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Spill the Tea: “Looking” breaks ground

19 April 2014 By Thomas Martinson, Staff Writer No Comments

When I first heard that HBO’s new series “Looking,” which illustrates the lives of three openly gay men in San Francisco, was regarded as “groundbreaking,” I became quite flustered. I have already seen shows that depict the LGBT community, so how could this stereotypical tale possibly be groundbreaking?

It seems whenever the media wants to use the “gay crutch,” it involves flamboyant, outlandish and overly vocal gay men in some shady and seedy nightclub that is either located in San Francisco, Manhattan or the outskirts of some major city. Evidence of this can been seen in “Will & Grace,” “Queer as Folk” and “Glee.” So of course I was skeptical about seeing the same story retold once again.

But once I watched the show, I was actually impressed with what I saw. “Looking” is anything but stereotypical or predictable. It is a show that portrays the lives of authentic gay men and puts them in situations that are both realistic and relatable. I feel the show even goes a step further by modernizing the context with the use of mentioning social applications such as ‘Grindr, ‘OkCupid’ and ‘Rentboy.’

Every ensemble show needs a group of good friends that you remember by name, “Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha,” “Monica, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Ross and Chandler,” and in this case “Patrick, Agustin and Dom.”

As for these three characters, oh my, let me “spill the tea” on them, hunty.

Our main character Patrick is a geeky, yet adorable, video game designer who has a history of bad first dates, and judgmental and far from understanding parents. He becomes romantically involved with a Hispanic man well outside of his social class whose only dream is for meritocracy, while at the same time has a series crush on his British boss.

Agustin is a non-successful indie artsy type of guy in his skinny jeans, plaid shirts and overly grown hipster beard. Once he gets fired from his job, the only way he can find successful inspiration and finally let those creative juices flow is by following a “Rentboy,” documenting his ways and paying him $220 a hour in order to do so.

Lastly, Dom, who I consider a über masculine man with his 70s honcho mustache is living the American dream. He’s a 40-year-old who still is waiting on tables. Talk about ambition. But he knows his life is subpar and decides to open up his own restaurant, yet the only way he is able to do so is by teaming up with a man he conveniently met in a bathhouse.

These characters are different from one another and deal with situations I think we all have dealt with at one point or another throughout our lives, to a certain extent that is. I relate the most to Patrick, everything that happens in his life, I feel is a carbon copy of my own.

I have been on those horrible bad first dates, I have consistently have had a series of bad encounters in the romance department. And yes, I have had a crush on a person in a higher power position than that of my own. And, don’t even lie by saying you have not been in at least one of these situations before. For me, I’m not going to divulge the man’s name, or his position, but let’s just say he strongly knows his way around the social media process. Enough said.

A part of me is somewhat upset that the characters depicted in this show are masculine pseudo-straight homosexual men. Whatever happened to the “sissy boy”? In ‘Will & Grace’ we had masculine Will and flamboyant Jack to balance out one another in a ying yang fashion. In “Queer as Folk” we had Brian, Justin, Michael, Emmett and Ted, all who completely varied on the spectrum of masculine and effeminate. But here in “Looking,” it seems only a certain representation is embodied, the makeshift patriarchal ideology of what a gay man should be and how he should act. Sassies were so last season. Normal, conservative gay men who are easy on the eyes are the tolerable, trendy fad now.

I’m not going to lie, a few of the characters are easy on the eyes. Not all of them, just a few. Yet, as soon as I say this I can hear Jerry Seinfeld utter these memorable lines in my head, “not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

Regarding the relatable factors of this show and why I like it as much as I do, honestly I think it’s because it caters to an older audience. I’m not among that 18 – 22 twerking youngster demographic, rather the 25 – 30 spunky, kindred spirit demographic. I want to see men who are my age and older, not those who are barely there 21, let me walk into the Greene Turtle with my fake ID type. I want to see authentic men who are dealing with situations that I’ve encountered before, and I feel this show delivers.

I do not think this is a “gay show,” it does not consist of men frequenting a gay night club or their graphic sexual exploits, rather it portrays the gritty tale of three friends who just so happen to be gay. I encourage you all to watch it, form your own opinions and be vocal about the context you took away from it.

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