LOOKING AT "LOOKING"

Looking at “Looking”: Season 2, Episode 4

First off, can we talk about how the show didn’t air an episode on the night of the Super Bowl, but did air an episode on the night of the Grammys? Way to misjudge your audience’s priorities, HBO.

s2e04 01 This week, our characters have decided to talk about all the things they haven’t been talking about. Getting the ball rolling on this trend, surprisingly, is typically timid Patrick. Though it’s been two weeks for us, it’s been one short night for the cast of the show, so Babyface and Bossyboss have just awoken after the momentous changing of their sexual positions. (Side note: can we just say that Pat is vers and stop having a conversation every episode about whether he’s the Ross or the Rachel?) Though Kevin has cooked a fattening breakfast in his black briefs and thus wormed his way into my heart, he’s still partnered and there is A TALK. Well, the beginning of a talk. This is Patrick, after all.

Across town, Eddie is asserting himself as the greatest person ever. Let’s review: he listens to Amanda Lepore while getting ready in the morning, he serves his guests coffee in an “I Heart Anal” mug, he takes a multivitamin (my doctor absolutely cannot get me to remember, try though he might), he knows better than to leave Ag alone in his house when he goes to work, and oh yeah, he still works with at-risk trans youth. Love this guy. By the end of the episode, he’s even landed Ag a job. A job! Even though the queer teens looked at him like this:

s2e04 03

Ag has succeeded at literally zero things since this show hit the air; Eddie must have given lap dances and donuts to everyone on the hiring committee.

s2e04 02Awesome sidekicks might be the other theme of this week, actually. While Agustin is getting returned to human form by his hirsute suitor, Doris is creating a Kickstarter campaign for Dom’s chickenwindow while pioneering my new favorite word, chickenwindow. I would eat at a chickenwindow and I’m a vegetarian. It’s like a dance for your mouth. Say it out loud right now. Tell me you’re not happier! Anyhow, Dom is skeptical of this idea, but Doris is skeptical of his skepticism. Could Lynn be to blame somehow? The show is dipping its dainty, slow-moving toe into the whirlpool of gay drama, and I want more.

It’s just a tease for now, though: while Patrick’s interaction with Richie would have devolved into hysterics if we were watching a broadcast on the WB, here on premium cable they have ice cream and listen sensitively to each other. Richie, as another awesome sidekick, suggests that maybe possibly dating your committed boss isn’t the world’s totally best idea. Perhaps in a parallel universe where these people appropriately freak out about things, Bizarro Patrick is getting the message that every one of his friends is sending him.

The simmering pot is often used as a metaphor for unspoken tension. It’s made literal this week when Dom goes to Lynn’s place and finds him skinny dipping in the hot tub with Michael, who you might remember from yesterday’s rugby game (or more likely from the shower that immediately followed). Turns out, Lynn once provided funds for Michael’s burgeoning theater career, and now they’re sex friends. Mustache furrows his brow, spots a pattern, tells his teammate not to call him “daddy,” and proceeds to have what I can only assume is some really perfunctory sex.

s2e04 05The next morning, Dom heads out to the farmer’s market with Patrick, where they spy Kevin and John being happy and couply because they’re, you know, a couple. This in-your-face reality check causes Patrick’s face to shift from his permanently bemused grin to the expression a demon makes while sitting on the toilet. At work, he drags Kevin to the roof and confronts him about their relationship. Bossman is all teary eyes and wagging ears and loving promises. He wants to form a life with Pat, he does! He can make this right, he can! He will talk to John, he will!

Continuing the “conversations we need to have” plotline, Dom heads to Lynn’s flower shop (did anyone else forget that was his job?) at closing time to start a really passive-aggressive discussion of their open relationship. After instigating a negotiation, he disingenuously accuses Lynn of always negotiating. This daddy-on-don’t-call-me-daddy violence brings out the shattering reveal that Lynn is not interested in forging a deeper connection than the one they already have, and Dom leaves with no boyfriend, no financial backing for his chickenwindow… not even a free bouquet!

s2e04 07We close with the closing of Esta Noche, the bar where Patrick once awkwardly danced with Richie. Little has changed in that regard, except that the dance is now emotional: Richie has a cute redheaded date in tow, and Pat is straining hard to project some level of casualness. It’s actually still kind of a demon-on-the-toilet face; he’s really grunting this one out. Luckily, Ag brought Eddie, who is the best social lubricant of all time. Like, that good silicone-based stuff that’s condom safe but doesn’t dry out. Dom tries to muscle through, but disengages from the group immediately because he’s bummed about the breakup and chickenwindow is all he has now. (But chickenwindow! I would feel so fulfilled if my life’s purpose was chickenwindow! Chickenwindow.) Doris takes him home to finish his Kickstarter page.

And then Kevin shows up. You guys: can you believe he didn’t talk to his boyfriend? I totally can. Like, 100 percent. Saw it coming a mile away. Patrick, of course, cannot, because he is the poster boy for credulity. His walk home alone in the dark is so devastated that I can almost hear Charlie Brown’s plaintive piano chords in the background. They’re probably actually playing out loud, just drowned out by the club’s thumping bass. Hopefully everyone finds a pick-me-up next week: it pains me to see gay men in San Francisco being sad while surrounded by drag queens.