Esquire's Guide to Programming Less Boring Than 'Looking'

Esquire devoted an entire column bemoaning the boring lives of gay men on  HBO's Looking. That said, we decided that this might be the perfect time to highlight the non-boring programming the Esquire network is bringing us.  

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Self-identified Tom Wolfe fan, Queens native, and heterosexual spokesmodel Mick Stingley doesn't like boring gay men.The spirit moved him to pen  a whole column in Esquire to say how endlessly bored he is of the normal gay life portrayed on HBO's Looking. Accordingly, there is no better time than to remember all the non-boring programming the Esquire network is bringing us.

"It's difficult to imagine how this show got off the ground at all," Stingley writes, explaining that he's befuddled as to why HBO would spend time and money on "boring" gay men instead of gay men who are funny, have lots of fun sex.  

"[Looking] commits the heinous sin of being gay and boring,writes the man living in Queens who listens to rock and roll and loves Tom Wolfe. Stop trying to click away, you boring homosexuals. Stop looking at your phone, dull guy. Stingley is talking to you. Be fun, dance, smile during sex, because Stingley wills it. 

The reception to Stingley's piece has been harsh to the point where we wonder if the whole thing is just really just poorly-executed satire. There are some self-deprecating "boring" straight guys jokes peppered throughout, but trying to figure out Stingley's intention is not unlike when you gave yourself vertigo by staring at those Magic-Eye drawings. Esquire even issued a sassy non-apology: 

We apologize to anyone offended by our attempt at humor in this piece. It reflects one man's viewing experience. He does not think all gay people are boring. Just this show, a little.

That said, poorly-executed satire or not, there's really no better time to look at what Esquire sees fit to air. As you may remember, the magazine and NBC Universal rebranded the Style network as Esquire last September. For starters, there are a lot of reruns on this morning:

Flipping Out and Million-Dollar Listing: Hollywood (the original name of Million-Dollar Listing: Los Angeles) are reality television leftovers from Bravo. And both feature gay men who like to sell beautiful houses and have an appreciation for interior design and yelling.

During prime time, the network flexes it muscles with some original programming which comes in the form of Friday Night Tykes — Toddlers and Tiaras but with football— which has been described as one of the most depressing television shows ever made.


And ... more reruns. (EXCITING reruns, though, probably.) What's sort of great is that if you look close enough—beyond the reruns of American Ninja Warrior and knockoff versions of Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations (I refuse to acknowledge the existence of Parts Unknown) —you'll find that Esquire is really trying to sell Jimmy Fallon  airs reruns of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, a show that ended six years ago:

So good on this network for keeping annoying, outdated stereotypes about gay men and mandles alive. Just the kind of stuff Stingley would like.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.