TV Weekend: HBO’s Looking

Via: Tuned In

According to the advance buzz for HBO’s newest urban-singles dramedy, Looking is “the gay Girls.” Girls, of course, was “the hipster Sex and the City.” Sex and the City was “the female Seinfeld.” Which, by the transitive property of television, I guess makes Looking the gay Seinfeld? (Not that there’s anything wrong–oh, it’s too easy.) Comparisons may be ridiculous, but they’re not useless. This low-key, stealthily charming half-hour is not any of its predecessors, whether about gay or straight characters; it’s less overtly comic than even Girls, there’s no ha-ha flamboyance, no melodramatic coming-out story, no self-aware feeling of transgressiveness. But in its story of three friends in San Francisco, Looking builds on the themes of its forebears–the observational comedy, the romantic foibles, the sense of how a big city can dangle dazzling treasures just out of your reach–while adapting them to a style of TV that’s less like a sitcom than an indie film. The central trio includes Jonathan Groff as Patrick, a sweet, slightly awkward videogame designer whose roommate Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez), a budding artist, is about to move in with his boyfriend in Oakland. Rounding out the group is Dom (Murray Bartlett), who wants to open a restaurant but is hearing the tick-tick-ticking of his 40th birthday while still waiting tables at Zuni Cafe. Zuni, incidentally, is an actual acclaimed restaurant in San Francisco, a bit of local realism that–like Looking’s smart use of offbeat locations–somewhat recalls HBO’s Treme. Looking (which is shot in SF) isn’t telling a broader story of the city as Treme did, but it has the same grounding dedication to specificity, to showing the city as actually lived in. And in a way, that’s also its approach to its characters’ lives as gay men. That is, their sexuality isn’t part of some high-concept premise (as in, say, The New Normal) or presented as revolutionary (say, Queer As Folk); it’s just an authentic part of who these characters are, how they live, and where they live. Its stories are informed by the fact that

Read full story at: Tuned In

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