Film and TV | Frankie J. Alvarez | Jonathan Groff | Looking | Murray Bartlett | Russell Tovey | Television

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'Looking' Back: Episode 3, 'Looking At Your Browser History'

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The third episode of a series is often a make-or-break point. While most viewers can forgive an uneven pilot, folks expect a show to find its footing by episode three. Some fans alredy got a sneak peek at tonight's episode, "Looking At Your Browser History," on the HBO GO app, but audience reactions remain mixed

Many folks have been saying the show could have benefited by having one-hour episodes, instead of thirty-minute installments. Would a longer episode necessarily mean better episodes? 

Now that you've had a chance to see episode three, are you committed to finishing the season, or have you seen the last of Looking? See what we thought of the third episode, and share your thoughts, AFTER THE JUMP ...

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  • Cruising and open relationships are the kind of things one would expect to be discussed on a gay-themed television program in our post-Grindr age. However, I was personally surprised by the observation about gay guys playing as female video game characters. It's such an astute observation, something so subtle, that it proves the value this show could have. 
  • Tonight we saw the introduction of Patrick (Jonathan Groff)'s new boss, Kevin (Russell Tovey). You may recognize Tovey from BBC's Being Human. Not that every gay character needs to sleep with one another, but it seems unlikely they'd give Patrick a handsome, gay boss if it wasn't going to throw a romantic curveball at him. Call it Chekhov's gay.
  • And speaking of Kevin, what a nightmare for him to read over Patrick's browser history. (Also, again, if he spends that much time on Manhunt, how is it he never saw an uncut guy?) Sure, lots of places track your web usage, but wouldn't you be mortified if your boss ever looked at yours?
  • We were also introduced to Scott Bakula's character, Lynn, tonight. While we didn't get to spend too much time with him in the steam room, he had that great line about the Gay Men's Chorus: "Everyone likes them in principle, but no one actually wants to hear them sing." (Not to mention, Bakula looked pretty good in that towel.)
  • While we're on the topic of the steam room, it felt like another example of the show purposefully shying away from the more graphic sex scenes. Even with Dom (Murray Bartlett) and Lynn soaking up the steam room, that was an awfully sexless bathhouse. When action was about to happen between Dom and his admirer, we cut away.
  • It's still early to see the effects of Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) meeting that prostitute. We get a bit more development between them next week, and it's the kind of thing that will propel Agustín's story forward for the second half of the season (even if it propel's his personal growth backward).
  • Shows shouldn't make you watch half the season to get invested, but next week's episode (finally) sees some storyline development across all three main characters. So, if you're still on the fence, you might want to give it one more try.  

What did you think of the episode?

'Looking' airs Sundays at 10:30 p.m. Eastern on HBO.

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Comments

  1. You describe the show as "purposefully shying away from the more graphic sex scenes" but there was graphic sex between Dom and the character played by Andrew Keenan Bolger.

    Or did I just imagine that?

    Posted by: JeffNYC | Feb 3, 2014 7:44:51 AM


  2. I loved the first two episodes. I'd watch several more episodes based on those two. That said, the third episode was really poorly written. Hopefully it's not a sign of a change in direction.

    Posted by: Dw | Feb 3, 2014 7:48:34 AM


  3. So dreary, disengaged, and disengaging. There's no depth to any of the characters, no sense that deeper currents and motives run in them. And the show owe San Francisco an apology, having Instragramed all the color out of the most colorful city in America.

    Posted by: David Groff | Feb 3, 2014 8:10:04 AM


  4. OMG. "Chekhov's gay." Thanks for starting off my Monday with a big laugh. :-)

    Posted by: John | Feb 3, 2014 8:15:10 AM


  5. This show just isn't working. The characters are one-dimensional, and their chemistry is non-existent. I just don't get the feeling that Patrick and Agustin have been friends for as long as they claim. What's more, the way the show is written, there is rarely any interaction between the three leads. They might as well not even be in the same show. I'll give it another episode, and that's more than I've given other shows that haven't hooked me.

    BTW, as a MMO gamer, I can tell you that there is nothing subtle or astute about the observation that gay men play as female characters. In fact, the situation is not limited to gay men: it is quite common for men - both gay and straight - to play as female characters. I often hear straight men claim that, if they are going to spend so much time watching the character from behind (the common camera perspective), they want to watch a woman.

    Posted by: Talisman | Feb 3, 2014 8:23:55 AM


  6. This show lost me after episode 2.

    Posted by: Jack | Feb 3, 2014 8:52:26 AM


  7. I tried to like it, but it just doesn't do it for me.

    The writing is so loose and sloppy I wonder if the dialogue is just ad-libbed. So far, there's little evidence of a plot or even an overall direction. None of the characters is very appealing to me (not a fan of facial hair), but beyond sex appeal, they don't seem to offer any reason to care about them either.

    Jonathan Groff, however, is dreamy. I've followed him in other roles (notably "Spring Awakening") so I know he can act. Unfortunately, in "Looking" they cast him as awkwardly naïve for a 30-ish SF professional. They also have him constantly talking with his mouth full of food, which is gross.

    I had similar problems with "Girls", which many people compare to "Looking". However, when I watched them back-to-back this weekend, I found "Girls" to have more redeeming qualities. It actually made me lol a couple of times this week. So far, I haven't detected any wit or humor in "Looking"

    Episode 3 started with an "artwork" that was profound in the eyes of the artist, but was really just a crappy pile of furniture nailed together. I think that might be symbolic of the series.

