Looking Recap: Browser Histories And Investment Opportunities
The beauty of HBO’s “Looking,” the gay dramedy, is that people still seem perplexed about whether they love or hate it but that we shall recap for you here regardless, is that the show leaves behind the gay crises complex. The main protagonists — Patrick, Agustin and Dom — are past any angst about whether to gay or not to gay, and what anyone thinks about it. They’re queer, they’re here, get on with it.
We love that there are no afterschool special-type probs on this show. Being gay isn’t a problem. Smoking pot is not a problem. One-night stands? No big whoop, because NONE of those things are problems. They are choices. We appreciate HBO and its un-prudish power to cut the shit and get on with the guts of real life
These guys just have situations, like so many others their ages, focused on their stalled careers, failed love matches, generational differences, et al.
This episode opens with Patrick (Jonathan Groff) at a most campy video game launch party for his company’s newest game, Naval Destroyer, aboard an aircraft carrier. Patrick is ready to put the last episode’s Richie fail behind him and geek out with hot sailors giving out free drinks with his straight work friends.
He and Owen (Andrew Law), his underling, strike up a conversation with a group where Patrick takes center stage explaining that he always plays a female in his games because as a gay man he relates to their outsider status. He is, after all, the only gay dude who even works at his company. ‘Til now
Some hot British dude, Kevin (Russell Tovey) we learn later, challenges Patrick’s statement during polite party banter that, no, he doesn’t just choose female avatars because he’s gay. The tall, dark, handsome stranger challenges this assertion, immediately racking up a hit on Patrick’s gaydar.
Patrick becomes enamored, watching the guy’s every move from across the room, and despite his macho demeanor determines the guy is a close confidant to Dorothy. He’s so confident that the crumpet is “the gayest thing he’s ever seen on two legs” that he wagers a grand on it with Owen and heads off, a bit tipsy, to buy daddy a new pair of shoes.
Patrick’s sleuthing leads him to a hull where Kevin is playing a video game from atop a torpedo, as you do. Patrick saddles up for some gaming and lightly coded conversation. “You’re asking me if I’m gay aren’t you?” Kevin discerns after about 30 seconds into the small talk. He is!
Patrick goes for it making one of his awkward attempts to get some and is promptly shut down. Kevin has a boyfriend. But Patrick is still happy to hear he’s got some queer company around the ol’ water cooler, until he finds out that the new gay is actually his new boss. Ruhoh.
Patrick braves up and walks into his new boss’ office to apologize and ask him to give him a chance to work on a new, exciting project. Instead Patrick gets busted for visiting OK Cupid and Man Hunt and other NSFW sites on the clock.
Agustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) and Frank (O.T. Fagbenle) are still in domestic bliss, but Agustin is struggling on the inside. When Frank tells Agustin that his friend who owns a gallery asked if Agustin has anything to show, Agustin shuts him down immediately.
His angst follows him to the office, and Agustin tells his boss what he really thinks about her work and is promptly fired. Agustin sets up camp at a café to shove cake in his mouth, ignores a call from Frank and instead strikes up a conversation with a bearded gigolo, aka a loud and proud sex worker, who asks him if he’s looking to make a career change.
Patrick arrives home to find Agustin camped out on his sofa getting drunk. “All I seem to do is give people the wrong impression,” Patrick tells Agustin before the latter drops the Oh-yeah-I-got-fired today bomb and tells him about the whole gigolo job prospect.
“He owns what he does,” Agustin says, to which Patrick tells him he’s being ridiculous. But Agustin continues to wax chest hair poetic, admiring that the man was proud of what he does.
“When was the last time you heard me call myself an artist?” Agustin asks. Patrick tries to talk him down. “I can’t call myself an artist because I don’t do shit.”
“Y’know what, I don’t know if either of us are very good at being who we think we are,” Patrick tells him, joining the pity party. “Maybe we need to try a little harder.”
The next day, Patrick heads into work and walks straight into his boss’ office with a new build of Naval Destroyer with a female character. “I want you to know that I do care about this job, a lot. This is what I’ve always wanted to do. But I also want to have a life, and I think I can do both.” He hands him a design for a new female character-driven game.
“You know I was fucking with you, right?” Kevin tells him. “You were always going to be on my team. Commitment looks good on you. Alright, let’s play.”
Dom (Murray Bartlett) is having a much better existence for the time being than his two younger friends, however, which is really freaking out his awesome gal pal Doris. Getting closure with his piece of crap ex Ethan has given Dom a new lease on life, and he announces on his way to Zumba that he has decided to move ahead with his dream of opening his own restaurant.
But, of course, it’s not as easy as just flicking a switch. He can’t get a chef on board until he has an investor, and getting some big buckaroos backing it is difficult without a chef. So, after getting turned down by his culinary buddy, he retreats to his safe place, the local gay bathhouse.
There he meets the impeccably-abbed Lynn, (Scott Bakula) who attempts awkward conversation with the younger Dom. Turns out he’s the owner of Buds, a florist shop considered an institution in San Francisco, not far from the restaurant where Dom schleps trays to mortgage dudes in expensive suits.
Excitedly, Dom tells Lynn the store is an institution, to which Lynn takes a little good-natured offense as a well-heeled silver fox on the town. He in turn recognizes Dom from the restaurant. “You’re sort of an institution, too,” he tells him good naturedly.
Then Dom goes and hooks up with some young stallion but not before asking Lynn out to lunch. And just like you learned in Restaurant Opening 101, that is how you find your investor. Well, maybe gay guys aren’t just like us straights. Where are all the straight bathhouses with foxy rich dudes who want to invest in our hopes and dreams?
Tune in to HBO next Sunday, February 10, at 10:30 p.m. to see more “Looking.”