Review: Hank 1×1 (US: ABC)

Feel sorry for Kelsey Grammer

Hank 1x1

In the US: Wednesdays, 8/7c, ABC

There are plenty of reasons to sorry for Kelsey Grammer. Let’s confine ourselves to the TV ones, though.

He’s been in two of the most popular and best sitcoms in history: Cheers and Frasier. So, everything since has been something of a comedown.

He’s been involved in some truly awful drek since, including Back To You. You’ve got to feel sorry for him for that.

And whatever he’s been in, he’s played a character you’re not exactly supposed to love. In fact, he always plays some pompous twat who has to experience major humiliation with almost every episode.

Now we have Hank, in which Grammer becomes a human piñata for America’s viewing pleasure: a former CEO ousted from his company and forced to downsize in the country. He gets a crap house, a family bitter with him for never being there, and an everyman brother-in-law who takes great pleasure in seeing the misery that Hank now has to endure.

And it’s rubbish.

Poor old Kelsey.

Sometimes scaling back is the best way to get ahead. Wall Street legend Hank Pryor (Kelsey Grammer) and his wife Tilly have been living the high life in New York City. That is until Hank is forced out of his CEO job and has to move his family back home to the small town of River Bend.

A self-made man, Hank is used to running the show, but now that he’s lost almost everything, can he learn how to hang with his family? The Pryors have had to seriously downsize their lives — even their king-sized bed won’t fit in their modest new home. Tilly’s not too pleased to be back in the same zip code as her family — especially her badgering brother Grady. Hank’s offbeat son Henry worries about fitting in with a new crowd and his daughter Maddie would rather talk on her cell phone than be anywhere near her Dad. But every great businessman knows that the key to success is to turn setbacks into opportunities. Hank has big plans to get ahead in business… and to reconnect with his family. It may take a while for an industrial giant to figure out how to mingle with the little people — like his family — but Hank’s up for the challenge. Like that smaller bed… Turns out that wasn’t such a bad idea after all.

Starring Kelsey Grammer (Frasier), this hilarious family comedy mixes genuine, heart-warming moments with Grammer’s trademark blustery humor. The series is written by Everybody Loves Raymond’s three-time Emmy Award-winner Tucker Cawley, and co-executive produced by Grammer along with The Life & Times of Tim’s Mike Clements and Tom Werner.

After many years of living the so-called good life, the Pryor Family is about to discover that downsizing just might be the key to living it up!

The series is produced by Bonanza Productions Inc. in association with McMonkey Inc., Grammnet Productions, Werner Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television. It is written by Tucker Cawley.

Cast and crew
Kelsey Grammer as Hank
Melinda McGraw as Tilly
David Koechner as Grady
Macey Cruthird as Maddie
Ryan Wynott as Henry

Is it any good?
You can pretty much size up any comedy in about the first minute, I find. Within the first minute, I was hating this. It’s clumsily written, has clumsy targets and is painfully unfunny.

It’s the kind of comedy where people move into a house, sight-unseen, and so are unsurprised when they find a cooker in the front room. It’s the kind of comedy where having a house with a giant from room and a family room and a kitchen and three bedrooms is “slumming it”. It’s the kind of comedy where a joke will get set up and then have the pay off in the next line, because anything more than five seconds is considered too long for the audience to remember anything.

But then we all knew it was going to be rubbish, so why should I be surprised?

Basically, because, it’s got a decent cast: Grammer, of course, but also Melinda McGraw (Scully’s sexy sister in The X-Files) and David Koechner (Anchorman), even if the presence of the studio audience means they’re shouting their lines rather than delivering them. Even the daughter’s alright.

However, that’s the extent of its good qualities. I think I smiled twice during the course of the whole thing.



  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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