The HBO series “Hung” starts a second season later this month.
Earlier this week, I watched the season one DVD — which HBO Home Entertainment will release on Tuesday — and couldn’t figure out what made the cable network decide to renew the series for a second season.
Why cancel “Deadwood” and “Rome” and “Tell Me You Love Me” and renew this dud?
“Hung” is a draggy “dramedy” about folks suffering the current economic crisis in Detroit.
The suggestive title doesn’t really suit the show despite the fact that it is about a well-endowed Michigan high school coach (Thomas Jane) who turns to prostitution at the suggestion of a frustrated temp/poet (Jane Adams) who volunteers her services as the man’s “pimp.”
As much as I’ve enjoyed Jane and Adams in other roles, I didn’t believe the pairing of these two mismatched business partners for a minute.
The premise (and that slightly sleazy title) got the show lots of publicity when it debuted last year, but it’s an aimless and rather pretentious affair that tries to graft pseudo-political undertones on to storylines that aren’t very entertaining or enlightening.
The sex angle never quite meshes with creators Dmitry Lipkin and Colette Burson’s shallow social consciousness.
Athough “Hung” is set in the Detroit suburbs — and most of season one was filmed there — you get the strong feeling that Lipkin and Burson cooked up their desperate-man scenario first and then set it in sad, old, depressed Detroit to give their limp scripts a dose of “realism” and local color.
The prostitution angle seems to be mostly a hook for the writers to inject some sex appeal into their dull stories of middle-aged depression, parent-child alienation and financial anxiety.
How many women in a dying city would want — or need — to pay for sex?
And if those clients existed would they be likely to use a very eccentric female poet to line up their “dates”?
Lipkin and Burson seem to have hatched their notion without really thinking about the way the Internet has changed the sex industry.
With so many websites out there devoted to sexual connections — paid and otherwise — why would any 2010 woman with half a brain meet with and hand over a commission to a pimp?