It turns out one of the cheesiest lines of dialogue in this episode is also its title, so that should give you an idea of the quality of the show thus far.
Hung gets a little raunchier this week, and pushes a little harder to convince us that Ray Drecker is just an ordinary guy in an extraordinary situation, prone to making the same mistakes anybody else would. The result is something that the show badly wants us to believe is high comedy, but only if comedy equals making your audience cringe with embarrassment on behalf of all parties involved.
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.
The key turns out to be Tanya's former co-worker, Lenore, a personal shopper who's got easy access to Detroit's moneyed upper class, but who wants to sample the goods for herself before she's willing to do Ray or Tanya any favors. Cue a terribly awkward courtship scene, some less-than-sexy sex, and worst of all, the appearance of a tell-tale hickey on Ray's neck the following morning. OMG! Soooo embarrassing.
Overall, the comedy in this episode was just not working for me. It always seems like an easy out when television writers equate extreme social embarrassment with insta-hilarity. Yet here they've turned Ray into someone who can barely string together a sentence when the entire point of his job is seduction, and the result is at times hard to watch. His "test date" with Tanya is an obvious plot contrivance, meant to make him look stupid and inept as she yells at him for grabbing at her thigh and orders him to compliment her on the spot. Guys, learn your lines first, then you can try a dress rehearsal. Ray's date with Lenore is ten times more awkward -- she sits on the couch, gets high and commands him to dance for her, and he actually obeys.
Obviously there's plenty of comedy to be mined from this whole set-up. Ray's not supposed to be smooth; he's supposed to be an average guy yanked out of his comfort zone, and there are plenty of ways to show him attempting to launch his new career which are funny but which also ring true. Turning him into a mealy-mouthed buffoon is a stupid way to do it. Has there ever been a big-wanged all-star jock on the face of this earth who didn't have an overweening faith in his ability to get chicks into bed? I mean yeah, I get that Ray and his ex-wife married right out of high school, so he's not technically an experienced lover -- but still, it's a lot to ask us to believe that, when faced with a beautiful woman, his first reaction is to freeze, stare, then choke out, "I think you're real pretty."
The relationship between Ray and Tanya promises to stay interesting, but it needs to find some consistency. Last episode she was screaming at him as he walked out on their one-night-stand; this week she sits meekly as he callously insults her over lunch. The best aspect of Tanya's character in the pilot was her weird, artistic kooky streak -- she seemed like that kind of woman who's always the verge of going nuts and poisoning your goldfish -- now she's being depicted as a doormat in every facet of her life. The dynamic between Ray and Lenore was much sharper, and I found myself wishing that she were Ray's pimp rather than Tanya, because she seems like a lady who could whip a guy into shape.
Anne Heche is more likable this time around; her kids, less so. Can someone explain to me, first of all, how two people who look like Ray and Jessica managed to give birth to Kelly and Jack Osborne? Secondly, can we have a moratorium on scenes wherein a teen acts like a sullen jerk to their parent, and the parent giggles nervously and just takes it instead of throwing up her hands and going out to smoke a cigarette in the car? Your mom just bought you ice cream, you creeps, and that's how you treat her? Are you five? Anne, are you going to put up with that kind of behavior? Celestia wouldn't stand for it.
As it's only the second episode, and there inevitably had to be an awkward "Ray's first time" scene, I'm inclined to give Hung a pass here, but only once. If we're going to buy that Ray has the potential to forge a career as a male prostitute, we're going to need some evidence that he might actually have a talent for it.