Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Getting Hung Up

What do you do when you are divorced, coaching a losing high school basketball team, living in a tent because of a fire, have hateful neighbors who regularly call the police on you and your self-esteem sinks hourly usually ending up in binge drinking?

Why, you become a male prostitute, of course.

Thus the premise of HBO's charming half-hour series called Hung. Ray Drecker, played by Thomas Jane, during a shoddy become-a-millionaire seminar (taught by a fraud who rents his sports car and hits on his "students") is asked, "What is your talent, Ray? What is your one special gift?"

Bingo. Ray is hung.

After a drink-fest, he sleeps with his frumpy friend-with-really-occasional-benefits, Tanya and after experiencing Ray's gift, she comes up with the crazy idea that they could market his talents. Thus, Happiness Consultants is born.
Tanya is no gem either. A poet with writer's block and serious mother issues, dressing in Goodwill-yard sale-boho garments, she constantly has to bolster Ray's ever-growing belief that his life will be anything other than dire and penniless.

I would not tell you that this is HBO's finest material, but the characters are so well done and the story lines never step outside of the bounds of the probable. Ray and Tanya are just two lost souls, both searching for love, a sense of accomplishment, a rightful place in the world, and a decent shot at happiness. Sounds like just about everyone you know, right?

Oh, you want to know about the sex stuff.

Sex is more humor than steam and certainly not the center of the series. Last night, one whackjob client of Ray's kept repeating the F Bomb that had me in stitches. Wacko clients abound and one had Ray falling for Jemma, played by Natalie Zea. Beautiful, but more messed up than a soup sandwich.

Just like Ray and Tanya's lives. That's why we watch, no?

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