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October 4, 2015

'Hung' - 'A Man, A Plan; Thank You, Jimmy Carter' Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Aug 2nd 2010 6:00AM
Ray and Tanya(S02E05) The latest episode of 'Hung' is all about self-affirmation. Like the old Al Franken 'Stuart Smalley' sketch, only without having to listen to Al Franken. The show seems to suggest that the true key to happiness is companionship in some form or another, and how we find that companionship is anybody's guess. It can come from your Dad's pimp, or your replacement gigolo. You just never know.

Episode five opens with Mike (Ray's teaching colleague and assistant coach) having a meltdown. He's convinced he has nothing to live for and Ray talks him out of his funk as if he just drank an entire bottle of liquid Tony Robbins (which has a nasty aftertaste, if you were wondering ... kind of uriney). What we're starting to see from Ray is that his lifestyle changes have arguably made him a better, more complete person. He's constantly picking people up around him, despite his less-than-ideal life.

Tanya keeps needling Francis, her "White Whale" of a client, and this week she actually tracks her down while giving blood. Tanya has taken somewhat of a redneck approach to pimping in that she basically just keeps hitting clients with a hammer until they do what she wants. Francis wants nothing more than to "just give blood in peace," and Tanya just keeps pounding away until she finally agrees to meet Ray for dinner.

As always, The Triumvirate (Ray, Lenore and Tanya) meet for their weekly summit, and Lenore continues to disrespect Tanya to Dangerfieldian levels, but Tanya is beginning to thrive -- or at least show some moxie -- as a pimp, while Lenore underestimates her. Not only does she get $500 for Ray to have dinner with Francis, she also gets him a big 'ole bottle of Matador cologne (it doesn't exist, unfortunately) with which to make her moist. Tanya leaves feeling empowered: Yay! The scene ends without much from Lenore: Boo!

Damon keeps emerging as a character, whether you like it or not. He starts this episode by reading a creepy twin poem (is there any other kind?) at an open mic in front of his sister, Darby. As "guy with a mustache and a van" creepy as it was, the poem wasn't without meaning. He compares his relationship with Darby to the twins depicted in Doublemint gum ads, and reiterates how they don't adequately represent twins as Damon understands them, furthering the whole "search for an identity" angle. All for naught, as it embarrasses Darby who says, "You made us sound like freaks!"

On their way out of the café, Damon procures some pot-scones from some dirty hippie who offers by asking, "Wanna get sconed?" And who can blame him for caving in to such witty, well-crafted banter? It's a pivotal moment in the episode, as Damon's scone-induced trip weaves in and out of all the other story lines.

Sex Watch: It was Jessica's turn to have some of the sexy time this week, as the writers mine the Ron/Jess dynamics for comedy. So, fellas, if you want to keep all the ladies moaning and twitching and calling you "Jorge," just try some pillow talk like this:
Ron (mid-bone) "Do you think you're ovulating? I just want to make sure."
"I'm sorry. I mean, you're off birth control, right?"
"You flushed your pills, right? You don't still have the pills?"
"I would feel better, if you um [thrust thrust] if you flushed them."
Nothing keeps the ladies in party mode quite like toilet-flushing imagery, I find. Jess, however, is offended and runs naked into the hall, screaming at her naked husband not far behind ... all witnessed by Damon. Things you don't ever want to see in your lifetime: Naked Parent Fight.

Meanwhile, Ray prepares for his dinner with Francis, repeating "Today is a great day" between splashes of Matador. His positivity through all of his strife makes people root for his character. But before the Matador can work its olfactory magic, Darby calls for help. Turns out seeing your Mom naked while tripping balls makes for a rough night, and Ray's life once again interferes with his life. I'm not sure if Ray reacted more quickly to the Matador or his daughter pleading to come pick up Damon because, "Mom is fighting with Ronny about a baby, and they're both naked." Life affirming.

Now, you'd think Ray would have to cancel his dinner with Francis, sending Tanya's mind and hard work down the drain, but you would only be half right. Yes, Tanya has a mini-meltdown, but Ray finds himself a replacement: Mike. Bald, middle-aged, earth science-teaching Mike.

With Mike on the date, Ray and Tanya are left to tend to Damon, and bring him down safely, and Tanya and Damon get another chance to connect as social outcasts trying to find a niche. It will be interesting to watch a couple of these things develop over the duration of season two: a) Tanya and Damon's relationship, and b) Mike slowly realizing what Ray really does on the side.

The episode comes full circle at the end with Mike turning an awkward night as a replacement whore into a tender and honest moment between two lonely people. His night with Francis went well, and her desire to see him again has renewed his perspective on life as he shouts: "Today is a great day, and I feel wonderful!" to Ray ... the very words Ray uses to pull Mike out of the doldrums in the opening scene.

Full-Frontal Forecast: Ray didn't get naked at all this week. The closest we came to seeing some wang was a fleeting long shot of Jessica walking swiftly down the hallway. Not too awe-inspiring.

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and he'll arm wrestle you for food. You can check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

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I agree that the poem was definitely creepy - but I got the sense that it wasn't that Damon wanted to bone his sister, but more so that he was trying to express feelings that were difficult to express, and he failed at doing so. I think he couldn't find the language he was trying to find, and so it came out sounding weird. That's actually what is making Damon the most interesting character on the show to me - that's two weeks in the row he's been grappling toward something artistically that he doesn't quite manage to reach...just as teenagers often do!

Thanks for a great review!

I blog about this episode at http://themothchase.wordpress.com - check us out!

August 02 2010 at 5:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to themothchase's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

I guess the point is that Damon is expressing his feelings. Whether they are understood or not, is almost a moot point. Regardless of Darby's reaction, I think Damon experienced the power of expression.

August 02 2010 at 11:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've given Hung all the time I can allow. This show is not good, its not entertaining enough, the characters are intolerable most of the time, and they don't focus enough on the crazy clients "Richard" has to "service".

Week after week we see more of these weirdo kids that don't seem to share the slightest DNA of their parents whine and moan about nothing. That is it for me.


August 02 2010 at 9:14 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Chris's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

I feel you. I feel you, and I hear you... which is not nearly as creepy as it sounds.

August 02 2010 at 11:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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