EW Community TV Show Episode Guides and Recaps from EW's Community

Kevin, Looking, Russell Tovey

HBO's 'Looking': The evolution of Kevin

On paper, Looking‘s Kevin Matheson is a jerk. He is a man in a serious relationship having an affair with one of his subordinates. When he and Patrick first hooked up in the first-season finale, it seemed clear that Kevin was taking advantage of Patrick. He was extremely aggressive, making it almost impossible for Patrick to say no to him. (He is the boss, after all.)

I expected that season two would begin with Kevin being dismissive of Patrick and behaving as though what they’d shared was no big deal. I was prepared to hate him, even as I greatly enjoyed the chemistry the two characters shared.

It is a testament to both the layered writing and the heartbreakingly tender performance of Russell Tovey that Kevin has not become a caricature of an asshole. Instead, he is a fully three-dimensional character who is struggling through a less-than-ideal situation. Kevin is not nonchalant about playing with Patrick’s feelings, even if he can’t truly grasp the way that his relationship with Jon affects him.

Kevin clearly has genuine feelings for Patrick and a desire to be with him the way Patrick wants him to be. Watching their relationship develop, it’s hard not to see how blissfully happy they could be under different circumstances. So much of what Kevin does seems so wonderful until you remember that this is an affair; that it’s not real. This is a beautifully intimate relationship developing in a world where it can’t exist.

Even though Kevin’s inability to end things with Jon is what is standing in the way of moving forward with Patrick, he still manages to garner sympathy. Life is complicated. Relationships are complicated. Sometimes a person craves a way out while at the same time he is incapable of seeing one.

Kevin’s relationship with Jon is a real thing, with a real live human being who moved across the ocean to be with him. Ending his relationship with Jon would set off a chain reaction—one that would be significantly unpleasant for all involved. It is messy, and not at all simple, even though it’s so tempting to see cheating in terms that are strictly black and white.

This is not to say that infidelity should be condoned or that Kevin shouldn’t be held accountable for the decisions he’s made. Certainly his choices alone have led him to this place. He pursued Patrick when Patrick was perfectly prepared to respect his unavailability. He got involved in a relationship with someone who isn’t his partner, and he did it without any plans to end his existing commitment. He continued to allow things with Patrick to progress, even as he went home each night to Jon’s bed. There is no question that Kevin is responsible for the predicament in which he finds himself.

That is precisely what makes him so appealing. He is human and he is flawed. He has made mistakes—big ones—and now he must live with the consequences. He has identified the life he wants to live, but feels powerless to actually live it. He has no right to ask Patrick to wait for him, and he knows it, but it is still agonizing to watch as Patrick walks away. There is something relatable to that feeling: wanting something, but knowing that you’re not entitled to it.

Kevin is the creator of his own misery, and yet somehow I still ache for him. Looking has done a tremendous job of bringing humanity to a character who so easily could have just been gross. I don’t know what the future holds for Patrick and Kevin, but I do hope for Kevin’s happiness as much as anyone’s.

Looking airs on Sundays at 10/9C on HBO.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

You May Like