Maybe HBO’s Looking got the gay cattiness correct. But everything else? We’re not so sure.
Me: So…What did you think?
J. Little: Well where do I start?
Me: Really? You thought it was that bad?
J. Little: I didn’t think it was completely bad. But here I go. I went into this show thinking that it would be the gay-west-coast version of GIRLS…
Me: I found it more tolerable than GIRLS. Which, btw, I loved the first 2 seasons of, but this new one is too cutesy to take seriously.
J. Little: …Overall, I liked [Looking]. I feel that it did a good job of showing a very specific sub-culture of the gay community. Keyword: GAY. Not LGBT.
Look at those boys. So far they’re all homogenous. White, or close to it, slim, cute gay men who appear to like the idea of blending into society. When the episode opened with Groff in the woods “cruising,” I felt they could have taken it further. They could have shown more. Groff wasn’t awkward enough to play the whole I-don’t-do-this-type-of-thing role. Groff as a gay geek shows a good image of the gay community. He’s gay and doesn’t bother himself with fashion but technological intellect. I know plenty of these gays. They play the “I’m lonely because I’m smart and awkward” all the time.
Me: Yeah, that whole “cruising the old fashion way is too icky but this new online, lonely thing is awesome!” was a little silly.
J. Little: Exactly. OkCupid? Let’s be honest, I haven’t heard of anyone use that service in a long time. It seemed like a very G-rated way to show that type of setting when we all know that it is way more sleazy than that. A stroll through Central Park in the day time would have given me more entertainment than that.
Me: And what was with that judgy, prissy, “that is a lazy eye!” If you’re that hard up for a fuck then who cares. Also, it was never proven the guy actually HAD a lazy eye, but that didn’t stop them for writing him off and being judgmental assholes. They were all WAY to judgmental for me. At one point I asked Kenneth if they were really harsh or are all homos like that. He replied, “we’re all like that.” That kinda bummed me out.
J. Little: The lazy eye and the portly statement threw me off. Although they were accurate depictions of the shade that is often thrown, they did nothing but separate themselves from the other subcultures of the gay community.
Me: Right? those comments were a way to establish who was “special” and who wasn’t. When really, none of them showed anything remotely special, interesting, or unique.
They were all kinda boring. Especially ol’ beardo.
J. Little: Some would say I’m a little more portly than the guys on that show but portly guys represent an entire population of the gay community. I.e. cubs, bears, wolves, polar bears, Etc.
Me: What the hell is a wolf?
J. Little: A wolf is a very muscled hairy man. A muscle bear is a bear who has muscle but still has fat around that muscle. Think Alcide from True Blood. Anyway, I hope they pull out the other various types of gay on this show. Where’s the bears? Not otters like the artist. Where’s the queens? Which I think they will try undermine to prove that gays can blend and that we aren’t all queens.
Me: Well, if they are trying to capture the real San Francisco lifestyle, then they’ll eventually have to.
J. Little: Let’s discuss the artist and his boyfriend.
Me: The beard and the white-looking Puerto Rican who was gorgeous and sweet but still, for whatever reason, couldn’t keep the boring beard interested?
J. Little: I found it very interesting that they decided to show the threesome in this first episode. I believe that there is a big trend happening in the gay community with opening relationships. Which is not necessarily a bad thing. Men are thought to be sexual creatures and when two men get together, there is bound to be hyper-sexual activity. Or that’s the image they portrayed.
They start off as a loving couple who are moving in together. Then all of a sudden they’ve put themselves into a moment where they have to decide if they want to proceed into this threesome. The PR boyfriend gives a look which is hard to decipher as a look of approval, disapproval or both?
Me: Mmmm. I’m not sure about that. I mean, key parties for heteros where a thing in the 70s. But I did wonder how monogamy became such a taboo.
J. Little: Are we in a time where many don’t fight for that desired monogamy but rather play along with resentment?
Me: Yes! but I’m a cynic so you can’t ask me. The rate of gay couples with open relationships is starting to outnumber those with monogamous ones. Especially in my neighborhood (if Growler and Scruff are correct).
J. Little: If so, how do they play along? Has sex become a hobby or sport like tennis? Or is it just the fear of having to give up someone who is semi-compatible for being alone and back to the dating app looking for the last gay man who actually wants to be with only one other gay man?
