762890_lookjjep102_9_20_0291In its first week Looking gave us cruising, awkward dates, a threesome and a Dolly Parton tattoo. And the second episode, Looking For Uncut, is focused around… well, you can guess.

The cut/uncut issue is raised when Paddy and Dom help Agustín move his stuff out the house – he’s off to Oakland, which, from the reactions the characters have given so far, leads me to assume it’s the San Francisco equivalent of London’s Zone Four: cheap, but not so many pop-up burger places and no chance of your friends visiting unless they really, really have to.

Agustín is teasing Paddy about his upcoming date with Richie, mentioning that he’s probably going to be circumsized, and this is enough to send Paddy into one of his freaking-out moments. A lot of people watching Episode 1 were irked by Paddy being so inexperienced, unaware and oblivious to much of gay culture and dating, and here it does seem like his personality merely serves as a device to help carry the story forward. But maybe there’s more to Paddy’s squeamishness?

Part of the reason his dynamic with Agustín works is because he is naïve and a bit stupid and Agustín is the sexually confident one. Together they bounce off each other really well, but you can tell from his over the top reaction to Agustín moving out that Paddy might be worried about coping without having his confident roommate to confide in. Case in point: when Paddy gets back home he starts Googling pictures of uncut dicks. Which isn’t going to end well, is it?

Dom, the designated driver during the gorgeous trip across the bridge to Oakland, is in a foul mood, and it might just have something to do with his ex-boyfriend, Ethan. They meet for a drink and we get to see what a complete tool Ethan he. He’s living in LA now, has made loads of money selling luxury condos, and life is working out great for him. He lets Dom buy his drink (a ‘Refresh’ tea, since he’s off caffeine – what a douchebag!) but their catch-up seems to have wound Dom up pretty tight.

Thankfully, because it’s 2014, there’s a way around that, and Dom later fucks a guy he finds on Grindr. It’s a nice, effortlessly-deployed moment – rather than making the online hook-up app a whole issue in itself, it’s just taken as a truth that some guys use Grindr for sex. In a later episode, we’ll see Dom frequent a bath house with the same nonchalance, and it’s kind of interesting that, despite being the oldest in the group, Dom is pretty well-adjusted to the newer facets of gay dating (compare that to Patrick, who is literally Googling uncut dicks this week).

Dom’s GPS-based conquest starts singing show tunes in the shower, much to the amusement of Doris. Later, Dom meets with Ethan again and has it out with him, and we learn that Ethan had a pretty heavy meth problem (well nobody has a light fling with meth, do they, but you get my point) and Dom gave him $8,000 to help him get clean.

If he’d kept that money and invested it in his own future instead of Ethan’s, Dom might be doing pretty well for himself, and you can sense that he hates himself for putting Ethan’s future over his own.

The scene where Dom starts shouting and embarrasses Ethan in front of his wealthy clients is tense, awkward and really uncomfortable, but this remains part of Looking‘s warts-and-all charm. Could Dom not just walk away? Nope, ignoring a problem by muting it is the kind of thing young Paddy might do, but not this guy.

762890_lookjjep102_9_17_0327Speaking of Paddy, he’s out on the town getting Richie pretty drunk, cooing over Richie’s necklace (“Oh, is that Jesus?”) and trying to ask where Richie’s family live without sounding like an insensitive middle class idiot.

Last week, Paddy’s insistence on doing the right thing and trying to be a decent guy ultimately led to his date bailing on him. This week, when Richie comes back to his apartment, Paddy’s over-zealousness about whether his date is uncut or not ultimately sours the mood and Richie date heads off.

Watching the whole thing happen from the sidelines is tensely compelling. You hope Paddy isn’t stupid enough to say something about whether Richie is uncut or not (he isn’t, as it happens), but he does say something, because with Agustín gone, Paddy’s trying to be a bit more outgoing and confident sexually, even if he doesn’t know quite what that entails. Better luck next week, Paddy, when you cross paths with the charming Kevin, played by Russell Tovey.

Thoughts And Observations

Does anyone else think that Paddy might not have been out very long? Or maybe he isn’t out to his parents at all – there was a throw-away remark to Richie on their date about his family that will be interesting to explore.

762890_lookjjep2_9_16_0284Agustín and Frank’s night in, in which they contemplated going out versus cuddling up with pizza, was a nice, honest look at FOMO syndrome. Frank’s line “You could just check in somewhere cool on Facebook” was brilliant. Will Agustín actually enjoy living out in the ‘burbs?

In fact, each of the characters has something the others don’t, which is what makes their dynamics so interesting. You can imagine Paddy yearning to have a night in with his boyfriend eating pizza, while Agustín would take to the bar-hopping and random dates like a pro.

Next week

Paddy is taken with big-eared Brit Kevin, played by none other than Russell Tovey, but is he actually gay? Meanwhile Agustín makes a ‘friend’ who charges by the hour, while Dom meets an older guy who might understand his lifestyle crisis pretty well.

What did you think of the second episode? Let us know in the comments section below.

> Click here to read Chris Mandle’s recap of episode one of Looking