Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Thanks for "Looking"

Finally! "Looking" is the ground-breaking TV show we gays have been waiting for since "Queer As Folk" bit the dust. Our first inkling that there's something totally new in our universe came when Patrick, the 29-year-old vanilla lead, gets a handjob in the park by a guy with a beard. We studied the screen: Was his partner one of those fabled "bears"? Or was he a "hipster"? Seconds later every preconceived notion we've ever had about gays on TV bit the dust: sure, there's been a lot of sex, and a lot of it has been interrupted by phone calls, but I don't think I've ever seen it interrupted by a Kylie Minogue ringtone.

TV has never seen a character like this before. The best comparison I can think of is if Charlotte from "Sex in the City" squealed "I can't believe you're touching my boobs!" every time she had sex. I almost couldn't believe it when somebody told Patrick that he should stop worrying about what his mother thinks. WHAT??? I was hoping he'd sing his reply in Yiddish but maybe next ground-breaking week.

I think "Looking" is so shocking because it holds a mirror up to reality. I mean, who hasn't had a business card in their pocket that a stranger pulled out and assumed was theirs? I can't count the number of times guys have done that to me and then spent the next eight weeks calling me "Jessica the Aussie Aromatherapist." Playing totally against stereotype, the streetwise Hispanic stumbles over a word that's actually difficult. I mean, even I want to give up before I get to the "log" in "oncologist."

In a page totally ripped from my playbook, the Samantha Jones stand-in, all excited about moving in with his boyfriend, smartly decides the best way to cement their commitment is to initiate a three-way with the hunky temp worker who just happens to drop by. Apparently the temp's résumé also lists "Nailing chairs together" and "Letting hot guys touch my tattoo while their boyfriends are nearby."

Of course, the show isn't perfect. I mean, when I'm having sex my primary thought isn't, "MAKE SURE NOBODY ELSE CAN SEE HIS DICK." And if "Looking" truly echoed reality, everybody on BART would be heterosexual and all the gay men would go home to watch Girls.

Will "Looking" last? Sadly, I don't know. I'm not sure the world is ready for an anarchistic artwork where a gay man's Dolly Parton tattoo is totally ironic. But let's enjoy it while it lasts. Me, I can't wait until next week's show when Patrick discovers something shocking about a dude he's picked up. Hint: foreskin! Sorry: put the word "SPOILER" before that, and fingers crossed we don't all totally puke.

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