I was talking to a friend last week who does some TV writing of his own and we were saying that while Looking remains full of promise and is beautifully shot, its holes and disappointments come down mostly to the writing. "It's like these are gay people who are acting as surface-grazing anthropologists of their own culture," he said, "Rather than just being interesting characters living their lives." But now that we know we are definitely getting a second season, probably next year, I'm looking forward to there being something more to chew on, and laugh at, later on.
That said, some big shit actually happens in Episode Seven. Finally. Right as the season is about to end.
First, though, we have to get through the slowest paced and most irritating of our plotlines: Augustin and his photography, and his relationship. Is it actually interesting that he paid a hooker to sleep with his boyfriend and then took pictures of it? Kinda not. Patrick basically tells him so in the first scene of this episode, but it's more like, "Ew this is kind of weird" rather than "This is just kind of lame." Augustin knows it's kind of lame, though, and he ends up bowing out of his group show in the least dramatic, most pretentious plot twist so far this season. More on this in a second.
Patrick and Richie's storyline continues with the preparation to go to Patrick's sister's wedding and we find out that he made a last-minute request to bring a plus-one as his mother complains on Skype that it threw the wedding planner for a bit of a loop with the table settings. Patrick's tension around this only makes Richie sensitive, and things blow up in the car ride over the Golden Gate over Richie trying to tie Patrick's bowtie while watching a how-to on YouTube. They pull over on the Marin side and Richie tries to get Patrick to smoke some pot, which makes Patrick all uptight and annoyed that Richie would bring pot to his sister's wedding. Richie then storms off in a completely unrealistic gesture, because for one, how is he going to get back home from there? And also, would you really do that to someone, when their family is expecting you at the wedding?
Factual/Logistical Check Time: You do not need to take the Golden Gate Bridge to get to the Presidio Chapel.
Patrick arrives, his mother Dana (in another marvelous out-of-'80s-TV casting move she's played by the wonderful Julia Duffy of Newhart fame) is as WASPy as we've been lead to expect, and surprise! Kevin, his flirty gay boss is there, because coincidentally his hot boyfriend John is best pals with the groom. And guess who knows how to tie a bowtie without a how-to? Yeah.
Patrick's sister gets all meddle-y, making me immediately dislike her, trying to get Kevin's boyfriend to propose to him then and there, at the reception (in Tiburon or Belvedere someplace), all because she's never been to a gay wedding and that "has to happen like yesterday." John says they're "way too young in gay years" for that to happen, and then she adds insult to everything saying Patrick can be "the bridesmaid." Things get even grosser at this wedding when we get to the dinner part of the reception and Patrick's dad gets up to give a speech, thanking his new son-in-law for "having his own money... Thank you, Silicon Valley!" Ugh.
The funniest part about the wedding is the cake, which is some kind of lollipop cake and as Patrick tells Richie in an apologetic voicemail, "It's not even a cake at all." We see one hilarious shot of Patrick's mom trying to eat one of the lollipops and then just putting it down.
Meanwhile, Dom is scrambling with his non-boyfriend Lynn (Scott Bakula), and the help of roommate and Best Character on the Show, Doris, to clean up Punjab Restaurant for his peri-peri chicken pop-up (Punjab, p.s., at 24th and Bryant, remains open despite being papered over for the purposes of the show). Things are tense there as well, with a filthy restaurant and just over 24 hours to pull it all off. Dom ends up blowing up at Lynn about feeling like he's being treated like a teenager, and Lynn uses the word "partners" as in business, but they are totally acting like a couple already. Doris, rightly, sets him straight by the end of the episode, saying, "Some people really just want to help."
We finally see a major crack in the relationship of Augustin and Frank while on a hike at Fort Funston, with Augustin admitting he pulled out of the show, and then getting all defensive when Frank says he put himself out there to help and tells Frank, "You were in heaven" having sex with CJ. But, he also tells Frank that he's been paying CJ $220 an hour for all these visits despite not being able to pay rent, and Frank says, "I want to fucking tear your eyes out right now." Yeah, it's bad. And Frank tells him to pack his shit up and move out. I foresee Patrick supporting him for a bit, or letting him come back to the Lower Haight rent-free or something, even though I'd rather he just moved to Portland or L.A.
But let's get back to Julia Duffy. Patrick finds her outside during the reception and they have a big talk about how she's the reason Richie isn't there because, like many gay men, Patrick judges every guy he's with by how his judgey mother is going to judge them. Julia Duffy is not having this, though, and she rightly tells him, "If he's not here, that's on you, sweetie." Then he sees her nibbling something hidden in her clutch and it turns out to be a marijuana edible, a marshmallow crispy treat to be exact. "It really helps since I went off the Lexapro." Awesome.
A drunk Kevin then corners Patrick in the bathroom and finally kisses him. And in yet another totally unrealistic move, Patrick pushes him away!! Even though he's been drinking for hours and feeling lonely at his sister's wedding, and Richie hasn't even texted back, and he's been staring at Kevin and his boyfriend dancing and wanting to make out with Kevin since he first met him?! This would never happen, and once again the writers are creating some kind of alternate gay universe where people have no fun at Folsom Street Fair and never make out drunkenly with guys who have boyfriends. I call bullshit for the umpteenth time.
The show does end with a great moment though, if a slightly pandering one in our brave new world of marriage equality: Patrick's dad, sitting in the reception hall alone with Patrick as people filter out, says, "Forty grand for this thing." [Beat.] "You're not gonna want one of these are you?"