Beginning in January, Looking premiered on HBO in the time-slot immediately following Girls. The series follows three gay men in San Francisco, who are between the ages of 29 and 39. Patrick (Jonathan Groff), the show’s central character, is a video game designer. Patrick’s best friend from college, Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez), is an “artist” who immediately moves in with his boyfriend in the first episode. Finally, Dom (Murray Bartlett) is about to turn 40, still lives with his female ex, and is waiting tables while dreaming of opening his own restaurant.* While each guy gets his own storyline this season, it is clear that Patrick is the focus of the show.
*I honestly can’t remember how Dom became friends with Patrick. Maybe they went on a date once. But judging by my reaction to the show (see below), the fact that I can’t remember such details shouldn’t be all that surprising.
Although CJ gave up on Looking a few episodes in, I stuck it out for the whole season and after last night’s finale, it is clear that only one word can sum up this show: BORING. I feel like I should preface this reaction by saying that I don’t need every show to be “something.” I don’t need a storyline that is clearly trying to get from Point A to Point B. I am perfectly happy watching characters fumble through their lives, where the only real thing that happens is talking. I love Girls and I loved Sex & the City and it isn’t a stretch to say that those shows are literally about nothing. Instead, they are shows shaped by the characters that inhabit them and simply take the audience along for the ride.
But, why do Girls, Sex & the City, etc. (shows that are arguably about nothing) work…because the characters in them are capable of causing a reaction from the viewers. And, it really doesn’t matter whether it is a positive or negative reaction. The point is that these other shows are capable of achieving any type of reaction.**
**For instance, people either love or hate Hannah. At times, I feel both for her. I absolutely despise Marnie. And, I adore Shoshanna. This is why I keep watching Girls every week. Because whether I hate or love the girls at any given moment, my feelings towards them (positive or negative) make me want to watch. And, that is how you know a show is actually doing something worthwhile.
This is something that none of the men on Looking were ever able to achieve for me. I don’t hate any of them (I assume you are supposed to hate Agustin for being an asshole), I don’t love any of them (by the end, Dom is probably the person I might even like a little bit or at least I feel it would have been “nice” if his restaurant business succeeds), I don’t feel anything for any of them. Am I mad that Patrick slept with Kevin, am I mad that Patrick didn’t get back with Richie…no, I don’t even remotely care about this presumed love triangle. And, I certainly won’t be sporting a “Team whoever” shirt anytime soon.
In an age of television when there is so much great stuff happening (see True Detective, Breaking Bad, Justified, Hannibal, the Americans, etc.), indifference equals death. And, I feel nothing more about Looking or its cast of characters than indifference. That is certainly not something you want in the world of television.
Looking will be coming back for a season 2. As of now, I will say that I probably won’t be watching. And, I am certain this is the last time I will be writing an entire blog post about a show that really isn’t worth the time.