This is Not Sexy
Does anyone else understand what the deal is with the …OR…titles? They used to feel like actual contrasts – two different ways we could encounter the episode. But now they feel like they’re just the two lines that the writers couldn’t decide between for naming. These were certainly two of the funnier lines in the episode, but aside from that I had a difficult time figuring out their relationship…any thoughts, readers? Help me out!
That being said, there were a bunch of other great lines in this one, ranging from funny to thoughtful to devastating. Jessica’s mother’s “you want a husband, open your legs; you want a divorce, open your mouth” gave us a lot of insight into just how Jessica became Jessica. The new client’s “My husband died on Christmas Eve, I don’t feel like taking it down” offered a poignant reminder that all is often not what it seems. And the anti-gym task force’s “A diet is a cure for a disease that doesn’t exist” was simply hilarious. And “it’s a movement, like for black people but for fat people” was so dumb as to score a home-goal against themselves – I’m all for de-stigmatizing a diversity of body types, but until I see some water hoses and dogs gathered around a ‘obese only’ water fountain, I’m not calling this a Civil Rights movement. This is not the eat-in’s of the ’60’s – it’s just an excuse to enjoy some cake in the fresh air.
But it was this fat-is-beautiful scene that I found to be most interesting. The tension between Dar and Jessica builds and builds and then lets a little out only to build again. So now we have an explanation for where Dar may have gotten last week’s cutting analysis of Jess’ own gender and self-identity. The relationship between these two is getting more and more complex. It remains unclear to me (in a good way) whether Dar feels genuine contempt for her mother, or whether she hates her because deep down she wants to be her…and my sense is that Dar herself isn’t supposed to have that figured out yet.
This group seems to give her a sense of pride and self-worth (which jerky boyfriends who picked on her weight stripped from her). But while the other girls pick on her mother openly and hostily (seriously – if you don’t want cake, you don’t want cake – let it go and enjoy the piece you’ve cut for yourself, I say!) Dar seemed not only embarrassed, but also pained for the harassment that was being cast at Jess. Embarrassed of her mother, but also embarrassed of her friends – what teenage girl doesn’t know that experience?!
In intrigued by Tanya’s Lanvin sweater – she doesn’t know what it is, but she knows she loves it, and I wonder if this is going to become sort of a theme for Tanya this season. If she can learn to claim things before she’s quite earned them, then she might just be able to take Lenore on. Usually I hate watching cat fights brew, but this one has me captivated. Even though it’s corny, I get the feeling that if these two women could just learn to work together, they’d have an amazing pimp team (there’s a sentence I can’t say I thought I’d ever write).
So, how about Ray finally embracing his male-whoreness! Whority? Um, I’m not quite sure the right word, here. When Claire started flashing that grand at him, I thought – oh poor Claire, she just doesn’t get it. But, as it turns out, it was me who didn’t get it. Not only does Ray up the price, but it seems Claire likes that. And we’re again invited to witness something a little more complex than we initially realized. I had been sucked into thinking that Claire was falling for Ray, wanting more than just a prostitute – wanting a lover, maybe even a partner. But oh how gender stereotyping my read was! Turns out Claire really wanted to own Ray for her own purposes – pure economic transaction for pure pleasure…no deep emotional tie, but actually the genuine eschewing of one.
It’s like Tanya said, when you’re lonely you don’t actually want something romantic that makes you feel more lonely – you want to be held; you want to get f*cked.
So while telling it’s story in largely gender stereotype modes, Hung manages to disrupt those narratives at the same time. Intriguing!