HBO's Looking: Did It Catch Your Eye?

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Looking Premiere RecapEven before it had aired, HBO’s Looking was being likened to a gay male Girls (which, not coincidentally, it follows). And the comparison makes sense, given that the San Francisco-set dramedy also follows a group of friends (played by Glee grad Jonathan Groff, Smash alum Frankie J. Alvarez and former Guiding Light hunk Murray Bartlett) coming of age – albeit a somewhat older age – in a big city. But will the freshman series become the cultural touchstone that its predecessor has? Or will it be relegated to the ranks of cult favorites like Showtime’s Queer as Folk?

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Our money’s on the former. Smartly- – and appealingly sweetly- – written, Looking makes a star not only of Broadway baby Groff (please, please, please let him sing!) but of San Francisco, and sets up Bartlett as the kind of sex god to whom Samantha Jones would tip her diaphragm. But, of course, the real question isn’t what we think, it’s what you think. So weigh in, why don’t you, by grading the premiere in the poll below, then hit the comments to explain why the show did – or didn’t – deliver what you were, um, looking for.



Comments (73)

  • Disappointed. I wanted a show as sexy and salacious as Queer as Folk. Guess I’ll keep “looking”.

    Comment by alistaircrane – January 19, 2014 08:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • If you read or heard anything at all about this series you would have know it was never going to be like QAF!

      Comment by Jared – January 19, 2014 08:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • That’s not a good thing. We need a new QAF in this day and age.

        Comment by alistaircrane – January 19, 2014 08:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • An overly sexed soap opera that reduces gay men to melodramatic plot points? No thanks.

          Comment by Jon – January 19, 2014 09:31 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Yeah we really need a new QaF where a bomb goes off in the gay night club? Wow that was horrible.

            Comment by David4 – January 19, 2014 09:34 PM PDT  
          • “Overly-sexed, “soap opera”, melodramatic”: YES PLEASE!!! Your key words are everything I want in a gay-themed tv show.

            Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 07:18 AM PDT  
        • just watch DTLA on Logo, and let this show be its own thing.

          Comment by taelorrye – January 19, 2014 10:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • @alistaircrane — You’re an idiot. I’m not bashing other gay guys. Television only shows one side of the gay community: Bitchy, over sexualized queens. The gay community is constantly being looked down upon because people they every gay guy is sexually promiscuous. That is annoying. Looking definitely has some stereotypes, but it’s nice to see a character like Patrick. He is just your run of the mill guy. He isn’t a stereotype. He is just a guy who happens to be gay and just going through life. That is refreshing. I’m not bashing other gay guys. I’m just glad we are seeing another side of the gay community. And YOU are part of the reason why the gay community is looked down upon. You actually want people to look at us gay men and think all we are is sexually promiscuous, bitchy queens? If so, that’s awful.

            Comment by Eric – January 20, 2014 09:55 AM PDT  
        • Are you kidding me? We already have enough of that. Television already makes a mockery of the gay community, including QAF. It’s about time television actually shows a different side. I don’t know where they are taking “Looking,” but from the pilot, it looks promising. We finally have a show that a lot of us gay men can relate to. I’m over seeing shows that portray gay men as bitchy, over sexualized, over the top queens. So no, we need less of QAF-style shows and more of this.

          Comment by Eric – January 20, 2014 12:46 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • @Eric; Completely agree (WHERE’S THE ‘LIKE’ BUTTON!!!!!!)

            Comment by CSI Fan – January 20, 2014 06:27 AM PDT  
          • Wow, Eric, you have some deep internalized homophobia issues you need to work through. I always feel sad for gay guys who bash other gay guys. You must be dealing with a lot of torment about your sexuality identity. And CSI Fan, you are just as bad. We need more gay shows that embrace the camp and sex that are part and parcel of being a modern gay man.

            Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 07:19 AM PDT  
          • Alastaircrane, it’s deep internalised homophobia to believe that being gay has to equal camp and promiscuity. How about letting people find their own identity and not force them to fit your incredibly narrow view of what it means to be gay?

