HBO series ‘Hung’ has much to offer

By Terry Morrow

HBO is bringing sexy back.

With “Hung” (debuting at 10 p.m. Sunday), the pay cable channel is doing the kind of provocative programming it has built its reputation upon (think “Sex and the City” and “Six Feet Under”). It’s the story of a down-and-out public-school teacher who, when pushed into a corner, uses what nature gave him to make ends meet.

And teacher/coach Ray Drecker (Thomas Jane) is certainly cornered. His house burns. His children go to live with their mother, and pressure is building at school. Money is so tight — a very timely issue — that Ray has to go begging to his ex-wife at one point.

After a fling angrily suggests he sell himself to make money, Ray stops and ponders the idea seriously.

“Hung” is, foremost, funny. It has unexpected heart. Despite the title, “Hung” isn’t overly preoccupied with sex itself. In fact, Ray’s moneymaking instrument is never seen. It’s only referred to, in almost a mythical way.

Ray’s extraordinary body part may be what draws voyeuristic viewers, but “Hung” isn’t that shallow. The dark comedy has much more to offer.

Like “Weeds” or “Dexter,” two other character studies about ordinary folks leading secret lives, “Hung” isn’t for everyone. Its adult content is presented with style and, oddly, decorum.