“Looking” at Patrick as an Antihero

I decided to do some more digging into my earlier claim that Patrick from the new HBO series Looking is an asshole, and found some compelling evidence to support my theory. Whether he plays it off as humor or slides it casually into conversation, his words and actions demonstrate his snippy demeanor, aggressive attitude, and constant typification of himself and those around him.

He seems to be most outwardly vicious to his close friends, where he can say what he wants and get away with it. First thing in the morning, after Agustin and Frank hook up and Agustin emerges in the kitchen, Patrick shoots Agustin a Look and lets him know he could hear them this morning.

Soon after, as Patrick and Dom are helping Agustin pack up a car to move to Oakland, Patrick is smugly speculating the status of his burgeoning relationship with Richie. Whether casual or the “real thing,” Patrick asserts that he’s “gonna get [him]self a Mexican fuck buddy whether you like it or not.” Sure, it’s played for laughs, but it also says something about how Patrick views other people, as commodities for a story to tell his friends, rather than a genuine connection.

With others, however, Patrick says less of what he wants and more of what he wants to embody; ironically, showing his true colors by becoming a facade, a quality I’ve come to now associate with Patrick. He regularly typifies and qualifies those around him, and himself, to categorize individuals into clear definitions – but managing to avoid viewing himself in the same terms that he views others.

Patrick makes up his mind and forms a concrete idea that is hard to crack when disproven later. Whether being surprised Richie isn’t wearing a hat on their second meeting or shock that Richie’s necklace is “religious-y” (without even noticing the necklace earlier), to searching Google Images for uncircumcised penises to prepare himself, his mind is quick to freeze but hard to thaw.

His shallow, immediate setting of expectations also translates to how he likes to perceive himself, ultimately leading to the deception of others. When he first meets Richie, Richie mistakes Patrick for an oncologist, which results in a flirtation match, but Patrick never corrects him – he just rolls into the fake identity that was created moments earlier.

His sense of typifying also crosses over to his friends, like at Folsom Street Fair. Patrick has, on several occasions, expressed confusion yet fascination with Agustin’s sexual preferences, both not understanding it but loving to hear about it. At Folsom, though, Patrick first evades wearing leather, associating it with the lifestyle of people like Agustin, by asserting that he’s not the “kind of person” that’s into leather.

Patrick is such a fascinating character because he speaks in such defined terms that he invariably contradicts himself time and time again. We, the audience, have the benefit of all his faces, but it will be interesting to see how long it takes those around him to catch up to the “kind of person” Patrick really is.

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