint Law: The show is unique in that is doesn’t easily fit into a TV show genre box (although season 2 moved more in that direction), and some viewers have a difficult time with that. I personally love the show but can easily understand why so many others don’t.
The show is about some non-heroic unglamorous gay average joes in not so uncommon situations. The focus is on the dialog, interactions, and the characters as opposed to episodic situations, social commentaries, and subliminal political correct messages. For me, these things make it very believable and relateable and therefore entertaining and captivating.
If you watch a few of the previews you get a good sense of what the show is, might help you make up your mind about giving it a try. I applaud the writers for not writing story lines that are over the top or implausible given the context of the characters they and the actors have created.
@CCTR: learn to spell, dialogue, not dialog
Although some of the scenes, both the writing and acting, are difficult to watch, it’s slowly getting better. The break up between Dom and his hag, and Patrick re-thinking things with Ears, were both real. They were good commentary on healthy and not so healthy relationships.
And again, it’s fun to see the scenery in SF, where I lived so long ago. It’s like another character in the show.
This show actually deals with legit social problems facing gay men today. I don’t see why so many people moan about expecting more. Something more isn’t realistic. The Kevin/Patrick Open relationship thing is a situation facing a ton of dudes. Unfortunately, the heart wants what it wants, and people who are accustomed to waking up and banging the same dude every day are forced to make a choice whether that’s realistic anymore.
Love the show. Hope there’s a S 3.
The fight was pretty good. Real life topic stuff. Still can’t stand the characters overall. I came back only because of Richie and they barely used him this season. Would be shocked if there was a season 3 with the ratings. I think I would literally enjoy watching a show about watching paint dry more than Looking.
When I read most of the comments on this show I often wonder if I often wonder if I am watching the same show. I am a huge fan of the film Weekend and although it’s different, Looking resonates with me in many of the same ways. Being in your 20s/30s as a gay man is both thrilling and terrifying at the same time. You suddenly find yourself navigating without a compass, trying to make profound life choices/decisions with men who are often times equally confused and unsure as you are. Your ideals go one way, reality goes the other, and somehow you’re expected to find a real life somewhere in the middle of it all. This is what Looking represents to me–the search for happiness, belonging, validation and a sense of self–trying to make sense of realities that often make no sense of all.
And if you have watched two complete seasons of a show you hate or generally don’t care for you are an idiot. There are many shows out there that do not appeal to me and I either don’t watch them or stop watching after I realize they aren’t for me. But instead of doing this, many gay men continue to watch Looking so they can climb on blogs and complain about the show week after week. The problem with gay shows is that it seems there is some unwritten rule that gay programming has an obligation to be enjoyed by and meet the expectations of all gay people. There are many shows that are targeted to gay audiences that I don’t really enjoy–but doesn’t mean they aren’t enjoyable or valuable to others.
I really enjoy this show and hope it is renewed. If not, I am OK with how it ended and find solace in the fact that the private pain of so many gay men who suffered through two seasons of this wonderful series is finally over.
@markgtx11: Spot on! There aren’t many new shows that I do watch (old wasp that I am) but this one grabbed me and kept my attention. Hoping for a Season 3.
For me, the show has gotten way better this season. I loved the way the writers took a subject matter that many in our community deal with and how they handled it. Patrick is definitely a little sheltered but then we get a taste of that with his mom and sister. He thinks he is in love and moves right in with his new boyfriend without it crossing his mind that, as he puts it, “our hearts don’t work the same”. It was interesting to watch Patrick on his lovers turf. It started with Kevin accepting the neighbours invite knowing that they were supposed to attend the opening at the center. Then their was the way everyone was hitting on kevin at the party and Patrick was invisible. Kevin and Patrick aren’t interested in the same things and it’s more than monogamy, much more. Outside the bedroom, there is really not much there. I think that Patrick finally woke up to the fact that Richie is the person he wants. Richie keeps him honest. He challenges and demands something higher of him. Plus, Richie loves him, he really loves him.
@yaletownman: I think that Patrick finally woke up to the fact that Richie is the person he wants. Richie keeps him honest. He challenges and demands something higher of him. Plus, Richie loves him, he really loves him.
Well said! Totally agree! I think Patrick realizes to Kevin he is just a new toy he will eventually tire of. Richie may not be so much in the way of style by comparison, but he is definitely substance and someone worthy of a relationship. Too many gay men overlook great guys like Richie because they are in a constant search for the next best thing.
Kevin should go back and take turns playing house with the many scene queens in his building. Richie is what Patrick needs.
We thought season 2 was much better than season 1.We loved the show because it reflects many of the realities that Gay men face in their lives and relationships.We hope for season 3 !
@markgtx11: LOL, I get your point, though I wonder if the new “hate-watching” trend is merely a result of HBO’s subscribers’ mild resentment at paying a lot and just wanting to get their money’s worth. We end up hate-watching shows we’ve already paid for but don’t (consistently) like all that much.
Plus there’s the identification factor. To watch “Girls” for instance you can simply enjoy the awkwardness and occasional humor, and not worry TOO much if the milieu is being accurately portrayed. If you’re gay, “Looking” impels more active participation and griping.
Compare to the other sort-of gay phenonemon “Shameless”:
– Showtime is cheaper than HBO;
– Mickey and Ian, as vividly drawn as they are, are side characters and not often the focus;
– Anyone who can really identify with either of them is probably in prison already and thus prevented from access to premium cable! Identification is not needed for “Shameless” fans and in fact, might be a drawback.
