The 2014 HBO series “Looking” is a sneak peek into the gay community in San Francisco that’s definitely worth having a look at (get it? #wednesdaycheesyhumorday). I’m freshly after the experience of watching the first season and I’m looking forward to watch the second one.
The production mostly evolves around three gay friends, Patrick, Dom and Augustin. Patrick is trapped in a choice between a Latino man who cares about him but comes from a different world and his gay boss with whom he has a lot in common but who, unfortunately, is in a relationship. Dom is single, approaching 40 and dreams about opening his own restaurant. Augustin is in an unfulfilled artist and a narcissist in a long term relationship that isn’t as traditional as it seems.
HBO decided to play it safe and first season had quite short episodes for a comedy drama (below half an hour each). Nevertheless, we manage to get attached to the characters who are quite easy to relate to. Yes, there’s a lot of nudity and I guess more casual sex than you’d see in a typical series of this sort but the core of the characters’ issues is similar to the ones everyone’s having. The gay community isn’t presented as this glamourous, alien world with a lot of glitter and leather that we often see on TV and on the big screen.
It’s not all love and romance either. There’s a lot of focus on the characters’ professional aspirations and resulting struggles that probably make the presented world more plausible. However, although in general their lives are credible, there are moments when as a viewer we do question whether a character could afford a centrally located flat or whether finding wealthy business partners could be that easy.
The series is quite light even when dealing with more serious issues. The theme of the difficulty of coming out is touched upon and it is suggested that even in a seemingly liberal America, being gay is not always as easy as it should be.
An interesting fact about the series is that apart of the you-just-have-to-love-him Latino character (Raul Castillo) who is straight in real life, all other actors in the series are gay. Including Russel Tovey who you may know from the British version of “Being Human” and who unwillingly outraged the gay community by saying that he’s happy to be a “masculine” gay.
Last but not least, there’s the mystery of the title which leaves the interpretation of it to the viewer. Does looking mean looking for someone or something as this is was the characters are doing? Does it refer to superficiality and looking in a good or bad way? Or maybe it’s just about having an look into a gay community? I’m sure the authors know and I feel like the first explanation makes most sense to me.
I think the series is definitely an interesting one and those who enjoy a good drama won’t be disappointed.