Frankie J. Alvarez | Jonathan Groff | Looking | Murray Bartlett | Russell Tovey

'Looking' Back: Episode 7, 'Looking For A Plus-One'

Lookingforplusone

In case you missed the news, despite the initial low ratings, Looking has been renewed for a second season. The announcement comes on the heels of ratings increases and creative peaks for the series. The show's slow start rubbed some viewers (including me) the wrong way, but since the brilliant fifth episodeLooking has been on an upswing.

More exciting than just the idea of more episodes is the promise of more screen time with Raúl Castillo's Richie, Lauren Weedman's Doris and Russell Tovey's Kevin. All three have been promoted to series regulars for next season. They've added some much needed charm (and humor) to the cast, and, when the core trio skirts the edges of insufferableness they've kept the show from becoming too serious. I'm eager to see their roles expand, particularly the consistently hilarious Doris.

Tonight's episode was another strong showing. Discuss what worked (and what didn't) AFTER THE JUMP ...

[SPOILERS]

  • DomIf last week's episode was about getting what you think you want, this week forced our core trio to confront their challenges without their partners. After admitting he's been paying C.J. (T.J. Linnard), Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) now has to face his unemployment and lack of artistic fulfillment without his boyfriend (O.T. Fagbenle). Dom (Murray Bartlett) chased Lynn (Scott Bakula) away prepping for his pop-up restaurant. And then there's Patrick (Jonathan Groff), who faced the wedding he's been dreading without Richie.
  • Speaking of Patrick, there's something about his relationship with his mother that I think could strike a chord with many gay men. Yes, there's all the WASP-y nonsense about the grass and the cake pops, but the scene with the two of them outside illustrated a broader dynamic. We've seen the sad coming out story many times before, but what's interesting here is what happens years after that. She's excited to meet Richie, but she still calls him Patrick's "friend." She clearly didn't handle things in an optimal fashion, but she's also not the bogeyman Patrick still sees her as. (That couldn't be more clear than when his mother pulled out a pot treat just hours after Patrick fought with Richie for bringing marijuana to the wedding.) There's a struggle to forgive and forget that's hard for even the best-intentioned parents and children.
  • KevinI'm no longer sure if I'm rooting for Patrick to end up with Richie or Kevin. On the one hand, Patrick finding happiness with Richie would be a huge step forward for the character's growth. (Plus, Richie is adorable.) However, you could argue that Patrick choosing Kevin because he wants him (and not because he's trying to please his mother) would also be satisfying. (Plus, Kevin is adorable.) I'm so torn!
  • Agustín's intentions are even less clear. While we know he's uncomfortable with this whole domesticated, Oakland lifestyle, we don't know what it is that he's after. He talks about his art, but doesn't seem to enjoy creating it or participating in that world. As much as his boyfriend seems like a saint, I think Agustín will be a much more interesting character when we get to learn more about him outside of his relationship dynamics.
  • This episode felt more like a set-up for next week's finale when it comes to Dom's storyline. The most telling scene was with Dom and Lynn outside the restaurant. Even though he's obsessed with aging, Dom still sees himself as a teenager struggling to assert his independence. It's not cute, and it might end up killing his restaurateur dreams.
  • Some of my favorite moments tonight were the simple wedding scenes. Watching Patrick during the father-of-the-bride speech, when his brother-in-law removed his sister's garter or even as the crowd shimmied awkwardly to "Love Shack," nicely illustrated the sort of alien feeling many LGBT people feel in these situations. It's a theme Andrew Haigh's Weekend also played with a bit (during the scenes when Tom Cullen's Russell visits his friend Jamie). Yes, some people can effortlessly feel a part of these situations, but there are lots of LGBT folk who can't shake that undercurrent of otherness that colors even the most joyous celebration.

Are you excited for a second season of Looking? What do you think is going to happen in next week's finale?

