Ben Leander Willgruber | Visual Designer and Writer

‘Looking’… for what? (TV Show Review)

When I started watching the TV series ‘Looking’ a couple of years ago, I already knew the movie Weekend by the same director, Andrew Haigh. Weekend is my favorite LGBT+ movie, if not my favorite movie of all times. So, of course, I had to see Looking too. Referring to the series, I often heard people say that it was the ‘gay Sex and the City’ which, let’s be real, sounds like a dream to a gay man. Even in the 21st century, there aren’t that many TV series or movies portraying the gay community accurately. Looking comes very close.

Agustin (Frankie Alvarez), Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Dom (Murray Bartlett)

The series follows three gay men living in San Francisco. In contrast to SATC, the guys are ‘normal’ people by which I mean that they don’t live in 200m² apartments drinking Cosmopolitans all day long while chit-chatting about men and never having to go to work. I really don’t know how Carrie was supposed to afford her insane lifestyle by writing one (in numbers: 1) newspaper column. The guys of Looking have real problems, finances being one of them. The other most common: men – of course.

Of course, I instantly fell in love with the one guy who isn’t actually gay. Sounds about right. (Raul Castillo on the right)

Looking also feels different from its unofficial predecessor Queer as Folk. California in 2015 is more open-minded than Pittsburgh in the early 2000s. Homophobia is portrayed as a thing of the past as guys don’t shy away from hitting on each other openly on the subway. When I try that in real life, I can be certain I’m buttering up a straight guy, but I will keep trying (and update you on my progress). The storytelling in Looking feels very close and intimate. It’s less about sex – although there’s plenty thereof – and more about emotions. Even if these emotions are as simple as a 40-year-old guy feeling awesome after having a Grindr playdate with a 20-year-old.

Looking was also brave enough to be the only TV series to speak about Russel Tovey’s crazy ears. Probably just more proof of how superficial us gays are.

Looking doesn’t shy away from ‘taboo’ topics like fetish sex, polygamy or AIDS. I believe, every gay dude will find a couple of moments they can relate to. However, there is still much ground left to cover. Looking was unfortunately cancelled after two seasons and a movie which wrapped up the storylines. So, what I am actually looking for is the next TV series or movie telling true and honest stories about the LGBT+ community. There are many more to tell.


Before I forget it! A couple of years ago, I wanted to train my video editing skills and I just so happen to use clips from Looking to make a music video accompanying the song ‘Not in Love’ by Crystal Castles. You can check it out here, but be warned as it does contain some spoilers:

8 thoughts on “‘Looking’… for what? (TV Show Review)

  1. I loved Looking – I know a lot of people didn’t – and when the show ended it felt like too many loose ends needed tied up. Thank goodness the one off special sorted that.

    1. If you pick every episode apart, there are a lot of things I could critize about Looking… but I still loved it as a whole. And true, the movie wasn’t even half bad.
      Thanks for your comment! xoxo

  2. I loved this show and agree it is close to getting it right, nad yes it’s almost the gay sex and the city. I was so sad when it got cancelled.
    I also love the Weekend it’s one of my favourite movies and now i need to rewatch it and I need to go and write a list of LGBT TV series and Movies to watch…ok there goes all my time.
    Great Review btw.

    1. Yeah, I was also really sad but at least we got a movie out of it that wasn’t even half bad. Funny that you say so. I’m also planning to make a list of my favorite LGBT+ movies soon 🙂
      Thanks for the comment! xoxo

  3. I also loved The Weekend.
    I enjoyed the breadth of the story in Looking and was sad when it was cancelled.
    That said, though, I was pretty critical of how much effort some of the characters put into getting in the way of their own happiness.
    Plus: Lauren Weedman. I just love her.

    1. I was also very sad when Looking got cancelled. However, there are also many things I could critize about the series which I felt were mis-portrayed. Still loved it as a whole.
      Lauren Weedman was great, yes! My reason I stuck with it was Raul Castillo though. He’s a man I could see myself falling for.

  4. Cool review. I’d never viewed the show; now, after your review, I’m sorry that I missed it. Funny, all the really “good” GLBTQ TV series seem to have a very brief life. I wonder if this isn’t a subtle comment on our attention span? Naked hugs!

    1. Hey there! I’m sure you can find a place to stream Looking from and I would definitely recommend doing so 🙂 I don’t think our atention span is the problem… for once… I believe that the LGBT+ community is just too small for major TV channels. Thanks! xoxo

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