It's the second episode of the second season of Looking, and after last week's campingglamping trip, we're back in San Francisco. That's good. The city is the show's best asset.
Patrick (Jonathan Groff) and Kevin's affair continues, moving from the office floor and the woods to its most appropriate venue, a sleazy motel. It's hard not to rail against them: Patrick is a privileged WASP, and Kevin (Russell Tovey) is English. They're like hot young versions of Bush and Blair. (Now there's a stomach-churning image.) But seriously, I can't help thinking about Patrick's hard done by ex Richie (Raul Castillo), the blue collar Latino and the only character who acquitted himself with some dignity in season one. But regardless of the rights and wrongs of their relationship, Patrick and Kevin are very sexy together. What's hotter is knowing that the actors are out gay men. I remarked to my boyfriend as we watched, "Do you think they're at it off-screen too?" That's the added frisson Looking gifts us.
Dom (Murray Bartlett) takes a back seat in this episode, although there's some awkwardness with his daddy Lynn (Scott Bakula) over their open relationship. That's not going to end well, is it?
Augustin (Frankie J. Alvarez) is back in the gutter (where he belongs) after getting trashed on drugs in the club. Privileged fags have that luxury, to get wasted and lay down in the gutter. (Or were we supposed to feel sorry for him?) Fortunately for Augustin, a decent blue collar guy came along to drag him up. Me, I wouldn't spit on the obnoxious bitch if he was on fire. But getting Augustin home meant getting him home to Patrick. Yes, it was Richie who found him drooling on the sidewalk, and so ensued an awkward reunion. Patrick was clearly gagging for it, Richie less so.
Richie's representation in Looking, and his fractious relationship with Augustin, is one of the most interesting, and important, aspects of the show. Rarely in gay media do we see any acknowledgement of class; race, yes, but rarely class. Looking tells us about a proud, blue collar Latino man, and the indulged Augustin, who only speaks español when he's trashed. (It's interesting that many in the black gay media took one look at Looking's cast photos, and wrote the show off as a "white show". In fact, in that first season, two of the six male leads were Latino, and one - Britain's own O.T. Fagbenle - black. Their loss.)
I was once told by a prominent gay playwright and activist not to talk about well-off, entitled gays, because that's how we're perceived by the wider world. But it's because well-off, entitled gays - like so many spoilt children in their exclusive city playgrounds - are most often seen and heard that we must stand up and say, "I'm not Augustin. I'm not Stephen Fry. I'm not the ghastly Ivan Massow." It's when we're silent that we end up locked out, and end up with movies full of college-educated trustafarians like the pretty people in Patrik Ian-Polk's The Skinny. Those characters might be black and Latino, but they're not an honest reflection of the lives of many black and Latino Americans, any more than those of their white counterparts in the likes of Queer As Folk are of white Americans.
Back to Looking's latest episode. Patrick was fretting over an unusual blemish on his torso, with writer Michael Lannan extracting every last drop of comedy value from our pretty WASP's AIDS paranoia. Can HIV ever be funny? Are we now post-AIDS? It was very funny, but it felt a little uncomfortable laughing at a hot young San Francisco bottom's (unfounded) fears about the plague.
Looking continues to go from strength to strength. If you didn't get it first time around, it's not too late. Don't miss out.
It’s high hilarity as Lauren Bacall, Betty Grable and Marilyn Monroe play three gold diggers on the make in Jean Negulesco’s How To Marry A Millionaire (1953).
Shot in glorious Technicolor and cinema-scope it’s a love letter to Manhattan and three of the funniest and most glamorous gals that ever hit Hollywood. Rounding out the cast are Cameron Mitchell, Rory Calhoun, David Wayne, Alec D’Arcy and William Powell as their intended spouses with able comic support from Fred Clark. The girls are gorgeous, the settings are fabulous, the dialogue witty and sophisticated. It’s the perfect way to ring in the New Year.
A recent article in The Guardian described the current series of Celebrity Big Brother as a "carnival of misery", an apt description that had me in peels of laughter. Hitherto, I hadn't considered what a "carnival of misery" might be like, but thanks to CBB, with its current cast of unhappy wretches, I now know.
Either deeply unpleasant, or just plain dull, this bunch of Z-listers and has-beens revel in sniping, bickering, name-calling, and above all, faux outrage. It washes over the Borehamwood backlot in great waves, like that freak wave in The Poseidon Adventure, leaving just as much devastation in its wake. Faux outrage, after all, is Britain's favourite pastime.
Tonight's "highlights" show (shouldn't that be lowlights?) saw yet another screaming match amongst the women, in scenes reminiscent of Prisoner: Cell Block H, but without the denim. The utterly vile American Cami-Li, famous (apparently) for being engaged to a nonentity from another reality series, had launched herself at former "glamour" model Alicia. Picture, if you will, a rabid hyena going after Bambi. Cami-Li's gruesome partner in crime was the truly monstrous Chloe, an Essex girl who sounds like she has rocks in her mouth, and who goes around saying things like, "I'm just really honest". Poor Alicia, who seems like a sweet enough girl, was repeatedly branded "thick", and told that even her family didn't love her. Ouch. Fortunately, Saint Nadia (she of daytime telly) gamely fought Alicia's corner, pointing out that it just wasn't terribly nice to say such things, to anyone, let alone a vulnerable simpleton like Alicia. But it was to no avail; her pleading was drowned out under the white noise of Cami-Li's screaming.
Perez makes love to a window.
Michelle pleads for the Gay Community.
You'd think that such histrionics would be enough for one night. But no. Infamous showbiz tattletale Perez Hilton wasn't about to have the limelight stolen by the Mean Girls. After dancing around the garden (to Chloe's outrage: she glowered hatefully at him through the bedroom window), Perez stripped off to his underwear, and as the catfight in the bedroom reached its peak, he proceeded to grind against the window, breathlessly chanting, "Oh my God, oh my God, oh my God. Oh! Oh my God!" The women in the bedroom were Offended. Calum Best was stunned. Perez meanwhile simulated an orgasm, exclaiming blissfully, "I just came". And then, after a final flurry of expletives, the storm in the bedroom abated - briefly. Michelle Visage hurried to the diary room to protest, not against Cami-Li's horrific bullying, but Perez's outrageous antics. "What we just witnessed," she said, oozing faux outrage (it's contagious), "was an outrage... I'm outraged for an entire community that has been fighting for equality for so long. And that one of our people can run around in his underwear, make sexually explicit movements, be bothersome to these girls, and set our community back fifty years. We've been fighting this fight every day for equal rights... I do not want people judging the gay community on this ass."
Well, gee, thanks Michelle. Thanks for flagging that up. What would we do without you?
"There's so much more to these people than that," she sobbed. 'These people'? Really? Who made Visage a spokesperson for the LGBT community? Did I miss that memo?
Self-appointed LGBT martyrs ain't all they're cracked up to be. Trust me, I know. Last year I discovered, to my detriment, what it's like to have the rug pulled out from under you. What's that quote; "the time has come... to denounce false teachers and attack false gods"? Word.
The one bright spark amidst this gloomy gathering is Perez Hilton, who describes himself as a "producer's wet dream". His behaviour is jaw-dropping, and relentless - and relentlessly entertaining. He's disgraceful, awful, way, way, over the top, and frequently monstrous. And he's hilarious. That's what Celebrity Big Brother is all about. Not martyrs. Not faux outrage. And, God help us, not Katie Hopkins.
"I would also like to take this opportunity to squash the persistent rumours about mysterious 'disappearances' and emphasize that rural and urban areas are now enjoying a life of harmony and peace. I'm sure you're glad to hear this. And I'm happy you're glad."