There's a new character introduced in the Season 2 premiere of Looking, and he is literally too gay to function. That's right, folks — Mean Girls' Damian is now on HBO. Actor Daniel Franzese (who's now 36-freaking-years-old, if you can believe it), joins the cast of the Jonathan Groff-led comedy in the first episode of the second season, "Looking For The Promised Land." Franzese plays Eddie, a friendly bear that Patrick, Dom, and Agustín encounter while spending a weekend in the country.
Eddie particularly bonds with Agustín, who has found himself adrift since he gave up his art, broke up with his boyfriend, and moved back in with Patrick at the end of Season 1. The formerly arrogant artist is now much more humble (if still exceedingly sarcastic) — but with that humility comes a sense of purposelessness, as the character now spends most of his time doing drugs and wallowing in self pity. So he meets the cheerful Eddie at the perfect time, as the two spend a surprisingly romantic evening together skinny dipping in a lake in the California wilderness. Leave it to the always-positive Damian to turn Season 1's most controversial (and, let's face it, often insufferable) character into an actual relatable human being. Of course, Eddie also works with at-risk LGBT teens, so apparently he's just amazing like that.
It's great to see Franzese working again, especially for a prestigious outlet like HBO. Although Mean Girls is far from the only credit on the actor's resume, his roles since that 2004 film have largely consisted of one-episode guest stints on shows like Party Down, The Comeback, and Burn Notice, and supporting parts in small movies that nobody has ever heard of. His biggest role since Tina Fey's comedy comes right on the heels of a big life change for Franzese — despite being most famous for playing the fabulously gay Damian, the actor only publicly came out this past April, in a poignant letter addressed to his Mean Girls character:
Dear Damian, It’s been a long time since our last encounter. Ten years to be exact. I was twenty-six; you were sixteen. You were proud of who you were; I was an insecure actor. You became an iconic character that people looked up to; I wished I’d had you as a role model when I was younger. It might've been easier to be gay growing up.
So how long will Franzese be on Looking ? That's unclear at this point, although reports of his casting included that he signed on for a major "multi-episode arc." So far, IMDb only has him listed for two episodes, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that he'll appear in more. Damian was one of the best things about Mean Girls, and so far, Eddie is one of the best things about Looking Season 2. The characters actually have a lot in common — it almost feels like Eddie is just Damian all grown up. They're both self-assured and unapologetic about their sexuality and their identity, and their confidence has a knack for also making those around them feel better about themselves. Just like Cady Heron, the boys of Looking could use someone like that in their lives.
Images: Richard Foreman, John P. Johnson/HBO