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View Full Version : Can somebody please explain the hatred for "Looking"?


Don Draper
03-25-2015, 11:43 AM
HBO is reportedly pulling the plug on the show Looking (http://www.towleroad.com/2015/03/hbo-reportedly-canceling-looking-may-wrap-up-series-in-film.html). There is much rejoicing by many folks with whom I am Facebook friends. Curiously, ISTM this show is hated most virulently not by gay-hating evangelical Christians or right-wing Tea-baggers, but by gay men - the very audience / demographic this show ought to appeal to. I have seen people post that "Looking is worse than AIDS!" This has been posted, mind you, by gay men friends of mine who are old enough to remember the 1980s and really, really should know better.

I am not a huge "Looking" fan. I watched it only a handful of times, I thought it was OK, and of the maybe four episodes I saw in entirety I liked one very much, and the others kind of breezed by. it just didn't appeal to me enough to make a point of tuning in. The problem for me was that I didn't see anything in it to get excited about one way or another. I didn't fall in love with it, but on the other hand I certainly wasn't enraged by it as some people are.

The most common criticism is that it's characters are narcissistic and self-absorbed. OK, yes they are. But this is really one of the more honest elements of the show. Perhaps i am just being the cranky old man here, but as a gay 40+ man who came out in the age of ACT-UP and AIDS activism, 20-something gay millenials are quite frankly a narcissistic bunch of preeners. The characters on this show are actually less self-involved than a lot of young gay men I have met in the past 10 years. And it's not like the show is just pandering to a narcissistic audience; it recognizes and makes a point of demonstrating the self-obsession and its ruinous consequences (that's the whole point of Patrick's entitled bearded friend. I imagine if the show continued several years on, you'd seen his arc go from being an entitled drug-addled brat to growing up into a more responsible mature person.) That the show recognizes and addresses it is refreshingly honest to me.

Then there's the charges of racism. I'm just not seeing how Richie is such a backward, embarrassing stereotype. He seemed like one of the strongest characters to me, and I don't see how showing him tell Patrick off (when Patrick was acting like an asshole) as being some cliche of an 'violent latino.'

The actor who made those comments about not being effeminate was an idiot. And yet, I don't see how his blunt comment deserved the massive amount of scorn he got. A handsome TV actor is a bit of a douche-bag in real life? Big Surprise! In other news, the sky is blue!

One thing I did like about "Looking" is that it was not squeamish about men-on-men sex, relationships and romance. Yes, gay men do actually do "gay things" with each other, and are not just the eunuch poodles to obnoxious straight girls.

One particular thing I've noticed and can't understand is that many of the gay men I know who've raged about the 'awful portrayal of us' and the 'racism' in the show are also devoted fans of "Will & Grace." They love it to this day even as they heap scorn on 'Looking'! But W&G was practically self-loathing in its portrayal of gay men; and racist? The one Person of Color on that show was a sassy latina servant who was called a 'tamale' to her face by her boss. How does THAT show get a pass on exactly everything "Looking" gets condemned for?

But then, maybe I just didn't see enough of it to get what other people are frothing at the mouth about. What are your opinions?

typoink
03-25-2015, 02:06 PM
I watched maybe ten minutes of a random episode. It featured two broadly-written pretty gay cliches having an argument about using Grindr. The dialogue reminded me, in a very bad way, of the most self-indulgent gay film from the 80s and 90s. My immediate reaction was, "nothing in this show will ever interest me."

It's pretty rare that I judge anything that quickly, but something about that show really turned me off.

Two seasons and a special on HBO isn't a dismal failure; they've cancelled much better (IMHO) shows quicker.

mr. jp
03-25-2015, 03:28 PM
I fully agree with the OP. I guess I would like to question whether gay people really do hate the show. I'm sure many people dislike it because not that much really happens, but I don't see where hate would come from.

Another plus for the show I would like to mention is San Francisco. Such a unique and interesting city, and you get to see a lot of it.

