48 of 56 people found the following review helpful
Better in idea than execution
, October 18, 2011
This review is from: Hung: Season 2 (DVD)
I've watched seasons I and II of Hung with mixed emotions. In season II I'm heading more toward dropping it, due largely to the writing and in some increasing sense, the casting.
The premise, that Ray Drecker is a high school coach (getting laid off in this season) by day, and reluctant male prostitute by night, totally sparks my interest. Current, provocative, a story seed that can grow and blossom in any number of interesting ways. However the writers just aren't going anywhere at all with this. The shock value of an average Joe using his biggest endowment to earn a salary wore off in Season I. We saw Ray awkwardly executing his first few jobs, we saw him come to terms, sorta, with his status as male prostitute, we saw Tanya the poet totally get off on the vision of herself as a pimp. Enter the evil conniving woman who tries to take over the business for a bit of intrigue and stress. And that... is pretty much where we have Season II as well. And the first few episodes of Season III. Nothing much is happening that's new, and they've explored most of the avenues opened in the first several episodes of the entire series. There simply isn't any freshness in the story line.
Another problem I have is the relative sexiness of the show. I'm a woman - the target client of this fictional male gigolo - and what I'm seeing is more of a male-fantasy version of a man giving women what they want so much they're willing to pay $600 a pop for it. For instance one recurring theme is that Ray drops his pants to show a woman his size, and they immediately become obsessed with having him. [A thousand online dating clients with cell phone cameras will tell you that this approach does not seem to actually entice your average woman] I'm not really getting the sex appeal. Yes, he's handsome, but that only goes so far.
As a viewer, I want to root for Ray and I want to see him develop the fantasy that he's selling in order to like and stick with his character. It would be forgivable if early on he was uncertain what made women tick and gradually came to understand that it wasn't a big you-know-what. However what I'm seeing is a character who doesn't seem to especially like women in any way that could come across as passion, sexiness or even interest to work out how to really please them. He sighs quite a bit (actually quite disgusting, old-man phlegm-filled rattles), he frowns, he isn't gentle, he argues with them defensively when they tell him what they want, he rarely appears interested in any part of the process, and even in the heat of the sex scenes themselves he's often shown looking exhausted and as if he's one step away from either a stroke or a back injury. In fact he DOES often get injured by his usually younger, more limber and more exuberant clients. As a viewer not opposed to some hot sex scenes, can I just say there's nothing sexy about a man who can't caress a woman without dislocating a shoulder and then rolling around on the floor clutching himself and groaning dramatically while the woman asks if he's okay and apologizes for hurting him? As a woman, I'm not feeling that.
Following on that thought... this season the actor himself (who is actually very handsome) has aged visibly. Yet they still team him up with much younger women, and I'm finding it harder and harder to suspend my disbelief that these girls who are in some cases young enough to be his daughter, are interested in this frowning, sighing, curmudgeonly man. And it's becoming harder to watch his character basically pummel these very young women into a wall as hard as possible as if that's all a woman could possibly desire (and as a woman who has participated in many conversations pondering how to disabuse a partner of that particular belief, I keep waiting for the story line to address this) - the age disparity is starting to feel more 'umm...gross' than 'ooh..edgy'.
I've watched the first few episodes of Season III to see if the competing-gigolo story line did anything for the show's major issues, but so far it's actually almost highlighting the largest problems I have with it.
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