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Why You Should Be Watching ‘Hunting Season’ (Plus An Exclusive Clip)

Why You Should Be Watching 'Hunting Season' (Plus An Exclusive Clip)

Like the
cancelled-just-as-it-was-getting-good, “Looking,” Season 2 of the web series “Hunting Season” was a vast improvement
from Season 1. Creator/Director Jon Marcus made some smart decisions with the
longer, uncut four episodes. He added depth to the characters of Alex (Ben
Baur), a gay writer looking for love, but mostly finding sex, and his friends
Tommy (Marc Sinoway), and oversexed lawyer, and TJ (Jake Manabat), who works in
fashion and has been asked by his husband to open their relationship. (Gone is
their sarcastic pal Nick (Jack Ferver), along with Season 1 co-writer Adam
Baran).

Whereas the first eight episodes of
the show were mostly centered on the guys getting naked and/or laid—which was fine
for the ten-minute format—it grew tiresome for anyone looking to form a
relationship with the show.       

Season 2, however, opens with a self-aware voice-over from Alex
where he describes becoming “the kind of person he used to make fun of.” Yet
“Hunting Season” is not judging the (im)morality of how Alex and his friend ssp
around as they each couple up (or triple up in TJ’s case) with new men.
Instead, writer-director Jon Marcus uses this baseline to allow the characters
to figure out what they want in a relationship. This is what makes the show so
engaging; suddenly, viewers can root for and care about the characters.

Alex is recovering from breaking up
with the two guys he was dating. He hits bottom when his sister Jamie (Quinn
Jackson) comes to stay with him for a while (cramping his privacy), and then he
loses his job writing for Gawker. As he meets a series of guys—Nico (David
Garelik), Luke (Ryan Barry), Josh (Ken Barnett), and even a hot plumber
(Michael Sirow)—he debates good behavior versus bad, and tries to change his
ways. The contradictions and complications are revealing; Alex is trying to
reconcile his fantasy of the perfect guy with the reality of what he
encounters, finding that truth is what will make him more attractive to other
men, and that through his honesty, he can discover who he is and what he really
wants.

That “Hunting Season” is so incisive
in this regard after being initially so superficial is its strength. Tommy, who
can have just about any guy he wants (and does) meets his match when he
encounters Reagan (Hunter Hoffman) his diametric opposite in a nightclub. A
hippie to Tommy’s Yuppie, and a top to Tommy’s bottom, the role-reversal plot
is hardly original, but the actors’ chemistry gives the opposites attract
dynamic its spark. The guys are funny and sexy together, especially when they
are both naked and being real. The subtext of their arc is that if unhappy gay
men cope by numbing their emotions through sex, why not work towards finding
total happiness in all areas of one’s life?

This is what happens to TJ, whose
character comes in to his own as well. He apparently enjoys the open
relationship a bit more than he thought he would, and is prompted to find a
sense of personal satisfaction after an all-day encounter with Aron (Nic Cory).
TJ, like the other characters, grows and grows up, learning some truths about
how some relationships operate.

“Hunting
Season” ultimately focuses on the power that is tied to and detatched from sex;
how it can be used for good or bad. “Hunting Season” is based on the blog, “The
Great Cock Hunt,” and Alex’s blog, which forms the spine of the show, is mostly
about sex. As someone remarks, “the audiences wants sex, and [Alex] has to keep
feeding it.” Marcus includes plenty of sex and copious full-frontal nudity in
“Hunting Season.” It will certainly lure viewers to watch, but this season adds
some real heart too, which is why one hopes the stories of Alex, Tommy and TJ
will continue for a few more “Hunting Seasons.” 

Watch an exclusive clip from the second season below:

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