Hung – Beaverland (S02E06) – Episode review

Oh dear. I’ve skipped a week or so of Hung, but luckily the story hasn’t moved on too far. OK, the two crucial things seem to be a newfound tension between Ray’s (Thomas Jane) kids, and Tanya (Jane Adams) has picked up an unwitting prostitute in Ray’s school colleague, Mike.

To read a few reviews of this episode, you’d be forgiven for thinking the reviewers were all watching different shows. AV Club enjoyed it with some reservations, going so far as to say:

See, if this had been the season premiere of Hung, I wouldn’t be so down on the season as a whole. It wasn’t a perfect episode, by any means, but it felt like it was going somewhere, most of the plots made a vague kind of sense, and the characters were all more or less dynamic.

An entirely different review from Film School Rejects who say if you weren’t suicidal by the end of the episode, you probably nodded off

The show continues to pursue the sad reality of prostitution and divorce rather than embracing the humor inherent to a down trodden man making his way back to the top via his gigantic penis.

In fairness, they do make a shrewd observation. Ray used to enjoy getting paid to have sex, didn’t he? He seems to have fallen out of love with the notion that he’s getting paid to do something he enjoys enormously.

Look at Beaverland‘s ‘shag of the week’ – a deliciously curvy, beautiful black woman who wanted Ray to show her what the big deal was about sex. She didn’t enjoy it and she was looking for someone to teach her about sensual pleasure. So, when the bedroom scene commences, we’re surprised to see Liz (guest star Merrin Dungey) astride Ray, thrusting in a lacklustre manner. What? Hell, I’d have nudged Ray to the side and shown him what to do! Girl needs to be shown a good time, and there’s Ray nervously talking throughout the whole thing.

This would have worked better if Ray was in a better position to work with his clients’ sexual dysfunctions. If he’d started off warming her up gently and by the end of the scene the pair were contorted, breathless in some black belt Kama Sutra position. If I’m going to live vicariously through Ray Drecker, I want my money’s worth!

The big value for money came from Tanya, who took herself off on a spending spree despite having been told by Ray to break things off with the merry widow. This storyline has all the potential to be a complete train wreck – with the widow finding out Mike’s not a prostitute and demanding her money back. Or better yet, Mike deciding he likes the idea of the extra money and joining Happiness Consultants! Some competition for Ray, and he at least has at least one satisfied customer under his belt already!

The Jess and Ron storyline. Hmmm. I didn’t hate it as much as others did. I like that Jess still has feelings for Ray, and there was clear rivalry between Ron and Ray in the woods with the beaver traps. As a matter of fact, I ended up overlooking the beaver references, for all their smut value.

At this point in time, Ray seems increasingly impotent – he’s failing with clients, something Tanya told him to his face. He’s failing to move his relationship with Jess to anywhere useful. Hopefully, now that we’re past the season midpoint, we’ll start to see the same confidence from Ray that Tanya’s exhibiting lately, and he might start being more entertaining to his clients and to the audience.

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