            Comment by RyanC – January 20, 2014 09:15 AM PDT  
          • RyanC, you’re spewing the same nonsense as Eric. Both of you guys need to see a therapist. Eric is especially bad, bashing other gay men as “queens”. Also, ALL gay men are promiscuous because ALL MEN love sex! It’s easier for us gay guys to get it than the straighties. I am tired of internalized homophobia-stricken folks like you trying to bash and dismantle the “queeny” side of being gay. You’re all a bunch of “straight-acting”, miserable homophobes.

            Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 11:03 AM PDT  
          • alistaircrane: No. Just No. There are actually some gay men that can keep it in their pants and don’t have one night stands and actually look for relationships. So Eric and RyanC are correct.

            Now I don’t agree with calling people “queens” but there is another side to the gay community than the one that is usually shown on tv and one that some of us can actually relate to.

            Comment by AR – January 21, 2014 02:56 PM PDT  
    • Hey man, did you know that you can like both Queer as Folk and Looking? YES, it is an option! I know, it’s surprising.

      Comment by B – January 20, 2014 11:17 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • The cliches in the first three minutes were a disappointment but then I realized if I wanted a show about gays who can never kiss or touch I could just watch Modern Family.

    Comment by Dan – January 19, 2014 08:11 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Preach!

      Comment by B – January 20, 2014 11:14 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Yes because Gloria and the old guy kiss all the time, or maybe Phil and Claire spend the whole time kissing… SMH

      Comment by Dr. L – January 20, 2014 12:12 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I felt that it was slow and boring. I try not to judge pilots too harshly. I’ll check out the second episode.

    Comment by A – January 19, 2014 08:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • THIS!

      It was soooo slow and boring. I wanted to love this but it was dull. I don’t need to see people partying or anything like that but it didn’t have enough energy. idk something was lacking. I do like the cast though!

      Comment by Will – January 20, 2014 11:18 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I loved the first episode and found nothing about it boring in the least. The guy behind this show was also behind that gay themed movie weekend. Lovely film about guys trying to hash out a real relationship, it was not a whore show, and was better for it. Extremely well done, it makes sense that I like this show since its creators roots are exactly up my alley.

        Comment by Ty – January 22, 2014 11:10 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Loved it! Jonathan Groff is adorable!

    Comment by Rissa – January 19, 2014 08:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I got bored after 10 minutes. Don’t get what all the critics are raving about. Its not good. Disappointed and won’t be watching any more of it.

    Comment by greysfan – January 19, 2014 08:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • ….And that is why TV shows get cancelled. You have to give a show more than 10 minutes. Actually, you have to give a show more than just the pilot episode. A lot of shows don’t find its footing until a few episodes in. I for one loved the pilot and am excited to see more. I suggest giving it another try. 10 minutes isn’t enough time for a show to develop. You gave up on it entirely too quickly.

      Comment by Eric – January 20, 2014 12:48 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Actually i give MOST shows 3-4 episodes but this one i gave up on very quickly. I’ve seen it all before and its nothing original. It is boring.

        Comment by greysfan – January 20, 2014 05:24 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I think part of the draw might have to do with orientation. Are you gay? I don’t think straight guys would give any time to a show like this. Likewise, as a gay guy, the exact same type of show with a cast full of lesbians would have zero draw for me as it’s completely uninteresting to me. Not sure if gay viewers are enough to sustain this type of show, but hopefully production costs are relatively small.

          Comment by Ty – January 22, 2014 11:13 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • If a show isn’t interesting in the first 10 minutes, why am I going to devote at least four hours to it in hopes it’ll get better? I’m all for giving show a chance if they show promise. I don’t expect them to be perfect on the first outing (in fact, I find a lot of shows that have fantastic pilots, struggle to live up to that standard in subsequent outings) but if I’m not interested in a show at all during the first episode, I don’t watching more of it will change anything.

        Comment by dude – January 20, 2014 07:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Well really just two hours but whatever. It’s not supposed to be porn, people!

          Comment by B – January 20, 2014 11:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • Who said they were expecting porn?

            I didn’t tune in expecting to see sex and partying, but what I did see was so boring! I’ve seen better gay storylines on main stream straight tv series. :-\

            Comment by Will – January 20, 2014 11:20 AM PDT  
  • I still can’t get over how ugly two of those guys are.

    Comment by Mark – January 19, 2014 08:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I hate their facial hair…ick!!!

