There is a long standing tradition of HBO being the network who pushes it’s viewers out of their comfort level, encouraging them to accept aspects of our society that might not be the most conventional. They’ve been doing this for so long, it’s almost expected when they premiere a new show. In that aspect, Looking has not disappointed.
As a show that revolves around gay culture, it gives a voice to a powerful community in our society that has gone unheard for far to long in mainstream media. And while it’s stirred up a lot of controversy, especially when one focuses on the sex scenes, it’s doing exactly what HBO intended. It’s started an open dialogue, it’s challenged viewers to take a new perspective, and it’s incorporated all of the amazing things that we love in the shows HBO brings to us.
Perhaps the best part, which was so brilliantly pointed out by Jef when he reviewed the series premiere, is that this show is so much more than just the sexual orientation of the characters. The situations they find themselves in, the things they want out of life, and the relationships they have are relatable on every level regardless of the gender you’re attracted to. It’s about life, in all it’s best and worst forms, and how complicated it can be to muddle through it.
I love a lot of things about this show right off the bat and I had some pretty high expectations going into it. I’m happy to say that it’s met every one with flying colors as we go into the second episode. I think the thing that’s so powerful about this show is how real it is and how relatable it can be. The dynamics, the conversations, the relationships; every single aspect. I honestly lost count throughout the episode of the amount of times I chuckled because of a similar experience or conversation I’ve had in my own life.
Johnathan Groff’s character, Patrick, highlighted most of the episode. I have a certain level of affection for him, though I’m not sure if that has more to do with the love I had for him when he was on Glee or the actual character. Patrick is painfully awkward, the kind of awkward that makes you want to hide your face as you’re watching his scenes even though it won’t stop the train wreck that’s actually happening on screen. Case and point; the world’s most awkward first date which perfectly depicted the dynamic between two people who want two completely different things out of the relationship. Patrick spent most of the episode trying so hard to prove that he’s capable of doing the whole casual sex, no attachment thing, but it’s pretty glaring obvious that he wants a shot at doing the whole long term thing.
Regardless of whether you relate to the characters due to sharing the same sexual orientation, their stories are absolutely relatable. While Patrick is desperate for the story book romance so many people crave, Augstin is struggling to navigate the waters of a committed relationship when he’s unsure if fidelity is even a conceivable concept and Dom is trying his hardest to get over the relationship that shattered him and using any possible means to do so. It doesn’t get more realistic than that.
While the romantic relationships these characters are exploring plays a big part in the show, I think the relationship the three of them share together is so much more pivotal. They affectionately call Patrick their “little brother” which was one of the many highlights throughout the episode for me. These three men have formed this little family unit to get them through the chaos of life and I’m definitely interested to see how their friendship progresses as the season continues.
On top of all of that, the show is actually pretty funny. The best part is probably the way they expose the most awkward moments of life (like the uncomfortable post break up apology Dom went through or googling sexual things you lack experience with). Even the one intimate scene shown in the episode had the same level of humor applied to real life awkwardness. So much of media attempts to glorify what sex is actually like but this show actually shows the little parts the rest of the movies and television shows seem to leave out. Like how difficult it can be to get off a pair of someone’s skinny jeans and how all you can do is laugh because it’s real.
It takes a lot for me to get genuinely excited for new episodes of a show and a lot of that has to do with the fact that I need to connect with the characters on some level and find myself invested in what they do next. Needless to say, in just two episodes, Looking has given me that and I can’t want to see what happens next.
Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below and check out the preview for the next episode of Looking.