After a string of misfortunes, Ray Drucker attends a local self-help class; Ray resolves to take advantage of his greatest asset in order to change his fortune.
1-1: "Pilot" 2009.06.28 (recap)
Posted Jun 27, 2009 @ 11:11 PM
Posted Jun 28, 2009 @ 10:05 PM
As long as he doesn't keep whining and bemoaning his fate, I can see myself relating to Ray and that'll keep me coming back.
And with all that, setting the series in Detroit was a stroke of genius.
Posted Jun 28, 2009 @ 10:13 PM
That, and good business sense, as Michigan has an incredible film incentive program--subsidizing something like 40% of production costs if you film your project there. I get what they're trying to do, and I'll give it my usual two or three episodes, but...I was not charmed by the pilot. I'm no prude--I watch the blood drenched vamps on True Blood hump away with delight, but I find the premise sort of ick. Maybe it's too real.
And with all that, setting the series in Detroit was a stroke of genius.
Posted Jun 28, 2009 @ 10:15 PM
Posted Jun 28, 2009 @ 10:19 PM
It will go to 30-minute episodes. Just the pilot was long. And I agree--30 minutes will be plenty!
This would be a cute show as a 30-minute comedy
Posted Jun 28, 2009 @ 10:33 PM
Some of Thomas Jane's facial expressions were similar to Tom Hanks, I thought, although I'd never noticed it in any other roles before.
Jane Adams' Tanya is terrific.
I agree that a 30-minute episode will be a better fit.
I already can't wait for Ray to cut loose on Koontz. "Fucker."
Posted Jun 28, 2009 @ 10:45 PM
I do think the casting is smart. Thomas Jane is a good actor, but he always has that quality of ordinariness ("everyman," though more good-looking than most) that works for him here. Given the general subject and that it's HBO, I might hope eventually for some full-frontal... but given the specifics of the subject (cf. title), that won't be possible short of a Wahlberg-size appendage, so I suppose the little glimpse of pubic hair tonight is the most we'll get.
Both women are well cast, I think, because they both have an eccentricity that's well-used here. Heche is best when there's a comic undertone of hypocrisy, as here ("I'm not shallow -- OK, I am shallow"). And Adams has intriguingly weird layers to her, which I look forward to seeing more of.
I'm always glad to recognize supporting players before they're credited: hello to Clark Gregg and Steve Hytner.
The fadeout tonight seemed more rueful and sentimental than the overall tone of the series warrants. I hope this was a matter of pilot set-up necessities, and we'll get more consistent spikiness in the future.
Edited by Rinaldo, Jun 28, 2009 @ 10:49 PM.
Posted Jun 28, 2009 @ 10:49 PM
Can Ann Heche be any more irritating? She would be a better foil for the show if she was more sympathetic.
Posted Jun 28, 2009 @ 11:07 PM
Being familiar with all the places that they showed made it interesting enough for me to stick with it, otherwise I might have just turned it off after 5 minutes. Still, it wasn't awful and since I'm watching TB right before it anyway, I'm willing to give it a couple more shows.
Posted Jun 28, 2009 @ 11:42 PM
Overall, I think I could get into this show but I'd have to watch a few more episodes to really be sure.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 7:34 AM
It was good to see Jane Adams in this. As much as I like her acting, it used to disturb me how thin she was. She's put on some weight now, so I'm not distracted by her appearance anymore.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 8:16 AM
I thought he was going to be in porn, which is a more realistic career than "man who gets paid by women for sex." But I guess there isn't much porn filmed in Detroit, and he'd be too worried that one of his students (or their parents) would recognize him.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 8:33 AM
1. That's why Ray would need a pimp. Someone to sell his product to people who might, for whatever reason, be interested. And since Tanya is a wordsmith, she can help him sell...himself.
2. Who would be interested? 24 year old fresh-out-of-college girls? Nah. Women in the 40-50 range who feel neglected, just want compansionship, or find that their husbands are...lacking in a certain department? Quite possibly, especially since, in the previews, Ray's clients seem to be in that "older" range, who might be willing to pay for a little excitement.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 9:46 AM
I thought Ray's scenes at school and with his children were some of the show's best moments. That scene were he was remembering how he asked Tanya to talk to his class because he hadn't finished his lesson plan was true and funny. I remember a few days back in school when I thought my teachers weren't prepared for class and that scene certainly rang true to me.
