Nigel Campbell's picture

HBO's 'Looking' Writers Take On Show's Critics

If viewers of HBO's Looking think the team behind the show are existing in a vacuum, trust us, they're not. They're well aware of the controversy the show has raised both within and outside the gay community and they responded to criticism during a panel discussion led by Writers Guild of America-West's gay and lesbian writer committee chair Gary Goldstein on Tuesday. 

With regards to negative criticism from some within the gay community, staff writer JC Lee says (according to The Hollywood Reporter). 

 "Our gay community is looking at us in a certain way," said JC Lee, a staff writer on the show. "That there is one view of gayness, and we're not meeting it."

"It's a minority trap," continued Lee. "When you have a piece that showcases a community, there's this identity factor where if you're showing a certain kind of queerness, you're not honoring what queerness is. There's a sense their queerness feels threatened by a show that is normalizing it."

In response to criticism that the show is "too slow-paced" or even the dreaded "boring," staff writer Tanya Saracho says: 

"The B-word is what they keep calling us; you know, 'boring,' " said Saracho. "I would rather they hate it than call us boring."

Staff writer John Hoffman took on the topic further, saying: 

"Not to be in defense of boring, but that is very intentional," Hoffman said. "I think that has become part of the show. [The episodes] do feel like little half-hour indie movies."

These half-hour indie movies are in the vein of Looking director Andrew Haigh's indie feature, Weekend

Saracho also noted that the show's title, Looking, was the final choice after Homos and Golden Boys were considered. 

What's your take on the Looking criticism and the response from the team behind the show??

Do you feel like the show's hitting its stride or is something still missing? Looking forward to more Looking?

 

Comments

I said it best in print on the Huffington Post. Click on the link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-julian/looking-back_1_b_4714138.html

I think you hit the nail on the head, in fact.  I was trying very hard to figure out why none of this show actually appealed to me personally, a gay man of "a certain age", and I finally realized that I had completely outgrown that world, or maybe been left behind by it, depending on how one chooses to view it.  

Still looking for a reason to continue to watch it.  Giving it six shows, then it's gone.  I watch TV to get out of a normal sane life.   If that's the intent to show me my life (although I'm in Long Beach, not SF), I'd rather just go for a walk for coffee, and watch real life unfold at the shop :P

I think the show is spot on... let it build... It doesn't need to be hyper sexualized... The shows got a real shot if the writers keep putting in the comedy...subtle or otherwise and they build on the tension between Patrick and his boss #lookingoutforlooking

I like it and look forward to it each week. I hope it stays around for awhile! The only thing is that its hard to develop characters in a half hour...this last episode with just the main character and Richie was great and very touching...maybe it appeals to a more mature audience.

If the show didn't have a gay theme, would it be as interesting? I think the only reason this show has received the publicity it has, is due to the gay characters. I don't think it would have any audience without the gay ties. Sadly this show is lacking in the development of the characters and and the interesting story line that keeps the viewer wanting to come back for more. I kept watching, and hoping for it to get better, but have finally given up. 

I found it quite boring at first, but I think I get the idea now, Im getting to know the characters better now, and look forward to seeing what happens next,

I like it.  Was a little disappointed with the pilot and wished they would have done a better job introducing us to the characters, but other than that am pretty happy with it.  I think if we all just relaxed, took a step back and took it for what it is a tv show, we might actually enjoy it 

OMG. It's sooooo boring! It feels like each 30min episode is 2hours long! 

Maybe you are just lacking. 

It's SO GOOD! My boyfriend and I are obssed with it and it only keeps getting better and better. After we watch it we want more and more! Perhaps the second season should do the same thing as Orange is the New Black - come out as an entire series and get creative so people don't get too "bored" with it. 

But my verdict is 5 Stars, A+, Big Thumbs up. Right up my indie loving, slow-paced alley!

Thanks for making such a real, influential and awesome show (with hotties of all varieties to boot!). 

ps. Love the blonde woman in it. Shes the funniest.

Too white, and ghetto-nasty! Looking is a terrible show, almost as bad as Girls which is completely awful.

I just want to know how the lead character can afford that huge apt by himself now that the token latin  boy has moved to Oakland?  

