Monday, November 14, 2011

Hung - "What's Going on Downstairs? or Don't Eat Prince Eric!"

     HBO's Hung continues its unstable year with "What's Going on Downstairs? or Don't Eat Prince Eric!" Ray (Thomas Jane) feels insecure when Jason (Stephen Amell) pulls more clients than he does, so he very reluctantly agrees to take the transsexual Kyla (Jamie Clayton, an actual transsexual) to her high school reunion. Ray is extremely uncomfortable, until Kyla's former classmates get judgmental, and then he springs to her defense. Meanwhile, Charlie (Lennie James) helps Tanya (Jane Adams) puts Jason and Sandee (Analeigh Tipton) in their place, then takes the money and runs. And Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff) sends Jessica (Anne Heche) to Tanya's business in revenge for Tanya poaching Jason.

     Lenore is always going to be the villain on Hung. No matter what arrangements Tanya and Ray may work out with her, the series is just more interesting when Lenore is at odds with the pair. That's why her partnership with them couldn't work, and she feels betrayed, once more. Yet, they only cut her out when she becomes intolerable to work with. And amazingly, in this season Tanya and Ray finally seem to be getting the upper hand. Lenore attempts to run them out of business by hiring Jason, but he soon goes to work for them because they pay him more fairly.

    While Lenore outing Ray and Tanya's business to Jessica is an extreme measure, it's a little surprising she hasn't done so before now. Perhaps it's because she never felt threatened enough to need to. Don't back an animal into a corner, or they turn on you, which is what Lenore has done. Hung has flirted with Jessica finding out a couple of times, so it's about time she actually learn Ray's secret at this point. Hopefully, the series will not wimp out of the reveal again.

     What would Jessica finding out really do? Might she be so disgusted that she tries to get sole custody of her and Ray's children? That's about the only consequence she could mete out, given that she and Ray are divorced. Sure, it almost seems like a reconciliation will be possible between them, and finding out what Ray does would set them back a whole lot. But it probably wouldn't permanently separate them. It will be just one more obstacle to overcome.

     Charlie doesn't choose to stick around and work on obstacles. He is growing more and more frustrated that Tanya never listens to his advice. Her horror at his actions towards Jason and Sandee probably do not endear her to him anymore. Not only does he leave Tanya, though, and puts her on the hook for his bail, but also steals her money, leaving her with no financial means to cover him. This is a very bad thing for Tanya, putting her in a deep legal and economic hole.

     The story between Kyla and Ray is predictable, though sweet. The entire high school reunion plot is straight out of a rom-com, and things play out exactly as one would expect. The only major difference here is that it is a transsexual who goes through the pain, and must be comforted. Perhaps Hung could be applauded for bringing some needed diversity to the worn-out story, and finding someone to play the role that can realistically connect to it. But then again, the premise is pretty worn out by this point.

    Hung still has three episodes left in the third season. Watch it Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.

     For Hung streaming episodes and DVDs, please click here.

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