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Comments

  1. Team Kevin!

    Posted by: Mike | Mar 3, 2014 8:55:03 AM


  2. How the hell are they going to have enough story lines for 3 more series regulars in 22 minute episodes?

    Posted by: anon | Mar 3, 2014 8:56:12 AM


  3. Personally speaking for myself I can't wait for next season! The show's attraction has been sort-of sneaky, but relentless. The acting is superb. It's not 'Hollywood slick', but gently naturalistic. I now really look forward to it. Russell Tovey is just so...er...um...(*thud*).

    Posted by: Geoff | Mar 3, 2014 8:59:59 AM


  4. Kevin would be the wrong choice. He's adorable, but it lacks depth. Patrick needs to grow.

    Posted by: ElCid | Mar 3, 2014 9:17:06 AM


  5. Somehow this show has drawn me into it's snare. I watch for glimpses of Dom, Ritchie, and Kevin. Last night's episode made me want to hit Patrick. I really think Ritchie is good for him.

    Posted by: Mike in the Tundra | Mar 3, 2014 9:40:32 AM


  6. I think Richie is a bad choice for Patrick. Counter to popular opinion opposites don’t attract. They have a cultural divide that might be surmountable but the maturity and financial disparities are too over whelming for either to conquer. Patrick is a rich, educated, man child while Richie is a more mature vocationally trained lower income worker. This type of relationship has too much going against it from the get go. Agustín was right Patrick is slumming.

    Posted by: KevinSF | Mar 3, 2014 9:46:35 AM


  7. I'm so glad that Looking has been picked up for a second season. It's one of my fav shows. It's not big and loud and in-your-face, and that's what I like about it. Some of the characters I absolutely detest, but there are people in my own life that affect me in similar ways. My heart belongs to Richie. I hope we see a lot of him next season!!

    Posted by: Gigi | Mar 3, 2014 9:56:42 AM


  8. please?

    someone please make them use the grooming techniques that their mother taught them?

    I can't watch a show and have their personal hygiene be an issue for the entire episode.

    Use soap & water - and a beard trimmer.

    Posted by: Truthiness | Mar 3, 2014 10:14:25 AM


  9. I'm so proud of Patrick for rebuffing Kevin. Kevin's whole thing with him has been very manipulative. I also hate when characters try to do things while they are intoxicated, because if it goes sour they can apologize and blame it on the alcohol. Hopefully Patchie isn't over.

    Dom and Lynn definitely need more time and Augustin needs to suffer some more before I start giving him another chance.

    Posted by: Derrick | Mar 3, 2014 10:26:06 AM


  10. Did anybody else notice that the jock neighbor of Patrick's at the wedding was Scott Evans? And even though it was just a little cameo, his name was in the end credits with the rest of the cast? (I thought I recognized him, but didn't realize who it was until I saw his name in big letters at the end).

    I wonder if the story Patrick told was a set-up for Scott's character (I can't remember his name) to come back in some capacity.

    Posted by: SMS | Mar 3, 2014 10:26:35 AM


  11. The show is definitely getting better. I feel like the other characters have been slighted in favor of developing Patrick's story lines. It feels as if the show is about him and the rest are bit players.

    For me the show feels too much like Weekend - which I hated. I want this show to stand on its own and not just be the non-linear sequel to Weekend. The slow exposition needs to pick up pace if they are going to continue this 22 minute snapshot crap. Just when you begin to get invested in a character or a story line, snap. Its over and you cut to that logo.

    I don't know if I could sustain interest over the hiatus. Especially if another network were to put something watchable on. Hell, even a Dante's Cove (GROAN) rerun, LOL.

    Posted by: Robert Rhea | Mar 3, 2014 10:27:04 AM


  12. I also found the show's take on Pat's relationship with his mother interesting and a perspective I haven't seen often explored. What happens when your loved ones finally come around, but you're not there to see that evolution? The entire time Pat thought his mother was stuck in the past when in reality she was moving forward and he was the one left behind. Great job by Julia Duffy, by the way.

    I wish the show had explored Pat's relationship with his sister a bit more, especially after what he said about her getting married a couple episodes ago. And because I love Kelli Garner and would love to see her more on screen.

    As brief as it was, the kiss in the bathroom was so hot. And does anyone recognize the song that was playing in the scene immediately after Daddy Murray's wedding toast, where Pat is dancing with Aunt Myrtle and Momma Murray can't figure out how to eat the cake pop?

