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Monday, February 24, 2014

HBO's Looking, Episode 6: Slumming

Posted By on Mon, Feb 24, 2014 at 10:00 AM

click to enlarge HBO
  • HBO

I have deliberately not been following this show online because I don't want to know how the ratings are, or if folks are talking about it, or if it has a glittered snowball's chance in hell of surviving to live another season. I don't want anything to influence my experience of it. That said, if a show like Enlightened can't make it on HBO, I'm not sure something as narrowly focused as Looking can.

The creators said they wanted to make something post-gay, where the fact that the characters were all gay wasn't the main schtick. It's true that if you replaced everyone on the show with heterosexual characters it would just look like a conventional romantic soap opera. But there's nothing really that compelling about the plots on the show, and though the premise is maverick, there is nothing sublime happening here. We shall see.

After last weeks solo love vignette betwixt Richie (Raul Castillo) and Paddy (Jonathan Groff) it was time to speed up the plot this week since there are only two more episodes: Augustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) is one step closer to becoming a male escort; Dom (Murray Bartlett) and Lynn (Scott Bakula) are going to try to enter the restaurant biz together, and Paddy and Richie officially announced that they are boyfriend and boyfriend.

click to enlarge The proverbial Dolores Park BDay party - HBO
  • HBO
  • The proverbial Dolores Park BDay party

Dom turns 40, and they throw the proverbial Dolores Park birthday (or "Gay/hipster/drunk girl paradise on a Saturday," as Paddy calls it). Interesting class issues are arising -- Augustin tells Paddy he's "slumming, and it ain't cute" when he brings Richie to the fete. Nevermind that Augustin lives with his boyfriend in a broken down Oakland flat and he's thinking about becoming an escort, but that's somehow better than being a working class Latino. This is a nod to S.F.'s snooty underbelly, the dirty secret we have that everyone is supposed to be either counterculture, hip, or sex-positive. If you are a regular schmo you are some delightful background village person that adds to the dive-bars-are-so-fantastic! aesthetic. I'm guilty of it, when Richie introduces himself as a "haircutter," my immediate reaction was to wish that he would at least refer to himself as a "barber," especially since hipster barbershops are the new norm here. A shallow people, we are. Very shallow.

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Katy St. Clair

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