Sunday, February 16, 2014

REVIEW: 'Looking' - Patrick & Richie Walk Around San Francisco & Its Fantastic in 'Looking for the Future'

HBO's Looking - Episode 1.05 Looking for the Future

After calling in sick, Patrick and Richie visit Golden Gate Park and other San Francisco sites, learning more about each other's pasts and future plans.

The thing that I've loved the most about Looking throughout its first five episodes has been its take on intimacy. These characters feel close whether it's through a sexual encounter, a lived-in friendship or the blossoming of a new relationship. The mood and conversation just feel real which adds a very nice layer of authenticity to the whole show.

Gay characters have been popular on television as of late. And yet, none of them feel as close or as intimate as what Looking has done with its core cast. This feels naturalistic. Sex is a part of life. Searching for a connection is a part of life. And Looking doesn't shy away from that. It can have honest and real conversations about the concerns of HIV and "bottom shame" but also the fun and insightful exchanges about each person's own ticks.

"Looking for the Future" works astonishingly well because of its simplicity. It takes Patrick and Richie - who have now been together three times - and lets them walk around the city of San Francisco and just have one long conversation about life. It is very Girls-esque in that we never cut away to whatever Dom or Agustin are doing. But it's also pretty damn exciting as we just listen to these two truly talk about their pasts, presents and futures. They are just at the beginning of a relationship and seeing if it really has the legs to go somewhere. Everything just flows together so easily and effortlessly. The action takes place over a day but through careful editing and naturalistic conversation, the effect never strains. For the first time in the series, I'm actually rooting for this couple. Both are opening up to each other and are just very pleasant to watch.

I've really enjoyed the time spent with Looking so far. Yes, it has had some stumbles with plot-based stuff. But at its core, Looking is about its characters. So for it to present "Looking for the Future" so early in its run -- even though the first season is more than half over -- I'm very anxious for the series to be able to produce many more episodes in the future.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Looking for the Future" was written and directed by Andrew Haigh.
  • For those thinking there wasn't enough explicit sex - Patrick got sucked and rimmed in this episode without it ever seeming too perverse or untrue.
  • That planetarium scene was so dark and yet so well-composed.
  • Patrick: "I sneeze and I think I've got HIV."
  • Patrick: "What is it about my ass that screams, 'I want to be fucked?'" Notice how we even get a brief ass shot of Jonathan Groff at the top of the episode.
  • Richie: "You have bottom shame." Patrick: "Oh my god, I think you're right."