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HBO's "Looking" Refracts Our Modern Social Media(ted) Life

"Instagram filters have ruined everything, and I can't tell if this guy is hot or not."


The new HBO show “Looking” will likely get a lot of credit for its well-drawn portrayal of a trio of young gay men, and it’s also a pleasantly accurate depiction of the city of San Francisco. But another thing the show seems to really get is relationships mediated by social media. There are some spot-on quips about Facebook, Instagram, OKCupid and Grindr.

One way to look at the show is that it’s really about social media, with the gay milieu as a spice. And the “Looking” of the title may be social media itself — every character engages through it or because of it.

At least that’s true of the first two episodes out of eight, which premiered at San Francisco’s Castro Theatre on Tuesday, ahead of their TV debut on Jan. 19.

There’s the character, Dom, whose roommate chastises him for Facebook-stalking his ex. “I didn’t friend him! I was just looking.”

When Dom goes into work as a waiter at San Francisco landmark restaurant Zuni, he complains to his co-workers about some of his patrons, “Kill me now. Tech assholes.”

Perhaps the best line is included in the trailer, below. Jonathan Groff (from “Glee” and “Frozen”), who plays the main character, Patrick, complains to his roommate: “Instagram filters have ruined everything, and I can’t tell if this guy is hot or not.”

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