That's a good thing, right? Lol. If the Latin gay man doesn't devalue the community.

I don't love it but I don't hate it. The last two episodes (4 & 5?) gave me a spark of something. I'm willing to give it an entire season before I render my verdict. 

I love this show. The slow pace, characters, locations and over all tone are a nice change from a lot of crap that is out there. I feel the characters are real, not stereotypes and I look forward to seeing where it goes. I mean how boring can a show be in 30 min? I'll take Looking over the self absorbed, non-likeable twits on Girls any day.

Flat, 1 dimensional, limited white only, or, damn near white Gay P.O.V. Seen this P.O.V. ad nauseam from Queer As Folk and the vast majority of Gay cinema. Next!

It took me a few episodes but I am absolutely in love with this show. It's a character study not an action film so it has to build slowly in order to pull you into the complexities of each character. I hope the HBO execs are patient with this show

After watching the first four episodes, I have to admit, it's boring.  I want to like it, but it just kind of lays there, flat.  Remember what made Queer as Folk so good?  It was compelling, edgy, and faced national issues head-on.  It was un-apologetic with it's sexual frankness.  Looking, well, so far it's more like Snoozing.  Having lived in San Francisco, I found gay life in the city to be unlike anywhere else in this country.  San Francisco is kind of a vacuum, so maybe that's why the show doesn't ring with many.  I think the show would have been more interesting if it were located in a more midwestern city/town, where everyday life for gay men is MUCH different, and more relatable to a great many people.  Unless you live, or have lived in San Francisco, it's kind of alienating.

This a good comment. I like this comment.

Is San Francisco life THAT gay?? all the time?!

In a word, YES.  

I love the show. It doesn't just showcase the typical white stereotype of gays like queer as folk like gays are suppose to go clubbing every night in Babylon and continuously fuck random men. I mean, if you want to watch people talk smack about each other, there's a reality show for that. If you want more gay fucking, then go watch gay porn.

Amen my friend!

I second this comment.

I think it's definitely boring. 

Dom and Doris are the only interesting and sympathetic characters that I want to watch.

They mistake they made, is that TV and movies are not the same thing. In television, you're inviting people into your home, and those people better be interesting. A movie, like a novel, can be an interesting slice of life and look at normalcy, but a TV show better turn up the drama and the fun.

My Thing is If You Dont Want To See It Then Dont Its That Simple Also I too Like The Simplicity Of The Show At Least We Have Another Show On Tv Because Even On Prime time People Are Still Not Ready For "Us" Sean Ssaves The World Has Been Cancelled ,The Normal ,Partners , Its Ashame And Even Most Weren't Happy With Glee And Its Queerness Soooooo....Cant Please Everyone All The time !!!!!!!!!

Someone likes the shift key.

"Saves The World" Missed Spelled That In My Rant !!!!

I hope the irony of misspelling the word "misspelled" is not lost on you.

You should be banned, creep.

The real problem with this show is poor writing. Every time they try to write for the LGBT experience, they fail to see that gay men are not all Greenwich Village/Castro District types, cruising for sex, incapable of relationships or struggling to keep them together. We don't all have vast amounts of money, we don't all care about fashion and 24/7 gym runs. We aren't all ageist, we certainly are not all GQ motel types. 

Some of us have families, aging parents we must care for, 60 hour a week jobs we struggle with to pay the bills, student loans, mortgages, etc. Some of us fall in love and spend the next 20, 30 or 40 years in monogamous commited relationships. We are all the same as everyone else, so stop focusing on a small, vapid, and insignificant cross section of our community and start seeing us as just REAL people. 

 It's too white, too 20/30-somthings, too std- positive still

To be fair, it's called "Looking" not "Monogamous," so that's probably why it's not about 40 year relationships.

Have you seen it? The characters aren't very concerned with fashion, aren't models, and don't seem that wealthy. I think the concern of most viewers is that it's "too real," so much so that it's mundane.

Hope it gets cancelled. 

I have accused LOOKING of many things. Normalizing queerness is not one of them. That would be giving the show a lot of credit.

And, it's self-hating.

