Review: ‘Looking’ – ‘Looking for Uncut’

After some surprising controversy following the first episode, “Looking” is back for round 2. If I personally hadn’t been in the middle of the 24/7 Sundance whirlwind I would have ripped off a whole essay on writers who wouldn’t know a good TV show on gay men if it hit them, but movies and bronchitis got in this way.  Please, tear this one down. Lord knows we need more “Will & Grace” and “Modern Family.” Perhaps someone can bring the godawful U.S. “Queer as Folk” back.  But, I digress…

The good news is this week’s episode was written and directed by co-series producer Andrew Haigh who earned critical acclaim a few years ago for his independent film “Weekend.”  Having seen the first four episodes, series creator Michael Lannan is unfortunately the series’ weakest link on the writing staff so far. Heigh and episode 4 writer Allan Heinberg just seem a bit more on point.  So, if you were actually disappointed by episode 1, the second go around might get you on board.

Last week we were introduced to the triumvirate of naturally naive video game programmer Patrick (Jonathan Groff), artist looking for a mission Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) and pretty much 40 and still a waiter Dom (Murray Bartlett).  We ended the first installment with Patrick having met a cute hispanic guy on the Muni, Augustin having decided to move in with his boyfriend across the bay (red flag! red flag!) and Dom considering reconnecting with his now more successful ex-boyfriend from back in the day.

Episode 2 puts more of the long term storylines into play, but here are some topics to consider:

Agustín and Frank
Honestly, this might be one of the earliest potential plots Lannan, Haigh and the rest of the producers are wasting. We know the chances of this ending well aren’t good and it’s just one example of how unsettled Agustín is in his life. Seriously, if this wastes the character of Frank (cough, one of the few African-American members of the cast) as just a foil for Agustín’s problems it will be incredibly disappointing. What’s the over/under on Agustín back in the Castro by episode 6?  

Dom and Ethan
Dom makes the dicey decision to reconnect with his ex who is now sober and has rebuilt his life as a real estate agent in Los Angeles (which is a bigger cliche than gays working in Hollywood these days).  At first, it seems like the duo could actually restart their friendship.  The problem, of course, is that Dom actually wants Ethan’s help (something he feel’s he’s owed – whoopsie) and Ethan may be clean, but that doesn’t mean he’s a better person.  Funny, Dom may be the oldest of the trio, but something tells us he’s gonna learn more life lessons this season than his BFFs.  

Patrick and Richie
Oy, vey.  This was the absolute best part of the episode. How many times have you gone on a date with someone, tried too hard and ended up making a complete ass out of yourself?  (Wait, just Patrick and me?).  What’s funny and heartbreaking is that Patrick doesn’t realize what a catch Richie (Raúl Castillo) really is, his fixation on the likely uncut nature of his date is incredibly insensitive and, worse, he shows little interest in any other part of Richie’s life. It just all goes horribly wrong and if there was anything to make Patrick a three-dimensional character with just as many faults as cute and adorable charms it was this episode. Don’t worry though, Richie won’t be gone long.

What did you think of episode no. 2? Or are you folding your arms until Russell Tovey shows up next week?

Note: Because of the Super Bowl both next weekend’s episodes of “GIRLS” and “Looking” air Saturday night.  “Looking” will air at 10:30 PM EST/PST.

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