It’s hard to say what it is about Hung that keeps me engrossed. Is it the well-written characters? Is it the topical nature of the show itself? Lord knows it isn’t the whole male prostitute thing. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not prude, but I just always have a rough time with the way that Hollywood seems to glamorize the profession when, in actuality, I’m pretty certain most of the men and women forced to work in the industry would rather be doing something else.
Well, that’s actually just the thing. There isn’t much glorifying so to speak. I mean, sure, some of the women that Ray finds himself with are crazy hot and you know he gets the best of both worlds, but they show that the whole thing is hard work and a little degrading too. I mean, I’m sure there are all sorts of things wrong with that last sentence, but it works for the same reason Weeds works (or should I say worked? After this past season, it’s difficult to say if it’s worth watching anymore). At the end of the episode, you may not respect their decision or their work or their “lifestyle”, whatever you want to call it, but it’s the characters that keeps you coming back for more.
Another dynamic that I know that I personally enjoy is the exploitation of the character Ray. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I want to see him fail or punished even, but think about it. We live in a society that exploits countless women, selling them things they don’t need, and making them think there’s no dignity in aging because some man will just dump you for a younger piece of tail anyway. No, really, it’s kind of messed up how our society tries to keep women down. But that’s not the real point, because even in Hung there are some clearly shallow women. No, it’s the fact that the men are being exploited just as well. Just like so many women before him, Ray is understood as a pure physicality. Hell, even the show’s title illustrates just what ray is. Sure, the show works to flesh him out, but in his interaction with women? Just about every one of them says the same thing and let’s be real, it’s all about his penis. Finally, Hollywood is working on creating a man forged out of humility like so many of the women that Hollywood tells women they should strive to be.
There are plenty things to like about Hung and its universe. The characters are compelling and ultimately flawed enough to feel real. The very nature of the show is surprisingly relevant. But in the end, why do so many of us come back? Well, besides in the hope of another nude scene by Thomas Jane? Because, as Ray says in the season 1 finale, all he’s get is a dick and a dream and if that isn’t the American way, what is?