I feel asleep during episode 3 and 4.    The last (ep 5?) the date episode was charming.  Maybe cause Jonathan's character showed some vulnurabilty.  Its just slow starting but its got to have some more highs..  I mean, they made the Folsom Street Fair seem boring!!! lol. 

I love it!

cus were not all sex crazed perverts looking to fill our hole 24/7... ok 85 % of us are but there not home watching HBO there out spreading Herpies...

Or maybe they are out there learning the difference between there and they're.

STFU Lol!!!

It has its moments. The first episode was VERY dull but the show picked up after that, My problem is with Jonathan Groff. Yes he's very hot but he's not that good of an actor and his character is extremely annoying. Also does he keep having to use the word "f**k" in every sentence? I don't talk that way and neither do my friends.

well i fucking do. and i dont think the characters swear that much at all. maybe you are just a fucking prude perhaps? ;)

:)

i find it boring. Peoples lives are boring, but a tv show shouldnt be. We want something I escape in, not be bored while watching tv. The main character is a nit wit and i just dont find anything good about just watching people walk around the city all day. i still watch hoping its going to be set up, but even if a show isnt about anything, ala seinfeld, it can still be funny or interesting. And this is not

The show does well at showing friendships and new relationships very well. Problem: it's too bloody short! You can't build an engaging storyline in 28 minutes with any of the characters and the cliffhangers aren't enough to make me say, "Ooh goody! Next week will be the bomb!"
I don't know if the writers/producers are intentionally drifting from what Queer As Folk did 15 years earlier, but they could learn something from its formula: one hour please!!

really? because i think many shows have been able to do it in 30 minutes?!?! sex and the city?

Looking isn't really a comedy

I like it and I'm not unhealthily obsessed  with Jonathan Groff. But I don't know how much it would resonate with a straight audience. Do hetros empathise with the characters the way we gays empathise with hetro characters or is there a double standard?

I love the show.  We are not all feminine and it portrays everyday gay life of everyday guys.  It's not about queens and femme gay guys- not all of us gay men are feminine.  Get over it girly gays!

Looking is for all the kids who don't have Netflix. 

I think the people who find the show boring spend too much time watching sensationalized reality tv. It's like they're expecting every tv show to be produced by Michael Bay, and include explosions, car chases, and gun fights every 5 minutes.

Looking has witty dialog and realistic situations. Not all the characters are immediately likeable, but that's part of the charm. Not all our friends are endearing every second of the day.

If Looking isn't for you, go back to your Kardashians and your "Real" Housewives. I'll take the real guys on Looking any day.

THANK YOU. Glad someone said it!

I think the show accurately portrays gay life in the US. Life has boring moments and crazy moments. So, the show has both. I remember Queer As Folk it was way more queer and in your face. I loved that series and was very sad to see it end. 

Sucks!

I LOVE THIS SHOW! 

I like the shows characters but feel like I'm on the freeway and there is an accident, I don't want to look but I do. The characters are interesting individually but the show is a sleeper and a bore and I agree with what a majority of my colleagues and friends are saying.  I will just say there is work to do and hopefully the writers will get in their groove

Thanks,

blakewoodsdesign.com

I've enjoyed the show since episode one who cared what other people think there's always going to be someone complaining about something.

*cares

The show is amazing. Living in San Francisco, being 29 and working as a designer, I feel like this is my story being shown to the world. Yes, Patrick can be very naive and frustrating, but I can attest to it being true to gay men in San Francisco. 

I agree with the critics, this show is very boring. I keep trying because I really want to like it. But I can't keep myself interested and change the channel. 

i love the show. btw...if you had called it Homos or Golden Boys, I wouldn't have bothered.

I think the critics who complain that the show is "boring" may have difficulty recognizing or coming to terms with the moments of monotony in their own lives. The show is reflective of a wider gay reality and clearly disinterested in selling the "fabulous" myth that we're all so desperate to believe.

Completely agree. We are not always "fabulous" and have normal, daily, ritualistic lives. We really need to show that side of the gay community to the rest of the country. 

I'm really enjoying it. Especially the most recent episode. It's gotten better each week. Hope it doesn't get cancelled.

I love the show

Me too, but I admit I wasn't impressed at first.

Add new comment