The most beautiful change has been the show’s focus, in the latter half of the second season, on Lauren Weedman’s Doris. In my initial review of the first half of the season, I said that I wanted to see more from her; she’s perhaps the most intriguing, vivacious actor on the show, and she’d initially been relegated to the stereotype of female accessory clinging to gay lives — denied her own, seemingly by the script. Later in this season, however, she addresses this stereotype, and the fact that her close relationship with Dom has made her lose herself. When her father dies, Dom and Patrick follow her to Modesto for the funeral (which, despite being a funeral, is as emotionally subdued as the rest of the show). There, we start to understand that her codependent relationship with Dom has very deep roots. Doris finally, and so poignantly, makes sense.
The other thing I’d found curious was the show’s strange — but not entirely unpleasant — oversight when it came to the dictatorial presence of dating and sex apps in gay courtship. It was inexplicable that all of these “realistic” characters were spending their days out in the world, meeting men in the beautiful Northern Californian open, with disproportionately little mention of bedroom-bound, grid-scanning benders (a word combination that would have been utter gibberish a decade ago). I’d noted that this made the show seem more fantastical and escapist than it intended. The show began with Patrick toiling to perfect his OKCupid profile — which he quickly abandoned. But in the its final episode, after two seasons of real, bodied courtship, it was the virtual gay world that invaded — and seemingly decimated — Patrick’s burgeoning perfect life with Russell Tovey’s Kevin. It acknowledged that through the mundane but exhilaratingly real-life courtships, the virtual never stopped silently luring characters towards its game of instant gratification and isolation. It’s a cynical but perhaps fitting, and entirely smart, place for the show to (unintentionally) end. (We will, however, be getting a loose-ends-tying special in lieu of another season, so we’ll have to see whether that muddles or strengthens the thoughtful work the show has done in its last episodes).
The cliché goes that death is met with reverence, with the sudden exoneration of the dead for all their ills; at funerals, it is the positive attributes that are discussed. But Looking was addressing its own flaws just before it ended, and it fascinatingly managed to turn them into virtues. It had also been on air for just long enough for its crucial vision of gay boredom to become something to which we could become emotionally attached. Alas, there will be no more Looking “for Glory,” “for Home,” “for Sanctuary,” or for chicken — there will now be no more Looking for anything except another TV show that so candidly and centrally depicts gay stuff outside of traditionally victimized narratives.