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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Hung up on Hung

     HBO's Hung is about a single father slash high school basketball coach who goes into prostitution to pay for the rebuilding of his house after it pretty much burns down.  Ray (Thomas Jane) is an interesting character, balancing family life, romance, and being a male whore.  He fell in love with a client last season, and clearly pines for his ex-wife, Jessica (Anne Heche, Men in Trees), who isn't exactly happy with her second husband, Ronnie (Eddie Jemison, Ocean's 11, 12, and 13).  This almost came to a head last season as Jessica sat waiting for a male hooker in a hotel room, but Ray, realizing who he was going to meet, couldn't bring himself to go through with it.  It's frustrating, because Ray and Jessica have great chemistry, and they belong together, now that Jessica is developing into a full grown human.  They just had a case of bad timing the first time around.

     Their kids, twins Darby (Sianoa Smit-McPhee, UK's As the Bell Rings) and Damon (Charlie Saxton), are far less than well adjusted, and wish Ray would finish his construction so they could go back to living with him, which hurts Jessica quite a bit, as she's genuinely trying.  They are both interesting, though rarely get much plot.  Darby's campaign last week to make fat acceptable was nice, and Jessica's attempt to support her, though awkward and a complete failure, was sweet.  My biggest question about the kids, though, is how did two such beautiful parents make two completely average, normal looking children?  I would have never suspected Damon and Darby's biological lineage had it not been spelled out explicitly.  In fact, I'm still waiting for the plot twist to explain it.  I'm not trying to be mean; I like them both.  They just don't match.

     Tonight will be the third episode of the second season.  This year, Ray is being fought over by two pimps.  His first, Tanya (Jane Adams, Frasier), doesn't quite know how to build the business, but is trying her hardest.  Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff) is already a lifestyles coach for wealthy broads, and is just trying to add Ray to her list of offered services.  Lenore is winning on the income, but Tanya is determined to prove herself, so it's still anybody's game.

     Hung doesn't get the attention, praise, and award nominations that many HBO shows get and have gotten, but it is very good.  It's a unique story, told in a compelling way.  I don't really see where it's going to go long term, but twelve episodes in, I'm very pleased.  I think it just needs to find its audience, and with HBO waiting two weeks after the season premiere to air the second episode, that may be difficult.

     Hung airs Sunday nights at 10pm.

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