Kish and I are big fans of HBO’s programming, which includes a number of extraordinarily well-done shows like The Wire, Deadwood, and The Sopranos. This year, we have become hooked on the new half-hour comedy Hung. It’s not at the same level as those shows — what current shows are? — but it has been enjoyable to watch from the first episode.
Hung is about the adventures (and misadventures) of Ray Drecker. Ray is a former stud athlete who has fallen on hard times. He teaches history and coaches the basketball team at a high school in the Detroit area. In the first episode his house burns down and we learn that he is divorced from his wife, he has no savings or insurance to allow him to rebuild his home, and he has two troubled teenage kids. Desperate for guidance and a plan, the hapless Ray goes to one of those cut-rate motivational how-to-make-money seminars and meets Tanya, a spineless sad sack trapped in a dead-end job. After a heated encounter they decide to make Ray’s most noteworthy attribute — one that gives the show its name — the focus of their money-making venture, and the show is off to the races.
The leads on the show are excellent. You can’t help but root for Ray, notwithstanding his new chosen profession and his general insensitivity, as he sleeps shivering in a tent outside his burned out home, tries to keep his family together, and is the object of pity from well-meaning students at the high school. We are hoping that Tanya discovers her backbone as she works to market their “Happiness Consultants” business. The show also has a fine ensemble cast that include Ray’s kids and ex-wife and her plastic surgeon husband, a mean-spirited neighbor and his curious wife, and the nervous motivational speaker. So far, our favorite character has been the fast-moving “friend” of Tanya’s who takes advantage of Ray and steals his credit cards on his first “job.”
It’s fun to watch a show from the first episode, as we have done with Hung. You don’t know what’s going to happen, and you hope it will be enjoyable. So far, it’s been worth it.