The XX Factor

HBO Seeks to Replace “The Sopranos” with “The Penis Diaries”

No longer the home of hits like Sex and the City , The Sopranos , and The Wire , HBO is looking to replace its sex-and-violence lineup of yesteryear with … more sex. Last spring, the network issued a somewhat mysterious announcement about Hung , a dramatic comedy that debuts this summer. According to Variety , Hung ‘s storyline follows “a well-endowed man who figures out a way to take advantage of his physical gift.” I was expecting a show about an oversexed superhero with superhuman sexual powers, but I guess that was me projecting. Later, Alexander Payne, of Sideways fame, signed on to direct the pilot, Thomas Jane was cast in the role of Ray Drecker, the well-endowed lead, and Anne Heche landed the role of the ex-wife.


Now the series trailer is online, and after all the hype it looks a bit cheesy. Apparently, it takes the wacky! kooky! crazy! approach to the subject of sex, and posits the super-hung main character as a loser who realizes that he could make milllions, or something like it, selling rides on his most significant physical attribute. Don’t think they left out the postfeminist hijinks, though. Guess who this male prostitute’s pimp is? A woman! Will wonders never cease?! It’s all rather silly. “You just keep on using me until you use me up,” the soundtrack croons in the background.

Too bad a show that takes on male sexuality looks to be little more than a protracted dick joke. In recent years, Mad Men , The Sopranos , and even Entourage have taken on the subject of what it really means to be a man. This time around, I guess the joke’s on men.