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August 20, 2014

'Hung' - 'Mind Bullets: Bang Bang Bang Bang ... ' Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Jul 19th 2010 6:30AM
(S02E03) The latest installment of 'Hung' kept up the tradition of exploring the human condition through the complications that arise when the power struggle within the world's oldest profession is turned on its ear and dropped on its head. Basically, what happens to people -- more psychologically than physically -- when they enter into the flesh trade to rebuild their house that burned down and/or give themselves a smidgen of self-worth. You know: Every kid's dream.

Ray and Jessica's kids (Darby and Damon) emerge again to shine a light onto their parents' shortcomings as people. Despite the weird "if you weren't my sister, I'd try to get to third base with you ... but what the hell, I still might" vibe that is developing between Darby and Damon, they are proving to be the conscience of the show, at least for their parents.

In the season premiere Darby knocked her mother down a peg or six when she accused her of being unable to live without a man, tapping into Jessica's own insecurities like a Vermont syrup farmer. This time around, Ray is the tree, and the syrup is his personality. On an early morning jog with their jock of a father, the kids expose him as just another in the long line of steak-head sportniks, a direct antecedent of the ones who mock them at school, incapable of change.

The viewer knows, however, that a by-product of Ray's current situation is a more intimate understanding of himself as a man, one that has opened him up to being a more evolved human being. The jock thing got him nowhere, unless you believe that having sex with widows for cash is "somewhere." Regardless, the more Ray listens to, and learns from, the women around him, the further he removes himself from the monolithic dumb jock stereotype.

To this end, Ray invites Tanya to go to a movie with him and the kids. This is an attempt, however "last ditch," to show the kids that life has taught him something. If Ray can show his ugly, loser, outsider kids that he's friends with an ugly, loser, outsider ... somehow, he wins. Not at all unlike George Costanza searching for a black friend to give him street cred, only this time, it's with social outcasts.

The scene in the movie theater is a pretty peppy one, and the dialogue provides an insightful metaphor for the show's overarching intentions. Tanya chooses some obnoxious foreign film, subtitles and all, and Ray tells Darby, "There's a deeper meaning. Look. Try to find it." Damon explains to Tanya that "I'm not going to climb into any box, and I'm not going to climb out of any box. If there even is a box, someone else put it there. Not me." It not only speaks poignantly to the characters on the show, it also provides a commentary about those critics/viewers who may have pushed the show aside too hastily.

The conflict between Tanya and Lenore continues to bubble over, resulting this time in Tanya stealing Lenore's dog while spouting the episode's titular line, enraged. Lenore has become quite the scene-stealer, as easily the most quotable character, but Tanya holds her own this week, as the writers possibly look to make the dynamics between the two women more realistic. Lenore is too savvy, too brash to let someone as weak as Tanya linger. So this week, Tanya exerts herself more boldly, proving to be more of a foil to Lenore, than a pushover, and even though her efforts fail miserably, they are efforts, nonetheless.

Jessica is being pushed back into Ray's arms from a multitude of angles: her soul-crushingly vanilla life with Ron shown through a cripplingly lame game of Scrabble with another Stepford couple (a cameo from Matt Walsh of 'Upright Citizens Brigade' fame), Ray's newfound compassion and renewed interest, the constant reminder that her kids think she's made a mess of her life, and most notably, her relationship with Lenore.

This last connection brings the episode to a close and simultaneously highlights the intricacies of a ho/pimp/ex-wife relationship and kind of squashes the whole "will they or won't they" angle I mentioned in my last recap. Jessica calls Ray from "their" bowling alley. Ray "forgot" he was supposed to meet her, and arrives just as she's leaving. As they embrace, Lenore rises out of a cab, and the three introduce themselves as though they've never met. Awkward? Yes. Killing one of the good things the show had going for it? Probably.

Full-Frontal Forecast: So far, the closest we've gotten to seeing Ray's flesh tube is at the end of the opening credit sequence when he jumps naked into the lake behind his house. If you ask me, if the thing was anything worth talking about (let alone worth creating an entire show around) we'd catch a glimpse of it swinging between his legs as he takes the plunge (now I just feel like I'm writing for 'Penthouse'). Just sayin': Prove me wrong, 'Hung.'

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Jrock64

What song is playing at the end of this episode when they are all standing in the parking lot of the bowling alley?

August 18 2010 at 2:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

yeah I know Tanya seems to have more in common with Ray's kids than Ray I love that

July 20 2010 at 10:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tony DIMeo

I freaking love this show the ending was so great and I love the scene with Tanya and Damon

July 19 2010 at 1:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tony DIMeo's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

Absolutely. The exchange between Tanya and Damon is both funny and poignant. "What does gay look like?" indeed. The way they immediately assume a conversational/ideological rhythm is hilarious.

July 20 2010 at 10:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris

Could this show move any slower? I swear with the limited summer season this show has it moves along at a snail's pace.

I really want to like and enjoy this show, but they make it hard for me to do so.

July 19 2010 at 8:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chris's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

I hear you... and by "hear you," I mean, "understand what you are saying in your comment." Not much happened this week, but think of it like fine wine, or cheese, or a good dump: the best ones take time to develop?

July 19 2010 at 12:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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