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Series / Looking

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Looking is an HBO series created by Michael Lannan that premiered on HBO on January 19, 2014. The story centers on three gay men in San Francisco, CA. There's Patrick (Jonathan Groff), a game designer with a considerable amount of insecurity issues and also a high level of social awkwardness, his best friend Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez), the queerest of the group, modern, hip and artsy and Dom (Murray Bartlett), a Don Juan who's turning 40 and is struggling to succeed in life, which basically means to him to open a Peri-Peri Chicken restaurant.

After two seasons, Looking was canceled by HBO due to low ratings. As consolation, a special one-off film was produced by HBO to wrap-up loose plot threads and provide closure.

Looking For Tropes:

  • Accidental Misnaming: In "Looking for a Plus-One", Dana mistakenly assumes Richie's name is Richard. In "Looking for Truth", Patrick can't correctly pronounce the name of Richie's cousin, Ceci.
  • Affectionate Nickname: Agustín and Dom call Patrick "Paddy", while Richie often calls him "Pato". note 
  • Arc Symbol: The escapulario Richie gives Patrick in "Looking in the Mirror" makes two meaningful comebacks later in the show, when Patrick reaches for it inside his shirt after cheating on Richie with Kevin in "Looking Glass" and when he takes it out of his "valuables" moving box the day he moves in with Kevin in "Looking for Home".
  • Better as Friends: Patrick and Dom hooked up at some point, but decided they were this long before the start of the show.
  • Betty and Veronica: Patrick's love triangle with Richie and Kevin is such a prime example of this trope that Archie Comics artist Dan Parent drew the trio as Archie, Betty and Veronica.
  • Big Beautiful Man: Malik, who the main boys all seem interested in before finding out he's straight and has his eyes on Doris.
    Doris: I don't want to oversell this guy, okay, but he's everything.
  • Bilingual Bonus: Multiple episodes feature Spanish dialogue, usually in scenes involving Richie.
  • Cast Full of Gay: Except for Doris, all of the main characters are gay. Not to mention Jonathan Groff (Patrick), Murray Bartlett (Dom), Russell Tovey (Kevin) and Daniel Franzese (Eddie) are all openly gay in real life, as are many of the show's guest stars.
  • Fag Hag: Doris is Dom's, and by extension the group's.
  • Foreign Cuss Word: In "Looking for Truth", Ceci calls Patrick "pinche puto desgraciado" and Richie calls Hector "pinche culero". note 
  • Full-Name Basis: Kevin likes to call Patrick by his full name, even in romantic situations.
    Kevin: Are you making me breakfast in bed, Patrick Murray?
  • Her Boyfriend's Jacket: In "Looking for Glory", Patrick wears Kevin's sweater to work.
  • Hiding Behind the Language Barrier: Spanish is used in more than one occasion to keep Patrick out of the loop.
    • In "Looking for Results", a high Agustín questions Richie on whether he misses Patrick. When Patrick, who is right there, asks what Agustín was talking about, Richie says it was "nothing, just drunk talk".
      Agustín: Ay, mi querido Richie. ¿Cómo lo hace? note 
      Richie: ¿Cómo hace qué? note 
      Agustín: Nuestro angelito favorito. ¿Extrañas a tu angelito? note 
      Richie: Cállate, bro. note 
    • In "Looking for Truth", Richie has another conversation about Patrick right in front of him, this time with his cousin Ceci.
      Ceci: Pérame, is this the pinche puto desgraciado Patrick that broke your heart? That Patrick? note 
      Richie: Ceci, no empieces. note 
      Ceci: Todavia andas con ese güey? Después de todo lo que te hizo? note 
      Richie: Ey, calmadita. No ando con él. note 
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode's title starts with "Looking..."
  • Internal Reveal: In "Looking for the Promised Land", Patrick confesses his affair with Kevin to Agustín and Dom, who proceed to tell Doris, Eddie, Lynn, and even a homeless guy on the street. Patrick later tells Richie in "Looking Down the Road".
  • In Vino Veritas: During the Halloween party in "Looking for Gordon Freeman", Patrick decides to give a speech while having a drunken meltdown, which leads to him not only offending and publicly embarrassing pretty much every other character, but also getting a serious case of Loose Lips and nearly telling everyone about his affair with Kevin.
  • Kissing Under the Influence: Kevin, while drunk, kisses Patrick in "Looking for a Plus-One". Double subverted when he stops himself to say "I was going to kiss you", before actually kissing him.
  • Milestone Birthday Angst: Dom is a 39-year-old who hates that he's turning 40. He's a Casanova who doesn't want his looks to leave him, and has unfulfilled career aspirations that lead him to start a restaurant.
