Every now and then a television show comes along that advances the stance of gays in the media. I have previously discussed Hunting Season and why that is meaningful to us, and in the same vein, this past week’s episode of HBO’s Looking was particularly meaningful in it’s own right. What happened in the episode to make it so important?
It all comes down to two words- honesty and sex. Let’s explore both:
Honesty– Sure, gay television has been honest before (a la Queer As Folk), but I have never seen such honest conversations about little nuances related to gays. In this past week’s episode, Jonathan Groff actually talked about douching to ensure that he was prepared to have sex. While it made me blush watching it, the fact of the matter is that it is an honest depiction of something bottoms in the gay world have to consider. Sure, the topic is blunt, raw, and could be labeled as “TMI,” but the no-bars-held approach that Looking used the other night when exploring this topic was appreciated. Sure, Groff’s character Patrick could have just hinted at it or just said he was excited to have sex; rather, they “went there” and that’s what I appreciate. It would be the straight equivalent of a diner conversation in Sex and The City. This conversation was considered appropriate when that was on the air, so it was nice to see that there was no difference just because Looking is a gay-centered television show.
Sex– Yes, gay sex has been on television before. Yes, shows like How To Get Away With Murder are pushing buttons in terms of this; however, the sex scene between Groff and Russell Tovey was extremely real and raw. Rather than “hinting at something” or showing a little bit, Looking went there and you knew exactly what they were doing down to the intimate details of the position. While some would call it borderline pornography, I would disagree, as I feel it adds to the real factor on the show. No one would even blink twice at Samantha Jones having multiple sexual positions in one scene, so why should it be any different for the gay community?
Overall, I commend Looking for what it is doing- unabashedly depicting gay life in a very real sense. It’s nice to see us becoming “no different” in terms of what is socially acceptable to discuss and depict.