- 3 Seasons
Hung is an American television series created by Dmitry Lipkin and Colette Burson, which was broadcast from 2009 to 2011 on HBO. The show stars Thomas Jane as Ray Drecker, a struggling middle-aged high school baseball coach whose financial situation takes a turn for the worse when his home is destroyed in a fire, his ex-wife remarries, and his two teenage kids move in with him. In an effort to make ends meet, Ray decides to use his natural physical endowment and become a male prostitute, with the help of an ambitious and equally struggling friend, Tanya Skagle (played by Jane Adams).
The show, which is set in the darkly humorous and economically depressed Detroit, chronicles Ray's unconventional career path as he navigates the risky and often sleazy world of the sex industry. The first season sees him establish his new career as a gigolo named "Happiness Consultant", using his size and stamina to satisfy the desires of a diverse range of female clients, while also trying to keep his secret life hidden from his family, colleagues, and conservative community.
Over the subsequent seasons, Ray's life further complicates by engaging in relationships with different women, including Jemma, a fellow teacher at his school, Tanya, who becomes his pimp and then his lover, and Lenore, a slick businesswoman and his main client who pushes him into a more upscale market. Along with his romantic endeavors, the show also delves into the larger themes of social and economic inequality, gender and sexuality, and the search for identity and belonging.
Despite its sometimes controversial subject matter, Hung received critical acclaim for its sharp writing, subtle performances, and insightful portrayal of modern masculinity. The show's humor is often laced with satire and irony, allowing it to explore complex social issues while maintaining a light and engaging tone. The performances of Jane and Adams are particularly noteworthy, as they bring a believable and relatable dimension to their unconventional characters.
The show also features an ensemble of talented actors, including Anne Heche as Ray's ex-wife, who struggles with addiction and the emotional repercussions of their divorce, Charlie Saxton as Ray's son Damon, who is gay and struggling to come out of the closet, and Sianoa Smit-McPhee as Ray's daughter Darby, who is exploring her own sexuality and identity as a young woman.
The show's production values are also top-notch, with a gritty and urban setting that reflects the economic and cultural realities of Detroit. The cinematography is often dark and moody, creating a sense of intimacy and intensity. The soundtrack features an eclectic mix of music, ranging from indie rock to soul and hip hop, that captures the underground vibe of the city.
Despite its strong critical reception, Hung struggled to attract a large audience and was cancelled after three seasons. However, the show remains a cult favorite among fans of dark comedies and sex-positive entertainment, thanks to its smart writing, sharp dialogue, and excellent performances. For those who have missed out on this gem of a show, it is certainly worth checking out.
Hung is a series that is currently running and has 3 seasons (30 episodes). The series first aired on June 28, 2009.