After months of anticipation, HBO’s new series “Looking” premiered this past Sunday. Reaction so far appears mixed at best, with gays either loving its “honest and realistic” portrayal of a group of twenty- and thirty- something, single gay men in San Francisco, or finding its merry band of rainbow boys and their “gay people problems” unrelatable, clichéd, and (perhaps worst of all for an HBO show) boring.
Show creators Andrew Haigh and Michael Lannan get some things right (more on that later), but just as many things wrong. Like, really wrong. Asking someone if they’re “drug- and disease-free” is, strictly Grindr-speak and unrealistic for an in-person conversation. I’m also sure all the hot, BART-riding Latino guys that have picked me up over the years knew not only how to pronounce the word “oncology” without difficulty but also knew what it meant. Cancer and oncologia are not just white-girl problems.
Minor quibbles, perhaps, for a half-hour comedy, but queens have gotten the boot from “RuPaul’s Drag Race” for far lesser offenses. That being said, “Looking” does get a few things right; namely, its honest depiction of the difficulties we have when it comes to finding our internal, moral, and sexual compasses as we make our way into adulthood.
All of us—homo and hetero alike—grow up under the influence of what society and our parents tell us, from the kind of sex we should have to the kind of relationships we should work toward. But for many gay men and women,...