There’s always a trepidation when coming into a ‘farewell movie’ of a series that one has grown to love but was cut short on us. We find ourselves asking “Will we get the answers we want? Will it give us a feeling of a proper conclusion? Will we be happy with how we have to say goodbye?” Even in Looking’s two season short life span, those questions begged to be asked and required answers. Thankfully not only did we get our some answers but most fans should be able to say a final goodbye to a pack of characters we quickly grew to love.
Looking back, It’s been well over 12 months since Looking’s untimely demise. Patrick (Jonathan Groff) ended his tumultuous relationship with Kevin (Russell Tovey) and had all but destroyed any chance of any kind of relationship with his ex Ritchie (Raul Castillo). Dom (Murray Bartlett) rekindled his long standing friendship with Doris (Lauren Weedman) and was about to start a new professional journey while Augustine (Frankie J Alvarez) and HIV positive Eddie (Daniel Franzese) were on the cusp of starting a brand new relationship together.
The 90 minute farewell movie attempts to answer those looming questions but still leave enough open to assume that while Looking may in fact be over, Patrick, Dom and Augustine are still living their lives and making life changing choices even if it’s not visible to us.
Oddly enough while the series was about three gay men living life in San Francisco, this finale movie sees most of the narrative hinging on Patrick’s love life – or in fact, where he left off and what’s in store when he returns to San Francisco after a 9 month hiatus living and working in Denver. Granted the Ritchie/Patrick/Kevin triangle played one of the major arcs in Looking’s second season, but the force of pushing this right into the main story for the movie sadly left Dom and Augustine relegated to side characters that only either offered a reason for Patrick to even be back in SF or give him a reason to question his own motives.
It’s a odd move by writers Michael Lannan and Andrew Haigh who seemed to assume viewers were only invested in Patrick and his life and not that of Dom and Augustine’s. It’s a shame really as of the three, Augustine was shown to be the one that had grown the most from the pilot episode to the second season closer.
Yes, we’re offered answers and you know what, while not everyone will be satisfied, we should be happy with them even if certain elements are not clear cut in stone. There’s enough there for us to make up our own minds as to which way the story ends for Patrick. Perhaps that was the intention all along? Give us the equation, hint at a resolution but allow us to find the answer that sits the best with us.
I for one am happy we got one last outing with Looking even if it was a bit too much focused on Patrick at the expense of the other players.
Looking: The Movie is currently screening on Showcase via Foxtel.
After getting quite deep into the problems that surrounded Looking’s first season (here and here) I wanted to give the second season a full run before sitting down and sharing my thoughts. Did it step up from season one? Did it become more enjoyable and less painful to watch?
Well, I can say that Looking, for it’s second season, took a massive-gigantic-much wanted step forward into becoming a show that focused more on multiple episode story arcs and about creating conflict and drama and less about the slow-moody snails pace it aimed for in it’s first outing.
Story lines of death, HIV, cheating, drugs, downward spirals, the demise of relationships, professional uncertainty…these elements all gave the show and each character a much needed breath of life and sense of purpose that was visibly lacking in the first season.
The central story line of Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and his on again-off again relationship with Kevin (Russell Tovey) was played out with much more intention and realness. We were torn watching Kevin cheat on his boyfriend but felt like he and Patrick were a perfect fit but also thought Patrick deserved the punishment of not receiving Kevin’s full attention for how he treated the lovable Richie (Raul Catillo). The relationship that moved from secret hook-ups to full blown romance made for an intense and well constructed finale that, i’m pretty sure, saw us all side with Patrick after discovering Kevin was still active on gay hookup app Grindr.
It was such powerful moments as that fight/discussion between the two that shows how much more the show was bringing this season and this wasn’t just restricted to the Kevin/Patrick/Richie triangle.
The budding (and somewhat unlikely) relationship between the emotionally/professionally damaged Agustin (Frankie J Alvarez) and HIV positive Eddie (Daniel Franzese) and the distancing of best friends Dom (Murray Bartlett) and Doris (Lauren Weedman) trying to identify where they are in their lives together created equal amounts of compelling stories.
