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Way to kill whatever momentum you had, Hung

by Jason Hughes, posted Jul 6th 2009 7:03PM
Thomas Jane in HBO has billed their new series Hung as a comedy. But last week's pilot was pretty light on the laughs. That's not to say that the show doesn't have potential. I do think it's fair to say it's not living up to any of it, though. I didn't get around to watching the premiere until this weekend, which is when I realized that there was no new episode this week. It makes sense when you consider the Fourth of July holiday. But when you're trying to establish a rhythm and audience for a new show, it's a horrible idea.

Especially when your show is only "eh" to begin with. The biggest flaw in the premiere of Hung was how it ended. You have to consider that after only one episode to get to know your premise and characters, you're going to be asking people to wait two weeks and then come back for more. That means you have to grab onto them with something that makes them need to come back. Hung just kind of withered at the end.

As it works so well on How I Met Your Mother, the narration by Ray really drives the story. That coupled with the non-linear storytelling technique used in this pilot could drive much of the comedy ... if we ever get any. We even got a "fantasy" sequence in the classroom, another gold mine for comic possibilities. There's nothing more fun than an unreliable narrator.

The non-linear storytelling approach could have saved the ending of the episode for me. As it stands, I was left feeling kind of flat. Here's an ending that would have gotten my attention. After Ray calls out Tanya for basically wanting to be his pimp we get Ray's voice over:

RAY (V/O): "So Tanya became my manager, and things improved. If you want to call it that."

Cut to a scene of Ray standing in leather underwear (possibly other fetish gear), holding a whip and a white cat.

WOMAN (Off-Camera): "Who's been a bad Puss? Does Puss need a spanking?"

CAT: Mrow?

RAY (V/O): "But that wasn't even the worst of it."

Really, you could end with any sort of cryptic statement that would make me want to come back. "Things were going great, until I got recognized." All the show needed to do was find a way to keep itself on my mind and leave me dying to know what happens next

But they didn't. I know that Tanya wants to help him, but I don't know how well that might work out. I'm left kind of blase about the whole thing. And they've given me two weeks to decide that maybe I don't really need to know what happens next. Maybe they thought the fact that Ray was "hung" would do it. We'd come back week after week hoping they're gonna show it (HINT: they're not). Secret Diary of a Call Girl was much more compelling.

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Way to leave us hanging HBO (pun absolutely necessary).

I thought the pilot was okay. I've never liked Thomas Jane very much, but I thought he managed to get across the right mix of sleaze of, and sympathy for the character. But to premiere a show and not have a new episode the next week (only a rerun of the friggin' pilot) is really pathetic. Why would HBO do something so stupid? Even with the 4th of july weekend, people still watch TV. Maybe they'd watch the 10pm showing on HBO2 instead of the initial 9pm showing on HBO(1) because they want to take 15 minutes to go watch some stupid fireworks. Big deal. And it's not like HBO has to worry about people using Tivo - they don't have commercials. Would they care if we set it to Tivo "Hung" and watched it the next day? As if they don't end up showing each new show every few hours between all the various HBO channels, anyway.

I can't watch this show without thinking of Boogie Nights - great movie and no way this show will be able to top that. And while I have no interest in seeing big cock (or any cock for that matter), since it's on HBO why wouldn't they show it (however briefly), as it's basically the main character of the show? I guess I just expect certain things from HBO. I hate censorship, I pay for HBO, and even though I have no desire to see a big fake penis, I think it's a detriment to the show not to even have a half-second quick shot of it. I dunno. It seems like it keeps building up to "how big is it?" Like another poster said, why does True Blood have more sex and nudity? It's just the principle of the matter. Boogie Nights did it right.

July 08 2009 at 2:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Guess Who

Why does a show like "True Blood" have more sex and nudity than "Hung".

The show has no laughs, no drama and not even the lowest common denominator - lot's of T&A.

Why watch?

July 06 2009 at 11:28 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Big John

'Hung' provided a decent preview and many opportunities for reairs to draw new viewers.

Your writing is terrible, though.

July 06 2009 at 10:00 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great premise. So-so execution.

I will definitely watch, but only because it precedes 'Entourage'.

July 06 2009 at 9:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Tool's comment
Alicia R.

Yep. That is what is going to happen in my house too. True Blood, Hung and then Entourage. I'm too lazy to find something for a half an hour.

July 07 2009 at 12:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I didn't think Hung was horrible...but I forgot about it since. Usually, after I watch a new show I'll set the DVR to record the next episode - since there wasn't one to record, I simply forgot about it until this article reminded me that it even existed.
So, at least from this corner, it was a bad scheduling decision.

July 06 2009 at 8:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jon thomas

I was more upset about the repeat of trueblood ! i need more

July 06 2009 at 8:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jon thomas's comment

Yep.. Left everyone a little limp ;-)

July 06 2009 at 10:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Bart Smith

I'm not sure it's that terrible a move really. You give the audience two weeks to catch the pilot episode before moving forward with the series. And the second episode has the benefit of airing between a new episode of TRUE BLOOD and the season premiere of ENTOURAGE.

July 06 2009 at 8:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Guess they didn't wanna blow their load on the first show.

July 06 2009 at 8:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim Wilkins

I wasn't greatly impressed w/ hung either. Hung left me hanging. lol But I'll go back to see if it gets better. It's a bit early to pull out. . . on the show.

July 06 2009 at 7:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
D Colin

I wondered why they simply didn't wait until this coming Sunday to premiere the show. It seems so odd to premiere it when they knew they wouldn't air an episode this week. But I'm just a guy, not a TV exec.

I'm not sure how I feel about the show. I'll give it a few episodes though. I'm interested to see where it goes.

July 06 2009 at 7:35 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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