    Posted by: Nathan | Mar 3, 2014 10:43:18 AM


  13. I also found the show's take on Pat's relationship with his mother interesting and a perspective I haven't seen often explored. What happens when your loved ones finally come around, but you're not there to see that evolution? The entire time Pat thought his mother was stuck in the past when in reality she was moving forward and he was the one left behind. Great job by Julia Duffy, by the way.

    I wish the show had explored Pat's relationship with his sister a bit more, especially after what he said about her getting married a couple episodes ago. And because I love Kelli Garner and would love to see her more on screen.

    As brief as it was, the kiss in the bathroom was so hot. And does anyone recognize the song that was playing in the scene immediately after Daddy Murray's wedding toast, where Pat is dancing with Aunt Myrtle and Dana

    Posted by: Nathan | Mar 3, 2014 10:43:27 AM


  14. Never commented before, but wanted to weigh in on the "who should Patrick end up with" discussion.

    Patrick should definitely not end up with Kevin because he is awful. And the kind of awful you don't realize is awful until you're stuck in his mess.

    That whole scene last week in the park where he made such a grand show about the ice cream and calling John his "boyfriend" was to put Patrick in his place as the employee and potential side piece, but he's no doctor.

    He's the "Richie" in that situation. Just not in Kevin's "league." It may not have been as overt as the "for a living" comment after Richie said he cut hair, but the same dynamic is at work with Patrick. Patrick just can't see it.

    Kevin hides behind a breezy, British charm and he's played by Russell Tovey, but he's controlling and manipulative toward Patrick. They met when Patrick didn't realize he was his boss and tried to ask him out, and Kevin's been using that dynamic, and the power he has over Patrick as his boss, ever since. That he sought out Patrick only after his boyfriend got drunk, and often speaks poorly of the boyfriend to Patrick, should tell Patrick everything he needs to know about Kevin, and it's that Kevin doesn't really care about anyone but Kevin. Ending up with Kevin would just shove Patrick even deeper into that well of having to please everyone since Kevin looks outside his situation when his situation doesn't please him.

    Richie may have no ambition but to be happy with his life, but he's not a pushover so he forces Patrick to look at himself rather than accept other people's ideas of who he should be.

    Plus, having it revert to the two affluent white guys ending up together after Richie proved himself to be a good partner for Patrick, despite the cultural and class differences, would be such a cop out. Like he's the magical ethnic helping little whitey to discover who he is before he moves on to a better white boy.

    Of course, Richie's also WAY too good for a preening little jerk like Patrick, so, maybe Patrick should end up with Kevin since they've already staked out their respective roles of boss and follower.

    Posted by: DdV | Mar 3, 2014 10:48:28 AM


  15. I liked this one a lot. The show's leisurely approach is paying off in these later episodes (which are still too short, btw). Some of the best scenes for Patrick yet, and he and Julia Duffy did *very* nice work together.

    Posted by: Profe Sancho Panza | Mar 3, 2014 10:57:20 AM


  16. Is there any point to Augustin's continued existence?

    Posted by: Rob Tisinai | Mar 3, 2014 11:13:52 AM


  17. I loved this episode, probably my favorite one of the season. I abhor going to wedding's because I feel like the awkward gay guy who doesn't belong in that world, so it was interesting to see that explored on the show. And the relationship Patrick had with his family was a spot-on look at the post-out awkwardness that some gay guys still have with their parents... my mother is completely supportive but can't say the word "boyfriend" or "husband" either. At least she stopped saying "roommate!"

    My favorite scene though was the homophobic dig from Patrick's father when he suggested that if Patrick married, he'd be paying for the wedding (i.e. Patrick is the bride). So much was revealed about their relationship in that seemingly throw-away line.

    Posted by: crispy | Mar 3, 2014 11:36:04 AM


  18. I loved how Patrick's mom was shown as more than a one-dimensional WASP caricature, and wasn't the same person he thought she was. Props to Julia Duffy for such a fun performance.

