Season 3 Episode 9

"A Monkey Named Simian" Or "Frances Is Not a Fan"

Aired Sunday 10:00 PM Nov 27, 2011 on HBO

Episode Fan Reviews (2)

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  • Pimp's Don't Get Invited to Weddings


    After having punched Jason out at the restaurant and some of his client not being able to be serviced because of his broken nose Ray begins snaking and clients towards himself to balance the plate which makes him extremely happy. Ray helps tutor his kids to take a standardized test of sorts and tries to reconnect with Jessica who is suspicious about Jason having known him at the restaurant. Frances and Mike are getting married and Tanya is frustrated that she didn't get invited and offers to go as Ray's plus one which he says that he wants to ask Jessica, even though she refuses. Tanya has her own problems to deal with as Charlie's kids are still with her wreaking havoc and just as she gets some order going and takes a liking to maternity Missy shows up and collects the kids and Charlie is about to drive them away when she and Charlie have a heated conversation in regards to him leaving. Charlie admits that he likes her but he had to take the money and run and that he'll pay her back for the bail and the shoebox money he took from Ray. Despite his actions, I understand Charlie and even though his kids and girlfriend are undeveloped his attitude and swingling seem almost apologetic themselves, but I'm flawed since Lennie James is one of my favorite actors so don't take my word on that. At the wedding Tanya is asked to leave since Frances doesn't like her but Ray insists hat she be allowed to stay. Jessica shows up at the wedding too despite her denial of Ray's offer and reveals to Tanya that she's figured out that she pimps out Ray but that she's not mad. After an initially uncomfortable speech by Ray as the best man, he and Jessica share a dance on the fringe of the wedding as Mike and Frances welcome in their new love. Good, somber toned episode, but now I don't know what to expect from next week's episode since the big shot of "Jessica knows!" kind of fizzled out this episode. But there's still a lot that can happen with Jason and Lenore, and Sandee.

  • Ladies and gentlemen, we now have definitive proof that the presence and absence of Lennie James within a show's cast directly impacts the quality of the program.


    Last week, Charlie was gone, and the episode kinda sorta sucked. This week, Charlie came back, and the episode was, at least in my opinion, the best of the season. Coincidence? I think not. Now, granted, Charlie also left again, so maybe next week will kinda sorta suck again. At present, however, I'm still riding on the romantic high I got out of the proceedings, so that's where I'd prefer for my focus to remain for the time being.

    Actually, as much as I'd love to be able to attribute all of the episode's success to Mr. James's efforts in front of the camera, I think it would be behoove us to lavish a bit of praise on the man behind the camera as well, whose deft touch with matters of romance served the material so well that I have to believe that Mr. Lipkin and Ms. Burson said, "God bless our regular directors, but we need a ringer for this one."

    Enter Howard Deutch.

    In a bit of odd coincidence, I went straight from watching Pretty in Pink to watching tonight's episode of Hung, so I did an actual double-take when I saw Mr. Deutch's name for the second time in two hours. I've got to say, I've never understood what happened with that guy's career: he started off about as strong as a director in the '80s possibly could have – his first three films were Pretty in Pink, Some Kind of Wonderful, and The Great Outdoors – but after the underrated Article 99, his street cred went into freefall, with his later credits including a Macaulay Culkin flick, a string of subpar sequels, and a Dane Cook movie. That's just sad. Mind you, Deutch probably hasn't cried himself to sleep a day since 1989, when he married Lea Thompson at the height of her hotness, but even so, you'd like to think that the man responsible for Pretty in Pink deserves better than having to direct Dane goddamned Cook.

    And so he does. And so he proved it tonight.

    Ray's running a chainsaw as Tanya's running after Charlie's kids, but as they head for the dock, she stops to give Ray a good wallop with her purse as partial payback for the punch in the snoot he delivered to Jason last week. With Ray having "damaged the merchandise," as Tanya puts it, Jason might not be out of commission, but nor is he exactly the primo gigolo that was originally pitched to the clientele. Ray, of course, puffs up his chest and assures Tanya that he's more than enough man to fill in for Jason, twenty year age difference be damned…and, say, what do you know? He's right!

    Bursting with testosterone, Ray returns home and, in addition to playing Super Dad to the twins by helping them study, greets Jessica with fresh coffee, a tasty coffee cake, and all the charisma he can muster, hoping that he can convince her to attend Frances and Mike's wedding with him. He can't. It's pretty clear to us at this point that she's worked out the connection between Ray and Jason, but Ray seems so focused on trying to sway her back into his loving arms that he isn't entirely aware of why she's asked him how Jason knew his name.

    Meanwhile, in the midst of Ray rediscovering his manhood in a major fashion, not only is Tanya fretting about the fact that she hasn't been invited to Frances and Mike's wedding, but she also still has to deal with Charlie's kids. I'd be hard pressed to come up with a more ineffectual mother figure than Tanya, but after spending so much time unable to get them to listen to her, she finally stumbles upon a surprisingly simple way to soothe the savage beasts: by counting to three and offering to read them a story.

    Seeing Tanya suddenly find her inner mother was both sweet and sad, given that the kids' mother turned up to take them away bright and early the next morning, but things grew even more depressing when, while attempting to give them a sentimental parting gift, she discovers that it isn't just their mother who's come to pick them up.

    I don't think we've seen the last of Charlie, given that Tanya pointedly repeated the minivan's license plate number over and over, but if he never shows his face again, you can't say he didn't offer a great farewell speech. James nailed the necessary tone, revealing just enough emotion to indicate that he really did have feelings for Tanya while still underlining the ultimate moral to the story: "What did you expect from a relationship with a pimp?"

    And so we come to the wedding of Frances and Mike, an event which, despite way too little set-up throughout the course of this season, still proved to be a success from a story standpoint. The moment when Ray placed his hand upon Tanya's knee to indicate that he really was sorry about the way the Charlie situation had ended was extremely sweet, but I was seriously sweating the possibility that Tanya's refusal to stop talking during the ceremony was going to result in the whole thing coming to a standstill.

    It was perfectly in character for Tanya to be unable to just keep her mouth shut and enjoy the couple's happiness, instead feeling obliged to repeatedly identify herself as the one who brought them together. When Jessica showed up, however, the tone of the proceedings began to change, eventually offering a payoff that's been building for the better part of three seasons. I honestly don't know which speech was better: Jessica and Tanya, Tanya and Ray, or Ray and Jessica. All of them resulted in strong, powerful moments that I really enjoyed.

    I don't know how I feel about next week's season finale. All things being equal, I can't really imagine a more satisfying ending than the one we got this week, but I'm sure we'll be seeing Lenore again, not to mention Sandee setting up some sort of payback for Ray knocking the f*** out of her fiancée. Maybe Tanya will go ahead and try to get in touch with Charlie…or, hell, as a woman scorned, maybe she'll just give the license plate number to the police, so as to lessen the trouble she'll have to deal with for having him skip town. No matter what happens, though, I'm hard pressed to believe that it'll top tonight. But I reckon we'll see soon enough.

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