The second season of HBO show HUNG is here! With the tag line “New Season. Old Profession.”
The high concept of the show is that this down-on-his-luck, high-school-basketball-coach, divorced-father-of-two, named Ray, has nothing to capitalize on in this economy but his very large penis. With the help of two bickering, competitive female pimps – one a self-righteous poet, the other an amoral personal shopper – Ray becomes an escort, servicing ladies throughout Detroit. And he works hard for the money.
The show is addictive to watch, but I find it puzzling when it comes to female sexuality and desire. You have to get 3/4 of the way through Season 1 for the subject of oral sex to be broached (FYI, Ray is really good at that too). Wha? In real life, 75% of women don’t orgasm from intercourse alone (google it!). Yet, we’re supposed to believe the explicit HBO depictions of horny, neglected, middle-aged housewives getting off on Ray’s cock? Is Ray’s big, giant, throbbing member really every woman’s ultimate fantasy? There’s something about the central conceit of the show that reeks of male delusions of grandeur. Sure, size matters. But having a big one does not a sex god make.
In my experience with my girlfriends, more women express trepidation, rather than excitement, when confronted with a big dick. To put it as delicately as possible, if you and the guy are not in sync, the pain for the woman is real.
Classic romance novels fly off the shelves not because they depict large penises (though, to disprove my own point, they usually do) – but because the hero is skilled, powerful, sensitive to the woman’s urges, completely impassioned, and partnered with her in a fun and emotional relationship. It’s a truism that Men, turned on by visuals, watch internet porn while Women, lustful for love, prefer to read about the subtleties of sex and longing. A truism that I believe is largely true. Just ask some Smart Bitches about some Trashy Books.
So what’s up (or down) with Hung? To give credit where credit is due, the show displays tremendous subtlety in its portrayal of relationships, if not sex. My favorite character is Anne Heche (who is PHENOMENAL) as Ray’s estranged ex-wife who left him for a “rich” dermatologist, who had been the dork to Ray’s varsity stud back in the high school days. You love and loathe the neurotic soccer mom “Jessica” has become. Anne Heche is so luminous and conflicted that you can’t help but relate.
Ray and Jessica’s beloved, awkward, wanna-be-goth teenage kids are caricatures in a way, but the send-up of modern parenting here (Ray and Jessica are eager to be “supportive” of everything from the artistic value of black eyeliner to the son’s loser gay boyfriend) is both hilarious and endearing.
And it has to be said, Ray, in my opinion, is much more attractive as the do-gooder dad than the dressed up, suave whore. Case in point.
I also appreciate Ray’s ambiguous relationships with his two lady pimps. These women are complex, interesting and unpredictable (and really, really funny). Rock on.
So I swing both ways with Hung. The show feels very of this moment. At its heart, the show is an intelligent commentary on what constitutes the American Dream amid the economic crumblings of Detroit. Is Ray a victim or an entrepreneur? Is the fair trade of sex the new Manifest Destiny, or is it the ultimate symbol of decadent, empty, compulsive decay? These are questions worth exploring, and the show is imbued visually and sub-textually with this tension.
At least, this is what I gather from Season 1. I spent all of last night trying to watch the first two episodes of Season 2. I’m an HBO subscriber but not currently at my apartment. I tried streaming it on HBO, streaming it on Netflix, streaming it on Wisevid & co (the links were taken down dammit), searching for it on bit torrent (to no avail!). I was desperate and frustrated and went to bed alone and unfulfilled.
Hm. Maybe there is a fantasy to be had here after all.
Rebecca Coale - aka Becky - is a writer, musician and producer. She and childhood best friend Jessica Donalds created Dating & Hookup and founded J&R Creative Media. Becky blogs about love poetry and modern life & womanhood. She lives with her husband, Howard Coale, and their family in Manhattan and Philadelphia.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
Follow Dating & Hookup on Instagram
Follow Jess on Instagram
Follow Becky on Instagram
Follow me on Twitter