At first glance, Ray Drecker seems like an ordinary divorced dad who’s facing tough times and trying to make ends meet. But Ray’s got one extraordinary, God-given gift – call it his “winning tool” – that sets him apart from other underpaid high-school teachers. With a little help from an unlikely business ally named Tanya, Ray is about to hatch an inspired plan to ride his winning tool all the way to a moreproductive, debt-free life.
Produced by Alexander Payne (Sideways), who directed the pilot, Hung reinvents the hooker-with-a-heart-of-gold archetype for the postfeminist era. High school basketball coach Ray Drecker (a first-rate Thomas Jane) lives in a Detroit devastated by the decline of the auto industry. After an electrical fire destroys his home, he loses custody of his kids to ex-wife Jessica (Anne Heche); joins forces with poet-turned-pimp Tanya (Jane Adams), with whom he once had a fling; and becomes a male escort. Though Drecker's life looks nothing like the one depicted in Boogie Nights, the anatomical anomaly he shares with porn star Dirk Diggler makes him well suited for his new line of work. To ensure that things look legit, Tanya markets Ray as a "happiness consultant." While she attempts to locate clients, he sleeps in a tent until he can inhabit his house again, tries to maintain a relationship with mopey twins Damon (Charlie Saxton) and Darby (Sianoa Smit-McPhee), and wages a stealth war against his image-obsessed neighbor, Howard (Loren Lester). Once Tanya reconnects with Lenore (Rebecca Kreskoff), a forceful fashion consultant, Ray hooks up with a controlling executive (Dirty Sexy Money's Natalie Zea) and a married woman who could use some TLC (Margo Martindale).
As the poignantly funny, if tonally erratic first season unfolds, Tanya meets a new man (Humpday's Joshua Leonard) and tangles with her pompous mother (Rhea Perlman); Jessica finds out her wealthy dermatologist husband, Ronnie (Eddie Jemison), isn't as wealthy as she thought; and Lenore tries to steal Ray away from Tanya. The premise may sound salacious, but Hung concerns itself more with economic imperatives and unconventional friendships than with cheap thrills. Created by Colette Burson and Dmitry Lipkin, the married team behind The Riches, Hung ends with the intimation of layoffs and affairs, rich dilemmas to fuel the second season. --Kathleen C. Fennessy