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Kelsey Grammer gets no thanks for 'Hank'

September 30, 2009 | 11:25 am

Kelsey Grammer Hank Reviews ABC Emmy Awards Entertainment News 1357908

While his onetime co-star Patricia Heaton basks in the warm reviews for "The Middle," Kelsey Grammer got the cold shoulder from TV critics for his new sitcom, "Hank." Grammer plays the title character, a corporate exec who loses his job and is forced to move to his wife's small hometown to raise their two children.

"Hank" was faulted by many reviewers for clumsily reworking the "Frasier" formula. "Frasier" is certainly a tough act to follow as Grammer learned two years ago when his workplace comedy with Heaton -- "Back to You" -- failed on Fox.

After all, "Frasier" sits atop the Emmy record book as the scripted show with the most awards at 37, including a record five in a row as best comedy series. During the 11-year run of "Frasier," Grammer won four of his 10 bids for lead actor in a comedy series (1994, 1995, 1998, 2004). But based on the reviews for "Hank," Grammer will be hard-pressed to contend again this year.

Matthew Gilbert of the Boston Globe called "'Hank' a junky sitcom that isn’t old school so much as mold school." As he explains, "Look, I loved Frasier Crane. He was a great character: pompous, ridiculous, fussy, and ultimately - aww - a good guy. For such a snoot-head, he was surprisingly beloved by audiences. But by the end of the 11-season life of 'Frasier,' during which syndicated reruns had been wallpapered all over local channels, I was ready to say goodbye to him for good. But apparently Grammer was not, and once again he has brought back the character, this time named Hank Pryor, for more huffing and puffing."

Hank Stuever of the Washington Post said, "'Hank' is less of a sitcom than a show about sitcom assembly. It belongs in a diagram about sitcoms. Grammer comes to it with that 'Frasier'-like star entitlement, the certainty that success for so many years as that character should translate into success as any character who is sorta like that character."

For Tom Maurstad of the Dallas Morning News, "the main attraction here is Grammer, and there's no one better at playing fussy and oblivious arrogance. But the show has an exceedingly prefabricated feel, a quality highlighted by the incessant laugh track, which serves only to underline how not very funny the jokes are and how fake and forced everything else seems." 

And Tim Goodman of the San Francisco Chronicle described the show as "a moronic and ghastly effort that suffocates under the cloying and annoying blanket of a laugh track so disturbing it should be destroyed. As should the show. What makes no sense about 'Hank' -- beyond the fact that it even exists -- is that the sitcom is an old-school, multi-camera affair with that intrusive laugh track."

Photo: Kelsey Grammer. Credit: ABC

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Comments

Hank is sinking fast. The whole family is cold, disconnected and the lame jokes are predictable. I had high hopes for the show, but his onstage wife speaks in a low volume voices and is forgetable. The kids seem to hate the dad and there is no love or emotion between hank & his wife. a sad, sad show. Where are the clever writters from Frasier? This show Hank is lifeless, and Mr. Grammer should burn all episodes of this show which I think is sad, because I was looking forward to a good sitcom from Kelsey. After the third episode I changed channels midway through the show. So long Hank.

I thought Hank was funny though had a clumsy start. Give it a couple of weeks as the first episode was establishing the setting. I think there's a lot of people right now who can relate to losing it all including a job and can find some relief and possible inspiration as "Hank" picks himself up off the floor and gets back to grassroots...maybe that applies to the show as well as the producers.

I really enjoyed the show alot. I was a fan of frasier, but this is different. I just think alot of people out there would rather not see kelsey succeed as evidenced by the bashing a first episode is receiving. I usually give a show at least a couple episodes to get it's footing. Give this one the same oppertunity that you would give any new show and stop trying to compare it with frasier.

I look forward to the next episode and do miss the comedy Back to You, because that was a genuinely funny and enjoyable show that got cancelled too quickly, as fox likes to do with anything of quality. IE Firefly, Family Guy, Wonderfalls, Angel.. the list goes on and on and on.. so never use Fox's inability to identify a great show as fodder for your canon of ignorance..

OMG, this was just the 1st episode. Give the show a break. It is a heck of alot better than all those lame reality shows. So if everyone loved Frasier so much than why scoff at the 'sameness'. Besides, the lead character is only as good as his cast, so give the other cast members a chance to get up to speed and let them work together.

Thank God someone else noticed the sameness of it all! When I saw the previews I asked myself, "How is this not "Frasier"?" True, "Hank" does not have a radio show in Seattle, but that's it. Does Kelsey Grammer need work this badly? Where was his management?


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