Looking the new drama for gays about gays probably from gays or at least someone who suspects they know a gay.
When Looking started gathering media attention there were whispers that it was going to be the new Girls - the Lena Dunham award hoover - and boy, us homosexuals love nothing more than being compared to girls. Please ladies, invite us to your hen parties there is NOTHING on this planet we want more.
So what’s it actually about? Well let me tell you. It all centres round young professional Patrick Murray a computer game designer. Patrick is on the endless search for cock/love and the perfect way to segue all conversations into being about him. He’s helped by his trusty sidekicks:
A) Ageing waiter Murray who hopes to one day open his own restaurant if only he could find time between all his Grindr hook ups and hanging out with Scott Bakula (every show with Scott Bakula is a Quantum Leap spin-off right?) in the local sauna. Patrick and Murray did the dirty together, because, you know gay men have no self control.
B) Frankie, former housemate of Murray and a frustrated artist with a new boyf, sexual contact with Patrick is unknown but as the main cast seem to have come pre installed with some sort of penis magnet then chances are high that they've bumped uglies.
And what brings these fellows together? For they have, after all, foresworn any other friendship apart from a token lady whose sole reason for being in the show is to be catty. (What does she work as? Something medical-y but who knows! What’s her name? No one cares!) What brings them together is their love of man meat, mumbling, saying 'fuck' after every other word, the colour brown and Russell Tovey.
Yes, everyone’s favourite large-eared British homosexual also makes an appearance - sadly sans puppy dog.
There has been mucho gushing online about what a wonderful representation it is of gay world. How marvellous it is to see such a positive and real version of gay life. Ladies, gentleman, members of the jury, I am incredibly sorry to inform you that this is as close to real life as Lee Ryan is to finding spiritual enlightenment in Jasmine’s lady cave (Jasmine from Big Brother, not Jasmine from Aladdin.) It’s by no means offensive but unfortunately real life just can’t match the sexed up mumble fest that is Looking.
I can’t tell you how many times me and the boyfriend have set up an art instillation with the help of a nameless hottie and it hasn’t resulted in making the monster with three backs and unfortunately my trips on public transport aren’t a constant stream of ethnically ambiguous beauties chatting me up. Then again how close to real life do we want to get? Who wants to watch a mild mannered fellow in his twenties sitting at a computer 8 hours a day? Or is this happening to other people and in fact my life isn’t a fair representation of the run of the mill homosexual? What do I need to change? Should I start mumbling, because these guys love to mumble! When Looking finishes and I have to turn over to Chav Ladz, my TV is still turned up to 27 and the neighbours get a rather too accurate insight into my world.
I think the worst thing that Looking can be accused of is being a bit cliché whilst parading some kind of Instagram-hued realness. The lead characters are arty or waiters, if you added an actor or fashion stylist they'd be all set to fight an array of gay crimes across San Francisco. Just because one character makes computer games doesn’t mean you’re breaking the mould, it just means you’re using a hip Shoreditch mould rather than the one of a cat your mum used to use to make jelly. Will & Grace was showing gay men as lawyers, policemen and university professors to name but a few and that programme is like, well old.
Murray just loves filling holes and seems to be unable to interact with another male unless it’s in a sauna or online. Some might say this is edgy but when Stuart in Queer as Folk was doing pretty much the same thing 15 years ago it just feels a bit tired. Only three episodes in and we already have a prostitution story rearing its head and you can bet your bottom dollar that by the end of the series AIDS will make a cameo.
I feel more concerned about the representation of computer games. In episode three there is a vast lavish party to launch a brand new game, a game about arm wrestling! ARM WRESTLING! I will have many sad dreams thinking of Russell Tovey sitting alone with a two player game of arm wrestling set up whilst straddling torpedo but no one to play with.
Is it the worst? No. Does it show a new found insight into the lives of the mysterious homosexual? Not really. Is it going to rekindle the early 00’s craze of having a gay BFF? Hopefully not. Will it get a second series? At the (ho)mo it’s not looking likely.