Created by Dmitry Lipkin, Colette Burson
I am so fucking happy Hung was not picked up for another season. Mostly because once I have started a show I feel compelled to watch every episode, and Hung is a steaming pile of monkey shit of a show. When I heard there was a show on HBO about a male prostitute, “oh cool,” I thought. Here’s an opportunity for a show to address the growing consumption of masculinity as commodity; maybe deal with some other gender and sexuality issues along the way. Nope, instead the show attempts a weird redemption of america narrative, and never once shows the lead characters penis.
After the show open (which consists of colloquial illusions to cock) Thomas Jane as Ray Drecker is performing a morose woe is me narration laid over images of (in order of appearance) Tiger stadium being destroyed, the american flag, and a chrysler minivan being smashed in a junk yard. “Everything is falling apart”, he says, “and it all starts right here in Detroit. The head waters of a river of failure.” At this point my brain belched up a bewildered ah fuck. In 10 seconds this show is now about America and American decline, and with the character introduction that followed, the redemption of Ray Drecker and by proxy, America.
Ray Drecker is one in a litany of dumb as you wanna be american male characters. Instead of redemption through suffering or atonement (perhaps a better option would have been no redemption), the show chooses instead redemption through a whole lot of fucking. Drecker’s character doesn’t learn any lessons over the course of three season’s other than being more sensitive (whatever that means). And if that is the lesson it is undermined by the fact that his life hasn’t changed other than having a lot of sex. If anybody is suffering it is the people around Ray. The narrative of american redemption is essentially “dudes, just keep doing what you’re doing. It doesn’t matter. We have a huge dick.”
At least let me say good for the creators of Hung for showing female sexual appetite outside of a monogamous relationship. That characterization is still not widely seen in film or television. But, after miring the story in a theme of american redemption through penis fetish, you might expect they at least show the penis. If anybody has an excuse it’s the show named Hung about a male prostitute and his fetishized penis. Alas, They offer plenty of objectified female nudity for the voyeuristic gaze of the audience but no penis. Way to go, bro, you did it again (bro being white, heterosexual, patriarchy).