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TV Review: HBO’s ‘Hung’ Hopes Viewers Are Ready For Second Date

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CHICAGO – Male prostitute Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane) and his pimp Tanya Skagle (Jane Adams) are back in the second season premiere of “Hung,” a show that improved drastically over its first year (check out our Blu-ray review here) and seems primed for continued growth in its sophomore outing. Shows like “Hung” often fine-tune their characters and themes between the first and second year and this unusual comedy is primed for breakout success.

HollywoodChicago.com TV Rating: 4.0/5.0
TV Rating: 4.0/5.0

“Hung” always shared thematic ties with Showtime’s hit “Weeds” in that both series are about average suburbanites dealing with illegal activities more commonly reserved for the cities. The premiere of season feels even more like the adventures of Nancy Botwin when Tanya goes to the seedy side of Detroit to ask some real hookers for business advice and meets a pimp (the great Lennie James) reluctantly willing to help. “I’ve got problems…pimp-type problems.

Hung: Season Two
Hung: Season Two
Photo credit: Lacey Terrell/HBO

Tanya is understandably concerned that she’s being replaced in Ray’s life by the abrasive Lenore (Rebecca Creskoff) while Ray has his own serious issues to deal with including the fact that he’s soon going to be out of work and his ex-wife (Anne Heche) won’t talk to him any more after encountering him in a “business situation.”

Hung: Season Two
Hung: Season Two
Photo credit: Lacey Terrell/HBO

The premiere of “Hung,” “Just the Tip,” is the show at its best. It’s funny, clever, and thematically engaging in that most of the well-balanced subplots come down to one thing — a realization that sometimes you just need to stop fighting the unfair side of life and do the best with what you have. The scenes between Adams and James are expertly written and performed and Jane is much more comfortable than he was a year ago in the series premiere.

The show still needs some work. Ray’s encounter with a pregnant client feels a bit forced emotionally and the supporting cast could use some tightening. No offense to the lovely Rebecca Creskoff but her character drives me insane because she doesn’t feel genuine. What works about “Hung” (and “Weeds” for that matter) is when the extreme plot of the series is balanced out by realistic performances from talented actors. “Hung” clicked in the first season when Ray and Tanya began to feel real. The rest of the show still needs some work in that department.

With a lead-in on Sunday nights of the phenomenal “True Blood” and a lead-out of the beloved “Entourage,” the creators of “Hung” might never have a better time slot or summer season in which to prove that they deserve mention with the best of HBO. Ray Drecker’s life may still be in disarray but everything seems to be clicking into place for the show about him.

“Hung” stars Thomas Jane, Jane Adams, Rebecca Creskoff, and Anne Heche. The second season premieres on HBO on Sunday, June 27th, 2010 at 9pm CST.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

By BRIAN TALLERICO
Content Director
HollywoodChicago.com
brian@hollywoodchicago.com

Andy's picture

Love the show but it would

Love the show but it would be nice to have a recap at the beginning of the episodes…I’m not knockin the show at all but after a week of not watching it’s hard to remember what happened the week before…I’m not sayin the show’s boring but Californication & Dexter stick in my mind alot more & both those shows have recaps…Can’t wait to start the second season but I just can’t remember what happened in the first one…Love the show tho…

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