The last two weeks of “Looking” have been engaging enough, and things have been progressing enough. It’s a captivating little show, something about the feel of each episode just sucks you in. After you escape the trance of the show though, you think about what just happened and that’s when the show falls apart for me.
In episode 4 Patrick (Jonathan Groff) FINALLY let go of his side-chick status and broke it off with Kevin (Russell Tovey). Which was great, because it was so tiring watching Patrick deluding himself into thinking their relationship was more than it was. And like he said at the top of Episode 5, they ended their toxic affair and nobody got hurt. Which was true, I mean you saw how easy it was for Kevin to simply call up his boyfriend John and have a romp in the office.
Patrick CLEARLY has his eyes on Richie (Raul Castillo), no matter what he tells anyone. And it looks like he’s got him! Episode 5 was pretty much another day with just Patrick and Richie (funny enough, I think that episode last season that was just Patrick and Richie was Episode 5 as well). This time Richie needed help picking up a Ice Cream Truck in the East Bay, a money making scheme him and his cousin get into from time to time. Patrick uses this time to pick Richie’s brain about a variety of things.
Most importantly he found out that Richie doesn’t really love his new “boyfriend” all that much yet and doesn’t even acknowledge that they are dating. And that basically means that Patrick still has a shot with the guy he basically threw away last season.
Patrick learns more about Richie’s upbringing, and meets some of his relatives. At an Auto Garage! Because we haven’t seen THAT stereotype of Latinos enough!? Lazy stereotypes aside, Patrick talked to a blunt cousin of Richie who basically revealed that Richie’s little heart was broken when Patrick blew him off. I’m pretty sure Patrick knew this beforehand, but he reacted in the typical “aww shucks” way he does.
In the end, Patrick confesses to Richie that while they were somewhat dating he hooked up with his boss. And somehow, because Patrick is so irresistible to Richie, he goes ahead and forgives him and tells him he can’t imagine his life without Patrick in it.
I’m sorry, but ever since this show started Patrick has gotten EVERYTHING he’s desired. He started out wanting a hot white WASP as a boyfriend but he settled for Richie. The insanely handsome Richie who approached him first. Patrick totally blew his first date with Richie but later on… because he’s so irresistible… Richie took him back. Patrick had the hots for his boss, and eventually they got together. Sure it wasn’t the relationship Patrick wanted, but they certainly had some fun over the months they were fooling around.
And now, even though Richie shouldn’t want anything to do with Patrick, our irresistible Patrick gets what he wants AGAIN!
It’s a shame, because I do think Jonathan Groff does a good job portraying this character, but the character is just completely unsympathetic and almost unreal. I can’t even think of a leading character on a show that gets EVERYTHING they want all the time. Because it’s kind of a general rule that our main protagonist has to have some sort of conflict or tension or SOMETHING to grow from. With Patrick though, there’s no struggle at all, and no real reason to root for him.
I actually find Dom (Murray Bartlett) to be way more interesting than Patrick, and I don’t even recall if he was in Episode 5. On Episode 4 though, Dom couldn’t take his paranoia about his relationship with Lynn (Scott Bakula), and Lynn had to break it down to him. Lynn loved and lost before, as his long time relationship with a former love ended in death. Now Lynn is refusing to invest emotionally into another man, and he told Dom either deal with it or leave (not in a bitchy tone though, I actually understood Lynn) and Dom left. Now he’s on the path to make his dream of opening up his chicken place come true.
See, Dom has actual issues! He has actual goals! There is something for us to root for! Plus there’s the struggle of him getting older in a gay world that values youth over everything. So things are just naturally more of a struggle for him than Patrick who has a great job he loves and great friends, and a seemingly endless supply of hot guys chasing after him.
Is it even worth talking about Agustine (Frankie J Alvarez) anymore? He’s just a terribly shallow character. On Episode 5, he got HIS man, which is the Eddie (Daniel Franzese) guy he’s been not-so-subtley pining for since they met. And I have to say I don’t really GET their relationship, as I never got the idea that Agustine was attracted to Eddie sexually. Anyway, what pissed me off about last weeks episode was how he randomly joins Eddie at his job at the Health Center, and just randomly finds out there’s a open position. He randomly asks Eddie to hire him, and he says “I NEED a job” (but… prior to that moment Agustine had never talked about looking for a job or needing a job, and never actually looked for a job).
Anyway, he gets the job… because THAT’S how it works. He’s employed without so much as a second interview or drug test, but instead of like… WORKING… he decided to go hang out with Eddie who is playing hooky. The two dance around Eddie’s apartment to CeCe Peniston and Agustine kisses him. Eddie first backs off and tells Agustine he’s not into him like that… but, later he reveals he was joking! So Agustine gets what he wants TOO!
So what can I say positive about the show? Because obviously I like it enough to tune in every week. I really enjoyed the cinematography on Episode 5. The shots of Hayward were so well done, and I love how it geographically makes sense. I’m from the Bay Area so I definitely pay attention to all that. But back to the cinematography, I think this show has consistently had beautiful camera work… Emmy worthy I’d say.
And even though I have complained about the slow pace of the show on the whole, I find the realism of the conversations to be refreshing. The conversations between Patrick and Richie are so loved because it feels so real. Maybe it’s the chemistry between the two actors, whatever it is it works. And yes, the acting is good it just feels like the writing (mainly the character development) is supremely lacking.
It’s just annoying that “Looking” devotes so much screen time to a guy who seems to have everything, and anything he doesn’t have he doesn’t have to work hard to get it.
5 MORE EPISODES!!!