November 24, 2014
advice articles
Looking

Looking

looking1I don’t even think the question of whether or not we were going to review this show was up for debate. Ever since HBO first announced their show Looking, you guys have been asking for our opinion of it. Thing is, I don’t like to give my opinion on a TV show after watching only one or two episodes, especially if it’s a new show. It takes time to develop characters and build story arcs, which is why I like to jump into a series and watch one or two middle episodes before deciding whether or not to start from the beginning.

I, of course, wasn’t afforded that luxury with Looking, so I had to start it from the beginning. So while everyone else started whining after Episode One about how “boring” the show was, I made sure to try to reserve judgement for at least three to four episodes. But now that the first season is four episodes in, I feel pretty safe giving my initial assessment.

o-HBO-LOOKING-facebookRegardless of my own personal tastes, I do feel like I should stress the importance of a series like Looking. When it comes to TV shows, I don’t have to tell you how much the white, hetero-normative perspective reigns supreme. This is a documented fact that we’ve only recently tried to remedy. But when it comes to gay characters on TV, we almost always end up being portrayed as a bunch of outrageous caricatures…including and especially on so-called “reality” shows. I’m pretty sure RuPaul’s Drag Race is the longest running LGBT TV series so far. I’m not knocking RuPaul, obviously, because she is amazeballs, but for some people, this is the only kind of exposure that they have to gays and gay culture. Even so-called “progressive” shows like Modern Family depict their gay characters somewhat-outrageously. And when we’re not portrayed as a bunch of swishy, asexual fairies, we’re portrayed as the promiscuous, hyper-sexual nymphomaniacs you see on shows like Queer As Folk. There’s a grain of truth to the pearl that is any stereotype, but I can watch an episode of Will and Grace and lose count of how many jokes go over my head.

looking-trailerThis is why Looking is such a big deal, even if it isn’t always the most exciting show in the world at times. The shit that happens on this show may not be as hilarious as Modern Family or Will and Grace or as sexy as Queer As Folk, but it is much more realistic and true to life. I find myself relating to Patrick and Agustin way more than I could ever relate to Justin or Brian or Jack or Will. More importantly, pretty much anyone whose ever had to endure the hardship of finding a special someone (that is to say, pretty much everyone), can watch Jonathan Groff’s performance and relate to it. It helps, of course, that he has mastered the art of being awkwardly cute. It may not be outrageous or witty or quippy all the time, but it’s believable and relatable.

That’s the true bravery of Looking. Writers don’t just resort to caricatures because they’re lazy. We also love to watch them. They’re entertaining. They’re fun. They’re unpredictable. They say and do all of the things we wish we could and cross all of the boundaries we wouldn’t dare cross ourselves. But dare I say that, in the age of reality TV, we have far too many outrageous characters. Every season Drag Race brings us another parade larger than life personalities spouting catch phrase after catch phrase. Especially with gay-centered TV, you pretty much have to blend in to go against the current. You have to dare to be ordinary, and it’s definitely a risk that this show is taking. That said, I still find myself getting invested with these characters. So I can only hope that this gamble pays off for HBO.

I guess all we can do is keep watching and see if everything pans out…

About RJ

RJ is a blogger/vlogger/writer and the other half of the NotAdamandSteve duo. When he's not making videos or writing stuff online he's usually working out, gorging himself on Chipotle, traveling, enjoying scotch, or spending quality time with his new fiancé and German Shepherd.
  • Francine Powers

    right on point as usual rj all my sentiments as well. boy I just love your writing the flow is so inviting and I always want to read more. sorry,but you are amazing and I look forward to what ever you write that being said I plan on getting boys as well take c are love to you and will……

  • Samantha

    i like looking, i think it has a pretty ok plot so far and jonathan groff is gorgeous

  • newvance

    As a writer and a lover of TV shows I too judge mostly on whether I find the characters relatable and interesting. Great job touching on all the points that make this show with watching. I find it hard to put my thoughts together to review anything, so I am impressed by your ability to do it so well. Keep the reviews coming!

  • rkieru

    I find it fairly easy to empathize with Groff’s character and the sort of awkward way in which he seems to be trying to navigate searching for a relationship vs. searching for sex. So far it’s written in a way that is entertaining without being too comedic and I appreciate that.

    Looking is getting a lot of comparison to Girls and the big difference for me is that I don’t HATE these characters. Granted I’ve only seen the first 3 episodes my opinion may drastically change… still, it’s nice to see a show that portrays the LGBT community as more than sexed-up-nymphomaniacs or “Just Jack”. We’re certainly more than those two narrow viewpoints.

  • inginging3ing

    I love Groff – he is so cute, and if you’ve ever watched Glee you know how freaking talented he actually is.

  • http://EddieXXI.blogspot.com/ Eddie

    It’s kinda the show I’ve always wanted.

  • Edd

    I want to like “Looking,” however, as a gay African-American, I cannot relate to any of the main characters. I believe this show will do wonders in creating a base for open, informative, and transformative conversations; but minorities are not thoroughly represented, and with the city it’s based in, never will be.

  • Dylan Tomassacci

    I happen to love this show and I often find myself yearning for the next episode to air, I would guess that my love for this show stems from the (as Rj says) fact that the characters are so relatable and could be real people. I hope HBO’s risk with this show pays off because it would be good to open some people’s minds to the fact that us gays aren’t always the stereotypical Brian or Jack that we see on previous shows. Society needs this type of show and after all who doesn’t love Jonathan Groff.

  • Diegovuitton

    I really like your view rj, obviously shows like RPDR n QAF are over the top, and it would be nice to see a simple show (yet entertaining) that portraits LGBT life, I guess that’s where LGBT daily vloggers like you n will come in, n show us what gay life is really like, I definitely should check the show out, you should also check out DTLA on netflix, it’s really good

  • jon rum

    Looking is excellent. I know that it does take a while for the character building to be eminent but now a full season in I fell like they have establish themselves but are still trying to find who they are but I guess season 2 hopefully we’ll have a lot more background for the characters

    • Mikey Wood

      evident?

  • Justa Guy

    I started watching the show last night. Got through 7/8 episodes. I’ll be watching the last season 1 episode today. It’s simple. It’s not over-the-top, but it’s gay centric. I was always content with shows like Brothers and Sisters that had these emotionally stable gay characters, but because they weren’t the main ones, there was never a large enough focus.

  • Annemiek Van Der Meer

    Because we don’t have HBO I had to watch it online, but woh it is a great show.
    You are right RJ it just shows the normal life of a few gay men, with their normal problems and their normal jobs. Looking forward to see the new episodes in 2015.
    But I must admit, I also enjoyed Queer as Folk. The sexual and psychological between Brian and Justin is so great.

Shep689: A Gay in the Life