Remember when you started watching Hung — if you started watching at all — and thought the idea of a guy with… well, y’know… who worked as a prostitute would be hilarious? Then, do you remember watching season two?
Usually, the problem with Hung is that it tries to be this well-executed satire and reflection about the economy and family struggles and supposed “real life” drama, when really it was marketed and setup as what it is: a show about a male prostitute, and nothing else. And truthfully, whenever it delved into anything but that, it got boring. Fast. We don’t need to be reminded that the current economic situation is shitty. Believe me. I am surrounded by that daily. I know that the entire reason Ray put himself in this situation is because of the economy, but the show works better when if they want to acknowledge the economic downturn, they do it in a more clever way.
Instead, they just had Ray mope around for two seasons with a burned down house while is ex-wife and two kids just nagged him. That’s not fun. And in many ways, perhaps just because I’m shallow this way, the show is at its creative peak when Ray and Tonya are actually making money. With the newfound success for Tonya and Ray has come this, the third season — the best season of Hung.
Hung has finally remembered that it can actually have fun with its premise, with or without telling a very true story about hardship. And the economic upturn for everyone’s favorite pimp-and-ho-“partnership” has proved that thusly, while also introducing competition in new character Jason, Lenore’s new ho. Though I don’t exactly feel like Jason is much of a threat to Ray in any way, I much more appreciate the differences in which Lenore and Tanya handle their way of being pimps.
Ultimately, that’s a lot of what this show is about. It proved that tonight again: whether or not Tanya should bust her “partner” out of jail or keep him there and how, or who, should deal with the situation of a client being an actual cop. Tanya’s always riding the fence. Lenore will smash your TV to the floor. That’s the difference. (Though, I’m sure given the right amount of buildup and tension, Tanya would do that too…) And tonight’s episode couldn’t have come at a better time; I actually laughed at tonight’s episode, which hasn’t happened much when I watch Hung[*].
[*] This is actually something I am going to explore in a future blog post — that comedies don’t have to be funny to be enjoyable. Also, save for the kids… they are just so annoying. You don’t have it that bad. Stop whining all the time. I’m glad the show stopped having the kids around so much, that’s definitely helped. It’s not that I mind them, per sé, if they were written better that is.
Last week’s introduction of an actual threat to Ray and company was definitely welcomed, finally… even if I feel like it was a bit out of place for this season, since it has taken a more light-hearted approach. But the followup tonight paid off in that the show didn’t take it all too seriously (while also giving deeper meaning to ho-and-client-relationship, see how it balances out perfectly?) and resolving the issue with doing the deed in a cop car. Classic Hung.
This season has seen a creative boost in that way. It hasn’t decided to, well, be boring. And it finally decided to pick up as opposed to standing still like it did for two years. I don’t think we’ll ever see Tanya and Ray be 100% successful or even secure because… well, come on… but that’s okay because that would be quite unbelievable. I fear that the second half of the season (the episode that just aired was episode 3.05 “We’re Golden or Crooks and Big Beaver”) will try and make its way to more serious matters and I’m not at all prepared for that. But I’ll check in at the end of the season again when that time comes.
For now, Hung has finally found a story in which it’s a very fun, entertaining half hour of television. And I couldn’t be happier.