1. ”Looking, Marriage, and the New Gay Sadness.” The New Yorker’s Daniel Wenger on the HBO series.
“The aimlessness is by design. This is no shapely sitcom with memorable, freestanding episodes; the camera shakes, colors are muted, there is no soundtrack, scenes interrupt each other, time advances by skips and jumps. Underneath, Looking seems to sweat. The primary writers are gay men, and in the course of two seasons the hint of autobiography begins to express itself: an improbable, impregnable loneliness. Like Girls, to which it’s often been compared, Looking has replaced consciousness-raising with self-consciousness-raising, the pastime of those whose assimilation has ostensibly put them past politics but who can’t believe that politics are unnecessary when self-acceptance hasn’t been wrought. The effect of Looking is not, as the National Gay Task Force might have had it, to show straight audiences that gay people deserve to be citizens. It is to show that being a citizen only gets you so far when you have never thought of yourself as one. Plenty of people, straight and gay, are sexually immature and romantically inept; but Patrick seems as little ready to connect to another man, in any fashion and for any length of time, as when he was a closeted fifteen-year-old with no sense of being entitled to any rights, hiding what he had transformed into criminal urges under a blanket in the back of a bus.”