Me: [It seems like] we are in a time where if you decline getting peed on then you get broken up with for being too vanilla or sexually narrow.
The threesome thing [in Looking] was a cheap trick to use in the first episode to be shocking or provocative or playing to the gay audience by showing a little flesh (because who cares about a story when you’ve got a hot threesome going on?).
J. Little: Very true. It’s so hard to date these days because everyone has become too accessible to each other. Since when do friends have sex with each other? Tops passing their bottoms around to their friends like a joint at a party.
It wasn’t even that hot to me anyway. Where was the penis??? Queer as Folk didn’t have a problem making their sex scenes way more explicit.
It’s HBO. Show the sex. If Lena Dunham can be naked in every season of GIRLS then I want to see the dudes.
Me: Ugh…anyone who’d do that to their partner is just a dick who wants to assert his dominance and perpetuate the idea that you are nothing but a hole to be filled. Those guys are disgusting.
Lena Dunham getting naked is a rally call to woman who don’t fit the social standards of beauty. Guys getting naked draw the gays and nobody wants that.
But I’ve been thinking about what sets this show apart from Queer as Folk? It’s a little too early to tell, but I really didn’t like QaF.
It was WAY to dramatic for me.
And the roles! My god the roles they had to fulfill. The nerd, the nancy, the geek, the hot rich one, the HIV patient, the twink, the PFLAG mom. It was useful at the time but it was still highly inaccurate and silly
J. Little: I liked QaF. It may have been more dramatic but it was way more realistic than what was shown in that episode.
Me: The two characters I thought were somewhat interesting and barely likable were Groff and the mustache.
J. Little: Mustache is Dom. Poor Dom. The 40 year old Tom of Finland imitation.
Me: Whatever. He was kinda sleazy. And not in a fun way.
J. Little: Poor thing. I didn’t feel bad for him though. He’s a hot guy. Who looks like he stepped out of a Tom of Finland sketch.
He’s the sad older gay man who yearns for the attention of a PYT to make him feel better about his lack of personal success and continuous age increase.
Me: He was gonna just fuck some dude for the sake of his own ego and vanity? The guy’s aging and we’re supposed to feel bad about it? Even after the bartender says “you fuck them and then we never see them again.” How many waiters is he going through in a week to make himself feel young and pretty?
Also, The art nerd in me immediately thought he looked like Jared French.
J. Little: Exactly. But those men exist. They work out 6 days a week. Eat like weight lifters, groom themselves beyond cleanliness and plow through every young hot twink out there.
Me: Those guys don’t deserve my pity.
J. Little: True. Very true. I don’t feel for them.
Me: Overall, how’d it make you feel to be a homosexual?
J. Little: It made me feel that we are moving toward an age where gays are lack-luster. Just trying to blend in with the other men sitting at the bar in the granola sides of town drinking another craft beer from a local brewery.
The gays have an obsession with blending. Not to say that everyone has to be a nancy. What makes them unique? An open relationship? False self-esteem issues? Lack of success?
Me: It’s kinda complex. We deserve the same rights as everyone else, but does that mean we should be acting like everyone else?
Do you like Rufus Wainwright? I remember him saying he wasn’t in favor of gay marriage a while back and that kinda hurt my feelings. But then he explained that he’s more in favor or in love with the idea of the old fashioned bohemian homosexual- the freak, outcast, deviant, a true subculture of rule-breakers. I think what Wainwright was referring to, what shows like Looking have tried to emulate but fail, is the Boys in the Band. And I like that.
Which, B-T- Dubs, Boys in the Band is probably one of THEEEE best gay movies ever made.
J. Little: Many gays in that older generation believe in that. I have a coworker who met his man decades ago and he told me that back in the day you fucked someone first. If you were compatible sexually then you kept them around and made a meaningful relationship out of it when the rest of the world doesn’t want you to.
Me: Anyway. I’ll give Looking a break because it WAS only the first episode and no first episode is any good. Although I did have higher expectations from HBO.
J. Little: True. I’m very interested to see where this goes and I hope they don’t disappoint. I want to be a fan. Btw. The hot Latino on the bus! He was my favorite part of the show.
Maybe HBO’s Looking got the gay cattiness correct. But everything else? We’re not so sure.