Friday, October 23, 2009

HankWatch, Day 4

One of the funny little ironies of Hank (and trust me, that's the only time you'll ever hear the word "funny" applied in the direction of this sitcom-colored abomination) is that Kelsey Grammer's real-life daughter Spencer Grammer is herself the lead in the the college comedy Greek, a show with much stronger writing and characters and much, much, much, MUCH higher production values than the pile of steaming diarrhea her old man stars in. I mean, don't get me wrong, Greek is hardly great television and it's really a guilty pleasure at best, but compared to Hank, it might as well be fucking Arrested Development. Yet Greek is segregated to the ghetto side channel of ABC Family while Hank gets to infect full-blown ABC with its full-blown wretchedness week after week. Where's the justice in that?

But President Obama continues to ignore my pleas that America be placed into an official state of emergency until Hank's cancellation, so the fourth episode is here, inevitable and soul-crushing as death itself, to sap another year of my life away. This week Hank Pryor learns to "do nothing" (because there's nothing more riveting than watching a man do nothing), but in a first for Hank we actually have a B-plot as two repairmen try to fix the stairs in the Pryor household and aren't able to finish the job in one day. Holy shit, how many top TV writers do you think it took to come up with that scintillating fucking masterpiece of a storyline? You see, Hank and Tilly thought the stair repair would be finished in this one day, but it had to be put off to the next day. Comic genius! A masterpiece storyline of joyous laughter! FUCK YOU.

There's this really wretched joke (I use the word "joke" in the same way that I guess a spoonful of microwaved vomit ladled onto your plate would technically be a "meal") a couple minutes into the episode where Hank's piece of shit son explains the plot of his made-up videogame to Hank and Hank says "I don't understand any of the words you just said" to gales of mirth from the laugh track. Yes, those darn hootin' kids and their newfangled whatsit videogamin' doohickies! It was then that it occurred to me that Hank is created for and in all likelihood by old people whose minds and cultural frames of reference are stuck permanently in the 1980s. Videogames are newfangled and weird, the daughter's tiny, G-rated protests against her father make her a little hellion, and the laugh track is always there to guide you on your way.

I will confess though that something strange happened during this latest Hank — I, myself, laughed out loud! No joke! I can identify the exact second when it happened, at the 12:30 mark. Hank and his brother-in-law are sitting in a really cheap set that they built so that they wouldn't actually have to shoot in the woods and Hank is giving a clumsily-written and poorly-delivered monologue about his drive and ambition, which ends with him sadly whispering "look where it got me," and it's supposed to be like this dramatic and deep moment for the character.

It was then that it occurred to me that Hank is not a fever dream of mine in the final moments before my death but actually a show that exists. There is actually a man somewhere out there who spent months (maybe years?) of his life lovingly sketching out the awful plot and five moronic characters of Hank. Writers spent hours around a table writing this unfunny episode one putrid line at a time and this is seriously what they came up with. The sheer absurdity of it took me all at once and bellowing laughter exploded from my gut and just kept going and going and going for like half a minute. Jesus god, I can't believe this fucking show exists.

Hank episode four analysis:

Number of times I laughed: 1 (series total 1)

Number of times I chuckled: 0 (series total 0)

Number of times I smiled: 0 (series total 1)

Number of times I said "ugh" out loud: 2 (series total 8)

Worst Character of the Episode Award: Hank fuckin' Pryor. Hank is by the most fundamental plot synopsis of the series a former CEO who built a Fortune 500 company from the ground up, which I imagine takes some degree of brains and savvy. Why, then, does Hank run out into his yard six minutes into the episode and start screaming at the birds in sky that he's going to kill them in a display that would make Norman Bates go "whoa, man, you're fucking crazy!" I'm not kidding. Hank actually does this. I guess it's supposed to be funny or something, but it's really just retarded.

Worst Use of the Laugh Track Award: This is always really arbitrary, because every use of the laugh track is horrible, but at exactly 3:00, Hank tells his trophy wife that he doesn't like swings because "look, I'm getting somewhere! No I'm not," and the laugh track explodes like it's the funniest fucking thing any human being has ever said in the history of the world. I can't live in a world where Hank exists. Someone, please put out a hit on me. I'm deadly serious.

I've had it up to fucking here, so I'm giving Hank's fourth episode a 0.000 / 10

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