Looking ends its first season with a restaurant opening, some harsh truths, and one after-hours liaison that might have been a really bad idea. We've got a lot to work though.
Where do we start? Who are we kidding? Kevin and Patrick. Expected? Not expected? Forced? What did you guys think?
Alex: It all seemed a little rushed for me. I kinda knew it was coming, given what we saw during the wedding episode, but like, getting down at the office? Really?
Joe: Yeah, as with last week and the contrivances around the wedding, this development feels like something that was being built to organically, and then nudged along a little quicker than normal because the season is wrapping up. Do you feel like Kevin and Patrick’s sex-having was played as a particularly romantic occurrence? I really felt the ambivalence of the moment. There was too much sexual tension there for something not to happen, and it was certainly a triumph for Patrick to get over his fear of receiving anal, but even in the moment, you felt like this was a release that isn’t 100% good.
Alex: The sex scene wins the most Weekend-looking sex scene of the season. As for its ambivalence, it felt a little heavy-handed. Like the show really wanted us to see how big a jerk Kevin could be. I’m not sure if that’s consistent with what they’ve shown us of Kevin throughout the season. Kevin knows how neurotic Patrick can be (the video game process), and Kevin has shown to be a bit neurotic too (wanting to talk over and over about the wedding kiss). I’m not super convinced that Kevin would be that awful post-coitus. But maybe that’s just me hoping that Kevin and Patrick have a future, and you can’t build a future with someone who think beers, some new age music, and having sex at your office is a good idea.
What happened to Patrick’s bottom shame?
Joe: Can we say that Patrick’s bottom shame has been the most consistent storyline of the season? Not that the other stories haven’t been, but this in particular had a very clean setup and payoff. I’m glad to see a story like this taken seriously, with minimal snickers (which isn’t easy to do in a story about the butt). As we saw play out, there were both physical and emotional stakes for Patrick in his relationships this season. Certainly, the former were at least partially symbolic of the latter. And I actually thought it was pretty realistic the way it played out, where Richie laid a lot of the groundwork for Patrick’s emotional development, and, as often happens, it’s the next guy who is the beneficiary.
Alex: Oh wait! Can we just say there was a missed opportunity here? Isn’t there a possibility that Kevin could be uncut? Also this is clearly unrealistic. There is no way someone as neurotic as Patrick had a full peri-peri chicken dinner and then receives anal sex right after.
Joe: Bodies, as ever, are disgusting.
Alex: But yes, poor Richie. Richie had to invest all that time, endure all those neuroses, and cobbled together some semblance of a relationship with Patrick, and he didn’t even get the chance to top.
Did the Dom/Lynn developments come across any less rushed than Patrick/Kevin?
Alex: I actually think the pacing to Dom and Lynn’s relationship had a better, and more believable pace. Maybe it’s just because the two fit better together, or maybe because Dom had a much simpler storyline than Patrick, but this is the relationship to root for.
Joe: Their relationships kicked off at around the same time, but if anything Dom and Lynn’s big episode-ending kiss felt like it was overdue. Which probably says more about how I’ve been onboard this particular coupling since the very beginning. How about Doris making the case to Lynn that Dom is “worth it”? Best Doris moment, or did you prefer her demonstrably underwhelmed reaction to Agustin lunging for her boobs?
Alex: Doris and the boob thing was perfect. Gay guys who grab girls’ boobs are as awful as straight girls who make out with one another for attention.
Frank’s kiss-off to Agustin was harsh. Is there any chance seeing Agustin at his absolute lowest will lead viewers to show him a smidge of sympathy?
Joe: I honestly didn’t set out to become the internet’s official Agustin apologist, but I guess here I am. Not to say that Agustin didn’t deserve every bit of Frank’s “we’re done” speech, because he pretty much did. But I do feel bad for him. Just imagine if the person you were closest to told the 100% absolute truth about you. Every awful thing you’ve ever thought about yourself, and it turns out you were right? I unconsciously flinched on Agustin’s behalf.
I was petrified that we were going to see Agustin make a scene at Dom’s restaurant opening, because honestly. How much more could the audience hate this one guy? Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Also, it should probably be noted for the record that Agustin was right about Patrick and Kevin, pretty much from the break.
Alex: Agustin is still terrible. Sorry. Nope. Can not get on board with Agustin. The tortured artist thing is so tired. And c’mon. Agustin paid a prostitute to screw his boyfriend. Paid. A. Prostitute.
I will say that there is something in that he’s the only one of show’s main characters to take a step back. At the beginning of the season, he was in a happy relationship, moving to Oakland, and the only one who seemed to be stable. Now he’s completely sabotaged himself.
With the season in the books, what are we looking (!) for in season two? Are there any big format changes or perhaps casting shakeups? Is it time to start creating wish lists for guest stars or end-credits music?
Joe: I’ve heard elsewhere that people would like episodes to be extended to an hour. I’m not sure what kind of precedent, if any, there is for such a change, but I wouldn’t be mad at it. The biggest flaws I’ve found in this first season have been rooted in rushed plotting.
Alex: The show would be better if it had an extra 30 minutes to play around with. I think that would alleviate the “boring” problem and also connect the show better.
Joe: I’m super glad that Doris and Richie have been upped to regular cast members for the second season. I’m hereby nominating Doris to take up the Agustin project and whip him into shape. I’m glad Kevin’s going to be a regular too, because I really like that Russell Tovey fellow, but the love-triangle is my least favorite of all TV crutches, so I’m a bit wary of where that whole thing goes.
Alex: It would be nice to see these friends go to brunch or have dinner together. Other than the park scene, I can’t think of a time these groups of friends actually met each other while the sun was shining. Everyone knows that a true gay friend hang out with you in daylight. Also, can we just get at least one gym scene in there to explain why video game designers have amazing pecs.
On a more serious note, I’d like there to be a bit more diversity. They’re in San Francisco. You can’t swing a penis there without hitting a gay Asian man.
Any last thoughts?
Joe: Thank you for being a friend, Alex.
Alex: Stop it, I’m not moving in with you.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.