HBO’s new gay-focused series Looking has hit the airways and it’s starting to make waves. Much of the conversation has been positive. Take this from the LA times:
“Looking” doesn’t make the mistake of arguing that gay men are just like straight women, or straight men, or gay women, or even each other. Instead it tells the story of three guys who are friends in a strangely wonderful and difficult time and what that looks like. To them.”
“Looking” is a whole different ball of wax. Sneaky-funny instead of brassy, it is interested not in extremity but in small-bore observation. In this way, it shares a sensibility with the charming “Please Like Me,” an Australian series, now airing on Pivot, which people also initially called “the gay ‘Girls.’ ” Both shows feature diffident heroes, young men who regard retro gay culture with a sense of bemused incredulity, like Christopher Isherwood with a Webcam. “Looking” establishes this generational theme in its first scene, in which Paddy goes cruising, very briefly. He gets a truncated hand job—“Cold hands!” he complains—but it’s less a sex act than a prank. “The guy who gave it to me was very hairy,” he marvels to his friends. “Not hipster hairy. Like, gym-teacher hairy.” (The scene reminded me of the old Onion headline “Ironic Porn Purchase Leads to Unironic Ejaculation.”)
But Cinema Blend was not quite as excited about the series debut, despite it’s noted contributors:
While the creator has done nothing else to convince me to come looking for more (his other main credit is co-directing Interior. Leather Bar. with James Franco), his collaborators have produced some interesting work with Andrew Haigh (Weekend), Jamie Babbit (But I’m a Cheerleader) and Joe Swanberg (Drinking Buddies) all on board. Haigh is set to direct several of the first season installments and also penned two so perhaps I’ll stick around to see if “Looking for Uncut,” “Looking for Your Browser History” and “Looking in the Mirror” (to name a few) improve upon the premiere. But without that vote of confidence, I’d say I’ve seen enough.
Yes, Looking has some solid LGBTQ-centered creators under it’s skirt and there is something to be said for that. But what do you think? Let us know in the comments below. (and click the image below to be taken to the video on Youtube)