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« Review: Blackhat | Main | Beauty vs Beast: Blue Beauty On Velvet Beast »
Monday
Jan192015

Looking for Returns: In Search of Gay Intimacy

Manuel here checking in on the Looking boys this week, after their carnal sojourn into the woods last week.

We open with Kevin and Patrick in bed and if we didn’t know any better, their adorable reminisces about their queer childhoods, including talk of what is arguably one of the gayest videos ever, read like an intimate scene from a healthy burgeoning relationship. Of course, it’s lunchtime and they’re at a motel (“don’t you guys find seedy motels kind of sexy?”), indulging in what Patrick refuses to acknowledge is an “affair” (“I really like him and the word ‘affair’ is starting to feel rather shitty to me”). In many ways, this scene feels taken straight out of Andrew Haigh’s own Weekend, a film that was thoroughly fascinated with contemporary gay intimacy and gay identity. What does intimacy look like within a community that is still encumbered by secrets and closets, even as it prides itself on openness and honesty? It’s also no surprise that Patrick and Kevin end up coming up with a gay-themed card game that works as a brief run-down of various gay archetypes (“hot-shot”, “drag mother,” “lusty lads of London,” “gay-for-pay,” “the ashamed gay”).

Secrecy, as it turns out, is taking its toll on the two of them, and while we don’t see Kevin dealing with his migraines, we see Patrick freaking out about his rash, which he idiotically if earnestly believes could be an HIV symptom leading to an awkward conversation with a nurse (“Hey everyone, I’m pregnant… with HIV”). While Patrick initially finds the thrill of seeing someone he really likes, it slowly dawns on him the consequences of his behavior, mostly as the open secret of his affair begins to make its way out of his small circle of friends (Doris and Lynn have been clued in and it’ll be a matter of time before they’re exposed no?)

Openness, on the other hand, is what’s at the center of Dom and Lynn’s relationship. After finding a spot for his peri peri chicken, we see them in full domestic mode even as Dom is taken aback by the frankness of Lynn’s approach to their open relationship (“Fuck anyone?”). Bashful, he admits he didn’t know they’d need to talk specifics and yet when Lynn jumps on him and teasingly asks where he did it, you see a couple whose intimacy need not be restricted to sexual monogamy. Rather revolutionary, don’t we think?

Less revolutionary, though perhaps in keeping with Agustin’s character, we find him yet again trying to deal with his frustration with life (I guess?) with alcohol and drinks. After sharing some margaritas and some shots with Doris and the boys, he ends up at a bar looking for Eddie and bumming a GHB drop from a friend of his ex, only to be found asleep next to a pupusa cart by Richie later that night. Will the show just keep pushing Agustin until his (or our) breaking point? Thankfully, this chance encounter (punctuated by one of my favorite lines of the episode: “Yo, I think I know that guy. He works at Chipotle!”) gives us a great reaction shot from Patrick. When he answers the door (in his undies!) and sees Richie, you see him look terrified mistakenly thinking the latter is making a social call.

So you’re just barely seeing someone?

The rest of their encounter is just as awkward, but bolsters the notion that they would have made quite a couple, and perhaps this is part of what drives Patrick further into his spiral the next day (“you just have to let him cycle through it”).

"Kevin, what are we doing?"

Thus, while we open with two naked boys in bed in a tight close-up, the episode ends with an even greater moment of shared intimacy: Kevin doing his dance to Take That’s song, one he was much too embarrassed to do at the motel, and which he performs in the glass box that is his office (what an appropriate metaphor, no?). The scene works not only because Russell Tovey is a charming performer, but because his embarrassment and pride in his goofy dance makes his gesture all the more significant. He really cares for Patrick. This can’t end well, can it?


Best line of the episode I wish I could off-handedly use: 

I was just telling him about your big juicy foreskin.”

Best gif-worthy moment (tie): Tovey’s “booty dance” & Tovey’s Take That dance
Best Doris moment: being unaware that a guy would be flirting with her rather than eyeing her gays.

