8 Best Latino Moments on HBO's 'Looking'

HBO's Looking wrapped up its first season earlier this month, leaving us with the most bittersweet and three-dimensional portrayal of a gay biracial relationship on television since… well, ever. The show centers on Patrick (played by Jonathan Groff), an uptight game designer "looking" for a relationship; he eventually falls in lust with Richie (played by Raul Castillo), a scruffy Mexican barber with a tendency to play the bass to Maná songs while naked in bed. What could go wrong?

Well, how about societal pressures, bouts of machismo and major attitude from judgmental Agustin (played by Frankie J. Alvarez), the Cuban American best friend who doesn’t want to share the spotlight with another Latino. Looking’s two Latino characters not only discard any hint of tokenism, but they also prove that there’s more than just one overarching Latino narrative. The fact that Richie and Agustin are as different as dia y noche is TV's testament that not all Latinos share the same experiences -- whether gay or straight.

Check out our eight favorite moments from Looking:

1. SF Giants Pride

San Francisco Giants Pride
 
When we meet Richie in the first episode, he’s wearing a Giants baseball cap and shooting suave pick-up lines to Patrick on the subway. As diverse as its home city, the San Francisco baseball team won the World Series in 2012 with 11 Latino players on the roster. The Looking pilot played a subtle-but-warm tribute to not only the Giants, but also their large and loyal Latino fan base.

2. Y Tu Accentó?

Y Tu Accentó?
 
Agustin was originally written as a Venezuelan immigrant with a thick accent worried about obtaining his green card. When Frankie J. Alvarez was cast, the character was re-written as a Cuban American who spoke English fluently.
 
“I am an articulate, well-educated Latin man, and I thought it would be interesting to tell that story,” Alvarez told Remezcla. “I identify as both Cuban and American, I listen to salsa and alternative rock, I speak English and Spanish. So, it made sense for us to have Agustin represent a new generation of Latino.”

3. Cut or Uncut

Cut or Uncut?
 
The series devotes the entire second episode to the topic of circumcision. Agustin plants the idea in Patrick’s head that since Richie is Mexican, he will be uncircumcised. Turns out Richie bucks the trend on that one, and Patrick ends up learning an important lesson about Google Image searches and stereotyping Latinos' private parts.

4. Cuban Mexican War

Cuban-Mexican War
 
Patrick introduces Richie and Agustin in episode six during a birthday party in San Francisco’s Dolores Park. Quickly and very bluntly the two Latino lead characters learn that not all Latinos necessarily see ojo a ojo. “You’ll come to see that both Richie and Agustin’s various feelings toward race and class will come to a head... and intersect in exciting ways,” Alvarez said.

5. Maná Sessions

Maná Sessions
 
After a hot night in bed, Patrick awakes to a nude Richie playing the bass guitar. The song he chooses to serenade his lover? “Como Te Deseo” by Maná. Actor Raul Castillo says he was originally drawn to the role of Richie because of writers' three-dimensional approach to creating a Latino character. Throughout the season, the audience realizes that there’s more to Richie than him being a one-night stand.

6. Catholic Gifts

Catholic Gifts
 
Richie may be circumcised, but he is still a devout Catholic. Patrick finds Richie’s escapulario (religious thread necklace) around his neck in the first episode. By episode six, Richie gives Patrick his own escapulario. For the white boy, the necklace becomes a sign of a foreign tradition he will have to explain to his mom if he chooses to stay with Richie.

7. Visitando a la Señora

Visiting la Señora
 
In episode five, Patrick and Richie go on a daylong date through Golden Gate Park. Richie reveals that he doesn’t have much anxiety for the future because he has a señora that tells him his fortune. They then decide to visit Richie’s señora, but Patrick freaks out about learning what the future holds with Richie translating it for him, so they leave. Patrick’s worst nightmare is to have his truth get lost in translation.

8. Gay Latino Establishment

Gay Latino Establishment
 
Looking has been credited with capturing an authentic San Francisco vibe by shooting in a lot of the local neighborhood hangouts. The fact that Richie works as a bouncer at Esta Noche -- a dive bar disco in the Mission District -- is a prime example. Sadly, Esta Noche is set to close down this year, leaving San Francisco’s gay Latinos without a venue to catch the best Selena drag shows. At least the iconic watering hole had its brief moment captured on TV.