Looking has been on the air since 2014, but is only finally now coming into its own and it’s becoming something quite honest & magical.
The show, which is based on three gay friends living in San Francisco, is currently nearing the end of its’ second season on HBO and after a quite-rocky start, it’s now found its feet and knows where it lands.
I’ve stuck with Looking – for longer than I would normally give a show I didn’t overly enjoy. I would have given up by the end of the first season, knowing that it wasn’t for me and that I’ll just leave it to exist out there without my viewing but something kept me intrigued and determined for it to become a show I would enjoy.
When I initially watched the first season last year, my main issues were that the show was trying to be too many things for too many people. When it wasn’t creating overly stereotyped and clichéd views of the LGBT community via characters and situations, it was trying to be the gay mans ‘Girls’. I didn’t feel for the characters & I certainly didn’t care for them. The character development was not enough for me to invest, in my eyes the show was thrown in my face as “here are the gays and this is what they all do because they are all stereotypes” and it really bugged me. It annoyed me, even.
has made me quite angry. Can nobody write a decent gay character? We’re not all a bunch of stereotypes.
— Adam M (@helloitsadam) January 20, 2014
While it did show signs of improvement throughout the first season, it would then forget the progress it had made and revert back to the things that I didn’t like.
Anyway, flash forward to season two. Characters are no longer caricatures and are starting to feel like real life, human beings. People we would maybe actually see ourselves bumping into in person and god forbid, could actually like. We find out their truths, their feelings, their individuality and the show is no longer afraid to let the characters have a real life. Instead of having the show revolve around just one character (Jonathan Groff’s Patrick), we are now allowed to see how the rest of the cast live and even when Patrick is not with them. The show works much better as an ensemble. Take for example, this weeks’ episode. It is entirely focused around Doris (Lauren Weedman) – with Patrick & Dom along for the ride. In season one, Doris was side-lined as the sassy gay guy’s best girl-friend and would only appear when required to throw some shade and then would politely fade off the screen. Now, I feel for her – I know her as a character and I actually love her.
In season one, Agustín was given the role of the bitchy, party queen. Now, that role still sort of applies to the character – but this time round, it has its’ merits. He’s not just rolling his eyes and causing havoc to peoples’ lives without feeling, he has developed as a character and we know his intentions and reasons. We can understand him more, and I actually really like him as a character as opposed to season one when I despised him and I wasn’t sure if that was the intended response or not.
The show has also managed to tackle serious issues within the community that many other shows are scared to even acknowledge. Daniel Franzese’s Eddie has HIV but it doesn’t define him. He hasn’t become a recluse or isn’t depressed – he just gets on with it. It’s important to have humanity involved with the situation and I think it has been handled brilliantly on the show.
It’s fair to say that it takes ANY show a while for the cast and crew to find their footings – look at Parks and Recreation for example. The first season isn’t perfect by any means but it was then eventually crafted into one of the best comedy shows ever (in my eyes, obviously). Maybe I was just overly harsh on the show from the start because I wanted something that represented me and my community as real people and at the beginning, I felt we were just represented as stereotypes.
Anyone who hasn’t seen the show before should give it a go and from season one, I mean. Once season two has finished, I’m going to give the first season another go and maybe see it in a different light.
Looking airs on Sundays on HBO and the first season is out on DVD. #LookingHBO