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Esquire (#110 of 13)

HBO’s Looking: It’s Not Gay Normalcy; It’s Aspirational Television

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HBO’s <em>Looking</em>: It’s Not Gay Normalcy; It’s Aspirational Television
HBO’s <em>Looking</em>: It’s Not Gay Normalcy; It’s Aspirational Television

“Find something real.” That’s the tagline stamped on the ads for HBO’s gay-centric series Looking, and, in the wake of the pilot episode, whether or not something real can be found depends on who you ask. Writing for BlackBook, Amanda Stern says this “essential new show” is “textured in something that feels a lot like reality,” and is “stripped of the self-conscious sexual referencing that reinforces stereotypes.” In a (hopefully) semi-satirical Esquire piece, which Salon’s Daniel D’Addario calls “astoundingly homophobic,” Mick Stingley (who is straight) suggests that Looking is too real for his desired comfort and entertainment levels, saying it “commits the heinous sin of being gay and boring,” and that its lack of “mincing” stereotypes results in “a portrayal of gay life [that’s] normal, tedious, and bland.”