Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hung, "'Great sausage' or 'Can I call you Dick?'": Pimpin' ain't easy

Quick thoughts on the second episode of "Hung" coming up just as soon as I give you my list of do's and don't's...
"I'm a normal guy. I do normal things. Why don't you market me that way?" -Ray
"What's normal?" -Tanya
Having spent the pilot showing us why Ray's life is pathetic enough that he'd consider a career as a hooker, episode two of "Hung" spends more time on the pimp half of the equation, exploring Tanya's own sad existence as a failed poet and unfulfilled temp. By the end, it's very clear why she might think being a "happiness consultant" is her best option right now -- and that, while she and Ray have as steep a learning curve at their new career as Walter White did as a drug lord, she's not as ill-equipped as you might think. Hooking up with Lenore the personal shopper is actually a damned clever idea, especially given the kind of guy Ray wants to sell himself as.

While Thomas Jane is the main reason I'm watching, Jane Adams is a whole lot of fun in this episode, particularly in the moment where we see Tanya so excited by the possibilities of her plan that she literally skips through the chain restaurant's parking lot.

Overall, "'Great Sausage'" is quite a bit funnier than the pilot, which I know some people dismissed as being too dark and depressing. The addition of Rebecca Creskoff as the epically hateful Lenore is a strong step in a more comic direction, as we see both Ray and Tanya struggle mightily with how to deal with this forceful, nasty but not uncharismatic piece of work.

The half-hour length (which will be standard from here on out) also suits the show better, I think, than the 45 minutes or so of the pilot. (Feel free to make all the "Hung" length jokes you want, folks; I've been telling them for a few weeks now.) There are still some bumps ahead -- even with her minimal appearances so far, Anne Heche/Jess is really annoying -- but I was glad I watched this one back-to-back with the pilot, as it gave me a much better sense of what "Hung" could be like.

What did everybody else think?

21 comments:

Larry McGillicuddy said...

I enjoyed this one,especially because it was a good showcase for Jane Adams.

I've always loved her work. Her romance with Adam Goldberg was by far the best part of "Relativity", and she was also great in the short-lived Citizen Baines.

She's also been terrific in supporting roles in Happiness, Eternal Sunshine, and Little Children.

The idea of casting her as a poet pimp has got to be one of my favorite casting decisions ever.

Anonymous said...

Less Heche & the kids will make it a better show.

LA said...

Very engaging episode, I laughed a lot. Heche needs to be off my television but I think those kids have potential. Looking forward to a fun season of Hung!

drake lelane said...

I like the kids... the casting seems so purposeful, though, in that I'm guessing we'll eventually find out that Ray is not their biological father.

Mike F said...

interesting ideas, but the show is still in the awkward foreplay stage for me...

Tyroc said...

So far liking it, if not loving it, and do agree the line you quoted in your review was the best one of the night.

The show does make me wonder about how I find a man forced into this position to be darkly comedic, but would find a female losing her kids and feeling she had no choice but to be a prostitute to be really horrific. My own double standard I guess about how men are supposed to always enjoy getting sex, while women "give it up." Good that a show makes me think at least a little about these things.

I do wonder when they'll broach the subject of male clients wanting to be with him. As I would think that's where the real money is in male prostitution.

Anne Heche's character and the kids are so far very underwritten. I look at the great job Diablo Cody and her staff of writers did with the kids on her Showtime show, and have to feel let down here. (In fact I think the family situations were the best part of that show -- better than the attention-getting multiple personality hook.)

Looking forward to seeing where this one can go, as the premise seems much more a movie premise to me, than one for a long term series.

JanieJones said...

I enjoyed last night's show much better than the pilot. Jane Adams was good in this episode. As Alan pointed out, we were able to see her life as a failed poet and unfulfilled temp. Getting in touch with Lenore was a smart idea but she is a wicked woman. She gave Ray a taste of how some women might want to him to behave. He described experience, among other things, as vaguely pleasant. Stealing Ray's wallet? I would think that most experienced pimp would not carry critical information with him as to not identify him but I could be wrong. I think the show has the potential to show some interesting sides of the human condition. I wonder if they have a former "male escort" as a consultant to the show? Have a good week off, Alan! I'm green with jealousy that you will be at Comic-Con! There are going to be a slew of excellent panels.

Eyeball Wit said...

A failed poet? It's not so great being a successful poet.
I was at an awards banquet, and sat next to a poet who had won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry earlier in the year.

You would think that would be an unalloyed good. A little recognition, a little money on your next book deal, no paparazzi.

On the contrary. She told one of the staffers there that she often wishes she hadn't won the Pulitzer. Really.

Guess those Borderline Failed Poets are a jealous lot until they take up pimping....

Bob in SA said...

Anne Heche does have one redeeming characteristic, and it is perfect for this show: the one you love to hate.

Whenever I see Ray, I think of what would have happened to Mickey Mantle if he had not made it with the Yankees.

30 minutes is much better length. This episode seemed to really click.

Brian said...

Anne Heche's character is supposed to be annoying, guys.

Anonymous said...

How about the ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT shout out? Halfway through this episode, Tom Jane actually said something to the effect of "I just want my kids back"...

Anonymous said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one having difficulty buying those kids as the offspring of Anne Heche and Thomas Jane. I hope it's deliberate and not just bad casting.

Owen said...

@Larry McGillicuddy, I agree 100%. I love Jane Adams in this role.

Here's a snippet of Jane Adams and Adam Goldberg "being by far the best part of 'Relativity'".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DrnP7XPUp8

Kevin said...

I liked the pilot, but this episode had me bored stiff.

Anonymous said...

I found the pilot a little slow, but loved the second episode. I think this will turn out to be a show appealing to women a lot due to the emphasis on social and family situations. (I loved it when Ray was asked to dance for the client and made a few awkward moves before giving up.)

I can hardly wait for next weeks show, but I can't imagine my husband getting hooked on it like I think I will be.

dez said...

This show can kiss me without asking first. Very fun stuff!

Chip said...

Entourage > Hung

Maggie said...

Rebecca Creskoff looked really familiar - I thought maybe because she reminds me of the actress who plays Joan on "Mad Men." However, it looks like she herself was on "Mad Men" as a character named Barbara Katz. Anyone remember who that was from season 1?

I think I still struggle with the basic premise of this show. Seems like size would be a more important characteristic for a porn star. To be a really successful male prostitute, wouldn't he have to be a fabulous lover, not just a well-endowed one? I'm not sure I believe he's very good at it. As has been said, women who pay for it want to pay for the fantasy and the romance (or, in Lenore's case, the fantasy of no strings, no romance) they aren't getting elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who thought that Dick's son looks like Bret/Brit from Flight of the Conchords?

Karl Ruben said...

@Anonymous: Are you sure you don't mean Jemaine?

Allison said...

Two things I really liked about this episode:

-I really like the way they've written the Jane Adams character. I can't remember the last time I saw a show that realistically portrayed the modern-day struggling-artist lifestyle; crappy temp job, complaining that you have a Masters' degree but still have to work a crappy temp job, coming up with crazy ideas like Lyric Bread to make money from your art, etc.

-I thought Anne Heche's character would turn out to be a total monster and that's why the kids don't want to live with her, but I'm really glad they didn't go down that road. Much more interesting this way.