Rick Nelson and Claude Peck dispense unasked-for advice about clothing, etiquette, culture, relationships, grooming and more.


CP: Episode two of “Looking,” HBO’s dramedy about three gay male friends in contemporary San Fran, airs tonight. We got an advance look at the first four episodes. Initially I was lukewarm, but it’s growing on me.


RN: The plot isn’t exactly jet-propelled. But so far, I want to get to know the characters better. Most of them, anyway.


CP: Lemme guess: Your favorite is Dom, the waitron at Zuni Cafe.


RN: I love the actor, Murray Bartlett. “Sex and the City” savants will remember his memorable turn as the Aussie who was briefly Carrie Bradshaw’s gay pet. Since that 2002 appearance, Bartlett appears to have done nothing but work toward becoming the P90X spokesmodel.


CP: The season opener has a hilarious throwaway line by him. After a younger waiter at work rebuffs Dom’s proposition, Dom fumes that that has never happened to him. And he’s 40.


RN: He’s the Samantha Jones of “Looking.” With a mustache.


CP: Since it’s being called the gay “Girls,” comparisons to its HBO-mate are inevitable. As with Hannah in “Girls,” I am alternately charmed and annoyed by Jonathan Groff, starring as Patrick in this series.


RN: He’s no Hannah on the irritation scale — and the far mellower “Looking” is clearly not “Boys” — but Patrick’s man-child ways definitely have an expiration date.


CP: Yes. How many times must we see him eating cereal from a bowl like a 9-year-old, and making the same obvious blunders on his disastrous dates? Viewers should pitch in to buy him a clue.


RN: Agustín, the third in the trio, might turn out to be the most compelling player.


CP: That’s Frankie Alvarez, more a stage actor than a TV guy, although he was in “Smash.”


RN: Well, his role on that ill-fated series was “Actor No. 6,” so I’m not sure if that counts.


CP: I like him because he doesn’t slot easily into a “type.” Just like the two guys in “Weekend,” the low-key indie romance by “Looking” director Andrew Haigh.


RN: Agustín is one of several examples of a manscaping-free cast, a signal that the producers went all out to accurately depict the hirsute aesthetic of modern-day gay SFO.


CP: Let’s not forget a shout-out to Lauren Weedman as Doris, Dom’s delightfully sarcastic roomie.


RN: Absolutely. In the 1990s, she would have been played by Camryn Manheim. Then there’s the aging-superbly Scott Bakula, who killed it in HBO’s “Behind the Candelabra.” This time he’s playing an I’m-not-sure-what for Dom. Friend? Sugar daddy?


CP: Well, Dom’s Portuguese chicken restaurant isn’t going to finance itself. Stay tuned.


E-mail: witheringglance@startribune.com

Twitter: @claudepeck and @RickNelsonStrib