    Definitely want to see more of Dom and Lynn's partnership, both in and out of the restaurant. I also want more Doris - I've been a fan of Lauren Weedman since her days on those "I LOVE THE ____" specials on VH1. (Especially if she brings her bf Hugo with her - I love bearded nerdy guys.)

    I agree with some of the other guys - Kevin isn't right for Patrick - plus you know how the old adage goes: "Don't sh*t where you eat". Dating the boss would backfire, big time.

    BTW - Can we please shove Augustin off a cliff?

    Posted by: FuryOfFirestorm | Mar 3, 2014 12:01:29 PM


  19. The show needs to be an hour.

    Posted by: Todd | Mar 3, 2014 12:03:08 PM


  20. It seems to me the scene with Patrick and his mother was intended to show us that Patrick's problem with Richie is not as much about his mother as it is about himself. He lists all of Richie's negative qualities, supposedly as his mother would see them, but doesn't tell her (or us) why, in the face of those negatives, he still wants to be with Richie. We're meant to think that those negatives are at the forefront of Patrick's mind when it comes to Richie. When the two of them shared a private day, with no one from Patrick's world present, there was no problem. When Patrick tried to fit Richie into his world, either at the party or at the wedding, it doesn't work. The extent to which Richie doesn't fit there becomes immediately obvious and unnerving to Patrick.

    So why exactly does Patrick want to be with Richie? Is it because so far this season Richie is the only person who seems interested in Patrick, while the type of person his mother would like (symbolized by the blond doctor) rejects him? Unlike the doctor, Richie didn't ask Patrick a laundry list of questions about their compatibility; he just liked what he saw and said so in a very charming and genuine way. That is every gay man's fantasy, isn't it - accidentally meeting someone who does that?

    Other than Richie, the only person who's interested is Kevin, with whom a relationship would be difficult if not impossible for several reasons.

    So this is the choice Patrick faces: try to find someone who fits into his world, or forget about that issue and go with someone whom he likes and who likes him regardless of such issues. The preview of the final episode suggests he still wants Richie. But how far will he go to get him?

    Posted by: Simon | Mar 3, 2014 12:31:19 PM


  21. Excellent! A second season of Looking, but please 1-hour episodes!!! 22, 23 minutes is just not enough.

    Posted by: Elvis | Mar 3, 2014 1:48:51 PM


  22. What brought Dom, Patrick & Agustin together? There's talk about how Richie & Patrick don't seem a fit culturally - but neither do the central trio. With Dom almost a generation older and Agustin seemingly in a different scene from Patrick, what led to their bonding? How durable is the bond? What do they share?

    I'm enjoying the show and look forward to a new season, but I find unexplored mystery the bond between the central trio.

    Posted by: Glenn I | Mar 3, 2014 1:57:37 PM


  23. DDV: very insightful, thanks! Kevin is a charming train wreck, and is "slumming" with Patrick in the same sense that Augustin so nastily perceived Patrick to be doing with Ritchie.

    I thought the family dynamics at the wedding were fascinating -- it certainly gave a lot of background on why Patrick sometimes reacts the way he does. (Doesn't excuse it, but certainly explains it.) Loved seeing Julia Duffy, I thought she was pitch-perfect.

    As an aside, I heard that at the premiere at the Castro Theater, someone asked one of the producers the question, "why just a half-hour?" The response was apparently, "well, I'm the head of half-hour programming at HBO." If you look at the other HBO comedies (Veep, Getting On, Curb Your Enthusiasm), they're all 30 minutes -- all the drama are an hour.

    Posted by: Andrew | Mar 3, 2014 2:04:06 PM


  24. Anyone have a spoiler on when Patrick is killed off?

    Posted by: Arkansassy | Mar 3, 2014 2:36:21 PM


  25. @Crispy - I also thought the dad's toast about how the daughter used to dress up Patrick and parade him around with her friends was more obvious exposition of the Patrick-Dad relationship and a clear indication that Dad is indifferent at best to his son's feelings.

    Like others, I just LOVED Julia Duffy. Very happy that this show will have a Season 2 - it's ingratiated itself with me completely.

    Posted by: dws | Mar 3, 2014 2:45:46 PM


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