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'Hung' - 'Beaverland' Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Aug 9th 2010 7:00AM
Hung(S02E06) You know a show is caught in a lull when they resort to the classic "beaver in the basement" bit. No, that's not some euphemism or some industry term like "jumping the shark." It's as literal as it can get, and this week's 'Hung' is all about beavers, of both the buck-toothed and sexy bit variety.

The show opens with Jess and Ron asleep, when Jess is woken up by strange noises. When she follows them to the basement, she sees a beaver scurrying into the shadows ... and what follows is a string of metaphors and double entendre that would make whoever writes Britney Spears songs blush. I'd like to think that the show initiated Operation Beaver to tap into some of that 'Sopranos' mojo, using the beaver like Tony's ducks (among other animals) to represent something bigger, something thematic, but my gut tells me they just did it for the cheap, easy giggle of the "beaver means vagina" realization.

The kids appear in the next scene, and it is their only one of this episode. Just when you thought it was going to be about Damon, they yank both kids from the episode, yet they continue to say what everyone else is thinking and or hiding: that Ray still has feelings for Jess, that Jess might be imagining the beaver, that Ronny and Jess are trying to have a baby. There's also a tension between Darby and Damon where a creepy obsession once lived.

This is a big Tanya episode as she is starting to understand the kind of power she can wield as things begin to fall into place. She meets with Francis and books her for another meeting ... with Mike. Remember Ray's assistant coach who went out with Francis in Ray's place? Well, Francis took a shine to him, and wants to book him at a flat rate of $1500 for the weekend. Great, right? Wrong. Tanya wants to coerce Mike into becoming another whore in her stable, and Ray wants to keep him out of the whole ridiculous game.

This develops into the most interesting part of the episode as Tanya looks to change Ray's mind by challenging his masculinity. What does Mike have that Ray doesn't? Every guy wants to be the best lay. It's what makes the earth spin. So when the sexual gauntlet is thrown down to someone of Ray's prowess, even "the thinking man's whore" (that's what I'm calling Ray now) is bound to relent. He defends himself by saying, "Remember me? I am the guy who gets the crazy ones, and ... and the married ones, and the pregnant ones!"

Tanya returns to her real pimp friend, Charlie, for more advice, and he puts some perspective on things when he tells her "there are worse things than guilt, girl." It would seem that guilt would not benefit those dealing in the flesh trade, and Tanya sort of has an "ah ha" moment when Charlie drops his knowledge. She then takes that energy and focuses it on her patronizing, elitist mother who treats Tanya like a failure. Tanya slaps her dick on the table and leaves her balls as a tip at a birthday dinner for her mother (Rhea Perlman) with her mother's snooty douchebag friends. For the first time Tanya makes no apologies for who she is, and exerts herself and her new career, guilt free. A little Lenore, mixed with Charlie and a dash of Ray sauce.

Lenore goes out for drinks with Jess and they talk candidly about Ray, both feeling each other out (literally, I wish) concerning Ray. Jess doesn't want to let on that she still loves him, and Lenore is trying to determine if Jess still loves him as she puts up the timeless "do you mind if I call him" scam in order to read Jessica's reaction. But with Lenore, you never know. She did sample Ray's goods a few times in season one, but I still feel like she's playing them off of each other, even though she shows up at Ray's house near the end of the episode to tell him "I believe in you, and I believe in your dick. Don't ever doubt yourself," not at all unlike what my wife told me on my honeymoon.

This is important because we start to see the conflicting pimp styles beginning to crossover. Tanya is the one who has Ray doubting himself, and Lenore is the reassuring voice of a friend.

I know what you're thinking: Where's all the beaver stuff? Here you go. Ron calls an exterminator to determine whether or not a beaver was in their house (Ron needs help with his beaver). He says no, and everyone thinks Jess is nuts, but she insists that she is "not bringing a baby into a house full of beavers!" (Ron's a pussy).

Ray calls and offers to help Jess with her beaver problem (sex with Ron). When out with Lenore, Jess tells her that Ray called and "offered to help with beavers" (her vagina). When she wakes up to beaver noises again, she calls Ray and asks him to bring his "traps" (penis) over (Ray can take care of her beaver properly).

Ray shows up with the traps and sets them up in the woods with Jess who plays the ole "your shirt's inside out" game just to see some pecs, when Ronny arrives with his own "traps." His are plastic and humane, while Ray's are steel and brutal ... and if I were using those terms to describe sex, which would you choose? Exactly. What follows is the dialogue that must have set the writers off on this beaver rampage:

Ron - "I'm sorry. What is that thing?" (Ray's "trap")
Ray - Holds trap in front of Johnson - "This is your standard beaver trap (huge unit). It'll take care of your beaver problem (Jess)."
Ron - "I don't have a beaver problem!"
Ray - with his eyes - "Yes you do."

You can almost see the writers working backwards from this scene, salivating over the possibilities, using their craft to at once provoke meaning and laughter. It would have been a lot more enjoyable if I didn't see it coming from the opening credits.

Sex Watch: Lenore sets Ray up with Liz (Merrin Dungey, Kelly from 'King of Queens') who doesn't "understand what the deal is" with sex, and has never felt the way she thinks she's supposed to feel before, during, and after. Hence, she consults a pro, hoping the problem lies with her lovers rather than herself. At their meeting, she rides him tentatively, and we get a full right boob shot (as a mini-dream of mine comes true) before she tells Ray, "You know what? I'm good," after a couple minutes of awkward hypersensitive intercourse.

All the beaver business culminates in the final scene, with Jess and Ron in their backyard at night. He has set his humane traps against the advice of Ray, who's "traps" kill swiftly. The silence is broken by the clamor of a trap being triggered. The beaver isn't killed, and Ron has to go kill it with a shovel. Faulty "trap." It would appear as though Ray is the authority on beavers, of both the buck-toothed and sexy bit variety.

Full-Frontal Forecast: Ray is naked in the scene described above, and when Liz makes her dismount we get as close as we ever have to catching a glimpse of Ray's wand. As he delicately positions himself on the bed, we get a fleeting shot of his obliques, but no glory. Think about that D'Angelo video from like, 10 years ago. It had that kind of feel. That's progress?

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

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Tool

Hung has lost it mojo. Last year's storyline with Natalie Zea as Jemma was really smart. There's nothing inherently interesting this season. The struggle between Lenore and Tanya is putting me to sleep.

August 09 2010 at 1:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tool's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

Good call on the Jemma storyline. She was hot, and it was compelling. Bringing Mike and the kids and Jess into things just makes for too many moving parts.

August 09 2010 at 1:45 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
lihujin

You did it!

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August 09 2010 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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