Looking back at Looking, season two offered up more memorable episodes and moments than the first. Patrick and Dom joining Doris at her fathers funeral, Dom and Agustin rescuing a heavily intoxicated Patrick from making the worlds worst jealousy fueled Halloween party speech, Kevin showing up at Patrick’s door step and telling him he’s left John….it’s situations like this I’m actually saddened to hear that HBO have pulled the plug on a third season.
Looking (while low rating) has a dedicated fan-base that for season one hated or viciously defended and for season two, joined together to equally love and while there is some comfort in knowing HBO plan on giving fans a special Looking finale, the fact that I can sit here and say “you know what, Looking is pretty fucking amazing” after roasting it so badly can only show that cancelling the show is a move not widely supported.
Can Patrick trust Kevin? Will Dom’s chicken window be a success? Will Agustin and Eddie’s new relationship survive? Will Doris and Dom be able to sustain their newly defined life-long friendship? Will Richie be happy? There’s too much left hanging that I fear a final special won’t be able to cover and so in closing I feel like all I can say is – – –
While I haven’t been the biggest champion of HBO’s gay drama Looking (see posts here and here) the season one finale seemed to up the ante and bring the drama that I and quite a few viewers were looking for. Now, HBO has released the full length trailer for the show’s second season, and by the looks of it, we could be in for more of what was given to us in that final episode of season one.
Jonathan Groff, Frankie J Alvarez and Murray Bartlett are all back along with Russell Tovey (Kevin), Raul Castillo (Richie) and Lauren Weedman (Doris) all bumped to series regulars for the second season.
“All of them have been in flux since the end of the last season, and they’ve all been doing their own thing a little bit,” explains executive producer Andrew Haigh to Entertainment Weekly. “This first episode is them being determined to spend more time together and go away to Russian River, which is, like, two hours outside San Francisco. It’s this really beautiful, tranquil place along the redwoods.” But there’s no guarantee of smooth sailing. According to Haigh, “they get outdoors. They go canoeing. Things happen.” We’re guessing they run into at least one or two bears.
Picking up shortly after where season one ended, Patrick (Groff) is dealing with his breakup with Richie (Castillo) and a secret romance with his attached boss Kevin, Dom (Bartlett) is having issues keeping work and romance seperate as he embarks on a relationship with his business partner Lynn (Scott Bakula) while Augustin, who pretty much suffered a personal and artistic meltdown might have found new purpose in the form of Eddie (Mean Girls’ Daniel Franzese)
Here’s hoping Looking has finally found it’s feet and continues on the more interesting path it reached by the end of season one.
Expect to see Patrick, Dom and Agustin back on screens next year as HBO’s freshman drama Looking has been given the green light to continue on with a second season TVNOW has learned.
While the show premiered to a rather small audience in the US (338,000), the last three episodes have seen a rather steep rise in ratings with each episode rating higher than the last (most recent episode nabbed 519,000 viewers) and like all HBO shows, Looking has drawn its greatest audience in gross views, which includes original airings, replays, On Demand and HBO Go, with a season-to-date score of two million weekly viewers.
As part of the renewal, Lauren Weedman (Doris), Raul Castillo (Richie) and Russell Tovey (Kevin) have all been bumped to series regulars. Weedman plays Dom’s roommate; Castillo is Patrick’s love interest; and Tovey portrays Patrick’s boss.
Production on the second season is expected to begin late this year in San Francisco.
So I’ve just finished watching episode 5 of HBO’s gay themed drama called ‘Looking‘ and upon it’s ending, I felt compelled to put aside all other TV viewings until I wrote something down about how annoyed and frustrated I am with this show.
First up, I need to state, the following is about the writing of the show and not the acting. Looking is my first encounter with Jonathan Groff and Frankie J Alvarez, (Murray Bartlett I remember from Sex and the City) and I’m impressed enough by all to want to keep watching for these guys – even if it’s at my own peril of dying from boredom.
