Post Mortems

Looking Finale Post Mortem: Jonathan Groff on the Big Kevin-Richie Cliffhanger

Looking Season 2 Spoilers“WTF?” has rarely been more valid a question than it is in the wake of the freshman season finale of HBO’s Looking. Off his impromptu tryst with his boss, will Patrick attempt to pursue a relationship with Kevin in Season 2? Or will he recommit – and profusely apologize to – his sorta-boyfriend, Richie?

For answers, TVLine turns to Jonathan Groff, the Broadway babe and Glee alum who plays the in-demand loverboy in the middle of the muddle. Not only does he make a case for Patrick and Kevin – and Patrick and Richie – he also cops to a crush on one of his co-stars, reveals how badly he was stung by early criticism of the show and marvels at the unexpected opportunity to enlighten his straight friends about gay sex. So yeah, all in all, it’s a must-read.

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TVLINE | Before we get to the finale, congrats on the Season 2 renewal. Were you sweating it out?
Yes, we were. We’ve been dying to find out if we were going back since we left San Francisco, actually, because it was such a great experience. Since we wrapped the show, we’ve been keeping our fingers crossed for a Season 2 pickup, because we didn’t feel like it was done yet. The honeymoon was not over, and so we’re really excited to get to go back.

TVLINE | Do you have any idea how many episodes Season 2 will be?
It’s unclear yet how many there will be.

TVLINE | Fans are hoping for more than eight.
We are, too! [Laughs]

TVLINE | OK, about the finale, burning question — how the hell was Patrick able to resist Kevin for as long as he did?
[Laughs] Well, I think part of it was due to the fact that Kevin has a boyfriend… I also think Patrick was a little blindsided by Kevin’s interest in him. In the finale, when Kevin is sort of coming after him in the office right before they have sex, and Kevin is like, “I can’t stop thinking about you,” it takes Patrick by surprise. Patrick didn’t realize that Kevin was harboring that kind of feelings for him.

TVLINE | You and Russell Tovey have fantastic chemistry. Was there a spark there from the get-go?
I love him. You can’t work to create that. It was a relationship we had from the get-go. We both come from the theater world, so we have this similar way of working and relating to each other together on set. I adore him. I think he is so talented and I’m so happy he’s coming back as a series regular for Season 2. And Raul Castillo [Richie], who I’m harboring a huge real-life crush on… [Laughs] I’m happy that he’s coming back as well.

TVLINE | What was it like shooting the big Kevin-Patrick sex scene? It was pretty steamy.
[Laughs] Indeed. It was great! [Looking co-creator] Andrew Haigh directed that episode, and I love the way he [depicts] sex in film and television. I think that it’s very intimate and very realistic. He definitely goes for whatever feels the most real, and that was certainly the case in that scene. And Russell and I had been comfortable with each other by that point. It was quick — we didn’t take that long. It was that one shot, as you saw, and it was really special. I feel like I’ve had a lot of people — a lot of straight friends of mine that live in L.A. or New York who are liberal-minded and open and accepting — say that they did not know that gay men could have sex face-to-face until they saw the show.

TVLINE | Get out.
And that has been a huge revelation for me! And it’s certainly not like the intention of the show is to, like, educate straight people about how [gay people] have sex. But it’s obviously happening with my friends, and I feel like, “Wow, what an added bonus that we’re telling some things that maybe people didn’t know.” Isn’t that crazy?

TVLINE | That’s crazy. It’s hard to believe.
Go to dinner with some straight friends and ask them about it, because I am shocked at the number of friends who live — like I said — in L.A. or New York who didn’t know that.

TVLINE | After Patrick and Kevin slept together, Patrick asks, “Now what?” And Kevin says, “I don’t know.” It seemed rather dismissive.
Yeah, I agree! [Laughs] It did seem like it is a very surprisingly dismissive moment! Maybe he is dismissive because he doesn’t want to acknowledge his feelings, like, “Oh s–t, I really feel something for this guy,” or “You know, now I f—ed him and it’s done, I’m over it.'”

TVLINE | What do you think was going through Patrick’s mind when he saw Richie waiting for him at the end?
It’s incredibly complex. There is a lot of guilt and confusion happening. It’s also sort of clear and unclear what Richie is saying in that moment. He says, “You know, I think I’m falling in love with you,” which makes me feel emotional just reciting the line that he says. I think he’s just so heartbreaking in that scene when he takes off his hat; he is so adorable. Is it a break-up moment? Is he walking away from him? Is this the end? There are a lot of things happening there.

TVLINE | The fact that both he and Russell are coming back as regulars suggests that the triangle is going to endure.
I imagine that the triangle will be further investigated for sure.

TVLINE | Who are you rooting for Patrick to end up with?
Both of them offer something really different and unique to Patrick. I love that Kevin and Patrick have a sort of effortless connection, and both have the same sort of job. I also love the chemistry between Patrick and Richie. And I love that they come from different places and are finding a common ground and finding a way to connect with each other. And I also think that Richie is in a place where he is ready right now, and Kevin still has a boyfriend. I don’t know; it’s hard. I feel like you could fight both sides, which is what makes it interesting.

TVLINE | After the first episode aired, there seemed to be a little blowback from the gay media about the show, with some complaining that it was too boring, slow-moving. Did that bother you?
This show, more than anything I’ve worked on, I feel incredibly, personally connected to. So to hear resistance or to hear negative comments in any way, it’s sort of like a punch in the stomach. But we were also expecting a complex reaction, because there was so much expectation and so many ideas of what it was going to be before it aired. And hopefully, now people are seeing it for what it is and connecting to the characters and connecting to the stories. And certainly, the good news for us is that the numbers have continued to grow each week, which is such a relief and really exciting. It sort of makes up for that initial negative reaction. To know that people are really starting to connect with the show and starting to watch it and starting to get invested, it’s all we ever really wanted. We really fell in love with the characters while we were working on the show, and we really fell in love with each other, and it’s nice to now see people starting to embrace them and embrace the style of the show.

TVLINE | Lastly, are we ever going to hear Patrick sing?
[Laughs] I don’t think so. I feel like Patrick would be a terrible singer, so it would be fun to sing badly.