  • No Name Given: Doris's last name is never mentioned, while Agustín and Dom's weren't revealed until the final episodes of season 2.
  • Offscreen Breakup: We don't find out about Kevin & Jon's and Richie & Brady's breakups until after the deed is done.
  • Platonic Life-Partners: Dom and Doris are this until they decide to set some boundaries to their relationship at the end of season 2.
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Lauren Weedman, Russell Tovey, and Raúl Castillo were all upgraded from recurring guest stars to regular cast members for season 2.
  • Public Bathhouse Scene: Dom first encounters Lynn in one of these.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot:
    • Jonathan Groff has said Patrick and Kevin's disagreement (and eventual breakup) over the idea of being in an open relationship in "Looking for Home" was based on a real-life relationship of his.
    • Scott Bakula's casting in NCIS: New Orleans limited Lynn's screen time significantly in season 2. The only reason Lynn was back at all was because Bakula loved the show so much he flew from New Orleans to San Francisco on his days off just so he could be in it for a few more episodes.
  • Red Herring: In "Looking for the Promised Land", someone who looks suspiciously like Richie (and who just happens to be wearing the same cap Richie is known to wear) is shown from behind while he approaches Patrick at the party in the woods. It's soon revealed that it wasn't really him, but the encounter with the look-a-like immediately prompts Patrick to make a booty call to someone the viewers can only assume is the real Richie. Except it was really Kevin.
  • Right Behind Me: In "Looking in the Mirror", Agustín accuses Patrick of "slumming" by dating Richie. Cue Richie, who has just sneakingly entered the scene:
    Richie: Yo, man. What's your fucking problem with me, dude? Why don't you just say it to my face?
  • Right Through the Wall: In "Looking for Now", Patrick tries to avoid hearing Agustín and Frank's sexy times in the next room by covering his head with a pillow. In "Looking for the Promised Land", his annoyance at Agustín's indiscretion is a lot more vocal:
    Patrick: Okay, I'm sorry I'm not you and I don't find it attractive to get completely fucked up and drag some random person home, and then fuck him so loudly that I have to wear earplugs. I can't even sleep. I can hear you through the walls, just banging away.
  • Romantic False Lead: Brady is this for Richie.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The Golden Girls and its theme song "Thank You for Being a Friend" are referenced several times. In "Looking for Uncut", Patrick recites the lyrics to the song while saying goodbye to Agustín, which prompts Dom to call him Rose. In "Looking Glass", Patrick and Agustín mention having "Golden Girls marathon Saturdays" when they lived together. At the end of the episode, Patrick goes home to find Agustín passed out in his bed with an episode of the series playing on his laptop, which he then proceeds to watch. "Thank You for Being a Friend" plays over the episode's credits. In "Looking for Gordon Freeman", Agustín mentions the boys dressed as "The Golden Ghouls" on the previous Halloween.
    • It can be seen on Doris's scrubs that the hospital she works for is called Barbary Medical Center, which is an homage to Tales of the City and its 28 Barbary Lane setting. The book turned miniseries also gets a mention in "Looking Down the Road", when Patrick says knowing Eddie is "like having your own personal Mrs. Madrigal".
  • Silver Fox: Lynn is in his 50s, has gray hair and is considered quite attractive by other characters. Not coincidentally, he is played by Scott Bakula.
  • Sleeping with the Boss: Patrick has sex with his boss Kevin in their office in "Looking Glass".
  • Spell My Name With An S: Agustín's name is more often than not spelled Augustin or even Augustine, by both fans of the show and the media.
  • Title: The Adaptation: After the series was cancelled, HBO released a wrap-up film aptly titled Looking: The Movie.
  • Tuckerization: All three main actors (Jonathan Groff, Frankie J. Alvarez, and Murray Bartlett) seem to have characters named after them in the show: Kevin's boyfriend is named Jon, Agustín's boyfriend is named Frank, and Patrick's last name is Murray.
  • The Twink: Dom picks one up at the beginning of the series. Doris is not impressed.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Doris is one of the few characters in the show who is not male.
  • With Friends Like These...: Patrick and Agustín seem to be somewhere between this and Vitriolic Best Buds, with most of their conversations consisting of sarcastically calling each other out, both fairly and unfairly. So far Agustín has had more vitriol than the Patrick, though it's not completely uneven.
  • Workaholic: Dom in The Movie.