“Today’s a Great Day” or “It’s a Fine Kettle of Fish”
Ah, the erotics of family life. Not the least complex issue Hung could choose to tackle in an episode with a high teenager, a cranky mother-in-law and a potential love-match between two lonely, lonely souls. The line between acceptable and unacceptable when it comes to families and bodily life together is thin – but we have the sense we know when it’s been crossed. While seeing one’s mother and step-father naked might be enough to escalate a bad drug reaction – it’s certainly not worse than watching one’s father masturbate or needing to scrub one’s mother’s back in the shower at 14 years old. But, we can probably all agree, all three situations are situated along various points of the ‘not ok’ side of the scale.
But Damon’s poem about being a twin was a little more difficult to judge. Dar’s reaction wasn’t out of left field – there was something ‘freakish’ about it…even though it’s freak-factor might be hard to pin. While the bond between two twins probably goes deeper – not just emotionally, but also in a bodily way – than a non-twin could understand, how is such an experience put into words without those words butting up against the erotic. Warm, wet, love – especially spoken slowly and with a particular cadence, have the feel of erotic poetry, even as they describe the womb. And while the poem might have come off a little creepy, what that creepiness revealed was not that Damon is a freak, but rather that he recognizes in himself feelings that exist somewhere beyond his ability to express them. This is, perhaps, what is making Damon shape up as the most interesting character on the show for me. There’s a longing to him that, while beautiful, also totally loses the plot at times. As so his floundering around trying to catch whatever it is he is longing for ends up being quite lovely.
Which is perhaps something that could also be said of Mike Hunt (really? I can’t believe the audacity of actually naming a character that – hilarious!) and Francis. Here we have another fine line, upon which the show is dancing. At times it seems that Tanya’s recent read of Francis – that she just needs to get f*cked – is right. At others, it seems she really just needs a companion. And at others, it seems most clear that what she really needs is a friend…not a pimp, but a friend.
The interesting thing about Tanya is that as she gets stronger and more self-sufficient – things we want to see her get – she does also get more selfish…something we don’t want to see. Trying to send a father away from his sick son is pretty awful – not to mention trying to exploit a widow’s sadness. I’m starting to wonder if we’re going to reach a moment when Tanya realizes how far she’s strayed from her own values. We constantly watch Ray deal with that issue – but perhaps soon Tanya will have to have a careful self-examination too.
As Damon gets more interesting, and Tanya gets more complex, it’s also true that Ronnie gets more and more and more terrifying to me. His weird blurting out of childhood traumas aside – the scene where he borders on threatening Jessica while still inside her was chilling, and the only thing scarier than that was the fact that she almost just took it. Funnily enough, Jessica running down the hall in her most naked vulnerable state actually revealed her at her strongest.
What did you guys think? Are you enjoying this season as much as last season? What did you think of Damon’s poem? Are you pulling for Mike and Francis?