Last week's premiere episode of HBO's Looking left viewers with a few mixed feelings. Overall, many (including myself) were impressed with the realistic portrayal of a certain segment of the gay population, but felt that realism didn't necessarily translate to compelling television.
For those who decided to give the series another shot: Now that we've had a chance to see the second episode, have some of the put-offs from the pilot been resolved? We've got some observations about episode two, "Looking For Uncut," and want to hear your perspective, AFTER THE JUMP ...
- There's been some discussion about the series' depiction of sex. Tonight's episode featured the most intense sex scenes we'll see in the show's first four episodes. While Dom's Grindr hook-up showed the most skin, it was only presented in a brief, matter-of-fact scene. No complaints here on that glimpse of Murray Bartlett's side-butt, but those hoping for a little more titillation were likely still disappointed. It makes sense to take this kind of approach, given Dom's own emotional disconnection from the hook-up, but do we, as viewers, have to be so bored by the sex, too?
- Patrick (Jonathan Groff) continues to walk a very fine line between charming cluelessness and insufferable naivete. (You're going to tell me that a web-savvy, late-20s gay man today has never once come across an uncut guy? Not even on the Internet? Come on.) His night with Richie (Raúl Castillo) was sufficiently awkward for a proper first date, inducing the appropriate cringes as he continued to misread signals and eventually bungle things in the bedroom. After all the comparison's to Girls and Sex and the City, the strongest connections to those series may be their love-them-or-loath-them protagonists.
- One of the series' strengths is its great soundtrack. Using Cazwell's "Rice and Beans" was almost too on the nose, but it was hard not to love Patrick's drunken revelry on the dancefloor while Erasure's "A Little Respect" played.
- Clearly Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) is going to be the vessel through which the ideas of monogamy and open relationships are explored. His conversation with Patrick about sex vs. intimacy felt like a good introduction to the theory, but I'm looking forward to seeing his story dive deeper into some of the thornier relationship elements that may present themselves while putting this into practice.
- There was a bit more humor in tonight's episode. The best stuff comes courtesy Doris (Lauren Weedman), but even Patrick's claim he was eating a kale salad while late-night snacking on mac and cheese made me chuckle. Nothing here is too laugh-out-loud hysterical, and I still just can't help but want this dramedy to be either more dramatic or a little funnier.
Two episodes in, has your opinion on Looking changed?
Let us know in the comments.
'Looking' airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on HBO.
(Photo credit: HBO/John P. Johnson)