‘Looking’ actors bring realism to gay couples

By Josh Alfrey

Although slow at times, the best quality of “Looking,” a new HBO series about three gay men searching for the perfect relationship, is its great actors.

Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez and Murray Bartlett portray genuine characters. They are wonderfully clever while not going too far and taking away from their realism.

Patrick (Groff) quickly became one of my favorite characters on the show. Groff brought simplicity to the role, which made Patrick come to life.

The episode felt raw, similar to the style of HBO’s “Girls.” It brings the audience into a small moment in the lives of these characters. It’s like a camera was dropped onto the street or bar where the characters happen to be. This style drew me in to each victory or defeat of Patrick and his friends.

Despite my love for the characters, the show lacked major elements. Even for a 30-minute episode, “Looking” felt incredibly slow. A few scenes overstayed their welcome by offering nothing to the characters or not hitting its comedic mark.

This brings me to my next problem with the pilot: the writing. Lines often fell on me as an awkward laugh or far too caught up in its own drama. While this may be a strength to some, as life is often awkward laughs and drama, I thought it detracted from the empty-handed characters.

I really enjoy how the show accurately represents the lives of gay men. Through “Looking’s” first episode, characters are not gimmicky; they’re just being themselves. Some are promiscuous (like Alvarez’s character, Agustín) and some are looking for a meaningful relationship (Groff’s Patrick seems to be looking for an actual relationship) And some are just as lost as everyone else. This healthy variety is incredibly refreshing to see on television.

This series could benefit from watching a few episodes before passing final judgment as the characters and plot develop. People looking for a very raw, yet clever show would find “Looking” worth their while.