Lannan, Michael (Creator). 2014-2016. Looking [television series]. New York: HBO Entertainment.

The title text, Looking, in bright blue outlined letters.

In this comedy-drama television series, three gay friends in San Francisco navigate dating, friendship, and work. Jonathan Groff plays Patrick, a 29-year-old video game designer who has never had a long-term boyfriend. Frankie J. Alvarez plays Agustín, a 31-year-old artist who is cohabitating with his boyfriend. Murray Bartlett plays Dom, a 39-year old waiter who is more interested in hookups than dating.

The three main characters are refreshingly complex, with distinct personalities, different ambitions, and realistic flaws. The show doesn’t shy away from sex scenes (some rather graphic), but nor does it focus on sex. There are just as many tender friendship scenes and tense work moments as there are dating scenes. Each character pursues his own goals, growing and changing in the process.

The supporting characters are fantastic and occasionally steal the show. Russell Tovey plays Patrick’s boss and adds a sharp, sarcastic wit to his work scenes. Scott Bakula plays an entrepreneur who supports Dom’s restaurant dreams and sparks an unexpected romance. Raúl Castillo plays Patrick’s love interest; he opens Patrick’s eyes to experiences and identities outside his own, providing an impetus to learn and mature.

I found this series funny and interesting and occasionally thought-provoking. The cast is very ethnically diverse and I believe accurately reflects San Francisco demographics. Whether it’s an accurate portrayal of the San Francisco gay scene I can’t answer, as I’m not a gay man; but it seems realistic enough.

Looking ran for two seasons and will end with a 2 hour special, currently in production. The show and individual actors won several awards, including the Lupe Award for Breakthrough Performance (Raúl Castillo) and Out100’s TV Show of the Year.

About Charlie McNabb

Archivist, Folklorist, and Legend Tripper
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