      Comment by alistaircrane – January 19, 2014 08:21 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • That’s exactly the problem. Shave them and I’ll watch the pilot…

        Comment by Mark – January 19, 2014 08:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Fascinating opinion. Really fascinating dive into the merits of the pilot. Douche.

      Comment by Robert Taylor – January 19, 2014 08:24 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Appearance is everything. We live in a looks-based society. Deal.

        Comment by alistaircrane – January 19, 2014 08:28 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • I’m so happy you are so wrong. If we lived in a society where every actor on every TV show had to be have “supermodel good looks,” we wouldn’t have “Breaking Bad” or “The Walking Dead” or “Downton Abbey” or “30 Rock” or “Southland” or “The Newsroom” or “Homeland.” I’d much prefer fantastic actors reflecting the many real shapes, looks and sizes of society on the small screen. You want everyone to look like a model? Go watch “Big Brother” — I’m sure you won’t miss those brain cells much anyway.

          Comment by Robert Taylor – January 19, 2014 09:22 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I’ll watch what I like, and I am allowed to have a preference for sexy people. You need to get off your high horse and stop telling people what they can or can’t like.

            Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 07:20 AM PDT  
        • “We live in a looks based society”…You should be very proud of the fact that you buy into what society dictates. You’ll live an easy life never having an original thought or opinion of your own.

          Comment by Michael Angelo – January 20, 2014 07:23 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • I’m just describing society, honey.

            Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 07:37 AM PDT  
          • You keep on judging the quality of shows on the meter of whether their casts are pretty enough to meet your requirements, and I’ll keep on judging you for being so shallow. Fair? Perfect!

            Comment by Robert Taylor – January 20, 2014 09:20 AM PDT  
          • Is he wrong? Look all around you from the media to everyday life and yes you’ll see that we are a community based on looks, most especially the gay community. Is that right? Of course now, I wish it were different, but it is true and denying otherwise makes you sound like one of those people who tell others “inner beauty is important”, but will probably still drool over the the empty headed good looking guy.

            Comment by Bee – January 20, 2014 10:59 AM PDT  
    • @ Mark, what a grotesque comment. The 3 leads actually look like real people! How shocking for a TV show. For example, in a world where everyone is a 20something gym bunny spray-tanned orange, in a world where even the “exotic Latino” Bachelor has to be blond and waxed, Augustin as a short, very hairy Latino guy is so refreshing… and super cute, the kind of guy who would be hot IN REAL LIFE.

      Comment by Strepsi – January 20, 2014 04:13 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • Actually, he’s not hot. Body hair is disgusting and makes him unappealing and difficult to look at. Fortunately there are people like you who will take guys like that, leaving the smooth, gorgeous, musclebound hotties for me.

        Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 07:22 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Oh, yeah, I’m sure you’re just drowning in “smooth, gorgeous, musclebound hotties”.

          Comment by Will – January 20, 2014 09:59 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
          • THIS.

            Comment by Zach – January 20, 2014 11:11 AM PDT  
        • lol I doubt someone with a screen name taken from a fictional character on the soap opera Passions is picking up all the hotties, much less the smooth, gorgeous musclebound ones!

          Comment by Chris – January 20, 2014 04:16 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I enjoyed the premier, it had a comfortable inviting feel; I will be adding the series to my must watch list.

    Comment by Robert – January 19, 2014 08:46 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Critics got to see more than the first ep, so it’s likely it gets better, I guess.

    Comment by j – January 19, 2014 08:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I really liked it, and from what I’ve heard, it gets more interesting as the season progresses. Looking forward to next week’s episode.

    Comment by CJ – January 19, 2014 09:06 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • i get that they are trying to make it feel “real”… but real doesn’t translate into interesting tv viewing… just look at “reality shows” ;)

    i’ll give it another shot, but they need to amp up the pace and drama a little bit.

    Comment by dft – January 19, 2014 09:18 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved it a lot – they really packed a lot in to the thirty minutes. The characters feel really full and realistic, and there’s some nice hints to backstories as well as future plots. Between this and True Detective, HBO has a really awesome Sunday night for me (still in season two somewhere on Girls).

    Comment by Adam – January 19, 2014 09:32 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It was really good. I just wish it could have been longer, I felt like it ended so quickly.

