HUNG: “Take The Cake; Are You Packing” Review

HUNG Season 3 Premiere (2)

HUNG “Take the Cake; Are You Packing” – Feels to me like Burson and Lipkin are taking solid steps to right the wayward ship that was Hung‘s second season.

Striding right from a promising season premiere, “Take The Cake; Are You Packing,” written by Julia Brownell and directed by Uta Brieswitz, jumped right into the pool by having gigolo n00b Jason (Stephen Arnell) swoop right in and steal one of Ray’s regulars while he watches (plus, he brought a cupcake). I think I’m going to enjoy this rivalry; Arnell reminds me a little of a young Chris O’Donnell, and it’s kind of like they took Robin to Ray’s Batman, turned him against him from the get-go and stirred shit up right away.

(I only bring the Caped Crusader up because I suspect Ray and Jason will eventually find themselves on the same side. Just a suspicion.)

We also got the return of Ronnie (the always in-tune Eddie Jemison), whose opening scene was him working a heavy bag to thumping rap music. Classic. We only got a tiny bit of the show’s finest gem, Anne Heche’s Jessica, but her snipe at Mindy (Amy Farrington, appropriately shocked) was great. Handjob: not classy. I think I’ll enjoy the Jessica / Ronnie / Mindy dynamic as it further develops.

We even got a semblance of partial sanity from Tanya (an appropriately wearied-looking Jane Adams), (“I don’t write “Ya,” I write “You!'”) just before her usual psychosis takes over. She’s a walking, talking, breathing pile of female id, our Tanya.

Lenore (a clothed Rebecca Creskoff) and her nicely-timed ambush of Jason’s fiancee Sandee was fantastic. Sandee, played by the appropriately flustered ex-America’s Next Top Model contestant Analeigh Tipton (seriously dolled down to look like she’s not a model), was excellent. That’s a girl I’m betting we’ll be seeing a hell of a lot more of. Hopefully her handlers don’t waste her talent on some CW Gossip Girl crap.

(Not that there’s anything wrong with crap. So long as it gets ratings, right? But Tipton is doing herself a nice favor by being in an HBO show. Street cred, man.)

Opposite (yet equally bizarre) was Tanya’s encounter with Jason—an artful contrast of the highest sort of success with the lowest sort of failure. And thus is highlighted with one of the primary problems this otherwise outstanding television show has: Tanya.

Like… who likes her? I get that there’s a loser in all of us, so in a way we recognize some of her quirks and her failures, but seriously… how many people actually root for her?

Especially after this. She subverts Ray and goes in to deal with Jason herself—as all proper pimps should, I suppose—and ends up banging him in the men’s bathroom stall.

Because we can all relate to that, right, ladies?

And that wasn’t so much a shark-jumping scene as you might think; Tanya is all about sex after all. She oozes (forgive my word choice) frustrated sexuality at every turn. My main problem with it is it makes her even more pitiful. She’s flirting with new depths this season, pulling that crap.

And I was bothered by how quickly Ray forgave her and tried to give her the rah-rah speech. Like how does any self-respecting dude give that a pass? It’s the epitome of weakness. How do you go back to trusting that? Maybe because he feels he has to. That’s the only explanation that makes sense to me.

“You’re a loser, Tanya.” Wise words spoken by Lenore. Just before she got maced in the face by her. I guess that’s a sort of redemption, but physical asskickings aside, Tanya is going to have to do a hell of a lot more to earn my trust as a fan. It’s hard to root for weak. I want to see her true redemption, as far as this story is concerned. There’s only so long she can be a spineless wreck, right?

“Patience, old man,” perhaps the producers would want to say, “We’ve got this.”

I hope so. I’m a big fan of Hung.

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