Review: 'Looking' - Russell Tovey joins 'Looking at Your Browser History'
Last episode, Patrick (Jonathan Groff) screwed up a great date with potential husband material Richie. Are you ready to cringe at what he does this week?
Series creator Michael Lannan and executive producer/episode director Andrew Haigh appear to have a method to their madness. By having us relate to Patrick's increasingly relatable faults we should end up rooting for our hero as the series progresses. Based on the first four episodes that were screened for critics, "Looking Up Your Browser History" is the most transparent and formulaic in trying to pull this off. It's also the most transitionary episode of the series so far which, obviously, isn't always a good thing.
We start off with Patrick and his co-worker* heading to an industry party where, after a few drinks, Patrick ends up suggesting a hook up with Kevin (Russell Tovey), a cute British guy with a "very gay" laugh. And, surprise, it turns out Kevin is pretty much Patrick's new boss (Yikes). When Patrick tries to apologize to Kevin the next day, it just all seems a bit false. Kevin is - at best - in his very early 30's. Maybe a year or two older than Patrick? Certainly not experienced enough to actually use another word for "Manhunt" in referencing Patrick's browser history in his presence. Not unless he wants human resources walking down the hall. The interaction between the two is all a bit odd and leaves Patrick thinking his job could be less secure than he thought it was.
*To borrow Sepinwall's formatting for a moment, watching this episode a few weeks ago Patrick's co-worker Owen (Andrew Law) seemed a tad stereotypical. The second time around? Even more cringeworthy than I'd originally thought. Why does Owen have to be a self-referencing and self-deprecating Asian American? Why can't he just be Andrew's straight co-worker who happens to be of Asian decent, cool with his being gay and not forced to crack jokes about his ethnicity? Seriously, why?
Later, Patrick spends all night working on a new build for one of the company's games. The next morning he presents it to Kevin with a very prepared speech on how committed he is to the project and company. More importantly, he finally ditches his printed button up shirts for a much more attractive light blue t-shirt and v-neck black sweater! (Sorry, it's true. Patrick must own every printed button up ever sold at Urban Outfitters and we're only on episode three). In a not so surprising turn of events, Kevin lets Patrick know he was just playing with him and he was always going to be on his team. But hey, showing your commitment is an excellent trait, so good job!
One one hand, this scene sort of destroys any real chemistry the two characters have moving forward. Kevin is pretty much a pompous jerk (adorable British accent or not) and if Patrick had any self-esteem he'd immediately drop any feelings for his new boss. On paper, this episode probably looked cute and as an excellent way to create tension between the two characters, but it also just feels inherently false. Now you know why this was the weakest of the first four episodes. Happily, things get more interesting with "Looking for $220/Hour" so be patient. Past that? It's anyone's guess.
Some of this episode's other noteworthy events:
Agustín meets a sex worker
Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez), whose inherent unhappiness leads to his firing, ends up hanging out a local coffeehouse where he meets CJ (TJ Linnard) who just happens to be the most happy with his life prostitute you'll ever meet. Warning: You may or may not like how this storyline continues in episode four. It feels like the most polarizing aspect of the series so far.
Dom meets Lynn
First off, how about Scott Bakula's amazing abs? He's 59-years-old for Pete's sake! So, props to Captain Archer for that. As for his introduction to the show, Dom (Murray Bartlett) clearly likes his hooks up old school bathhouse style (oh yay, a San Francisco stereotype!) and, sadly, that's where he meets Lynn (Bakula). Oh right, in a steam room. You'd have to be blind not to see that Lynn is infatuated with Dom (and hints he has been from afar). Of course, we've already learned that like Patrick and Agustín, Dom is pretty naive at times. Even if he's going on 40.
Sigh, another LA diss
Seriously Michael and Andrew, you do realize no one in LA jokes about San Francisco in casual conversation right? It was funny in one episode, but again already? Perhaps we can have Patrick visit Los Angeles in season two and realize - shocker - it's not the cliche he thinks it is? Just sayin'.
The look of "Looking"
Yes, we've done it before, but can we just talk about how gorgeous this show is? Reed Morano's natural lighting is just…phenomenal. Scene after scene, Morano's work brings a realism to the series the dialogue often doesn't (at least in this episode). Give this woman an Emmy now please.
Best one liner:
"That make me sound like the Gay Men's Chorus. Everyone likes them in principal, but no one actually wants to hear them sing." So true!
What did you think of this week's episode? Did you watch or are you just gonna revisit after the Super Bowl?
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