Snow. Love it. Schools and government closed. Went snow-supply grocery store nuts last night when the weather predictions got serious and so am well-supplied with all sorts of junk-food which will require extra hours spent in rueful regret at the gym when the roads clear. But, whatever. SNOW! This is an excuse to curl under a blanket and read all day long. Or watch movies. Or t.v. Or nap.
Which is, of course, ridiculous in my case since I work from home. Or, when house/pet sitting from someone else’s home. I am already chiding myself through mouthfuls of chips: “It doesn’t matter if it’s snowing – you should still be doing your ghost-writing work and your 1500 words a day, Charlie.”
Yes, yes I should. But, as I was doing my morning check-in of sites I daily do, I found that HBO had posted – in full -Episode 1 of its new gay-centric series, LOOKING. I mean, what could I do but get some cookies and watch it? You should too. Here it is:
I liked it. A lot. Already it has received bashing and criticism for all the things it is not, as if in one half hour, a weekly series could somehow represent the experiences of all gay men, everywhere, through the ages. And, as usual, sex-phobic apologists have decried the episode’s focus on hooking up and eroticism: get over it.
Listen, do I think there is space and need in the world for shows about gays who don’t live in a major metropolitan city and aren’t pretty and buff? Sure. I also think there are quite a few stories about women and minorities and everyone else in the world that have yet to be told. I don’t quite understand WHY it is that when we finally GET a story like Looking, that instead of appreciating it and seeing it as a step forward, so much time is spent deconstructing and criticizing it.
I, for one, will be glad when We (We = all OTHERS) can stop considering every story about us a landmark; when we reach that day where labels other than “human” are no longer necessary and I’m no longer a target audience, but, just audience.
Lots of Looking resonated for me – both as a human being and as a gay male human being in 2014. The opening scene in which Jonathan Groff’s character, Patrick, is nervously park-cruising, was pretty hilarious – and pretty true to the mechanics of NSA-hook-up-I just need to get off- sexcapades. Score. The Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) and Frank (O.T. Fagbenle) scenes – first in which they default decide to co-habitate and later, default don’t discuss the repercussions of a threesome they’ve had (which – though barely seen was – for me – incredibly hot) is wonderfully representative of so many relationships which stumble along in default mode, just because. Score. And the third main character, Dom, as played by Murray Bartlett, is the token “older” gay – which, in this case means – I guess – 40ish? And he experiences in episode one the approbation of his female best friend/ex-girlfriend/roommate, rejection by a younger gay because he is older that causes self-doubt and, too, devolves into seeking solace from a former relationship that ended badly – where the person was a jerk/jackass, but he reaches out to him because he is in doubt and lonely. Yeah. Uhm, oh yeah. Score. There is also a hilarious and all-too-true scene in which Patrick is on an OKCupid “date” with a full-of-himself, vapid, pretentious, poseur, faux-hipster wanna-be, prick named Benjamin – who in the course of a very short time manages to treat Patrick like a piece of shit – also rang all too true to me. All. Too. True. And, SCORE, again.
People – journalists mostly – in pursuit of an angle, I suppose, keep calling Looking a gay-version of Sex and the City – but SATC was already a gay version of SATC. It was way gayer than Looking. And comparing Looking to Girls, even bigger mistake, because Girls is less about gender and relationships and sex than it is about the solipsistic, narcissistic devolution into complete and utter self-absorption that is the modern-twenty-something – and the ways in which we are ALL trying to become a modern-twenty-something. No, Looking deserves the opportunity to be its own beast, to grow into its own story, to speak to a wider cohort than the one it is about; and, like SATC and Girls, one hopes that Looking‘s characters will come to represent larger societal issues and tropes than just those of the small cohort in which the story is set.
I think they can. And so, SCORE.