Monday, February 10, 2014

THROUGH THE "LOOKING" GLASS

Okay, that’s it. I need to become a TV character.

I just watched the first episode of HBO’s “Looking” on YouTube and it made me pine for fantasy over reality.


I was so interested in watching. They producers had me with the title: Looking. Hey, me too! The difference, however, is these gay men are Looking and Finding. Okay, more like Looking and Hooking Up, but still, they are passing Go. Something is actually happening.


What a concept.


The show has generated comparisons to “Girls” and “Sex in the City”. Rightly so. As far as I can tell, “Looking” focuses on three main characters, with Jonathan Groff taking on the Carrie Bradshaw role. This is San Francisco, not New York and he’s a videogame developer, not a writer. Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to. He’s supposedly the “straight” guy while his friends are the randier ones. Still, the series opens with Groff’s character getting an awkward hand job in a cruising area of a park. “Ooh! Cold hands!” Yeah, I’d probably blurt the same thing.


Not that I’d ever be in that situation. I am trying not to be judgmental. Just not my thing. Besides, I’d be willing to bet that I could promenade through the cruisiest area of the cruisiest gay park and still reemerge with nothing but a renewed appreciation for nature’s way of allowing fallen trees to decompose. Oh, and I’d bend over (unnoticed, of course) to rescue a few slugs that slithered onto a main pathway. Death by rubber sole averted.


I know it’s San Francisco, not my setting in gay oblivion, but the premiere episode showed that gay dating (or hookup) possibilities are endless. Cue The Weather Girls! Groff sends out a message on an online dating site and—BAM!—he’s set for drinks at a trendy bar later that day. His friend labors on an art installation and, by golly, the hired help happens to be gay and ready to play. The other friend cruises the new waiter at work—apparently every employee in San Fran is gay—and is momentarily rebuffed. Poor soul. It’s the first time he’s ever been turned down.


Ah, fantasy. I can’t even relate to the guy having no sex.


Groff’s bar date doesn’t go well, but no need to despair. As soon as he’s seated on the subway, another guy is at the ready to aggressively cruise him.

Call it “Queer As Folk 2”—or “3” if you want to count the American QAF as a separate entity. (I hated that version due to some awful acting.) To be sure, the show feels more real than recent network misfires like “Sean Saves the World”, “Partners” and “The New Normal”. I would even continue to watch if I could access HBO. But, as someone who has been floundering at gay dating for a huge chunk of my adulthood, it amazes me that “Looking” could look nothing like my own experiences. Then again, a show that strives to represent my take on dating would be called “Napping” or “Looking…and Watching Paint Dry.” Viewer count: 0.


Perhaps we all need a little diversion from reality.

No comments: