A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Looking explores the subject of sex and relationships among three gay friends in San Francisco with frank talk and sexual realism. Unbleeped swearing includes crass phrases such as "face-f--k," and you'll see simulated sex and some partial nudity, including faraway shots of male genitalia. Characters also drink socially, occasionally smoke pot, and visit dating websites such as OkCupid and Manhunt to meet men.
What's the story?
San Francisco-based friends Patrick (Jonathan Groff), Augustin (Frankie J. Alvarez), and Dom (Murray Bartlett) might be navigating different stages of their lives against the backdrop of the city's thriving gay community. But they're all LOOKING for the same basic thing: a sense of fulfillment. While Patrick considers what kind of relationship he wants, Augustin agrees to move to Oakland with his longtime boyfriend, and Dom reluctantly faces his 40s.
Is it any good?
Some have labeled Looking as a gay Sex and the City or Girls, and it's true that the series have things in common. For one, all three follow a close-knit group of friends who are exploring their options when it comes to love and sex, and they tend to treat the cities they're set in -- whether New York or San Francisco -- as honorary characters. They also put forth protagonists who are penned as contrasting archetypes, inviting viewers to find a little of themselves in each character's journey.
Although they aren't always likable, the men of Looking are refreshingly real, and the series itself explores some worthwhile questions when it comes to love and sex in modern gay culture. But what's less certain is whether Looking is something your teen -- whether gay, straight, or questioning -- should be looking at now or whether it's a show that can wait until they're a bit older.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the role sex plays in these characters' lives and how it compares to the lives of actual gay men. Does Looking play up the importance of sex for the sake of ratings, or is it striving for realism?
How does Looking's tone compare to that of other series centered on gay characters, and how well does it succeed at portraying their dreams and struggles? Teens: How have depictions of gay people in the media changed since your parents were born?
Is there one character you identify with more than another? How do Patrick, Augustin, and Dom measure up as role models?
Themes & Topics
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