Monday, August 24, 2009

The Hung Generation

It is funny how HBO series have defined recent generational moods. During the 1990's it was a juxtopostion of The Sopranos and Sex in the City. Two stories that were less than 10 miles apart but were two sides of a world that today seems very far away. For the Sex in the City women everything could be solved by having a Cosmo and a pedicure. They lived the life of the unreal that many were living in the 1990's as we consumed ourselves into debt buying granite countertops and Manolo Blanik shoes. It was the decade of the celebrity chef and the .com boom and bloggers becoming millionares.

Opposed to that world was the Sopranos. The Sopranos best encapsulates the last 25 years of the 20th century and the first half of this decade. The Sopranos live in the suburbs. They live respectable lives while they steal, murder and cheat. This suburban disconnection is what also has defined our world. The respectable men of Goldman Sachs and Citibank are little more than Ivy League versions of Tony Soprano.

The Sopranos and the Wall Street version continue their impunity. The Sex in the City girls still have their devotees but no one has every explained to me how they pay for all that stuff they have and how will they do it now with no credit?

No now we come to live in the Great Recession and again HBO had produced a show that defines a Zeitgeist.

Hung which airs of Sunday nights is a great encapsulation of America as it is today. First off it is based in Detroit, Michigan. The opening begins with the main star, Ray, walking through the destitute streets of Detroit. Ray is a character that is defined by the disappointment of Generation X. He is a failed sports star who is now teaching High School in the same place he grew up. He is living in a tent behind his burned home (that he inherited from his parents no less). His old home is juxtoposed next to a Mc Mansion which is the Tyrannasaur of the age just past.

Ray decides with a woman he met at a class, Tanya, to sell his best 'asset' he becomes a Happiness Consultant which is a euphamism for Prostitute. The most telling interaction in the show is between Ray and his Exwife Jessica who has left him for Ronnie the rich dermatologist.
The thing about hung that defines our age is the changability of the characters. Within two episodes Ronnie goes from being rich to poorer but still with the appearance of richness which is where America now sits.....

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