Hung: “The Pickle Jar”
Posted by therebelprince on July 30, 2009
This week, Happiness Consultants finally have their first success, while Ray’s personal life takes a downturn.
It’s another very enjoyable and emotionally consistent episode this week when Lenore sends her first client through to Tonya. This is Molly (Margo Martindale, late of The Riches which was created by Hung‘s Dmitry Lipkin), a slightly dumpy older woman who is deeply dissatisfied with her life and her husband’s sexual incompetence. Martindale has always been a brilliant performer, and she brings life to Molly, whose girlish excitement is deflated when Ray backs out of their deal. To him, it’s a business decision. To Molly, it’s a devestating loss after days of mentally preparing and fantasising. Tonya has to use all her pimp wiles to convince Ray, reasonably, that being a professional escort isn’t always going to result in beautiful 20-somethings as clients.
When Ray does at last return to Molly, it’s a delightful and unexpected scene. First, Molly doesn’t want to go through with it because of her husband. Then, Ray sits her down. It seems as if he’s about to tell her that they can just talk, but instead he convinces her that she should go through with the act. It’s strangely touching to see Molly’s happiness at feeling like a woman for once (and seeing Ray’s assets), and Ray has his first success story, hopefully of many. For a series about prostitution, I never expected it to have a prudish attitude to sex, but it still comes as a relief that we’re not going to lavish any judgment on Molly for her choices here.
On the home front, Darby breaks up with Hammer (Michael Blaiklock), leading her parents to fight over who will comfort her. Ray wins, but his movie night out with Darby and Damon ends violently when Hammer and his new girlfriend (Jillian Rose Reed) show up too. Damon’s emotional protecting of his sister is sweet, and her standoffish reaction entirely realistic. It’s all well-written and acted, but I sincerely hope that Jessica and the kids won’t solely exist for a weekly dose of family drama to offest Ray’s sexual exploits.
I think the show is headed in the right direction. We’re taking our time getting to the meat of it (pardon the pun) but I think that’s important. Despite his assertions in the final scene, Ray is not a professional and in this case the journey really is half the fun. If there’s one thing that intrigues me, it’s the coy teasing of showing the audience Ray’s junk. In two scenes tonight (not to mention every week in the opening credits), we get near-misses and cleverly placed household items to cover up. Is this going to be a recurring theme to titillate the fans? I much preferred things before this was an option – showing the merchandise never works if you can’t back it up, as Aaron Sorkin learned from Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip – and I hope this isn’t an emerging trend.
* It’s nice to grasp Tonya’s real qualities as a pimp: knowing how to empathise with “real” women, and talking them through the nervousness of their first time. As a pimp, Tonya has even more to learn than Ray does as a gigolo. Thankfully, Jane Adams can do just about anything.
* We see Floyd (Steve Hytner) briefly, where he echoes his beliefs that Roy is a quitter, and needs to stay away from Tonya. I can’t wait for the inevitable scene where he learns the truth about their endeavour.
* And the funniest scene of the episodes is when Lenore and Jessica meet, unbeknownst to each other, at a salon. I’d love to see Rebecca Creskoff and Anne Heche become better enemies in future episodes.