@onthemark: “These reviews are entertaining though, and much better written than the show!” Totally!
I’m a quick “Judger.” Was done after the Patrick/Kevin screwing, pun intended, towards end of Season 1.
@markgtx11: “…I think that Patrick finally woke up to the fact that Richie is the person he wants. Richie keeps him honest. He challenges and demands something higher of him. Plus, Richie loves him, he really loves him. Well said! Totally agree! I think Patrick realizes to Kevin he is just a new toy he will eventually tire of. Richie may not be so much in the way of style by comparison, but he is definitely substance and someone worthy of a relationship.hat’s…”
And what does Patrick have to offer in return? Nothing.
Life Session #3:… That’s why SO MANY relationships fail or are not fulfilling – gay or straight!!!!!!!!!
I found the season finale surprisingly good, since I’ve been a huge critic this far.
I thought the Patrick/Kevin fight was spot-on, not to mention well filmed, and I thought the progression/maturity of Dom & Doris’s relationship struck a real chord too.
@Faulk: It’s nice to hear someone say something positive about the character of Patrick for once! Is he flawed? Yes. Are there people out there just like him? Absolutely. Perhaps that’s why he strikes a nerve with long-jaded queens.
However, although I thought the show was FINALLY starting to bloom with this episode, the season finale of the 2nd season is a VERY long time for any show to find its footing. It will be interesting to see whether it makes it back.
O.K. what is needed here is to steal Mickey from ‘Shameless’ and match him with Richie, beats Patrick up and robs everyone. Than Mickey establishes a gay Mafia in San Francisco and runs for office.
@onthemark: I identify with Mickey from ‘Shameless’ and I’ve not seen the inside of a jail in days.
@NG22: Ted Cruz and Aaron Schock are also flashpoints for debate in the gay community but that doesn’t mean we want them around. The biggest complaint I have about this show is that it is eating up the air space and budget that could be spent on a good show that centers around the lives of gay characters. If we had other choices, there would be very little complaining but when it is the only game in town, it should be a hell of a lot better than this to get this much attention.
Looks like the show is cancelled per some twitter postings. I expect there’ll be another gay themed show made, probably 10 years from now, that people can complain about.
I’m almost hopeful that the show is not renewed at the risk of them pandering to all the criticism and turning the series into something along the lines of Queer as Folk. The UK version of QAF was a wonderful mini-series, while the US version of the show was a bloated mess of a series that went on way too long and jumped the shark many times.
Sometimes less is more.
@markgtx11: “…Sometimes less is more.”
…And sometimes no show is better than a bad show which is why some shows don’t make it beyond a pilot or no more than a few episodes ordered!
If “Looking” target audience was 18 – 25 year old gay males, then perhaps it could be considered a “success.”
@markgtx11: “Queer as Folk, the US version of the show was a bloated mess of a series that went on way too long and jumped the shark many times.”
You left out that it was a ratings and critical smash success, one that is still referenced in every conversation about groundbreaking gay television. And, it still maintains an 8.3 IMBD rating. “Looking” should be looking for that shark to jump.
It isn’t that “Looking” should aspire to be QAF, but it should definitely aspire to be something besides what it is.
@lykeitiz: Yes, because popularity is the best indicator of quality. Just ask Jerry Springer or McDonalds.
In any case, it looks like the hate watchers got their wish. Time to start beating something else to death.
@markgtx11: I love this victimology subtext that screams, “If something fails, it isn’t it’s fault, it’s the “Haters”.
Sorry, the fact that people who weren’t happy continued to watch the show isn’t a mystery. It’s because people are so f-ing desperate for ANY LGBT content, you are going to get people watching shows in spite of flaws. But that doesn’t mean that the flaws don’t exist.
@Cam: I agree the show had its flaws. I don’t think anyone is claiming the show was perfect or didn’t have room to improve. IMO fleshing out the other characters a lot more than they did and not making Patrick the main character would have significantly improved the second season. Piper on OITNB became equally annoying but luckily the second series focused on the ensemble of characters rather than on her. But with a half-hour show that could be canceled at the end of each season it easy to see how there wasn’t the character development many of us would have liked to see. But despite its flaws, I liked Looking a lot.
I guess I am surprised at how many people expect the show to be everything to everyone and exactly what they want it to be. It’s as if the show at some point promised to be that and didn’t deliver so people started hate watching it–or somehow expect that the series would do a complete 360 and suddenly become everything their heart desires.
Ultimately a film, a book, a TV series–they are works of art–and not every work of art resonates with everyone. There are many shows I don’t care for, but I don’t troll the blog pages and websites dedicated to them and go on and on about how much I think the show sucks for both seasons, every week.
Looking is a breakthrough show that provided one of the most honest and refreshing portrayals of modern gay culture. Looking features story-lines and characters that depict the real emotional complexity of people living with HIV, and tackles tough issues like transgender homelessness. It truly is like nothing else on TV.
To some fans of the show, it is the truest representation of themselves on TV; for others, it is a rare opportunity to see characters that remind them of their friends, loved ones and fellow community-members.
HBO has a history of taking risks for the sake of artistic expression and producers around the world look to HBO as a trendsetter.
Please sign the petition to tell HBO: reconsider canceling Looking, and renew these powerful stories — our stories — for a third season.
@markgtx11: HBO could do better. No one is interested in the hipster story.
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