The Oscars were on tonight, you guys! The big winners were trans misogyny, triumph over slavery, and how shitty outer space is, which is truly remarkable because tonight’s episode of Looking was about all those things!
Last week, Patrick invited Richie to his sister’s wedding as a sort of condescending romantic gesture, and to convince himself he was okay dating a Latino hairdresser. We see Patrick getting dressed for the wedding while Skyping with waspy mom, visibly stressed ahead of the forthcoming meeting. Richie comes over to meet him, fresh shaven, and they’re on their way via Volvo station wagon borrowed from Dom. The boys hit the GG bridge (hello, gorgeous!), the atmosphere is tense, frazzled, and they pull over to regroup. Richie pulls out some pot to calm Patrick down and he loses it: Richie’s bringing pot to meet his family?! Richie can’t take Patrick anymore and takes off by foot, a true triumph over slavery!
Meanwhile, Agustin is prepping for his stupid sexy art show and, after Patrick and Dom are critical of his photos, decides to pull out of the show. He tells boyfriend Frank as much as they stroll along Ocean Beach and they fight — it seems Frank had to beg to get Agustin a spot in the show and, as Frank goes on, “I fucked a guy on camera so that you can make art!” (we’ve all been there, I guess?). It is soon revealed that Agustin paid CJ to bone Frank, and nobody’s happy — that, plus the growing distance between them motivates Frank to want Agustin to move out of their shared Oakland home. There ain’t nothin but shitty in outer space (the East Bay, duh).
Across town, Dom is getting the shuttered Punjab Restaurant space dolled up for his Portuguese chicken startup’s pop-up night, funded by Lynn. Tensions are high; they have 28 hours to make everything perfect. They get into a fight; Dom is grateful for the dough but doesn’t like Lynn watching over him like “some teenager.” Lynn gets annoyed, he thought he was his partner in… in this… and he storms off. So anyway, this part’s exactly like the Dallas Buyers Club, you should check that movie out.
But back to the wedding! As luck would have it, Kevin the Ricky Gervais boss is at the wedding with his boyfriend John; he’s friends with the groom, and he knows how to tie a bow tie (which Richie does not).
Patrick spends the wedding a bit distraught over his fight with Richie, which all culminates in a conversation with wasp mom outside the venue. “I don’t think you’d like him very much… he’s Mexican first of all, and he doesn’t really have any money,” he tells her. Patrick says she’s the real reason Richie’s not there, because he knows she wouldn’t approve. We all know he’s projecting, which becomes all the more obvious when wasp mom pulls out a pot cookie to cool her nerves, and tells him all of this is on him (GET IT, GIRL).
The episode ends with Patrick running into a drunk Kevin in the bathroom who (gasp!) goes in for a kiss (a snog?), and is pushed away. We all knew it was coming, we saw it a mile away, but even so! What will this mean?
The episode concludes with the wedding winding down, Patrick sitting next to his dad at the end of the night. “Forty grand for this,” says dad, “You’re not gonna want one of these, are ya?”
The last line is funny, yes, but we should consider one important implication, which the show has been touching on as a show about gay men in relationships: we live in a city where the gay community is finally able to get hitched, and therefore the pressure for gays to become serious, settle down, and marry is now present and strong. Patrick is certainly in no place be serious with anyone; he can’t even wear an escapulario without losing his shit, but he’s getting pressure to become part of a unit, from his friends and community. If the white gay struggle in San Francisco is no longer about health, belonging, and self acceptance, is it now about the same boring shit the rest of the city’s white people struggle with? (This is SO interesting, because this exact same question was posed by Dame Judi Dench in Philomena).
So! We have just one episode left in season 1, and it was announced earlier this week that Looking has officially been renewed for a second season, coming in (whoa!) 2015. I’m very much looking forward to a second season, because I have seen the first eight episodes as more of a prequel. I’ve mentioned continuously that the build-up has been slow, and I think it’s purposeful — because Looking has been warming us boring people up to the existence of a very smart show focused entirely on gay men on our TV boxes. Despite the beej scenes, this is mainstream TV, because with the success of this show, we have just slightly nudged the mainstream over a smidge. Just a touch.
Spotted in this episode: Pkok on Haight (between Pierce and Scott), Punjab Restaurant on 24th (between Bryant and York), the Golden Gate Bridge, Fort Funston.