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Laura San Giacomo,
No worse than the many other unimaginative and bland family sitcoms out there, but it has nothing to recommend it for
When the economic downturn sees Hank Pryor fired from his company and losing everything he has. Ruined, Hank and his family leave their lavish New York apartment and relocate to Virginia. Unemployed and unaccustomed to being without the corporate power he once had, Hank struggles to adjust to living with his own family, far less the very different pace of life.
I made a point of checking this show out because I enjoyed Frasier and have always been curious to see Grammar fail to get out of the shadow of his success associated with his character of Frasier. Hank was notable because it only had five episodes before it was dropped a fairly embarrassing way for the show to go considering the prestige of its star. I'm not sure quite why it was axed over the many many other "so-so" family sitcoms that fill out the network time but axed it was and here we are. Watching it the first thing that struck me was how cheap the show looks. That it is on a stage is no surprise for the sitcom but the sets are cheap and never look like anything other than sets. The second thing is that the script doesn't do anything other than what you would expect from a generic family sitcom. There are "hilarious" scenarios but ultimately they all lead to sentimental life lessons and family bonding.
There is more here that should have been had and, while it is a little unfair to expect it to have hit the ground running and gunning in the first five episodes, it never actually does it. The character of a fallen captain of industry adjusting to normal life away from assistants, staff and luxury offers much in the way of barbed comedy but the show never even gets close to having teeth. Nothing about it is worse than the many other family sitcoms out there but I don't watch those either and personally I found it all too obvious and bland in regards plotting and comedy.
Grammar is trying and his does his well-worth pompousness and flustered thing as one would expect problem is though that we do expect it and it feels a little like he is going through the motions in doing it. He drew some chuckles from me but he cannot lift the material and he does settle in. The lack of strong support doesn't help him. McGraw is feisty but her material is obvious and she overacts it mostly. I like Koechner from the Daily Show but here he is just a basic "working man" caricature to clash with Grammar. The kids are annoying and hammy Hinson is bad but Gamble is so saccharine and "cute kid" that I suspect many more episodes and I would have developed diabetes.
Hank is not awful when you hold it up against the many other average and unimaginative sitcoms but this should not be taken as any sort of defence or faint praise. On its own terms it has one or two funny lines and benefits from Grammar doing his usual stuff but the material is mostly bland and obvious, missing the potential to have edges in favour of obvious laughs and sentimental life-lessons. It doesn't seem to have any heart and, without this, laughs or decent characters, I can't see any reason I'd want to watch this beyond these five episodes and clearly I was not alone in this opinion.
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