Friday, March 21, 2014

We date with our whole selves

With HBO targeting a younger, contemporary audience with its recent programming, Looking emerged as a miniseries centered around the lives and relationships of 3 gay men in San Fransciso, California. From the wardrobe, to encounters, to the experiences each of them have, Looking stays true to the realism of navigating queer adult life. This, of course, is not without its faults.
While the show does revolve around 3 men, today I would like to talk about the main character Patrick, played by Jonathan Groff. Patrick is a WASP, twenty-something video game developer still trying to find “the one” any way he can, on OkCupid, at the bars, or cruising in the park, but it is by chance that he meets Ritchie on the bus. Ritchie is a very attractive Latin@ barber and part-time doorman at his friend’s bar where he is headed when he meets Patrick. Patrick is hesitant to talk to Ritchie at first because he is, after all, a stranger on the bus. For the sake of this post and to not give away too much of the show since I would like you to form your opinion on it, I will just say that Patrick and Ritchie end up dating. They click in a way that is very sweet and authentic with their first date conversation topics ranging from Friends to their respective families. Everything seems to be going great until it is time for Patrick’s sister’s wedding, which he invites Ritchie to as his date. Patrick’s stress of Ritchie meeting his mother becomes too much for both of them and Ritchie ultimately decides to not go. The conversation between Patrick and his mother after the festivities have settled is one that brings up Patrick’s overwhelming feelings to please his mother. Patrick refers to Ritchie as a “barber with no real aspiration to do anything else”. He creates this notion that he thinks Ritchie is not good enough to be introduced to his mother and he is really just asking for his mother to prove him right. His mother does admit that she is still trying to come to terms with the fact that he is gay, but does not make any comments about Ritchie himself.

            Now, this entire situation got me thinking about the implications of being queer and bringing someone that come from a different background, class, and culture to meet your family when your family is still processing the fact that you are queer. This is something that has been on my mind a lot, actually. I am glad that Looking bringing about this conversation to the table on the topics of race and class. The intersectionalities presented in this relationship are really fascinating to me because it brings up a conversation of relationships and what they mean to people and those close to them. This sort of situation is hardly portrayed in media with queer folks. I know I have critiques about it, but I am not sure how to separate it from my own personal experience, since this is something I am still trying to navigate myself. Until then, I will wait for the second season premiere and see what comes from Patrick and Ritchie’s relationship. 


Thanks for listening,
Stephanie Salazar 

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