TV Review - Looking: Season 2

Just because a series is only a half-hour doesn't mean that it can't be a drama and that's what this series felt like in its first season, even though Broadway star Jonathan Groff who plays game designer Patrick was given some great comedic moments, including all of his scenes with British beefcake Russell Tovey who plays Patrick's boss Kevin where the humor was mostly built on the awkward, sexual tension between the two. This season has seemingly amplified the humor where the verbal and visual gags are more underlined and not as subtle. While that might be annoying to some, I'm enjoying the series a lot more because I'm entertained, because I'm laughing, and yes laughing out loud a whole lot more.

The additions of Lauren Weedman and Daniel Franzese in more prominent roles have helped. Both are given great one-liners, which they deliver amazingly. Both are hilarious specifically in Episode 3. Lauren Weedman plays Doris, the roommate of Dom who is always there to inject a bit of tough love, cold reality or brutal honesty but she's never mean. She's always sweet, lovely and a breath of fresh air. She's also currently dating Malik, played by Bashir Salahuddin, a big, burly, hirsute, black dude who enjoys giving rim jobs and does his politics Rachel Maddow-style. Daniel Franzese plays Eddie, a HIV-positive bear who runs a homeless shelter for LGBT youth. Eddie almost has a hip hop style a la the 1990's and sassy doesn't even begin to describe his personality.

Groff has been well-used in times of neurotic panic or wide-eyed innocence. If you recall from the first season, Groff's character Patrick has never really had a boyfriend. He has never been in a relationship that's lasted longer than a few months. He's trying to change that, but there's still a lot he doesn't know or understand. The first season focused on Patrick's relationship with Richie, played by Raúl Castillo. This season is focusing on Patrick's relationship with Kevin.

For both relationships, it's funny because it was Patrick who was the one pursued. He didn't do the pursuing. Richie started flirting with Patrick on a subway train first. Patrick did make a move on Kevin first, but once he realized Kevin had a boyfriend named Jon, played by Joe Williamson, Patrick backed off. However, after Patrick backed off, it's Kevin who went after Patrick hard. The key issue is that Kevin has not broken up with Jon but yet still wants to spend time with Patrick and have sex, so Patrick and Kevin are having this affair.

As has been noted by critics like Alonso Duralde who recaps and analyzes each episode on YouTube, the way the series handles the affair has been rather refreshing. Initially, it's from a place that's not wrought with guilt or even shame. It comes to a head in Episode 4 of Season 2 when Patrick reveals that he has this parallel, hetero-normative idea of monogamy in his head, but up until then, it has been treated rather uniquely in its portrayal.

The war between monogamy and poly-amorous or open relationships has always been something explored in gay films forever, particularly in gay male films. Even going back to the very first episode in Season 1, we saw Agustín, played by Frankie Alvarez, engaging in a threesome and in Episode 4 in Season 1, he engaged in another, quasi-threesome. Both times were with his then boyfriend Frank, played by O.T. Fagbenie.

This year, Dom, played by Murray Bartlett, is in an open relationship with his older boyfriend Lynn, played by Scott Bakula. Up until then, he seemed like he was a perpetual bachelor. He's probably had relationships that might have been monogamous, but obviously didn't last. With Patrick and Agustín, their histories can be highly inferred. Being younger, their histories aren't that long, but, with Dom, his history could use a little more explication, but it's assumed that this is Dom's first open relationship and in a way there's something similar that he and Patrick are experiencing.

The only problem is that I wish there were more scenes where the curtain is pulled back on Kevin and Jon's relationship. This might be because I want more Russell Tovey and preferably shirtless. It's weird because in a fanfiction scene, I ship Patrick and Dom together, but I wouldn't have minded further exploration of Kevin and Jon's relationship.

The look of the show is so great. The cinematography and production design is so immersive in its almost lack of flashiness. It really puts the proper focus on the actors, not glamorous, not necessarily gritty, but naturalistic. A shot in Episode 4 of this Season has one long, continuous take of Patrick and Kevin on the roof of their company and it's just a good example of how the directors of the show really want to focus on the actors and keep the audience immersed in their world and feelings.

Five Stars out of Five.
Rated TV-MA-LS.
Running Time: 30 mins.
Sundays at 10PM on HBO.


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