Season 3, Episode 8 (originally aired August 5): “Hank Goes Black”
Microsynopsis: Roy’s mom, who has a thirty-year history of fighting with Hank, is back in town, and as expected, the two shoot insults at each other non-stop in front of the bar patrons. But then Steve discovers them making out in the men’s room. Meanwhile, Owen and Ahmed compete for the attention of a patron who once sat next to Owen on a plane ride.
Good: Hank is surprisingly human and not just a stupid caricature, as when he admits to Steve that you can’t fight with someone for thirty years without some sparks flying. And when Roy finds his mom making out in the men’s room with Stan the plumber, Hank’s response is unusually believable. The clinking of beer mugs when Roy says Hank is his friend and he doesn’t want to see Hank get hurt is effective even though the moment isn’t truly earned. Also, the object of Owen’s and Ahmed’s interest is Christine Reitman, sister of Jason Reitman, one of my favorite directors, so that was neat.
Bad: The insults are horribly unclever, and the B-plot with Owen and Ahmed is just infantile. Also, no Susan.
Hapa moment: I’ve watched this one four times and haven’t found anything to call a hapa moment. Which is fine.
Overall: An unexpectedly successful episode centering on a character I usually think the show would be better without. Props to the writers, director, and actors for somehow making this work.
Final grade, this episode: B.