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Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Tom Jane "Hung" on

HBO recently debuted their new dramedy Hung, starring Tom Jane. The premise of which I'm sure you think you can surmise, but it actually digs a lot deeper than just a couple of inches...

Now I'm not one for drama normally. Quite frankly, there's too much of it in the real world as it is. Life is too serious, too short, etc. So when I turn on my TV, or better yet- when I subscribe to a pay channel like HBO, I do it for the comedy, not for the drama. With the arrival of Hung however, HBO may have me singing a different tune. And no sooner either, as HBO had me questioning my subscription as Entourage enters its next nose-dive season and Rome is all but a relic of some glorious past at this point. And forget Curb too. (I never really liked that show, though the episode where Larry buys a hooker so he can use the carpool lane is genius.)

But where Larry David is real to the point of annoyance, Jane sparkles with deadpan honesty. Until recently, I had been most familiar with Jane's work from his brief stint on Arrested Development. And while he was "playing himself" in that case, similar character elements seem to reappear here. Jane is very stoic, his voice a confident baritone with a touch of despondence. You believe what he says, and therefore, you relate to him. It's almost like a science in a way. Jane plays Ray, a father on the brink of collapse that hits a breaking point. His whole life burns out on him and he's left marketing the only thing he can: his enormous dick. Sounds funny so far right? Not when your so-called pimp is played by the all-too-real Jane Adams, a woman so gritty and character ready, I'm surprised she hasn't been an A-lister for some time. And while Anne Heche may really be nothing but a foil for Jane's character, playing his terrible control-freak ex-wife, it's her new hubby, played by Eddie Jemison, that has me intrigued. The dynamic between Ray and Jemison's character Ronnie crackles out of the gate. And while I never saw Jemison as an actor with incredible range (his Oceans roles could have been cut and pasted by virtually anyone), he's taking a chance here, and it's already paying off.

Now, there is one enormous caveat with this show: it's a premise plot. Without Tom Jane being a he-ho, there is no show here. Without that one key element, it falls apart. So it will be interesting to see how long (and hard, huh huh) it will last. It could either go the way of My Name is Earl and do 100+ episodes, or it can fizzle out like the U.S. adaptation of Worst Week did before it even had a chance to sprout some legs. So far though, this show comes highly recommended.

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