Previous Recaps:
Looking Back: Season 1 Recap
Looking for the Promised Land

P.S. This season already feels much more assured though it’s still pretty much an acquired taste; I can’t see it courting new viewers even with all leads dropping trou every other episode (but don’t call them “brave” for doing so). You guys hooked? Did everyone immediately track down that Take That video (Robbie Williams looks so young!)? Are we all happy Richie is back?

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Reader Comments (20)

The tall cute guy who gives Augustin the GHB is the guy from season one who was Augustin and Frank's first threeway. (Remember his Dolly Parton tattoo?) The implication here is that Frank is still seeing this guy -- perhaps for sex. One more kick in the shins for Augustin.

January 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSan FranCinema

I was heavily amused by the Take That mention because not only do i like those guys but Do What U Like is probably one of the most gayest music videos to ever exist. Especially the uncensored version.

I'm not even joking: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8sKLB12SYTg

The scenes with Kevin and Patrick were very cute and lovely to watch but i'm still more partial to Richie because he's just so dreamy (and deserves so much better than Patrick).

Line of the night for me was: "like that time your asshole was so tight, it sucked the condom off that guy's dick? Couldn't stop laughing.

Plus, as always, i'm totally feeling the end credits music though I was hoping that they would actually play Do What U Like.

January 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDerreck.

UGH RICHIE IS BAE <333
I am showing my age with that comment but that's the only way I can truly say it. He melts my heart. Patrick is an idiot!

January 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip H.

"Rather revolutionary, don’t we think?"

Have we really regressed so much that this kind of openness in a (gay) relationship is considered revolutionary again? Or do you mean revolutionary for American television, Manuel?

January 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

San FranCinema; I had an inkling it was him! Makes Agustin's bullshit "friends in LA" thing look even more laughable and childish.

Derreck, "uncensored" yet they still blocked out their asses! That said, holy gay video, eh?

Paul Outlaw, definitely by American television standards.

January 19, 2015 | Registered CommenterManuel Betancourt

"What does intimacy look like within a community that is still encumbered by secrets and closets, even as it prides itself on openness and honesty? "

Excellent article, Manuel!

January 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Richie is the best. Raul Castillo is such a strong presence. Kevin is dragging Patrick around and also cheating on a well-off boyfriend, yet he's getting more charming.

Patrick being such 'babe in the woods' often puts me at odds with his awkwardness, but I think the show understands that as a natural way to be playing off of him. Dom and Doris especially do well on this.

Oh, Agustin. Clean up, man. I do like Eddie and oh man, it's Daniel Franzesse from Mean Girls! He's coming back so maybe that can get Agustin's life back.

Scott Bakula's post-Candelabra career has been pretty interesting.

January 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCMG

What made the Richie scene so effective to me was how quick and efficient it was. He popped in for a minute or two to be totally wonderful and bowed out so soon as to force a sort of pang/longing for more time to spend with him. There's a very subtle shift in Groff's facial expression after Richie walks out that is totally devastating.

January 19, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

i'm so behind on this show. ugh Oscar season. can't wait to catch up

January 20, 2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Great episode! Much better than the last one. So beautifully written with lines and dialogues hitting every right spot.

January 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterfrancislee

It's uncomfortable how much I find myself relating to Patrick right now - at least as regards Kevin - especially since I thought he was the most annoying (not the WORST, which was Augustin) last season. But Russell Tovey is so damn charming!

Could Scott Bakula's Lynn be any more swoon-worthy in that scene where he asks Dom about the trip?

Great write-up, Manuel!

January 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterdenny

I just started watching this show for the first time this season, and I already love it. More than any show I've seen since, well, (odd comparison but valid), Treme, it has the rhythm and feel of real life. And even though I'm neither gay nor male, I totally relate to both Patrick's naivete and his paranoia.

And yes, Russell Tovey is charming, even if his character is clearly bad news. But from what I gather, Richie is the most decent guy of this bunch, yes?

January 20, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterprincesskaraoke

I am so hoping for a Dom and Lynn sex scene!

January 21, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterforever1267

Great show :)

January 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterREZA

Great show :)

January 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterREZA

Great show :)

January 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterREZA

Great show :)

January 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterREZA

Great show :)

January 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterREZA

Great show :)

January 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterREZA

Great show :)

January 22, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterREZA

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