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Bob Odenkirk Stars in Skinny Educational Comedy

Bob Odenkirk Stars in Skinny Educational Comedy

Bob Odenkirk Stars in Thin Academic Comedy

The Pitch: William Henry Devereaux Jr. (Bob Odenkirk) — our titular Hank — is the chair of the English division at Railton Faculty, a small and less-than-reputable tutorial establishment vulnerable to nurturing mediocrity. At the least, that’s what Hank tells his college students throughout a artistic writing class in the future, after being provoked by a pupil who refuses to acknowledge criticism of his technically poor writing.

Hank’s rant turns into campus-wide information quick, but it surely’s simply certainly one of many issues on Hank’s thoughts: Whereas he and his spouse Lily (Mireille Enos) have a deep and loving relationship, his grownup daughter Julie (Olivia Scott Welch) hasn’t fairly gotten the hold but of rising up. And there’s additionally the information that Hank’s father, a legendary author and critic in whose shadow Hank has all the time struggled to seek out his personal mild, is retiring — and needs to talk to his son, although their estrangement is fairly intense. All of it provides as much as a dissatisfaction together with his life that might boil up into disaster, particularly as his fellow English professors take into account eradicating Hank from his place as chair…

Increased Studying: Academia, particularly for these learning the liberal arts, on the floor typically looks like a peaceable place, a possibility for college kids to grown and study, for professors to nurture their nascent reasoning instincts as a part of an ongoing trade of concepts. But, when discussing Fortunate Hank, the very first thing we should do is refer again to Sayre’s Legislation, an idea credited to political scientist and Columbia College professor Wallace S. Sayre which boils right down to “The politics of the college are so intense as a result of the stakes are so low.”

Whereas centered on academia, it’s an idea that applies to any small group or subgroup, particularly when hierarchies and competitors are an element — outsiders would possibly take a look at the interior conflicts which emerge inside a good friend group or assortment of work-mates or interest membership and marvel how issues obtained so heated… However while you’re inside it, it’s laborious to not see perceived slights as grievous wounds, and the battles as life-or-death.

That lack of perspective presents up some wealthy comedic potential, although translating that potential to the display screen is hard. There haven’t been a number of movies or TV exhibits made that really dig into the world of academia from the professor’s perspective, with a number of the most outstanding examples being Good Will Searching and Netflix’s The Chair, and the explanation for that could be a typical professor’s life does, in actual fact, lack the drama of a a lot grander story.

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That’s the hurdle confronted by Fortunate Hank, based mostly on the novel Straight Man by Richard Russo (a Pulitzer Prize winner for his e-book Empire Falls) — its translation to the display screen feels very very similar to a novel written by a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, filled with nuance and intriguing characters and nice wit… and stakes as skinny as newsprint.

Fortunate Hank (AMC)

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