Photo by JUCO
Sure, we love Looking, and you probably do too. Unfortunately, an enthusiastic fan-base is only a fraction of what a show requires to be deemed successful and have offerings for new seasons.
But shows like this that so seamlessly integrate themselves into the bigger picture have the potential to transcend the need for numbers. In an open letter to HBO, writer Jim Halterman breaks down the importance of Looking to a contemporary gay audience when topics like marriage equality, and HIV prevention – things that seem a bit removed from the collective population but are everyday occurrences for us – can be talked about so freely on a TV show.
The show deftly tackles a number of issues grounded in the kind of reality that everyone can relate to like monogamy vs. open relationships, money coming between friends and dealing with your family. Specifically for the gay community, this season has also tackled the controversy and debate surrounding PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis) and a negative guy dating an HIV-positive guy. Lannan and his team of phenomenal writers (and directors, led by exec producer Andrew Haigh) never have a heavy hand when exploring any of these topics. They’re portrayed as a part of life and also in a manner that talks to us, as opposed to at us, when educating, entertaining and just making us feel like we’re a part of the conversation, the world and not merely watching it from the outside.
The show also has a great deal of visibility when it comes to diversity in the gay community. The second season’s resident bear, Daniel Frazese, said that he never saw himself in much of the gay representation in media, and that made it hard to relate. But Looking does a praise-worthy job of not making everything about the toned white gays that represent the majority of the LGBT community in advertising and some television.
The importance of shows like this go beyond how much money cable networks can make or how good of a product the show can become. Everyone needs representation in media in some form so they know society isn’t blind to them, and Looking is a turning point in the way people see the LGBT community. We need a third season.
Read Halterman's full letter to HBO here.