By Kevin OKeeffe
Originally published on Advocate.com January 27 2014 4:29 AM ET
Since Looking's debut last week, the Internet has become preoccupied with one aspect of the new HBO show: Is it boring? Rich Juzwiak at Gawker and J. Bryan Lowder at Slate argue yes. Richard Lawson at Vanity Fair argues no. We wrote last week that the series was tame to start, but it definitely needed to pick up the pace this week. And it did — kind of. While Agustín (Frankie J. Alvarez) was mired in a plot that was basically about being boring — moving to Oakland, which means he must stay in every night, or something — other leads Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Dom (Murray Bartlett) got much more to do.
Yet what was less dull was even more awkward, and you'd be forgiven for thinking Dom and Patrick's storylines this episode were inspired by a #ThatAwkwardMoment Twitter trend. Here were some of our favorite uncomfortable scenes.
Patrick makes moving Agustín into his new place really awkward
Agustín's moving in with his boyfriend, Frank (O. T. Fagbenle), which means Patrick is all alone in his place. Patrick and Dom drive Agustín up, mocking him for his encroaching domesticity, only for him to retort by revealing his and Frank's threesome last week. As was hinted last week, it seems like Frank wasn't totally cool with the ménage á trois, but he got Agustín to move in, so... All's well that ends well? For his part, Patrick's sad to see Agustín go, which leads to him quoting lyrics from the Golden Girls theme song. It would be funny if he showed a trace of humor, but it's played straight in such a way that's too sugary-sweet for two friends who really won't be that far from each other. Suffice it to say, it's entirely welcome when Dom breaks them up.
Dom hooks up with a theatre twink who sings in the shower
Speaking of Dom, a meeting with an ex-boyfriend has him in a foul mood, so he calls over the tiny and adorable Andrew Keenan-Bolger, a Broadway vet best known for his role in Newsies. The sex — up against a mirror — is pretty hot. Hearing him belt "Defying Gravity" from Wicked in the shower while Dom's roommate Doris (Lauren Weedman) gives him shit for hooking up for the "gumdrop" of a guy is decidedly not.
Patrick's Latin fever on his date
It wouldn't be hard to make a list twice this length with just the awkward moments from Patrick's date with Richie (Raúl Castillo). From inquiring about his religious necklace ("Is that Jesus?") to being way too eager to prove that he can be a casual-sex kind of guy ("We could just go back to my place?"), Patrick manages to make almost everything about their outing unbearably awkward. It's a shame, too, because Richie is clearly interested in him, but can't manage to get Patrick's nervous guard down long enough to learn something about him; "You're from Colorado?" he asks when Patrick is drunkenly rambling about his friends' expectations of him. It culminates in Patrick's embarrassingly off-beat dancing at a club — Richie must really like him if he puts up with that.
Dom demands $8,000 from his ex-boyfriend — in front of his clients
If Patrick's plot was the funniest this episode (and Agustín's the dullest), Dom's was easily the tensest. All he got from his coffee date with ex-boyfriend and real estate agent Ethan (Derek Ray) was some uncomfortable platitudes about having changed and wanting to start again. Dom, however, was only interested in the past — and getting back the $8,000 he gave Ethan to get clean after being addicted to meth. After demanding the money at a second meeting, Ethan rebuffs him, telling him that it was his choice to give him the money. Dom retorts by shouting about Ethan's drug-fueled past to his clients. Cringe-worthy indeed.
Patrick's giggly, unsuccessful romp with Richie
Luckily, things were increasingly silly with Patrick, who managed to get Richie into bed, only to accidentally bang his head against the wall while kissing, struggle to remove Richie's jeans and mutter "oh" when he realized Richie had a circumcised penis, despite Agustín's prediction that he would be. Of course, Patrick tells Richie he was expecting him to be uncut, making everything even more awkward. Richie left in short order after realizing he and Patrick want different things. Patrick was left alone, with nothing but a bowl of homemade mac and cheese.
BONUS: Patrick's midnight snack insecurity
Speaking of, Patrick's denial of what he was eating while on the phone with Agustín at the end of the episode was the best. "Salad," he said when pressed to identify the food. "A kale salad. With chicken." How very San Francisco.
Follow Kevin O'Keeffe on Twitter @kevinpokeeffe.