Hard Times in Detroit
If Chrysler’s recent commercial was about pride, HBO’s Hung is about perseverance. Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane) is the hometown high-school coach whose all-American charm and charisma are no match for the rotten luck and economic woes that seem to come with—and represent—life in the Detroit area. Ray’s life is, both literally and figuratively, falling down around him like the city he calls home. In desperation, Ray decides to try to make ends meet by making use of what an inspirational speaker calls his “winning tool.”
The title of the series might be a reference to Ray’s winning tool, but it also refers to Ray’s Sisyphean plight. His new business is at least as harmed as it is helped by his diametrically-opposed pimps; his reputation as a local sports hero and stand-up guy is at constant risk; and his small clientele (when he has one at all) is made up of an unfortunate collection of characters who are...exceedingly real.
Although its methods are both novel and risque (Parents: this is HBO evening programming), Hung is essentially about how good-meaning people end up backed into corners by circumstances beyond their control, and how the means by which they fight their way out of those corners can be both heartbreaking and hilarious.