Gay audiences are always craving the one true gay show or movie that all can embrace. Gay audiences are also hyper-critical of the crumbs of LGBT movies and television because (frankly) they usually suck. Usually the folks portrayed are white people, usually white boys, and usually urban. They party, they take drugs, they sleep around, and they have fabulous, unaffordable apartments considering no one seems to work.
Looking falls squarely in that demographic. At least, for once, the main character can most likely afford his San Francisco apartment because he works in the tech industry. Finally! A gay geek! Patrick (Jonathan Groff) is a 30-ish cute white boy, a bit dorky, and is as single as a show like this will allow. He’s had one boyfriend, but is a romantic on a quest. His circle of friends include the older (gasp! almost 40!) lothario and career waiter named Dom (Murray Bartlett, with a full 70’s porn-stache), and egotistical artist Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez).
Over two seasons and a finale movie, Looking circles around these friends as they, yes, look for love. Patrick meets a sweet barber named Richie (Raúl Castillo) who is way nicer than Patrick deserves (so Patrick, thusly, screws up that relationship). On the other end is Patrick’s new boss Kevin (Russell Tovey) who provides the opposite lure: Kevin is the ideal, a smart, educated, and successful white guy… except Kevin has a boyfriend. Ooops.
As you might guess, Patrick makes many bad decisions, a lot of them due to an annoying immaturity and seeming cluelessness. As played by Jonathan Groff, Patrick is walking around with a smirk of disbelief on his face, with his eyebrows quizzically high on his forehead. The cutesy act gets old, as does the selfish character of Agustín, who pretty much gets a much-needed personality transplant for the second season. Of the three, Dom is the saving grace of the buddies. He is actually at a reflective point of his life, wanting something more than the swinging lifestyle. Better yet, his BFF is Doris, played by the fabulous Lauren Weedman, who steals every scene she is in. If Looking branched off in another series, I’d want it to be about Doris and Dom’s friendship, the best part of the show.
Looking was cancelled after the second season, where they managed to bring a little hasty closure to Patrick’s plot lines. But the producers were able to squeeze out a follow-up feature-length follow-up film called aptly, Looking: The Movie. As a stand-alone, the movie doesn’t really have enough to keep it floating. But if you look at it as just one more extended episode, it does exactly what it needs to. Taking place almost a year after we left the characters at the end of the series finale, if gives fans just a little taste of where the characters are going, leaving the door open optimistically.
The full series plus movie set includes 16 audio commentaries with cast and crew.