    Comment by Tyler – January 19, 2014 09:45 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Really really bad and uncomfortable to watch. I blame the casting. Would have loved Andrew Rannells in the show.

    Comment by Mark – January 19, 2014 09:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I agree. I only liked Jonathan. Who was in charge of casting? Too much facial hair.

      Comment by Prue – January 20, 2014 06:03 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • What’s maybe the strangest thing about “Looking” for an HBO show was how little sex/nudity was in it. Sandwiched between Girls’ casual explicit nudity and a graphic sex scene on “True Detective,” “Looking” felt almost prudish– even the threeway was so tame (cutting away before anything really happened) it could have appeared on a regular network show. Pretty much any sex scene was interrupted, shut down, or took place off camera. It’s certainly different than Queer As Folk in this context.

    Comment by Geo – January 19, 2014 11:01 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Decent premiere. Nothing too great or too disappointing. I’ll stick around for another episode or two before deciding if I’ll continue.

    Groff was okay. He just uses his usual boyish charm into this role. Will need to see more but I don’t expect anything too great from him as the series goes on.

    Supporting cast of characters is more intriguing to me.

    Comment by hipster – January 19, 2014 11:07 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Since when has Girls become a “cultural touchstone”? If anything it shows the constant deterioration of my generation, but it’s not like the previous generation is any better.

    Comment by Joey – January 19, 2014 11:55 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • I loved it and didn’t want it to end. It is great depiction of gay men going through real life issues without sensationalizing and whoring the lifestyle like QAF. Also, I agree with the comments about having to give the show a few episodes before making a determination. I absolutely hated the first couple of episodes of Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, and Mad Men, but by the fourth or fifth episode of each, I was hooked.

    Comment by ragincajun – January 20, 2014 05:15 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Why is everyone demonizing QaF? It wasn’t always a good show but it did open up paths to gay content and gay TV that were never available before. Promiscuity and “whoring” in the heterosexual population is celebrated but gay men are constantly apologizing for the group of men in their population who like to screw.

      Comment by Michael Angelo – January 20, 2014 07:34 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • I agree….it’s sad to see so much internalized homophobia going on in this thread. What really gets me is the hypocrisy. The people decrying gay sex are the same ones who love to f*** or get f***ed, yet they’re trying to act like chaste little virgins. GMAFB already!

        Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 07:36 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • QAF was brilliant. Looking is just rubbish. QAF held up a mirror to gay life. Obviously you didn’t like what you saw because you don’t like being gay and you don’t like other gays.

      Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 07:35 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • QAF held up a carnival mirror to gay life.

        Comment by RyanC – January 20, 2014 09:19 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
        • Nope, QAF was an example of what queer life is and ought to be. I’m sorry you hate yourself and your fellow gay brothers to accept that.

          Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 11:04 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • RaginCajun. So the Zappy forum members came here to post.

      Comment by Mark – January 20, 2014 12:15 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Looking wants to be a realistic look at gay life for a group of friends. I get that. However, when I watch TV I don’t want a realistic look at my life, I want a good drama or comedy.

    Comment by LIam – January 20, 2014 08:32 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • Agreed. I don’t watch television for “realism”. I watch it for fantasy and escapism.

      Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 11:05 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • Is it just me or is Alistair Crane a total douchebag? I may not be gay, but I actually prefer to day women who are not traditionally “model gorgeous”. I know plenty of gay people, only one of whom is at all effeminate. But at least he’s a good guy who isn’t a shallow ass.

    Comment by Zach – January 20, 2014 11:06 AM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • You aren’t allowed to bash me. You are going to be banned!

      Comment by alistaircrane – January 20, 2014 01:40 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
      • *You aren’t allowed to bash me. You are going
        to be banned!*

        That is exactly like my mom used to say.

        Comment by Ash – January 20, 2014 06:49 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
    • I am pretty sure this guy is a troll.

      Comment by Chris – January 20, 2014 04:19 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • This show has got the most unlikeable, untalented and unattractive cast ever. Only Groff is remotely watchable..give this one season and done.

    Comment by Maybelline Cohen-Chang – January 20, 2014 12:17 PM PDT  Reply To This Post
  • It succeeded in making its lead-in, Girls, look like an Emmy winner!

    Comment by HAP – January 20, 2014 01:20 PM PDT  Reply To This Post

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