I can't say that I loved the show but I didn't fully detest it, either. I'll keep watching for now simply because there is nothing else to watch during during the summer rerun season.
Edited by LonePirate, Jun 29, 2009 @ 9:47 AM.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 10:11 AM
The Detroit setting also does open it up for some wacky cross-border hijinks in Windsor, Canada, which has the reputation of offering noticably more vice options than you can legally get in Michigan. It was actually a pretty popular place for bachelor and bachelorette parties when I was in college in Michigan because clubs there could have both alcohol and full nudity and in Michigan you had to pick one or the other. (Bonus: Ontario drinking age was 19 at the time and you could legally buy and smoke Cuban cigars there)
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 11:01 AM
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 11:35 AM
I'm struck by how often what passes for "dark humor" ("True Blood," I'm looking at you) isn't actually funny, unless you enjoy laughing at a particular group of people. This is an example of dark humor that is much funnier--it comes from the characters and the situation, not from pointing and laughing. I'm not sure I'm crazy about this show, but I'm interested and entertained enough to keep watching.
Edited by uclagirl, Jun 29, 2009 @ 11:36 AM.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 12:59 PM
As someone upthread mentioned, I too liked some of the school scenes (which it looks like we'll get more of next ep)....bringing in a speaker, showing a film et. al. when otherwise ill prepared is something I've done (not often) in the past, so that rang very true.
It will be interesting to see where they go with this i.e. potential male clients etc. Curious if they'll have the "guts" to do that.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 1:46 PM
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 2:03 PM
Ray was tinged with whine tonight, but I think he perfectly hits on a topic that's big right now - the dying of the "American Dream."
I think my favorite part of last night's episode--the main thing that signaled to me that this show has the potential for some pretty solid depth--was the recurring use of the green light at the end of the dock across the lake from Ray's house. It showed up in the frame right next to his face as his son walked away disappointed, which I immediately picked up on as a Gatsby allusion, and when it showed up again, more prominently, in the scene where Tanya showed up at the face, it confirmed my guess. What an awesome, semi-subtle way to connect this show to the most classic work about the hollowness and unattainability of the American Dream.
Thomas Jane's accent annoyed me at parts, and it definitely needs to pick up the pace, but all in all, I think it has definite potential and look forward to seeing where it goes.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 2:41 PM
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 3:45 PM
I think Hung will find its legs after a few episodes. I hate that we have to wait two weeks to get a new one.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 4:15 PM
I think you've hit it exactly.
I think that viewing this show after watching the extremeness of True Blood is wasted viewing.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 4:29 PM
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 5:22 PM
I am glad to hear the episodes will be shorter, because I cannot take an hour of that kind of programming, especially after I am literally freaking out-glued to the seat-screaming from True Blood.
It was a pretty good episode to set everything up for us, we have all of the background circumstances that could make very funny viewing, now I am just waiting for it to all take off!
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 5:52 PM
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 5:55 PM
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 9:05 PM
I liked that the kids were "real kids" not pretty, made-for-tv kids.
While I appreciate that, as well, it did bother me that his children looked nothing like him or his mother. Speaking of the latter, I had no idea that was Anne Hache until I saw it mentioned in this thread. I wasn't paying attention to the credits at the beginning. I did, however, catch the name of Dmitry Lipkin, who co-wrote this episode. He was the creator of The Riches, a fantastic show - the first season, anyway - that died far too soon. It, too, was about the difficult and strange path to the American Dream. My interest was heightened when I saw that the assistant coach was played by Gregg Henry, not only a great actor in his own right but also from The Riches, where he was incredible. So, there is good pedigree for Hung.
As for the pilot, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I sure liked it a lot more than I did the pilot of Nurse Jackie.
It will be great to see more shots of Detroit. Having spent my university years in Windsor and many a night across the river, it promises to bring back some memories.
Posted Jun 29, 2009 @ 9:59 PM
Do high school kids still wait out at concert venues for tickets? I would have thought the internet would put an end to that for everyone.
Harpo's is underground enough to refuse to do business with Ticketmaster because they're a bunch of corporate fascist pig whores, so I could see them still doing box office only for a lot of shows.