Hung: “Great Sausage, or Can I Call You Dick?”
Posted by therebelprince on July 22, 2009
The second episode of HBO’s Hung is five-star entertainment, and continues the show’s return to the HBO of old.
Spurred on by financial woes and the fact that his kids now want to return to him, Ray commits himself fully to a career as a male escort. Tonya connects him with a former colleague Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff), who volunteers to be his test client with an option to pimp out Ray’s services to her own easily influenced clients.
Much more so than the first episode, “Great Sausage” reinforces just how talented this ensemble are. Thomas Jane is amazingly watchable in his early monologue with the principal (a great guest star whose name I can’t seem to track down UPDATE: Her name is Gina Hecht). Ray just stands there trying to weasel his way out of a misdemeanour and you can’t take your eyes off of Jane’s face and mannerisms. He deserves to have a television series that spends most of its time focussing on him, and I’m glad that time has arrived.
Rebecca Creskoff steals the show this week as Lenore. She’s strong, sexy and ballsy: a powerhouse of a woman who proves a good foil for both Tonya and Ray, and I hope to see more of her. Ray’s feelings of emasculation in her presence are perfectly apt, and I have no doubt that his arrogant machismo will suffer some enjoyable blows in weeks to come.
Meanwhile, Anne Heche gets a lot more to do and proves her adaptability in both comic and dramatic situations. She’s hilarious in that quirky patented-Heche way when she’s overprotecting her children and getting private Botox injections from her husband Ronnie (Eddie Jemison). But she’s also kind of heartbreaking when she fails to understand why her kids want to go back with their father.
The series has chosen to take a slow, simmering approach to Ray’s profession and it’s both appropriate and wise. There is so much great material to be mined here – case in point: Tonya and Ray’s attempt at a lesson in prostitution – that it would cheapen the experience to skip straight to Ray’s exploits as a gigolo. It would be easy to skip straight to the formulaic comedy that the situation can bring, but Hung is not TV, it’s HBO, and the series is living up to its motto. If future installments are as strong as the first two, we’re in for as good a time as Lenore.
As always, check out the infinitely brilliant Alan Sepinwall for his thoughts on this week’s episode.