I’d stopped doing these because this show sort of stepped out of the zone of things I was familiar with. But then suddenly there was a WASPy family and a wedding and I was back in the game! So here are a few things I found realistic and unrealistic about this episode of Looking. (I will say the show is picking up momentum as it nears the end of the season…)
1) I don’t know that if my friend was a conceptual artist, I would be so negative about his work as Patrick and Dom are—even if it was photographs of my friend’s boyfriend getting fucked by a prostitute. (I am open minded. Plus, who wouldn’t want to see that, a little?) All the same, it seemed a little far-fetched that Augustin would turn the criticism around on Patrick and say, “You are just freaked out about your own stuff.” Taking your Latin boyfriend to meet your preppy white family isn’t quite… on the same level.
The Internet had some really, really strong reactions to the first episode of Looking. A lot of the thinky pieces were written by critics, who have seen more episodes than most of us, but I still think the extreme response is a bit premature. How do we know what story this show is going to tell if we’re just one (or two, or four) episodes in? Richard Lawson outlined my feelings well in a great piece he did on VF.com. But mainly, the point is this: the show is not trying to represent what life is like for every gay person, just as Girls is not trying to depict what life is like for every human out there with a vagina. It would be impossible to make a show about “gay life” because there are so many different ways to be gay and be alive. It’s just a show about these three guys, who are particular kinds of people (video game programmer, Puerto Rican, artist, couple, waiter, 40something, etc) that happen to be gay and looking for sex and love. It’s interesting to me because of that latter thing, but also because it’s kind of nicely written and the characters are likeable and it’s only a half hour long.
For many years I used to recap TV shows for New York Magazine—and much of the time it involved counting. I would add up who won each episode of NYC Prep, or I would list out all the reasons why Jill Zarin was a monster. And for most if its six seasons, Jessica Pressler and I would tally up what was real, and what was fake on every episode of Gossip Girl. So at this point in my life, I watch TV and find myself absently counting along as I watch. How many times does Rebel Wilson’s American accent fail her on Super Fun Night? How often do I spot product placement on Cougar Town?
Anyway, I couldn’t help count along with Looking, the new HBO show that was hyped as the “gay Girls,” and whose promotional materials are plastered all over New York City. This time, it was the things that seemed unreasonably false about the show. So here, a list.