Entertainment Weekly


Stay Connected


Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Join our live viewing party of the 'This Is Us' season premiere.

This is Us

Tonight at 9PM ET



Posted on

Jane Adams, Thomas Jane, ...
Chuck Hodes/HBO


TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
run date:
Thomas Jane

We gave it a C+

Take a title like Hung on a network like HBO, and you pretty much know what you’re getting into with this new comedy. It stars the Punisher, Thomas Jane, as Ray Drecker, a schlub on the skids. Ray is a failed pro athlete, and now a bored high school coach. His 20-year marriage has ended, and his ex-wife, played by Anne Heche in her fearlessly unlikable mode (translation: If you loved Men in Trees, you won’t enjoy her here), has married a rich guy who makes Ray feel inadequate. He pines for more time with his two teenage kids (Sianoa Smit-McPhee and Charlie Saxton), but their mom has custody most of the time.

See? I went a whole paragraph without saying that Ray has a gigantic penis. That’s Hung‘s hook: Ray is built like the proverbial stallion, but he has to work like a mule to make ends meet. In this series, co-created by Dmitry Lipkin (The Riches) and Colette Burson, it doesn’t take long for Ray to reach a stress point — most of his house burns down and he has to sleep in a tent because he can’t afford anything better — to use his endowment to make money.

Ray has a one-night stand with a pleasantly neurotic poet named Tanya, played by the excellent Jane Adams (Frasier‘s Mel Karnofsky). They have no romantic spark, but she’s looking to get out of a dead-end job, so Tanya, impressed by Ray’s member, proposes that she become Ray’s ”pimp.” Her business plan: They’ll make their service distinctive, more classy-woman-friendly, by calling themselves ”happiness consultants” — so much less crude than ”escort service.” Or ”man-whore.” (Hey, Tanya says that, not me.)

Unfortunately, Hung makes all the double entendres you’d expect. Ray says you have to make do with ”whatever gifts God gave ya.” A motivational speaker tells Ray, in advising him to come up with a marketable idea, to ”identify your own tool” for success. Tanya and Ray’s business is a ”joint project.”

This show’s biggest problem is that aside from limp jokes, it seems to cancel out its two audiences: Women may be turned off by the notion that all gals want a thick sausage, and men may yawn because it’s not explicit enough by HBO standards. (Compared with Hung, Entourage is an X-rated bacchanal.) Thomas Jane, though, is a revelation — he plays hopeless haplessness without coming off wimpy, and his initial uncomfortableness as a pro gigolo is charming. But Hung‘s awkward tone (partly intentional, since the pilot was directed by Alexander Payne, writer- director of that gem of awkward comedy Sideways) becomes frustrating. The series needs to commit: Either evolve into a funny, sexy stud-romp or hang it up. C+