'Looking': Why Are People Friends with Agustin?

Looking this week was hard to watch and seemed intent on proving that gay guys can be every bit as awful as their straight counterparts.  

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Looking this week was hard to watch and seemed intent on proving that gay guys can be every bit as awful as their straight counterparts.  The main culprit this week was Agustin, Patrick's supposed best friend, who seemed to be auditioning for the role of Marnie on Girls. It says a lot (or very little) about someone when they treat strangers and prostitutes better than their friends and boyfriend.

Let's get to the episode:

Agustin is pretty awful in this episode. Is there any defense for Agustin?

Alex: Where do we start with Agustin?  Actually can we count the number of people who he isn’t a jerk to in this episode and start from there? There’s Doris, Dom, the prostitute and … Patty’s two friends? He’s pretty much a jerk to his boyfriend, to Patty, to Richie. So where do we start?

Esther: I guess my biggest question is whether he is defensible at all? And whether he’s supposed to be? He uses the term “slumming it” to describe Patty’s relationship with Richie. Who says that anymore? No one as cultured as Agustin is supposed to be is that overtly racist/classist?

Alex:  No one says that. Then again no one says “is this your boyfriend” when you meet someone at the park. Yes, Owen’s girlfriend does say that to Patrick.

But back to Agustin— the only thing I can think of, and I’m taking a big leap here, is that he’s being protective over Patty. Protective in a really warped way, maybe? Maybe there are some feelings there?  I have no idea.

What I do think Agustin’s dickishness revealed was that Patty is growing up. Like Agustin is so used to being in charge of Patty’s lovelife (this whole season has pretty much hammered that home, and this was one of the times he actually stood up to him. Whatcha think?

Esther: Did he really though? Perhaps he stood up to Agustin, but he didn’t really stand up for Richie.

Alex: Baby steps?

Esther: Which brings us to our next question.

Is Patty still sort of a racist?

Alex: Maybe he’s not racist, but he seems really ashamed of Richie, or really self-conscious of what people are thinking of Richie. That cringe-worthy scene with Kevin and his boyfriend made me feel for Richie.

Esther: Oh man, did that scene make me want to crawl up into a ball. They go hand in hand at times, obviously, but I think Patty’s being more classist here than racist. Kevin’s boyfriend is a successful doctor.

Alex: Should probably also be noted that that Kevin’s boyfriend is a doctor and the first date Patty went on was with a doctor. Class has been present since minute one.

Patty seems to only have two ways to think of relationships — hookups and boyfriends. It seems like it’s all or nothing. Do you think that contributes to his relationship problems?

Esther: I think there’s an age thing at play here. Patty is closing in on 30 and has only had one boyfriend. Last week he mentioned wanting to get married. Whether or not that’s something he actually wants or is something he’s just doing to to achieve a level of respectability in the eye of his parents, he’s looking to settle and that’s weighing on him.

Alex:  I just don’t think Patty realizes that relationships aren’t always going to fit into the labels he knows. If he’s only had one boyfriend, then its understandable that he doesn’t seem to really understand the difference between dating, boyfriends, friends with benefits, seeing someone, and all that stupid complicated stuff that makes us all neurotic (regardless of sexual orientation).

Esther: Yeah, but when someone wants a significant other, it’s hard to see anything but that end result.

Alex: But I’m also not sure whether he knows what he wants (as he’s shown us this entire season).

Esther: Or he knows what he wants, but doesn’t necessarily know what he needs. Oy. I sound like a self help book for fictional characters.

On that same subject, this episode deals a lot with getting older, especially when it comes to Dom and Lynn. How do you think it handles that?

Alex: The idea of gay men fearing age is something that isn’t new. In New York, there was a point in 2012 when a man named Bob Bergeron, a therapist who had written the book The Right Side of Forty: The Complete Guide to Happiness for Gay Men at Midlife and Beyond, committed suicide at 49. He wanted to help gay men grow old. And his death breathed new life into that sad idea that gay men don’t know how to grow old.

I’ve often felt like one of the reasons gay men fear age is because AIDS robbed them of a generation that had the potential to teach them how to do it. And gay men are still working this out. That’s sort of what I like about Lynn, who is teaching Dom by example.

What do we think of Patty parodying a "gay voice"?

Alex: I found it funny. And now I think I’m a terrible person.

Esther: And it was supposed to be funny! (I think.) I also think it’s interesting that the show is  consciously commenting on stereotypes that it originally seemed to want to keep its distance from.

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