My guilty TV pleasure these days is the HBO comedy series Hung. It’s one of the few television shows my boyfriend enjoys, so I look forward to Sunday night when we can settle down together on the sofa to close out the weekend.
If you’re unfamiliar, Hung is about Ray, a high school baseball coach who was divorced by his high school sweetheart. Their socially awkward son and daughter (fraternal twins) and don’t seem to have gotten the “cool gene” from their jock dad and cheerleader mom. The series kicks off when Ray’s suburban Detroit home burns down and he doesn’t have the money to rebuild it.
So, down-on-his-luck Ray meets Tanya at a self-help group and after a random night together, they discover their new calling: Tanya becomes Ray’s pimp. Their mission is to make big bucks with their new company Happiness Consultants – putting smiles on lonely women throughout the Detroit area.
Unfortunately, while Ray is outfitted with the proper equipment for the job, Tanya’s not the most resourceful pimp. A beautiful but somewhat caustic customer, Lenore, decides she can do Tanya’s job better and worms her way in to get some of the action. So to speak.
While there is a healthy dosage of showing Ray doing what he does best – serving customers – Hung actually touches on a number of bigger life issues and dilemmas:
- Ray failed at his dream of baseball due to a shoulder injury and now has to make the best of his “take two” career — teaching
- He deals with maintaining a friendship with his ex-wife (now married to a rich dermatologist)
- Ray struggles to prove to his kids that he doesn’t find them outcasts (difficult when they assert, “You wouldn’t be friends with us in high school)
- Even professionals suffer rejection, and Ray learns how it is to be objectified by someone for whom you have developed feelings
- Tanya struggles to be successful and strives to prove her worth to her dismissive mother
- Ray’s ex, Jessica, has two teenage kids and now feels the pressure to give her new husband a baby