Sunday, April 9, 2023

REVIEW: 'Lucky Hank' - Hank Finally Takes a Stand After Learning Why the Department Must Cut Its Budget in 'The Goose Boxer'

AMC's Lucky Hank - Episode 1.04 "The Goose Boxer"

Amid firing rumors, the professors look to the union to protect their jobs, while Hank tries a different approach. Lily interviews for a job at a prestigious New York prep school.

"The Goose Boxer" was written by Emma Barrie and directed by Dan Attias

As Lily leaves for New York, she fears Hank is going to end up in jail or the hospital. As such, it's basically expected that one of those outcomes will occur by the end of the episode. The uncertainty comes from which destination. Even Hank and Tony discuss what possible situation would produce those results. Lily had the feeling because she saw Hank being more miserable than usual. Her departure means there is no one to ground him and prevent the worst outcome possible. Of course, that's a lot of pressure to place on Lily. She would much rather have a good time discussing best schooling tactics with her friends. She returns to a life she once knew. She easily falls back into these friendships. And yet, their lives are incredibly different now. That has to be addressed too. It all plays with new understanding. It could suggest how Lily is envious of a significant change. Hank deduces that she is bored with him. That's why she is making this drastic move. It may be more than securing leverage against her current principal. It may truly be what she wants. Lily certainly comes more alive in the city. She calls out how inappropriate it is for Tom to kiss her. She still leaves the situation smiling. She still spends more time in New York than she expected. The only time Hank and Lily get in touch with each other is when this massive moment occurs. They aren't destined to make mistakes because they can't communicate. That possibility remains. So anything that happens is because they want it to. It's not because they casually forgot about their lives and responsibilities elsewhere. Lily was correct in her fears about her husband. And yet, he's also championed on campus by the faculty. He views everyone in the English department as disposable. None of them deserve to have their jobs over another. He was asked to make a list. He doesn't. He doesn't believe the threat of cuts is any more serious this time than the previous years. The school administration is always worried the state legislators will cut the budget. This time the school president is actually asking for less money. At least that's the story offered to Hank. In reality, the funding levels will stay the same. Dickie Pope just needed to find cuts to finance construction on the new technical building. He loves the story of that building being completely delivered by a generous donor. It's just a convenient tax write-off for a successful businessman who only wants his money being spent on things that would enhance his bottom line. He shares so much with Hank and Tony because he's proud of what this building accomplishes for his business. It doesn't matter that he shares the name with a serial pedophile. That doesn't matter to him. He accomplished all of this at such an affordable prize too. Meanwhile, the school creates more problems simply by not rising above the situation and objectively putting forth plans that work for the system.

Dickie Pope argues that the imminent job cuts provide the departments with the opportunity to eliminate the tenured professors who no longer fit in with the Chair's vision. Hank complains about the professors in his department all the time. They are incompetent. They are always complaining about each other. It's all absolutely trivial vendettas that Hank doesn't understand. These people shouldn't be getting riled up like this. And yet, the threat of losing their jobs is very real. That's a major situation unlike the many grievances that play out every day. Hank must engage with what the direction of the department should be. He could absolutely change things if he wanted to. He pushes others to leave this place because nothing good happens in Railton. He has also conditioned himself into accepting this current reality as the best that life is ever going to be. He doesn't want to force any change into occurring. He doesn't feel the necessity to fight back when that change seems inevitable. It's mostly pent up emotions that happen to explode at the most inopportune time. Now, Hank's protest by promising to fight a goose is more successful at capturing attention than the professors' protest. It shows that he actually cares. He provokes conflict when he sees some purpose behind it. He also tells people what he's done so they don't hear it elsewhere. He tries to be upfront with people. He still leaves out crucial details that provide context for the encounters. Hank didn't enjoy his meeting with Dickie Pope. The president was very direct about what he was planning on doing. He made his argument in a way that should have motivated Hank to take action. Hank didn't respond that way because he knew how disingenuous it was. It wasn't impressive that Dickie Pope had his novel. It wasn't a big expense for him whatsoever. It was simply meant to foster a connection. One that would allow Hank to agree to whatever the administration wanted. Hank isn't wired like that. He voices his opinions. Most of the time they are only thoughts that the audience can hear. When he speaks out, it doesn't always make life easier. In this case though, the professors champion him as a supporter of their jobs. It's all about the jobs and not the people. Hank doesn't care about the people he works with. If he did, he would want them to leave. Gracie's poem only further showcases how everyone should have much lower expectations for what these people can accomplish. Hank ends up on the news. That's impressive. It's not a victory for very long though. Upon leaving the bar Hank gets in a fight with the school's groundskeeper who has so much respect and love for the local geese population. As such, Hank's pledge was horrifying and destructive. Hank must deal with those consequences even though he once again feels isolated in a world that doesn't make sense. That's a familiar position. Part of it is the eccentricities of others. Most of it comes from Hank not accepting how normal people would react. That makes him standoffish. He still has a point. It's just awkward when he tries to make it and celebrate what he's done.