Posted by therebelprince on July 21, 2009
The pilot episode of Hung – being reviewed late, I apologise, but I’ll catch up shortly – introduces us to Ray Drecker (played by the immensely likeable Thomas Jane, left), a down-on-his-luck gym teacher with one asset: his much-promo’d penis.
Ray is a recession era antihero, living in a tent beside his burnt out house (in a neighbourhood full of soccer moms and dads who host “get-togethers”) and a lack of certainty about his future. It’s refreshing to see a series like this, where the characters don’t always look great and the morals are rarely easy. It’s the kind of television that HBO specialised in for most of the past decade, but which has been lost a bit with the premiere of series like True Blood (Which I’ll hopefully get around to reviewing, but that’s another story).
Particularly memorable is Jane Adams (above) as a casual lover of Ray’s, who inspires him to market his one great “tool”, and Anne Heche is his manic ex-wife Jessica.
The show will, I imagine, grow a lot over its time on the air – looking at the pilot episodes of other HBO classics like The Sopranos or The Wire you can’t fathom their epic explosions – but Hung has a great base to start from. Neither of his relationships with the women in his life are stable, his kids (delightfully realistic looking Charlie Saxton and Sianoa Smit-McPhee) don’t care, and Ray has no idea about the world he’s entering in to.
Although “refreshing” seems to be overused when praising this show, it IS refreshing when Ray loses his first client, and Tonya (Adams) gives him a more realistic take on how selling oneself works. It’s also nice to see Gregg Henry in a small role as Ray’s assistant coach, and – at least in the first episode – HBO’s ability to dodge the censors isn’t overly relied upon as Six Feet Under did on occasion.
I’m looking forward to the journey we’re going to take with Hung. Bring it on.