Closer Look

“Looking” Writers Shed New Light On Jonathan Groff’s Awkward Patrick Character

jonathan-groff-lookingSome of Looking’s creative team — show creator Michael Lannan and writers JC Lee and John Hoffman — recently sat down with Damian Pelliccione on Boys In Tech to discuss San Francisco as the intersection of gay and tech and how the latter informs various aspects of the show.

Naturally, the bulk of the conversation centered around Jonathan Groff’s character Patrick, who works in the tech world as a video game level designer and is also — you guessed it — gay.

As Lannan describes it:

“He’s kind of a tinkerer. He has a boyish side to him. He has a very playful side…He also has some control issues where he likes to create his own world, which works well in a video game company, not so well in your personal life.”

Hoffman adds:

I always felt like video games were such a great way for young gay boys to sort of escape into their fantasy world and explore lots of things they probably don’t feel safe exploring in the real world, and I think gender nonconformity is definitely one of those things whether you’re straight or you’re gay. There’s a fun dialogue to be had with Patrick in that sort of world.

Personally speaking, I found much more respite in AOL chatrooms than I did playing RPGs (where I certainly explored a similar gender nonconformity by sometimes taking on female personas), but then I also couldn’t tell you the first thing about computer programming.

Here’s the full interview:

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  • Arkansassy

    Instead of trying to explain a character no one likes, get rid of him.

  • katbox80

    @Arkansassy: Sorry but…you don’t speak for everyone. I like him.

  • NG22

    @katbox80: +1

    Patrick ain’t going anywhere. This isn’t a big ensemble soap like Queer As Folk. Jonathan Groff is the lead. Jonathan Groff will stay, as his sexy ass should.

    Anyone who wants the main character to be written out of his own show should watch something else on Sunday nights. Or don’t! After all, contrarians are viewers too, and HBO has never shied away from controversy. They have a “Hate me or love me–I don’t give a fuck” ethos.

  • MK Ultra

    I love Patrick’s character and his awkwardness. I actually really relate to him.

  • lailaichong

    @Arkansassy: I love Patrick

  • MarionPaige

    I just sought out video of Jonathan Groff’s appearance on Glee to try to “see” what it is about him that some people find appealing. I don’t get it. I still don’t get it.

  • Faulk

    Patrick has to say, i love him!

  • Arkansassy


    I don’t get it either. Some people are suckers for a pretty face though and can’t see the poor guy can’t act.

  • MusicEsMiVida

    Ugh HES SO GORGEOUS! Love Patrick and Richie together. Castillo es un hombre muy guapo tambien.

  • Cam

    Wow, what a misleading headline. They spend 5 seconds talking about the Patrick Character and 20 minutes talking about video games and Queerty tries to pretend that this is somehow a reexamining of the Patrick Character.

    I think part of the mistake that Looking makes is this. These guys are all supposed to be friends, but we hardly ever see them together. When we do their interactions are somewhat stilted and uncomfortable. It would be like the show “Friends” starting and we were all told that the people were friends, but they all lived in separate apts. barely hung out, and when they didn’t didn’t seem comfortable in each other’s presence.

    As for the Patrick Character, once again, Groff is a likable actor, but he has lived in SF for a decade and behaves as if he has never gone on a date. his “Artist” friend is also completely unrealistic. But watching them in the interview I get it, they seem completely knew to this, and probably haven’t been writing characters long, and Groff isn’t the type of actor who can round out his character, being from Broadway he is just used to being told what his character is and does and doing that 6 times a week.

  • Dixie Rect

    @MarionPaige: I agree, I don’t get it either. His performance is below average, and any actor could do it. He has no range and the viewers have little interest in what he does. If the character got run over by a trolley car and replaced with a fencepost, it would be more interesting.

  • viveutvivas

    @MarionPaige, yeah, I find Groff completely asexual, about as sexy as watching grass grow, but I guess different strokes for different folks.

  • slippy

    How can we expect these writers to flesh out Patrick and write an interesting character when the series even made The Folsom Street Fair DULL. The sad thing is that it doesn’t look like they’ll get a second season to try and redeem this thing. And don’t keep blaming the thirty minute format. The HBO new series with Niecy Nash “Getting On” is also just thirty minutes and has just been confirmed for a second season. They’ve managed to make all the characters in “Getting On’ interesting and engaging as well as real almost from the first few minutes of episode one. Also the new HBO break out hit True Detective with Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson is just amazing . All three are debut first season series but Looking doesn’t belong in this company . I know some feel that any gay series is better than no gay series but -this one really misses the mark.

  • wilfredo267

    lt was reported a few days ago that he show was picked up for a second season.

  • slippy

    Thanks for update wilfredo-I honestly wish the series luck but it’s really mediocre IMHO. San Francisco is so much more vital and fun than this shows it to be. Here in the Upper Haight we’re a block from a Google Bus Stop-now that’s an interesting dynamic…

  • DistingueTraces

    I think it’s cool that the lead character is so flawed.

    And Groff does make his social cluelessness charming.

  • darkorient

    I love Patrick as a character mainly because I am a socially awkward gamer as well. I would have thought gay people would be more accepting of diversity. There are men who are awkward and not sexually active despite being attractive. And it still baffles me that detractors love commenting on Looking so much. I don’t like Three and a Half Men but I don’t go around and spew my hatred at every nook and cranny of the internet.

  • Cam


    I love it when folks keep sending in new accounts to pretend to purposely misunderstand comments.

    Nobody isn’t accepting Patrick. People are saying that the character isn’t well written or well acted. But nice try.

    And how wonderful it must be, to have as a defense, that disagreeing with something is “Spewing Hatred” That is the same tactic the right wing bigots use with us. And it works just as poorly for your post.

  • wilfredo267

    @slippy: Your’e welcome. The show started weak but apparently the ratings have been improving as more and more people have been talking about it.

  • Hank

    I think Patrick will do Richie fall for him, just to later cheat on him with Kevin.

  • SteveDenver

    I really enjoyed hearing from the writers WHEN PELLICIONE SHUT UP. Gawd he’s an idiot: wobbles and weaves like Liza on a bender.

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