The show follows the life of Professor Hank Devereaux, an English department chairman at an underfunded college. Hank struggles with a midlife crisis while balancing his personal and professional lives. Bob Odenkirk stars as Hank Devereaux in this role.
“Lucky Hank” is a comedy-drama that delves into the difficulties of middle age and its challenges. It portrays these difficulties realistically, leaving viewers curious as to whether the series is based on actual events. Let’s find out!
Is Lucky Hank a True Story?
The TV Series “Lucky Hank” is based on Richard Russo’s novel “Straight Man,” in which the main character William Henry Devereaux, Jr., is fictional, but his experiences as an English professor are partly drawn from Russo’s own educational experiences at various universities. To create this “serious” novel set in academia with plenty of absurdity hidden beneath its surface, Russo wanted to write a world that seemed severe at first glance but ultimately revealed itself to be quite absurd.
Russo created many characters in his book by drawing inspiration from people he knew at university workplaces. For instance, Dean Rose in the TV show was inspired by a dean at Penn State Altoona, where Russo used to work. However, Russo fictionalized many of the characters for dramatic purposes and combined his experiences from different universities to create Railton College, where Hank works in the novel.
The TV show adaptation of the novel takes place in the present-day rather than the 1990s when it was set. Showrunners Paul Lieberstein and Aaron Zelman made changes to make characters more diverse and add more women and young people to the narrative so that it reflected today’s world rather than feeling like an outdated English department from decades past. Russo himself agreed with these changes, saying that much of its academic lunacy still rings true today.
“Lucky Hank” may not be entirely based on true events, but it does have some elements of reality. The show offers a humorous and insightful take on middle age with an exclusive perspective from academia.
You can stream “Lucky Hank” Season 1 episodes on AMC.