There is a new series on Home Box Office HBO TV which I have become quite fond of. My previous favorites were Breaking Bad, The Office, 30 Rock, Mad Men and Lie To Me. I don’t watch much dramatic TV, and usually my private viewing is of the political “comics” and the various non-fiction channels. My companionship viewings are brought to me by my spouse and she really knows how to pick em. The premise of this new show Hung is so weird that I almost quit watching after the pilot episode but it gets much better as the actors and writers get their sails set into this unusual wind. It is a story, rather similar to Breaking Bad, where a older white male high school teacher gets into a terrible economic situation and how he’s trying to provide for his separated family any way he can. In this series by becoming a male prostitute – hence the name of the show – Hung.
The opening of every episode begins with the protagonist Ray Drecker, a former star athlete, walking along various famous Detroit streets taking off his professional style apparel and throwing the various articles aside. I have never been to Detroit but it becomes apparent that these short scenes are of locations which are, without a doubt, well known to the locals. But, it also becomes apparent to the open mind that the directors chose each of these icons to represent a standard Freudian sex symbol. That is appropriate to the premise of this show. Being a totally lazy person I decided to chase down these symbols using the web and GoogleEarth to locate them precisely with (latitude, longitude) markers rather than go to Detroit. Talk about a bizarre waste of time? Well, read on and do the GoogleEarth lat/long clickthroughs for the more complete waste of your time.
After a shot of a boat on the river there is an image of Joe Louis’ Fist, on the Hart Plaza at Woodward Ave & Jefferson Ave (42.3287, -83.0445). Any sexual innuendo of this sculpture was unlikely to have been in the sculptor’s mind but given the train of thought of this series it appears more than a random sequence in the director’s mind as you will see in the sequence pictured below.
The Dodge Fountain is nearby in the center of Hart Plaza at the end of Jefferson Ave (42.3272, -83.0441), a short walk from the Joe Louis Fist and with all the flowing water looks rather erotic to me. But then as I mentioned above I’m not quite normal and I see things other people probably skip over. Just try not see legs spread wide and spewing excitement.
Ray then walks by Lafayette Coney Island restaurant, 118 W Lafayette Blvd, (42.3313, -83.0487). This Coney Island style hot dog dispensary is where we see a lot of weenies are being turned. These weenies are a little too outré but the sexual innuendo should be obvious even to hormone laden teenagers.
As Ray walks past the Fox (F**ks) Theater at 2211 Woodward Ave (42.3386, -83.0518) he is nearly nude and is getting a lot of interest from the redheaded ladies he is passing by.
Next, he passes an incredibly funky ice-cream stand called Burk’s Igloo at Conant and Trowbridge (42.4019, -83.0521), with a fine ice-cream cone with a red topped phallic symbol. Given the sequence this would be the right symbol for a male prostitute after a hard night’s work.
The De Lido Motel, E M-1 Srv Rd & 2028 W. Winchester Ave (42.4436, -83.1227). The name is perhaps a reference to a more upscale spot.
After an instant segue representing a 30 mile walk, Ray is naked and jumps off the dock at his house into Middle Straits Lake at 7110 Colony Dr. West Bloomfield, MI (42.5769, -83.4236). All of these scenes are done in just a few seconds but it sets the tone for the peculiarly human hilarity and tragedy which follows.
I haven’t done justice to this great series but it is must-see-TV.
Here is a map derived from MailOnline showing some of Ray’s locations seen in the TV show Hung’s opening scene. It shows Detroit’s strongly racially segregated areas which he walks through stripping off his cloths.
[Update 2010-10-12, I will insert the finders name if he authorizes it.] Here are the sites which Doug Mathieson found. — Ray is walking past the now abandon old Packard Factory on E Grand Blvd Near Bellevue (at 42.378, -83.028), Lady Watering Grass (42.574841 -83.428435), Kodak Creek Inn (42.613356 -83.45457), Admiring Redhead (42 20.157 -83 02.909), Packard Plant (42 22.690 -83 01.676), BP Gas Station (42 36.865 -83 26.810) Kodak Creek Inn (42 36.801 -83 27.274), Watering Grass (42 34.490 -83 25.706), Rays House (42 34.575 -83 25.405).
[Update 2010-10-30, Here is a link to Hung Film Locations from Doug]
[Update 2010-11-02, A fine photo from the German news Der Spiegel.]