At this point, how are Patrick Murray’s friends not completely fed up with him? After he drunkenly insults everyone in his life at his own terrible party, he tags along to Doris’s father’s funeral in Modesto and makes the weekend all about him. He mawkishly sobs at the service, continually tries to one up Doris in the “I had an unhappy childhood” department, and ends up totaling Dom’s car and sending all three of them to the hospital. Doris, bless her heart, is nothing but kind and patient in response to Patrick’s appalling behavior. Dom mostly ignores him, instead focusing his energy on trying be there for Doris while dealing with his ambivalence towards Modesto and his own father. Patrick goes through the motions of being a good friend, listening when appropriate and offering back rubs, but he has neither the emotional maturity nor the capacity for empathy to think about anyone other than himself.
Looking is back for a second season on HBO after its uneven but promising initial run last year. A lot of the criticism directed towards the show’s first season was unfair, particularly the complaint that it focused solely on a group of upwardly mobile, educated, mostly white, young gay men from San Francisco at the expense of less affluent, more diverse LGBT communities everywhere. This is a totally valid grievance that should be directed at HBO and Hollywood in general. Shows about older, poorer people of color rarely make it to series, especially on pay cable. But Looking is a story about these specific characters and was never trying to be representative of any larger community. To ask anything more of any one show is unrealistic. My biggest problems with the first season were that it lacked much of an arc, the stakes for the characters remained low, and the initial premise (the friendship between the three leads) was largely unexplored in favor of following their divergent romantic exploits. By the end of the season, I didn’t really know much about Patrick, Augustín, or Dom, and knew nothing about why they were friends with each other.
Looking’s season finale ends where it all began, with Patrick and Richie living together as roommates, watching The Golden Girls on their laptop in bed. For a relationship that has been framed as the central one of the show, the writers seem not to be very interested in it. Patrick’s season long arc was to get himself into a half-hearted love triangle with a hot British videogame designer and an even hotter Mexican barber. Agustín spent most of the season moping around and being casually racist before being brutally dumped by a blank slate of a character whom I’ve just now learned is named Frank. It would have really served the show to focus just one episode on Patrick and Agustín’s friendship, if that is the relationship the viewers are ultimately supposed to be invested in.
If Patrick was a little awkward on his date last week, in this episode he takes his nervous, spazzy outbursts to cringe-inducing, questionably racist new lows. Remember Richie, the sexy Latin doorman Patrick brushed off on MUNI? Patrick decides to date him, but only as a “fuck buddy” instead of a potential “boyfriend”.