Looking at “Looking”: Season 2, Episode 5

Before watching this week’s episode, I settled in to catch SNL’s 40th anniversary celebration. The dazzling array of comedic talent on display made me suddenly nervous, because I’ll never be as funny as those legends. Then I caught the tense, mopey adventures of our favorite San Franciscan relationship repellers and took solace in the fact that I’m still much funnier than them.

s2e05 01We start off on a sour note with Patrick making spin art at his office party while everyone else drinks and has a good time. Unable to handle the awkwardness of a situation that he has spent months actively cultivating, he decides to bounce early. Kevin, of course, begs his concubine to stay because that dude is all about having his cake and also eating a different cake, but Babyface is stone cold. I’m not sure where this sudden backbone came from; he must have watched Angela Bassett in Waiting to Exhale last night or something.

Or not. When he gets home, he falls back on the two most common crutches that aren’t alcohol: jerking off and Facebook stalking your ex. Turns out Richie needs someone to drive a truck for him! And certainly commuting alone with your recent ex through their old neighborhood couldn’t possibly turn into a bad situation. You know things are going south when even Agustin says you should tread lightly. He’s all, “think of Richie’s new boyfriend!” And he’s right. Seriously, Pat, is homewrecking just your new thing? Are you balancing the sociopath scales now that your roommate got a soul during the break between seasons?

Though Ag goes into the office today, the show doesn’t want to give its audience a mass heart attack by showing him contributing productively to an office or larger community, so take a deep breath: it’s his day off. He’s there to find Eddie, who is nowhere to be found. Just text, dude. This isn’t the ‘90s, it’s exceptionally easy to figure out where people are. One of the kids is there to lay down the facts: Eddie is Ag’s boyfriend, and is home sick. As usual, trans youth knows what’s up. Just listen to them. That’s good advice for life in general. You’re welcome.

s2e05 02Next: food. Patrick consumes an awkwardly large burrito that symbolizes his overall awkwardness. Even a simple lunch becomes a comedy of errors in his clumsy hands. Also, this menu selection further illustrates his versatility, because bottoms do not eat giant burritos. Meanwhile, Ag has descended on Eddie’s apartment with matzo ball soup because soup is what you get sick people and balls are all Ag talks about. It’s a fight to get the door open, but only because Eddie is faking his illness and wants some alone time, not because there’s another dude in there. Sharp misdirection, Looking. You almost fooled me into thinking there would be dramatic conflict this week.

Back at the office, Kevin mopes in his glass cage. There’s alcohol right outside, yo! You already paid for it. How are the two saddest people at this company the only ones who didn’t think to get plastered? Instead, he calls his boyfriend. There’s a vague hint that he might actually start the difficult conversation that desperately needs to be had, but instead they kiss and get cute and enjoy the festivities. Which is probably for the best. Like, your snack is gone, but don’t lose your main cake. It took so long to bake it, and you’ll never have that recipe again.

s2e05 03The trip down memory lane with Richie turns out to be less of a meet-cute than Patrick had hoped for. Getting to know someone’s family is theoretically the kind of thing that brings you closer to someone, and if you perhaps had an ulterior motive of trying to make that person feel emotionally invested in you, then establishing your link to their relatives and personal history would be a smooth move. Sadly, Babyface lacks smoothness, and Richie’s family is wildly blunt and sometimes homophobic. Cousin Ceci is not hesitant about doling out the sass because blood is thicker than lube and how dare you break her Ricardo’s heart, white boy? We learn second-hand, though, that Richie’s father is not supportive of his son’s homosexuality, and it’s a whole thing. And not the kind of thing that can be fixed with pouty eyes and platitudes, try though Pat might.

Ag and Eddie have some deep conversations of their own to get through. First, they have to clear up how exactly HIV came into Big Bear’s life. It’s a topic that is handled with humor and little depth because, as it turns out, the two men have somewhat different perspectives on where they are in their relationship. Remember earlier when Eddie wouldn’t let Ag into the apartment? He wouldn’t let him in? HE WOULDN’T LET HIM IN. Metaphors, y’all. So when Ag goes in for a kiss, Eddie has to shut him down, and then tentatively allow it on the condition that it doesn’t mean anything.

s2e05 04Back outside, our hapless hero and his barber friend are ostensibly having a good time. Like, two hot gay dudes driving through San Francisco in an ice cream truck is pretty much a Cazwell video waiting to happen. Instead, Pat uses the knowledge that he once broke Richie’s heart as a reason to break it again right now, while they’re trapped together in a motor vehicle. Richie’s all “no, really, whatever you’re about to tell me DO NOT DO IT” and Pat is all “I have verbal diarrhea (and maybe actual diarrhea because that burrito was legit large) and I slept with my boss while we were still together.” And despite this truly terrible revelation, they decide that they will still try to be friends. They claim to need each other, but I think the truth is that the writers need Richie not to disappear from the plot.

Then again, if they wrote him out, maybe there would be room for Dom in every episode. Where is he this week? Why isn’t he here to buy this ice cream truck? How did this episode not end with the establishment of a mobile chickenwindow? (Chickenwindow is all I care about.)