Now continuing from my original post “Is Looking Boring?” I decided to put aside my worries about how lackluster the show was becoming and hoped that perhaps, these characters may do something exciting or shocking or mean or funny or..you get the idea.
The answer is – they don’t.
It turns out, I’m not the only one having issues with the ‘boring’ factor Looking is giving off. It’s become such an issue that the writers have taken to having to defend their style of writing, calling it “low-key” and “intentional”. John Hoffman and Tanya Saracho spoke to selected media about this very issue – “The B-word is what they keep calling us – ‘boring’. I would rather they hate it than call us boring.”
Hoffman added: “Not to be in defence of boring, but that [style] is very intentional. [The episodes] do feel like little half-hour indie movies.” Cast member Russell Tovey added “This is showing a section of the community where there isn’t any crisis in the fact that they’re gay and it isn’t the all-defining personality trait of each of the characters. It just happens to be that they are gay and this is their lives and this what they are doing – they are living. They’ve got over all their shit and they’re just being.”
The problem here is without “the shit” or crisis, we have a television show where nothing memorable happens. It’s the easiest way to describe Looking’s problem. The dialogue isn’t cheesy, the acting is rather good, it’s beautifully shot, there’s no crazy and campy stereotypical characters – Looking is a show we need to have,but nothing worthy of being remembered happens. It can’t be a good sign if I walk away from an episode and my first thought is “Wow Jonathan Groff is good looking”.
Let’s break down Looking, season one episode five.
Patrick (Jonathan Groff) wakes up in bed next to Richie (Raúl Castillo). he quietly grabs his clothes and heads to the bathroom. He showers, brushes his teeth and checks out the medicine cabinet before hearing Richie awake and playing his guitar while singing. There’s some kissing and general talk about necklaces before Patrick leaves for work.
instead of going to work, Patrick decides to stay with Richie. There’s a very ‘in-your-face’ sexual encounter between the two and they go to breakfast at a local diner. They talk about STD’s while drinking coffee, The Goonies and how Richie is embarrassed of his teeth and then Patrick calls in sick to work so as to spend the day with Richie.
We’re 10mins 30secs in and now, they’re on a bus and Richie asks Patrick about his first sexual encounter. Turns out, Patrick was 15 and it was on a bus headed back from computer camp. Now suddenly, they’re at the planetarium. They’re the only two there, looking up at the fake stars. Richie sings a song to Patrick, they talk about who is Rachel and who is Ross from FRIENDS and Patrick talks about how he’s not too interested in anal sex.
At the 17 minute mark, Richie and Patrick are walking, eating hotdogs talking about Richie’s first time before they exchange coming out stories – it’s all very first date kind of topics.
Then we learn about a Señora that Richie sees. She’s sort of a medium who uses eggs to see peoples futures. Patrick offers up some anti-señora ideas before Richie drags him along to see her but upon realizing Patrick doesn’t speak Spanish, they decide to leave.
We’re back at Richie’s house, they’re in bed talking about how much ‘fun’ the day was. They talk about sex and imply sex is going to happen.
OH MY GOD.
If I remember correctly, one can make more interesting things happen while playing The Sims.
Without any ads, this was 26 minutes and 59 seconds of scripted television where nothing of substance or worth actually happened. The issue I’m finding with Looking is that the show is trying too hard to not be an expected gay drama. Obviously, as viewers, we’re automatically going to compare it to Queer as Folk. We kinda have to as we don’t have much else to compare it to, but it feels like the people behind the show know this is what we are doing and are trying their darnedest to ensure that Looking is so completely different from Queer as Folk that they end up making a show where the characters have no substance or chance of evolution for us to actually care. They don’t evolve, they don’t create, there’s no real interaction….they just are.
