We get our first snippet of semi-graphic anal sex in the second episode of HBO's new gay dramedy Looking, as well as a bit more humor and some nice shots of the Bay Bridge.
Here are the two most important things we learned from Episode Two, which is titled "Looking for Uncut":
1) The character of Doris, Dom's nurse roommate (played by Lauren Weedman), gets all the best lines.
2) Jonathan Groff's character Patrick is possibly the least savvy, least worldly gay 29-year-old ever to walk the streets of San Francisco.
The episode opens with Patrick and Dom helping Augustin pack up his shit to move out of his and Patrick's apartment in the Lower Haight (they shot this near Pierce and Haight) and across the bridge to his boyfriend's place in Oakland. Everyone knows he'll probably go into a social coma and be back in a year, but they remain cheerful and supportive, even though Patrick has a bitchy aside as they arrive with the boxes in the East Bay, saying to Dom in a stage whisper, "I forgot it's a basement apartment..." We get some pretty shots of the drive across the Bay Bridge, both eastbound and westbound, and they fit in an obligatory steep-hill drive on the S.F. side with Patrick wondering if the car's going to make it even though, as you commenters will want to point out, there was no real-world logistical need to climb that hill in order to get from the Lower Haight to the Bay Bridge... but let's lighten up here and appreciate that they're trying to squeeze in vignettes of the city's storied topography.
Augustin and Dom meanwhile are coaching Patrick to be prepared for his new trick Richie's probably uncircumcised penis, hence the episode title. Patrick is all wide-eyed and innocent, remember, and he'd never been cruising in a park before as we learned in Episode One. He hasn't been very slutty either, so the uncut thing is brand new to him, and he ends up Googling photos of it. And then, in the scream-at-the-screen frustrating moment of the episode, he tells Richie during their date (at Doc's Clock, and then at his apartment) that he and his friends had a whole conversation about him being Mexican and uncircumcised, and says it's a big "relief" when he finds out, while fooling around for the first time, that he is circumcised.
So, yes, for the straight audience, this is the to-be-expected Sex and the City-style plot point that centers around a bit of provocative sex minutia, and yes, gay men do actually discuss these things quite a bit. Would Richie actually be so offended if this guy he's attracted to said he was relieved that he wasn't uncut? Eh, probably not. But not everyone likes to be fetishized for their ethnicity or whatever, and Patrick remains the WORST dater ever. Sidenote: Groff is doing a hell of a job playing up the awkwardness, though, and this character is nothing like the pompous and confident men he played on Glee and in Taking Woodstock.
Meanwhile, Dom meets with his awful ex Ethan, who is just as douchey as we were prepared for him to be when he was described in the first episode as a Los Angeles realtor. It turns out that Dom gave Ethan $8,000 back when they were together so that Ethan could enter a treatment program for meth, and now that he's rich, if he weren't such an asshole, it would be nice of him to pay that back. But this leads to a confrontation later in the episode in which Dom interrupts Ethan in a client meeting, Ethan tells him that money was a "gift" and that he was grateful for being sober now, and Dom storms off. But first he takes a second to embarrass Ethan in front of the clients, screaming, "He'll screw you over, you know! Once a meth head motherfucker, always a meth head motherfucker!" Truer words, folks...
In between his meetings with Ethan, Dom goes off to distract himself with a guy on Grindr, who happens to live in his building. This leads to some very aggressive sex arguably more graphic than cable TV is accustomed to showing, a la that first sex scene from Behind the Candelabra with the poppers and a shot of Dom and the guy mostly naked (waist up). This would definitely be one of those avert-the-eyes moments for the straight guys like that vaguely homophobic Esquire blogger. But this also leads to the funniest scene of the show thus far, in which Doris comes home and hears about Dom's encounter with the asshole Ethan, and then hears the trick singing in the shower and says, "What, did you fuck the pain away with the cast of Wicked?" Two points: Doris.
Agustin and Frank's story continues with them on the couch watching videos on YouTube on a Saturday night debating whether they should go out. This was a moment cited by the Vanity Fair critic as one that should resonate universally with straight and gay couples alike: the inevitable, creeping fear of "are we becoming boring?" But rather than go have another threeway like they did in the first episode, they just cuddle up and stay in, because, obviously, there's barely anywhere to go in Oakland if you're gay anyway, and who's gonna cross the bridge at that hour?
The episode closes with Patrick lamenting on the phone to Augustin about his failed date while sitting in the kitchen eating his mom's aforementioned Ultimate Mac and Cheese. Alone. (Raul Castillo, who plays Richie, is listed on IMDB as having appeared in all 8 episodes of the season, so he's not gone for good.) This seems like a moment that more realistically would have unfolded via text messages, but maybe I'm just not a phone person. Anyway, the phone allows us this amusing closing moment:
Augustin: "What are you eating?"
Augustin: "You're eating something weird..."
Patrick: "I'm just having a salad. Kale salad. With chicken."
Even among the hipster gays, food shaming happens, people.
Update: It's already a GIF.