Film & Video
3 min

Review: Looking, Episode 7

Looking for a plus-one

Looking, Episode 7: “Looking for a Plus-One.” Credit: HBO Canada

Going against what many TV forecasters had predicted for the show, HBO recently announced that it is renewing Looking for a second season. Over the course of the last few episodes viewership has risen to meet the average level for an HBO half-hour show, and with enough goodwill from critics it looks like we will see more of this motley crew of queers. The real good news is HBO also announced that Kevin, Doris and Richie will become full-time characters, which can only mean better things for the plot, if you can call it that, of the series.

Nice day for a whine wedding

Weddings can be stressful outings for anyone, especially for a young gay guy about to introduce a boyfriend to his parents for the first time. Patrick, in true Patrick fashion, is running around like a chicken with its head cut off to ensure everything is perfect for this introduction at his sister’s wedding. The always-adorable Richie even shows up clean-shaven and in a suit. But Patrick refuses to calm down and Richie eventually has enough, demanding Patrick pull over the car at one point and smoke some pot to calm down. The ever-judgmental Patrick freaks out at Richie for bringing weed along for the trip, and Richie, rightfully so, calls the whole thing off for being too soon and walks away. Patrick makes up the excuse that Richie has food poisoning and makes a half-ass attempt at convincing everyone he can what a shame it is that Richie couldn’t come. Adding insult to injury, Patrick’s boss Kevin and his bf are at the wedding through a twist of fate, and they quickly become the cute gay couple of note Patrick likely would have preferred to have been with Richie.

Weddings are often awkward for young gay men because there isn’t a more heteronormative event to attend, and while gays can get married it’s not always treated with the same level of enthusiasm it is for our straight relatives or friends. Patrick finally works up the nerve to confront his mom about the perceived pressure he feels to bring home the perfect guy. He points out that Richie’s race, job, aspirations and class background aren’t good enough for his family while attempting to paint his mother as the source of his neurosis. Deliciously, she calls him out and says that all of that is on him and comes from his own hangups, all while she’s scarfing down a pot cookie. Good old Patrick continues to make incorrect assumptions about what other people think only to find out he’s the source of his own problems. Maybe this time he’ll really learn something and change his behaviour before Richie walks for good.

Art attack

Finally, the moment we have all been waiting for: Frank dumps his shit of a boyfriend Agustin. After several episodes of terrible, self-serving behaviour, Agustin finally gets what was coming to him. Shortly after turning his sexual escapade with a hustler and his boyfriend into art, Agustin gets cold feet and decides to back out of his art show. Frank is annoyed and lets Agustin know that he had to beg for him to be included in the art show to begin with. After a self-righteous huff, Agustin admits to Frank he paid surfer-boy-hustler CJ to have sex with Frank. In the most heartbreaking admission of the episode, Frank points out that they have had trouble making rent and he can’t handle that Agustin is spending money on essentially his own worthless bullshit designed to make himself feel interesting. In Frank’s most present and engaging moment of the series, he tells Agustin to pack up his crap and leave. I won’t lie — I cheered. Agustin might just be the worst gay television character of our generation.

The kiss

I really hated this moment. I was enjoying watching Patrick squirm around as he tried to be an adult and navigate a friendship with his boss, Kevin, whom he clearly has a boner for. Gay men are capable of maintaining friendships with guys they are attracted to, and it’s far too easy to just let any character who likes another character end up with them. Kevin’s drunken kiss with Patrick in the bathroom at the wedding was a disappointment only because it felt cheap and easy. Here’s hoping that the fallout from the kiss and the wedding in the season finale next week isn’t ripe with cliché and instead lives in the land of discomfort and regret. Oh, and Dom is opening a pop-up restaurant. It seems a little stressful, but it should work out all right.