This last episode felt like I was secretly watching two people on a first date….perhaps that was the writers intention, but without bouncing off to any other characters within this world of Looking to allow us some breathing space from the dullness of this first date, this show suddenly becomes very claustrophobic and the only way out is to fervently press the fast forward button and hope there is a light at the end of the tunnel (that light being the HBO logo at the shows end)
Are the writers are too scared to create some sort of dramatic elements for these characters in the fear we all start screaming “it’s all too cliché” and turn off? Don’t forget, this is a television show we are talking about – and not a reality one either.
Don’t hint at Dom’s relationship with his meth using ex boyfriend. Don’t hint at Agustin’s friendship with Patrick. Don’t hint at Patrick being an absolute idiot when it comes to men and relationships. Follow these up and flesh them out and allow us to actually care about any form of back story these characters are supposed to have had.
I, personally was offended by Hoffman’s comment of wishing we the viewers would hate the show over calling it boring. Don’t tell me to hate the show. I don’t want to hate it. I need a show like Looking (or the basis of the show) in my life. By telling us that you’d rather us hate the show than call it boring is you being lazy and trying to find an easy answer to a valid question a lot of people are asking. Pure and simple.
Why can’t Looking be a memorable show without having to revert to stereotypical situations and characters?
I’m not here to tell them how to do their job or write their scripts for them, but for the question of Looking being boring to stop, these writers need to realize that my life (and probably most others lives) is boring enough without having to watch other people’s boring lives on television.
With episode three airing Sunday night in America, there’s been a lot of talk and speculation about HBO’s newest drama called ‘Looking’. While people are somewhat enjoying the show, they are finding it boring and not very entertaining. Previews leading up to the shows release had people likening it to a ‘gay version of Girls’ mixed with a bit of Queer As Folk.
In reality, Looking is less QAF and sits just on the mediocre side of where Girls never really visited. Set in San Francisco, Looking follows three friends – Patrick (Jonathan Groff from Glee) who is single and is a game designer, Agustin (Frankie J. Álvarez from SMASH) an artists assistant and Patrick’s best friend and Dom (Murray Bartlett from Headland) a wine waiter in a gastronomic restaurant.
The series starts out in an attempt to shock the viewer…the very first scene has Patrick (Groff) trying to get a hand job in Golden Gate Park from a stranger. It’s not something seen on television everyday, but does set the mood for how we are to look at Patrick for the rest of the episode. He’s the type of guy who is single and hates it, but can’t understand why he is single. Follow that up with a surprise three way involving Agustin, his boyfriend and another artist’s assistant and we’re beginning to get a feel for the tone of the show – or are we? Like normal, the very first episode of a new series sets out to not only introduce new characters to us, but to also drag us in and ensure we’ll be back to watch episode two.
Though besides the gratuitous use of sex, there’s nothing really to make us not want to continue, but then again, nothing that really makes us want to continue.
Can’t say episode two fared much better. The general response I’ve come across is that “nothing much happens” and “are we supposed to relate to these guys?” Is it fair to call Looking boring? To be sure, this show is not some high energy drama filled with plot twists and back-stabbing. It’s not a Revenge type show, that’s for sure. Looking however is a slow-burn show that seems to be allowing us to take our time getting to know these characters, their flaws (as many as there are) their new relationships and those of past (a story-line involving Dom and a very successful ex boyfriend plays heavily in ep 2)
Agustin and his boyfriend Frank have just moved in together and we get the feeling Agustin isn’t too keen on the ‘stay at home’ lifestyle he’s suddenly adopted while Dom, frustrated he hasn’t been able to hook up with a new waiter and a less than pleasant meeting with an ex leads him to have a quickie with a younger fellow in a lower apartment in his building. While this is happening, Patrick is off with his latest love interest Richie and wondering if Richie is cut or not – deep stuff.
So is Looking worth watching or at least worthy of a continued watch? I’ll keep watching. It’s more real world than QAF ever was but don’t call me too invested – not just yet. The fact no scene has taken place in a gym is promising but here’s hoping that’s not the only promising feature of the show.