    For those who wrote favorable impressions of the show, good for you. I'm hoping for some good entertainment with homosexual tendencies too.

    Perhaps the interaction between Jonathan & his new boss will finally take us somewhere in the next 5 episodes. If not, I'd be happy to see the series go away. I hope HBO gives me something I can get into while I anxiously await the return of "Game of Thrones".

    Posted by: JonnyNYNY2FLFL | Feb 3, 2014 8:54:26 AM


  8. I'm hooked. It gives me something to look forward to every week in my dreary life.

    Posted by: snork | Feb 3, 2014 9:03:52 AM


  9. When I watch TV or movies or YouTube series or whatever, I watch them because they're more interesting or funny or sexy or intellectually stimulating than my own life. It's a very, very, VERY low bar for success, but somehow, LOOKING fails miserably.

    Posted by: Richard | Feb 3, 2014 9:16:40 AM


  10. @JEFFNYC, you can't describe it as graphic sex if we never see either dicks or asses.

    Posted by: anon | Feb 3, 2014 9:20:37 AM


  11. doesn't anyone own a beard trimmer, have the grooming skills their mother taught them or simply just wash?

    this show is a knock off of girls and just makes me question their hygiene.

    Posted by: Truthiness | Feb 3, 2014 9:29:58 AM


  12. We are three episodes into an eight week season for "Looking" and we still know nothing. Hell, I am beginning to feel like Jon Snow.

    As another poster mentioned, the main characters have no actual chemistry together. When they are together, you never get the feeling that have been long time friends. At best, you get the feeling that they are passing acquaintances.

    To be honest, I think some very overt sex could make this show better. Why should gay sex be relegated to the off screen shadows while straight sex is thrown in our faces?

    And yes, this show is severely hamstrung by the fact that is only 24 minutes in actual running time.

    With all of that being said, build a show around Russel Tovey (I wish he were my husband) and I think we might be on to something.

    Posted by: Phoenix Justice | Feb 3, 2014 9:30:24 AM


  13. I dont hate it but it just seems sort of colorless and bland. I'm disappointed but I'm still watching and I will probably watch it all the way through the season.

    Posted by: BlahBlahBlah | Feb 3, 2014 9:33:09 AM


  14. I thought Scott Bakula's scene with Dom was the best thing this week, and Russell Tovey's character is promising, too.

    Posted by: Profe Sancho Panza | Feb 3, 2014 9:46:57 AM


  15. Just not a good TV show. I know you all want it to be good so badly, but it really is a piece of garbage. There isn't one good thing about it.

    Posted by: jonathan | Feb 3, 2014 9:47:33 AM


  16. In the end, gay or straight, a show needs to be interesting, well written, and have characters that you are remotely invested in. Fail, fail, and fail.

    I'll watch one or two more episodes to see where it goes, but I'm not betting that I'll be "looking" much more.

    Posted by: DC Insider | Feb 3, 2014 9:56:18 AM


  17. This series needs to go away sooner than later.

    Posted by: Perry | Feb 3, 2014 9:58:47 AM


  18. This was suppose to be somewhat like the movie Weekend for tv... And is pretty good.... But it lacks wit and specially the intimacy of the movie... All the sex has been very impersonal. On purpose? Love The Scott Bakula scene, it felt very real.

    Posted by: art | Feb 3, 2014 10:05:41 AM


  19. The first episode was boring. The second episode, however, was boring. I didn't watch the third episode.

    Posted by: AdamK | Feb 3, 2014 10:07:01 AM


  20. I'd love to see graphic sex scene with Russell

    Posted by: litper | Feb 3, 2014 10:28:31 AM


  21. "Looking" is incredibly, incredibly disappointing. And dispiriting: I was so hoping we'd finally get a good TV series about gay men, especially considering the talent involved -- but this has been a dreary, boring, thoroughly stultifying program. How is it possible so much promise could go so terribly wrong?

    Posted by: Joseph | Feb 3, 2014 10:34:46 AM


  22. So. Much. Facial. Hair. I love me a nice man with some GROOMED facial hair, but it's like every other character is some version of a dude in Williamsburg. :)

    Posted by: C.J. | Feb 3, 2014 10:59:06 AM


  23. Many commenters here are trying to "compare" it to previous series, be it Sex and the City, Q as F, or Girls, and seem to agree that it's not enough like any of them. I like that it is not like them (esp Q as F), it is fresh, engaging, and hard to predict. Reminds of Seinfeld's early seasons, in that nobody knew what to think about it, it being so different from other "comedies". We'll this dramedy needs some room to breathe, I think it is a gem. BTW, this week's episode was the best yet, with the humor and sex improved, and the story arcs becoming clearer.

    Posted by: Dave | Feb 3, 2014 11:10:33 AM


  24. Many commenters here are trying to "compare" it to previous series, be it Sex and the City, Q as F, or Girls, and seem to agree that it's not enough like any of them. I like that it is not like them (esp Q as F), it is fresh, engaging, and hard to predict. Reminds of Seinfeld's early seasons, in that nobody knew what to think about it, it being so different from other "comedies". We'll this dramedy needs some room to breathe, I think it is a gem. BTW, this week's episode was the best yet, with the humor and sex improved, and the story arcs becoming clearer.

    Posted by: Dave | Feb 3, 2014 11:10:36 AM


  25. I love it. I feel compelled to write this mainly because I am stunned by all the negative reviews. I find it well written, clever and very, very funny.

    Posted by: Robert | Feb 3, 2014 11:15:39 AM


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