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October 7, 2015

'Hung' - 'Third Base' Recap

by Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously), posted Aug 23rd 2010 1:30PM
Hung on HBO(Season 2, Episode 8)

The second season of 'Hung' treads onward, as we are left to ponder why there aren't more good shows about male prostitutes. The series thus far has been a great platform for addressing many social and psychological issues reaching far beyond the skin business, and this week sees new ground being covered, and a crock pot full of slow-cooked story lines starting to bubble over.

This week's episode centers on the big annual alumni baseball game, and Mike is urging Ray to play (he hasn't in nine years) in order to raise much needed funds for the team.

Immediately, Ray's manhood is thrust to the forefront, as the entire episode seems to have Ray trying to reconcile what he was (a home-run hitting chick magnet with a huge dong) with what he has become (a homeless whore with a bald friend, and a huge dong). It brings about a pure statement, however, as he says, "When people think you're hot sh**, all you can do is disappoint."

Mike and Frances continue to be in the dark about the reality of their relationship. Mike thinks they're falling in love, while Frances thinks he's a whore who's really good at talking and cuddling. Then Mike breaks the whore wall (similar to the fourth wall, but with whores) and asks her to come to the game and possibly write a check to buy a block of tickets. This is odd to Frances, who pays Tanya for their time together, and she starts to smell something fishy.

Had Tanya done what Ray asked (return Frances' money), the whole Mike/Frances thing would be on the level ... but she'd have no money or power. So, you know, typical Tanya stuff. She then tries to play hardball with Frances: Pay up, or else no more Mike. This confuses Frances, since she already wrote Mike a check, assuming it was for services rendered (naked piano playing, extra). Tanya's demand offends Frances, who says, "I'm a person, not an ATM machine."

Then, 'Hung' violates one of my ultimate pet peeves about television and movies: when actors cast to play athletes are bad athletes. Ray is taking some swings in the cages in preparation for the big game, and his swing looks like a 13-year old-girl's. This guy was allegedly a baseball legend. There's nothing worse that this in the whole of entertainment. Think Michael J. Fox in 'Teen Wolf' or Zac Efron in the 'High School Musical' trilogy. At least 'Full House' had enough respect to admit Uncle Jesse sucked when they brought in Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to help him with his shooting. Just sayin'

Ray then, thankfully, turns to a bat that he can swing proficiently when he meets with his pregnant booty call Claire in her bathroom. Which is where she gives him a synopsis of her life: "I live in this tub ... I sit here with my boobs growing like watermelons ... and I only leave to go eat chili fries at chain restaurants." I'm not sure what she's complaining about as that sounds like my dream Sunday night scenario, but Ray commiserates -- then ends up getting a rotator cuff injury while helping her, uh, bathe.

It's hard to tell whether or not the "injury" is real, or if it's just a convenient excuse for Ray to avoid confronting his past and his future simultaneously at the alumni game.

Ron walks in on Jess treating/hiding her rash. Turns out she's playing so coy with her dermatologist husband because, as a flashback reveals, it is the same rash she developed when things weren't working out with Ray. And who diagnosed it as psychosomatic all those years ago? You guessed it ... Ronny. When she shows it to him, it all becomes clear. Or does it?

Everything comes to a head at the alumni game. Mike begs Frances to come, and tells her that he loves her. Jess goes, intending to just drop the kids off, then she stays as nostalgia gets the better of her. Tanya also shows up, hoping to do right by Mike, Frances and Ray. But the turning point comes when an angry Ron storms onto the field, initiating this exchange with Ray:

Ron: "I want you to stay away from her. She picked me. She left you for me."
Ray: "She picked me too, Ron."
Ron: "Now she's allergic to you, Ray! She was allergic before, but now that you keep coming around, she's breaking out in hives."
Ray: "You ever think, Ron, maybe she's allergic to you?"
Ron: "F**k you! You never notice guys like me, and now guys like me, we rule the f**king world!"

It really touches on a major theme of the show, and one that Ray is trying to come to grips with for himself and his kids. How the tides have turned.

But, Ronny has once again called Ray's manhood into question, and the next shot is Ray lacing up his cleats to step back into the glory days. It evolves into a slow motion montage of Ray's thoughts, and the crowd cheering, and Ray hitting a home run in a victory for washed-up has-beens everywhere.

After the game, Frances approaches Mike to clear the air. She talks about Tanya, and Mike's confusion tells her that there's a piece of this puzzle missing -- just as Tanya rounds the corner and is caught like a 14-year-old making out on the futon. She ends up running into the outfield and climbing the fence to escape.

In the parking lot, Ray persuades Jess to do a cheer for the kids. He figures they should both have to give them a glimpse of what life was like when things were much simpler.

Sex Watch: The only sex this week was the bathtub scene I described earlier. It was wet. It was oddly violent. I was mildly aroused. Some would say it wasn't technically sex, but we'll leave that debate to the politicians.

Full Frontal Forecast: I believe this is the first episode with no nudity of which to speak. Claire even has a bra on in the tub, and the most we see of Ray is his arm up to his elbow. It's OK, I imagine that's pretty much what his hog looks like anyway.

Dr. Vaughan teaches English/Media/Humor courses at Binghamton University in upstate New York, and his sun-kissed skin will melt your Popsicle. You can also check out his blog at drvtv.wordpress.com or www.facebook.com/pages/Ryan-Vaughan/21931402981

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a few grips. episodes this season seem slow and boring.

a show about a male prostitute doesn't seem to have much sex in it. and a lack of attractive women.

whats with the weird kids?

I have never been a fan of Anne Heche.
but shes turning out to be the most attractive woman on this show. so either get some attractive woman on this show or give Anne Heche more screen time. last season we had Natalie Zea.

p.s. I do give credit for Rebecca Creskoffs and her nude scene last week. which was awesome. but you know why her character did what she did. to mess with tanya. and the likelihood of her getting more sex scenes with ray is very unlikely. and the chances of her being in a relationship with ray is zero.

August 23 2010 at 11:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to brad456's comment
Dr. Ryan Vaughan, PhD (no, seriously)

What he said.

August 24 2010 at 12:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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