“Hung” Recap: This Is America; Fifty Bucks

By Stacey Harrison

Ray is lecturing some detention students on making wrong choices in life (“detention now leads to jail later”) when in walks Damon looking extra goth and with a friend looking the same. Ray asks him out in the hall to see what’s going on and learns that Damon didn’t actually do anything to deserve detention. He just wanted to hang out with his friend, Powell. Ray is unnerved, wondering what’s going on with the Dame-ster, when the kid pops off and asks his dad if he’s homophobic. That pretty much ends the discussion. Later, Damon and Darby are climbing a rock wall (Jessica’s latest attempt to bond, for which she gave up Pilates) and Darby asks him if he’s had sex with the guy yet. He says no. Not yet.

Ray mentions it to Tanya, saying he thinks Damon might be “a gay.” She tells him to lighten up, that he might just be experimenting, like she did this one time in college. That’s a little too much information for Ray, who tries to steer their meeting back to business, and as Tanya is telling Ray they might have to lower their price a bit to accommodate the bad economy, she gets a call from Pierce. He’s in Cuba, apparently. Tells her not to worry. It’s a long story, and he’ll tell her all about it when he gets back in a few days. He’s gotta run, see. He’s running out of minutes on his phone. The fact that she still refers to him as her boyfriend after this call says a lot about poor Tanya. Ray shoots down the idea of lowering his price, saying he still needs lots of cash to fix his house and get his kids back.

Tanya beats the pavement at work, trying to get Horny Patty back for another visit, and talking to everyone else at work, too. Patty’s problem is she viewed sex with Ray like a drug, namely cocaine. It made her feel great while doing it, but afterward she felt worse than before, not to mention a lot poorer. The drug metaphor really stays with Tanya, though, and she tells her other coworkers that Patty says her experience with the Happiness Consultant was like a drug. Patty gets wind of this and (rightly) accosts Tanya in the ladies’ room, saying if she doesn’t stop telling their coworkers that she’s done coke and paid for sex that she’s going to kick her ass. Horny Patty can also be Badass Patty when she needs to be. Of course, the coworker who overhears all this in a neighboring stall is intrigued, and wants to hear more about Tanya’s service.

Lenore, meanwhile, has sidled her way into another appointment with Ray, saying she’s owed one because of Tanya telling everyone it’s actually Lenore’s business they’re patronizing. What she’s really interested in, though, is stealing away Ray for herself. She dresses him up in a nice suit, gives him a lesson on how branding equals big bucks, then gives him her pitch while she has him in a very subservient position. Ray remembers this when Tanya approaches him with one of her coworkers who wanted to pay $50 for the service. Maybe if he gave her just a taste, she’d get hooked, then want to spring for the whole package. Ray counters that Lenore says they ought to be raising their prices, making the women think they’re getting the Louis Vuitton of male escorts. $1,500 a night.

Lenore isn’t just wreaking havoc in Ray and Tanya’s relationship. She’s also about to disrupt Jessica’s. She bumps into her while shopping and entices her into looking at the designer clothes because she has a 15 percent discount on everything over $100. For a cash-strapped person, this shouldn’t be persuasive, but Lenore really turns on the charm, and Jessica goes home with an armful of expensive clothes. Ronnie is not amused, especially after hearing that the discount makes all the sales final. He storms off, but Lenore soothes Jessica, then riles her up by convincing her she needs to stop letting her kids, husband, life in general, walk all over her. She gets Jessica to yell a version of “I have the power” that would make He-Man blush.

The episode ends on a poignant coda that doesn’t have much to do with the plot, but has a lot to do with Hung‘s themes of the world falling apart. Ray hears a pleasant crooning from the music room and finds his assistant coach tickling the ivories and making like Michael Bublé. The school has decided to cut the music program, he says, and he wonders if sports are next. Nah, sports are safe, Ray says. Everyone loves sports.