Aubry D'Arminio
June 24, 2008 AT 04:00 AM EDT

‘Secret Diary of a Call Girl’ recap: Her fantasy

Let’s talk about sex, baby. The sex Hannah didn’t have with last night’s john, Aleksandar (totally breaking her ”work out what the client wants as fast as you can, and give it to him” rule). Or the sex she nearly had with her favorite novelist and his wife instead of visiting her newborn nephew in the hospital. (I found it alarming that she even hesitated before bolting from the cab.) The sex that goes on at ultra-exclusive, high-class adult parties that no one I know is invited to. And the sex Hannah should start having again with Ben — because he’s cute, emotionally healthy, and, I think, still into her. Screw his elusive tofu-loving girlfriend, Vanessa, and her drawerful of greeting cards. She can’t be as good as our Hannah, can she? Wink…wink…nudge…nudge.

I say ”our Hannah” in the British way, implying that she’s part of the family — we’ve seen her drop a deuce, for Pete’s sake — and allowing us to love her/hate her like the selfish, spoiled younger sibling I imagine she might be. Sure, her sister is unnecessarily cruel, snapping at Hannah for missing her son’s birth because of a ”work do” and not trusting her to hold the baby while standing up. (BTW, the sucking sounds the kid made here were both odd and disturbing.) Yet there was something in Sis’ anger that made me believe it could be warranted — and I’m positive it’s one of the reasons Hannah seeks approval from anonymous men and doesn’t have any female friends. Hannah is also clearly Daddy’s little girl: They joke together, she rolls his cigarettes, and he totally knows she’s a hooker. He seems like a pretty cool guy: What other kind of fiftysomething would wear a half-buttoned purple blouse, black jeans, and dress shoes? But there’s obviously some animosity between Mum and Pop, which makes me think Hannah’s childhood wasn’t as hunky-dory as she claims. What I’m seeing in her family life is the beginning of a psychologist’s wet dream. Then again, who wouldn’t be crazy if her mother was played by ’80s pop tart Toyah?

I had no idea Toyah Willcox was in the cast. Seeing her nearly made me gasp, because when I first glimpsed Hannah’s party outfit (Louise Brooks wig, black satin dress, neck and wrist feathers), I thought to myself (no lie), ”What is Billie Piper doing channeling Toyah?” (For those of you who posted that you watch Shameless, this is who Frank is referring to in the opening credits when he says they don’t let Carl’s hair grow out because it ”stands on end and makes him look like Toyah.” Yeah, it took me months to figure that out.)

Anyway, back to the fete. Apparently Hannah had been dying to get invited to this orgy for a while, and now she had a punter paying her to go (”I love it when my personal desires are the same as my professional duties”). Honestly, and I don’t like to think of myself as a prude, but there was something about the night that really freaked me out. I’m not talking about the lady with the painted gold nipples (awesome), the couples boinking in full view of the camera (bold), or the spoiled rich girl obsessed with An Inconvenient Truth (annoying). It was the burlesque artist (or stripper, if you’re nasty) Scarlette O’Harlette, whose gimmick is donning a dress made out of balloons and then bursting them until she has on nothing but a G-string. It’s got to be dangerous (and scary) to pop anything that close to your naked body, not to mention your face. But I digress.

So Hannah, already sans knickers, hoped to get right down to business in the party room, but Aleksandar opted to wait. His reason: He wanted to watch all the other men desire her and ”then maybe, later on, at home, when you are really desperate, then I will f— you.” Big mistake, Alex. Huge. And I was actually thinking you were pretty charming before you turned into a teasing, possessive creep. World-famous massages? Please. Then, again, you were paying her to be there with you, which means you were entitled to something, I guess. But I’m of the opinion that it is Hannah’s body, and if she offers you a refund, well, you can’t really complain.

NEXT: Writer block

Thus Hannah took her frustration someplace else — to novelist Jay Lorre, who ”changed her life” and whom you may have recognized as Scottish actor Jamie Sives, from Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself and one very good episode of Doctor Who. Sure, once he came onto the scene, the party seemed to devolve into, as a friend of mine said, ”just a lot of playing hide-and-seek at some phony-baloney Eyes Wide Shut sports-car-commercial setting.” But I found Jamie and Billie totally watchable, and quite good flirts. The situation also allowed us to learn a lot more about Hannah: mainly that she is terribly unprofessional, selfish, and unable to disconnect her work from her personal desires. That other rule about keeping her private life and job separate? Totally kaput the minute she chose Jay over Aleksandar, handing the latter the ”gotta go, I have personal problems” excuse. All I can say is thank God good old Sis went into labor and gave Hannah a real justification for leaving when Alex raises hell to her boss. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not down on Hannah at all: I loved the way she could happily hop into bed with a good book after an event-filled night (and seeing Billie’s perfect naked bum didn’t hurt). I also thought it cute how she was so chummy with the waiter and managed to crack an Ibsen joke. She’s just no hooker with a heart of gold is all.

I can’t wait for next week when she starts double-dipping on clients. In the meantime, thanks to you guys, I have a whole load of British shows to catch up on — and a broken region-free DVD player, which I’m going to throw out the window. (Non-Brit-TV fans may want to skip to the next paragraph now). TV Watcher Daniel, 8 Out of 10 Cats was awesome. Thank you! I found it on YouTube (yay!). I also recently discovered Big Fat Quiz of the Year, while googling Russell Brand. And Smack the Pony, with Sarah Alexander. TV Watcher Ben, I’ve been meaning to check out This Life for years. I love you for putting it back on my radar. Remember the American remake? Yuck! I’m sorry to say (while we’re on the subject of Andrew Lincoln shows), I’ve never seen all of Teachers either. Feel free to rail on me. I deserve it, ’cause he’s excellent. Lastly, to TV Watcher nk, I think Robson Green is fabulous too! I have no clue why he’s not more famous in the States. This is for you. For my part, I wanted to share this show with Stephen Fry called Absolute Power that I caught this Saturday on PBS (no making fun). It was hilarious.

So what did you guys think of this episode? Still turned off by the fuzzy cinematography or digging it in the low-light party atmosphere? Ticked off at Hannah, or still with Billie hook, line, and sinker? (If the latter, here she is talking about the show on Parky.) Getting a vibe between her and Ben, or think I’m totally imagining it?

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