HBO's Looking, Episode 4: The Proverbial Assless Chaps
Oh this was a fun week for San Franciscan watchers! Not only did the gang go to the Folsom Street Fair, the Urban Flowers shop on 18th Street was invaded by Scott Bakula, and Dom and his character ate at Orphan Andy's. If HBO was smart they would've let the bearded, kilt-wearing waiter who works there be on camera.
We are halfway through the season, and the plots are gelling: Paddy (Jonathan Groff) is screwed up about dating, relationships, and love. Augustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) has a boyfriend but wants to take sexual risks and become a rent boy. And Dom (Murray Bartlett) wants to open his own restaurant and has been hitting up Lynn (Bakula) for some start-up cash.
But it wasn't until the Folsom Street Fair scenes that it fully sunk into me how groundbreaking this show is. People in Kalamazoo must be having their minds blown -- the Fair is a spectacle enough even for us San Franciscans, but an entire show based on the real-life intricacies and intimacies of young gay American men in a big city has never been this real.
rottentomatoes.com Lauren Weedman as Doris, the token straight chick
Here's my favorite epiphany though. Dom's ex girlfriend and resident "fag hag" on the show, Doris, played by Lauren Weedman, is the straight version of every gay character that has traditionally been tossed into the mix of a TV show. She's ancillary, asexual, and often the one who delivers zingers and one-liners. As they wander through the Fair or peruse leather outfits in a macho Castro shop, she's there as the straight foil, joining in yet not really. She's the token straight person. And that's awesome.
I'm still unsure the appeal this show will have for a broader audience. I suppose Paddy's love life is enough to keep me interested. At the end of the episode he is reunited with Ritchie (Raul Castillo) yet I can't say that the chemistry between them is there for me. In True Blood, when Sookie first met Bill Compton, you could feel the sexual tension. You wanted them to bang each other's brains out. If Paddy and Ritchie end up together, meh. I'd rather see him resolve the underlying sexual tension he has with his new boss, Kevin (Russell Tovey). I'm sure I will get my wish.