Tanya continues to have terrible interpersonal relationships with pretty much everyone, and seems to have no interest in learning how to become a better pimp. It’s too bad Lenore has disappeared off the show, because she has the killer instincts Tanya lacks and could teach her a few valuable lessons.

The difference here, of course, is that Ray isn’t actually reliving the same moments over and over, and both he and Jemma are very much aware of the game they’re playing. But seeing them go through this charade over and over, and seeing lunkhead, insensitive Ray struggle to understand what this crazy lady wants from him, led to more laughs than the show has provided in average in previous weeks. Thus far, most of the go-to humor has come from Tanya — specifically, the idea of scattered, ineffectual poet Tanya trying to act as a pimp — but there’s a lot of comic potential in Ray learning the emotional side of his new career, especially since that’s turning out to be more important than his giant tool.

I certainly didn’t help the mood in the room by raising the question, asked by many readers here on the blog, of why the actors cast to play Damon and Darby bare so little resemblance to Thomas Jane and Anne Heche. I tried to couch it in terms of whether there was either a plot point (the show implying that the kids aren’t really Ray’s) or a thematic one (that, like so much in Ray’s life, his kids didn’t turn out quite as he expected them to), but the panel seemed to think I was attacking the kids as ugly.

And Jane Adams told a funny story about being on a plane with Terrence Howard (Oscar-nominated for playing a pimp in «Hustle & Flow»). «I had worked with him before, and he was sitting right next to me. So I was, like, ‘I’m playing a pimp.’ And he had a lot to say about playing a pimp and a lot of stuff. And I realized, you know, this has nothing to do with Ray and Tanya right now…»

Overall, though, I’m hoping for Hung to get a few steps removed from Alexander Payne world, to stop trying so hard to make us chuckle over the quirks of its characters and introduce some genuinely intriguing plotlines. A lost wallet and a prickly neighbor are the extent of what we get this week, and considering this is already the third episode, time is running short to grab our attention and keep it.

This episode revolves around Ray’s reluctant decision to become a gigolo, and his first baby steps towards making it happen. After initially rejecting Tanya’s offer to become his pimp, Ray discovers the only way to cover the repairs to his fire-damaged home, and to offset his fears of being laid off from his job, is to earn some quick cash. So he and Tanya brainstorm ways to most effectively market Ray as a «product» wealthy women will pay for.

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