A second look at Looking season 1

I am so excited about the season 2 premiere of “Looking” tonight. To prepare my husband and I re-watched season 1 this week on HBO Go.

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It was interesting re-watching each episode already knowing where each of the characters would end up at the end of the season. I noticed several things about many of the characters watching season one a second time.

Patrick (Jonathan Groff) cares way too much what other people think. Dom (Murray Bartlett) even mentions this in the first episode. Since he cares too much what other people think he’s always second guessing himself. Whether it’s the hand job in the park in the first episode or his relationship to Richie (Raul Castillo) he’s always backing away from his decisions.

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I think this stems from a lack of confidence in himself. It is not uncommon to feel unsure of how you feel about things at the beginning of a relationship but that lack of confidence in himself and in how he feels about Richie is really what allows Augustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) to get inside of his head and make him second guess things even more. It’s also what allows Kevin (Russell Tovey) to take advantage of him.

Speaking of Kevin…The first time I watched the show I enjoyed the dynamic between Patrick and Kevin. And I could see how Patrick could be torn between these two men. However, after re-watching the show it’s clear that Kevin is a cheating douchebag, a charismatic douchebag but a douchebag none the less. Patrick and Kevin don’t have sex with each other until the end of the 8th episode but it’s clear that Kevin was interested in fucking him way earlier in the season. I’m thinking specifically about in episode 4. When Kevin has seen Patrick in his little leather vest. He is annoyed with his boyfriend and wanting to order fried food with Patrick because his boyfriend won’t let him eat fried food at home. Upon a second viewing it’s very clear that Kevin would have had sex with Patrick that night if Patrick hadn’t left the office. This time around I realized Kevin is like a spider.

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The entire season he’s spinning a web of seduction to catch Patrick in. While Patrick participates in it and is not blameless it is Kevin who is the predatory one. His kissing Patrick at the wedding in episode 7 and his luring Patrick to the office late at night to “talk about what happened” in the season finale show how desperate he was to keep his “pray” from escaping.

Then there is Augustin. The first time around I didn’t really catch the serious self-sabotage issues he has. In the first episode he agrees to move in with his boyfriend, Frank, but then he immediately begins to dismantle the life he’s built. He initiates a three-way with Frank and a co-worker. While having a three-way isn’t necessarily a sign that a relationship is headed for trouble it was clear on a second viewing that this was Augustin not wanting to settle down and be boring. He is a rich kid who wants to be a tortured artist.

untitledAs a result he spends the entire first season ruining his life. Following his three-way he gets fired, begins an “artistic” project with a prostitute, constantly smokes pot and drinks, pays the prostitute to have sex with Frank for the sake of his “project” only to pull out of the gallery show that Frank helped him to get in. What really drove me crazy about Agustin on the second viewing is his inability to care about anybody but himself. He wants to be an artist and he wants to create a narrative for his life as an artist and he doesn’t care who he hurts along the way. He is particularly awful to Frank, Patrick and Richie.

As for Richie…On the surface one might think that Patrick should end up with Kevin but they would be wrong. Kevin is a cheating douchebag. Richie is sweet. He adores Patrick but he struggles with his own insecurities.

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He has a lot of Latin pride and at times he seems to think Patrick is out of his league.

What I enjoyed about watching Dom the second time around is watching the portrait of a gay man who is in between worlds.

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At the age of forty he is long past being young in the gay world but he isn’t truly old yet. When you are 100% in middle age do you try to cling to your past or do you look to the future? I think it is a challenge that everybody faces but one that can particularly scary for gay men.

It’s funny how much I’ve grown to care about these characters in eight thirty minute episodes. I loved “Looking” on the first viewing last year and I loved it even more on the second viewing this week.

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I’m really looking forward to seeing what is in store for my boys this season.

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