Looking TV Poster Image




Gay friends search for sex and fulfillment in San Francisco.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Friendship is an enduring theme, but the series also questions the wisdom of romantic relationships and whether they can truly last. Intimacy versis sex is a major conflict.

Positive role models

The main characters are imperfect and make far-from-impeccable choices, but their friendship is strong, and they've formed a makeshift family to support each other.

Not applicable

The series centers on the characters' love lives. Sexual activity isn't constant but includes partial nudity (bare chests and buttocks) and some faraway full-frontal shots, with simulated intercourse and implied oral sex. Some characters have sex with multiple partners and strangers, and safe sex isn't emphasized.


Unbleeped swearing includes "f--k," "s--t," "c--k," and "c--t," plus sexually charged terms such as "hand job," "blow job," "f--k buddy," "finger-f--k," and "face-f--k."


Characters use websites such as OkCupid and Manhunt.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Characters drink socially, and one main character smokes pot regularly.

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.

Parents say

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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.

Families can talk 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?

TV details

Cast:Frankie J. Alvarez, Jonathan Groff, Murray Bartlett
TV rating:TV-MA
Available on:Streaming

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Teen, 16 years old Written byjesster113 January 28, 2014


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