HBO's Looking: A Show About Boring Ole Gay Life

The new HBO show Looking is earning praise for its realistic look at the lives of four gay men in San Francisco. But for others, realistic is just another word for boring. After years of groundbreaking programming like Queer as Folk, The L Word and Will and Grace, and a whole channel dedicated to gay programming, Logo, can a gay TV show even be newsworthy?

In this interview, Slate’s culture critic June Thomas said she likes how the show reflects modern gay life in San Francisco, but also thinks the show can be boring.

“This whole need to move away from previous versions of gay life that were seen on television, which perhaps had more flamboyant gay characters, has kind of rounded off some of the interesting edges,” Thomas said. “It’s all very well to say these gay people are just like straight people, but there’s something missing in that formulation.”

The gay TV show she’s more excited about, RuPaul’s Drag Race, returns for its sixth season in February.

“If Looking is about assimilation and rounding off those dramatic edges, Drag Race is absolutely the exact opposite,” Thomas said. "It’s about celebrating the very specific parts of gay culture that the drag world is known for.”