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'Hung' - 'Sing It Again, Ray' Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Jul 26th 2010 4:00AM
Ray and Tanya(S02E04) As the sophomore season of 'Hung' moves along, HBO continues to flaunt its refusal to stoop to pure sex to carry a show that is so much more than that. It's kind of noble, if you think about it. The knock on the network has always been its supposed reliance on sex, violence and vulgarity, and a show like 'Hung' could easily slip into that formula. The show has much more to offer, however, and it's showcased every week.

Damon, Ray's wayward teenage son, begins the episode with a midnight stroll around the baseball field, caressing and sucking on a Big Gulp like it was Blake Lively's big toe. The scene ends with the troubled youth taking a seemingly defiant whiz on home plate: A big ole "F-U" to Ray and his meat-headed minions, and it links a lot of the story together.

Turns out, Damon was caught by a security guard and when Ray finds out, he furthers his attempts to understand rather than chastise his son: Through his own experiences, and the help of his eccentric, equally wayward pimp, Tanya.

It makes perfect sense for Tanya and Damon to connect. They're both ugly and weird and struggling to find an identity in a world that marginalizes ugly, weird people. Ray can't even begin to understand what that's like, and props to him for: a) caring enough about Damon to get help, and b) swallowing his pride (an action not typical of good-looking, normal people).

As a result of his swallowing, Ray listens to Tanya and has a chat with the young goth-in-training. Fishing with his son on the dock behind what remains of his house, Ray tells Damon "It's OK if it was me you wanted to piss on." To which Damon replies, "I didn't want to piss on you, Dad. I just drank a lot of pop," as all viewers NOT from the upper midwest clamored in unison: "What the @#$% is 'pop'?!" (Turns out it's not some sort of lethal concoction all the kids are drinking at raves. It's just a regional term for soda.)

While that man-to-man talk takes away some of the power of the opening scene, Ray continues to use Tanya as a teacher/friend/mother figure, bringing Damon to a horribly clichéd "Poetry Slam," despite saying "No offense, but I don't think a bunch of beret-wearing strangers is what my kid needs right now."

Tanya proceeds to perform her original piece, fittingly titled "Phallus." (That's a regional term for "boner.") Afterward, Tanya holds court with her fellow "artists" and Damon looks comfortable for the first time during the series, especially when she interprets his act of urination as an artistic expression. Ray leaves him with Tanya, and while his feelings are hurt, he does it for Damon's happiness.

Meanwhile, Lenore pretty much owns every other character on the show. She has intimate information about the personal lives and circumstances of Tanya, Ray and Jessica, and she is beginning to use this intel to her advantage: Keeping Tanya at bay, threatening to expose Ray to Jess as he woos her once again, urging Jess to make it work with her husband, Ron ... even if that means having a baby with him. This power has brought Tanya and Ray closer both as associates and friends. What will it do for Ray and Jess?

The baby business brings some of the funnier moments of this season to date. Ron jumps in the shower with Jess, begging to impregnate her. "I'm 42 years old, Ron. I'm not having a baby with you," is her reply, launching Ron into a plate-smashing tirade in the kitchen complete with "I WANT MY @#$%ING OATMEAL! I WANT MY CINNAMON @#$%ING OATMEAL!!"

The obligatory apology scene follows with equally interesting verbal exchanges:
Ron - "I want to be on the inside, Jess. I love you, more than life itself." (He means vagina)
Jessica - "I love you too, Ron. I want you to be on the inside, too." (She means heart)
Ron - "Thank you! Today is the happiest day of my life! I'm going to be a father!"
Jessica - Look of horror, and possibly throwing up in her mouth a little.

Sex Watch: It wouldn't be 'Hung' without sex. The actual sex scenes serve a purpose higher than titillation: One of diversion. The sex scenes remove the viewer from the engrossing character dynamics. This episode is no different as Ray pokes a birthday girl from behind while singing "Happy Birthday" on request. Over and over, loud and soft, with an accent. Good times.

Full-Frontal Forecast: With such a promising scene described above, you might think we got our first cock shot of the series, but alas, you would be wrong .. and a little creepy for caring so much about it. Plenty of buttocks, but no bollocks.

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and he's gassy a lot. You can check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

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Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

It will be interesting to see how the writers address Lenore's role, because you're right, she's the #1 reason to watch. But just like Ari on 'Entourage,' you don't want to force/overdo it. Remember the first season of 'Entourage?' Everyone was like: "yeah, the show's OK, but I love that Ari guy." Then the next season and beyond was just a string of Ari epithets and the boys randomly running into different celebrities.

July 27 2010 at 11:04 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

This episode wasn't nearly as good last week's, which was just perfectly hilarious. Highlight of this one would be the "Happy Birthday", but Ron's freakout was less funny and more pathetic. Then again, the fact that it was pathetic made it funny again, so scratch that.

And is it sad that Lenore is, like, 70% of the reason I'm still watching this show? Rebecca Creskoff is so damn fine to me for some reason. Maybe it the Christina Hendricks resemblance (although it ends at the face for her, unfortunately, I wish she had Hendricks' curves). Regardless, without Lenore's insanity and her feuds with Tanya I would probably be out this season.

Don't get me wrong, "Hung" is a fun show, but it moves too slowly for me to remember it after the episode is over. Anyway, here's hoping for more Lenore next episode.

July 27 2010 at 3:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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