BaldDudePeekskill
03-25-2015, 07:03 PM
My husband and I watched a couple of episodes. Boring. But I also hated Queer as Folk too. The only show that I like with a gay character is the McCarthy's, and it's been cancelled

Jim's Son
03-25-2015, 08:12 PM
Right wing tea baggers? You really enjoy spewing homophobic attacks on people who disagree with you. The fact that the Tea Party is neutral on social issues is of no matter to you. Just follow the Alinsky rules of attack and demonize.

Don Draper
03-25-2015, 08:53 PM
Right wing tea baggers? You really enjoy spewing homophobic attacks on people who disagree with you. The fact that the Tea Party is neutral on social issues is of no matter to you. Just follow the Alinsky rules of attack and demonize.

Texan Tea Party extremism with anti-gay platform (http://www.msnbc.com/the-ed-show/watch/texan-tea-party-extremism-with-anti-gay-platform-275206723672)

Oklahoma Tea Party Candidate Supports Stoning Gay People to Death (http://www.slate.com/blogs/outward/2014/06/11/oklahoma_tea_party_candidate_scott_esk_supports_stoning_gay_people_to_death.html)

Tea Party Nation: Same Sex Marriage Will Become One More Factor In the Destruction of America (http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2011/06/24/253382/tea-party-nation-same-sex-marriage-will-become-one-more-factor-in-the-destruction-of-america/)

Majority (Tear Party) oppose gay marriage or civil unions (http://www.ontheissues.org/celeb/Tea_Party_Civil_Rights.htm)

Tea Party Congressman Compares Gay Marriage Support To ‘Fascist Intolerance’ Of Nazis (http://www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/tea-party-congressman-compares-gay-marriage-support-to-fascist-intolerance-of-nazis/politics/2014/05/09/87062)

Sounds REAL neutral on social issues to me. Who's demonizing who?

Leaper
03-25-2015, 09:00 PM
In b4 no true Scotsman.

typoink
03-28-2015, 07:56 PM
Right wing tea baggers? You really enjoy spewing homophobic attacks on people who disagree with you. The fact that the Tea Party is neutral on social issues is of no matter to you. Just follow the Alinsky rules of attack and demonize.

This might be the first time I've ever seen somebody use the phrase "homophobic attacks" used to mean "calling people homophobic."

If the Tea Party isn't "officially" homophobic, I think it's fair to say they have not done a good job condemming or distancing themselves from homophobic rhetoric.

Miller
03-29-2015, 11:49 AM
This might be the first time I've ever seen somebody use the phrase "homophobic attacks" used to mean "calling people homophobic."

I think he's calling the phrase "tea bagger" homophobic. Presumably because, like the early members of the tea party, he doesn't know what the phrase actually means.

typoink
03-30-2015, 06:00 PM
I think he's calling the phrase "tea bagger" homophobic. Presumably because, like the early members of the tea party, he doesn't know what the phrase actually means.

I may have been being a wee bit glib hoping he might notice how dumb it sounded

Wheelz
04-02-2015, 04:09 PM
I thought season 2 was better than season 1; the show found its voice a little more clearly and was more about human characters than stereotypes. I found the main character, Patrick, way too angsty and always overthinking everything, which was rather annoying. Dom was a great supporting character but Augustin never felt fully fleshed out. Ultimately, it kept me mildly interested (partly because it was fun to spot the filming locations around SF; and I was an extra in one episode!), but I won't really be mourning its loss.

I'm not really sure why they feel the need to wrap up with a special finale, though. The season finale works fine as series finale if you ask me. Not everything was wrapped up in a big bow, but it didn't need to be. I like it when viewers are allowed to fill in their own blanks once in a while.

Shalmanese
04-02-2015, 05:20 PM
I'm a straight man who lives in San Francisco and loved Looking. The vitriol against looking seems very similar to the vitriol levelled against Girls, another show that nobody watches but everyone has an opinion on.

Making a show about unlikable characters is a delicate balancing act and there are going to be people who never warm up to it. I think a lot of people went into the show thinking "these people are gay and awful, therefore the creators must think all gays are awful" rather than "gays on television have advanced sufficiently that not all gay characters have to be role models anymore, so let's explore some awful gays".

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