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Series / Hank Zipzer

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Hank Zipzer is a British children's television series which stars Nick James in the title role as a 12-year-old dyslexic schoolboy. The show is based on the series of books by Henry Winkler, who plays the character of Mr. Rock, Hank's music teacher.

Hank has dyslexia, and when problems arise, he deals with them in a way no-one else would - putting him on a direct collision course with his teachers and parents, who don't seem to appreciate his latest scheme as much as he thought they would... But, Hank always remains positive and convinced that the next big plan will deliver - after all, tomorrow is another day!


  • Adaptational Jerkass: Miss Adolf and Principal Love, already not the nicest people in the books, are much more unpleasant people in this series.
  • All Part of the Show: In "Open Day", Hank's latest Zany Scheme results in him and Miss Adolf crashing the presentation Dean Bitterman Mr. Joy is making to perspective parents in the auditorium. In the face of Mr. Joy's rising fury, Hank manages to pass it off as a performance by the drama club, demonstrating the sort of creativity encouraged at Westbrook. A few moments later, Mr. Rock crashes the stage and makes a similar pitch for the music faculty.
  • April Fools' Plot: In "Operation: Prank Adolf", April Fool's Day is looming and Hank is pulling out all the stops to prank the unprankable Miss Adolf. Can Hank really come up with a way to outwit Westbrook's toughest teacher? Can he succeed without ruining Mr Rock's chances of winning the new top teacher award? Meanwhile, Rosa plans to teach Emily the joy of April Fool's pranks - whether Emily wants to learn them or not.
  • Boot Camp Episode: In "Cow Poo Treasure Hunt", after he's not allowed to hang out at the shopping centre with Frankie and Ashley, Hank decides to show Stan and Rosa just how capable he is by being the first person ever to make it through Miss Adolf's weekend survival camp.
  • Busman's Vocabulary: Hank's father Stan is a sports journalist and tends to express everything in terms of sports metaphors.
  • Chained by Fashion: In "Hank's New School", Mr. Rock's old band mate Crazy Ed wears a pair of handcuffs to hold up his pants because it is part of his rock n' roll image. And because he lost his belt.
  • Christmas Episode: In "Hank Zipzer's Christmas Catastrophe", Hank is in the run up to Christmas as he prepares for a new baby brother. But Hank’s life never runs smoothly and soon Miss Adolf is turning Mr Rock’s Rudolph the Rock’n’Roll Reindeer into a one-woman Christmas Carol – two school inspectors are getting injured in a bizarre sleighing accident and Mr Joy is trying to cancel Christmas altogether. In his attempt to drag triumph from the glittering jaws of doom, Hank will ice skate into disaster, nearly crash a Christmas tree into a crowd, get himself and his best friends arrested, get his favourite teacher sacked and lose the love of his life. Also the Series Finale.
  • Class Clown: Hank. It's a deliberate ploy on his part to use humour to divert attention away from his learning difficulties: figuring that it is better to have the class laughing with him rather than at him.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: In "Hank's New School", Mr. Rock forces Mr. Joy to give in to his demands by handcuffing him to a chair and singing protest songs at him.
  • Comedic Underwear Exposure: In "Hank's New School", Mr. Rock snatches the handcuffs his old band mate Crazy Ed is using to hold up his pants, causing them to fall down and expose his stars and stripes briefs.
  • Cool Teacher: Mr. Rock, a former rock musician turned music teacher, is generally regarded as the coolest teacher in the school by the entire student body (except Emily and McKelty). Not that he has a lot of competition for the title.
  • Dean Bitterman: Head teacher Mr. Love, and his replacement Mr. Joy. In both instances, this is a case of a Non-Indicative Name. They care about the school and the students only so far as it will enhance their own reputations. Mr. Joy even refers to the students as 'learning units' during his school announcements.
  • Disguised in Drag: In "Undercover Hank", Hank dresses up like a girl to sneak back into school after being suspended for a prank he did not commit.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: While attending the rock festival in "Hank Rocks Out!", Stan encounters a portable toilet so disgusting he decides to hold it in for the entire weekend.
  • Egg Sitting: In "Who Ordered the Baby?", Hank is pleased when his mum says he can work in the deli to earn a new pair of the latest cool trainers. That is until he's given his latest school assignment, to look after a pretend baby for the weekend. Despite his best attempts, Hank can't juggle a crying baby and work. He decides to focus on getting the trainers, but disaster strikes when he accidentally ends up swapping his fake baby for a real one.
  • Exact Words: In "Ballot Box Hunter", Hank attempts to register his candidacy for the school election but is told by Miss Adolf that he is too late. Mr. Rock points out that Mr. Joy had said candidates should register their interest "after the assembly", and that now was definitely after the assembly. Miss Adolf protests that he had obviously meant at the end of the assembly. Mr. Rock counters that while that may have been what he meant, it was not what he said.
  • Eyepiece Prank: In "Operation: Prank Adolf", Rosa is attempting to teach Emily to enjoy April Fool's pranks, and basically forces Emily to look through the eyepiece of a telescope, despite the fact that Emily already knows it has boot polish on it.
  • The Good Old British Comp: Westbrook Academy, which has an overly ambitious head teacher attempting to foist new (and cost-saving) education techniques on to the school, over the objections of the teachers and the disinterest of the students.
  • Grammar Correction Gag: In "Hank's New School", Hank is protesting his parents' decision to take him out of Westbrook by waving a placard at the breakfast table. Emily's response is to glance at briefly at his sign and murmur:
    "Your placard's spelled wrong."
  • In Medias Res: Most episodes start with Hank in the middle of some bizarre and improbable situation. Hank will look at the camera and say something along the lines of "You're probably wondering how this happened...", before rewinding to the start of the story.
  • Karma Houdini: Miss Adolf and the principals rarely get much comeuppance for being jerks.
  • "L" Is for "Dyslexia": Although Hank Zipzer is a comedy, Hank's dyslexia is treated seriously (although Hank himself makes jokes about it). Rather, the show demonstrates how many of Hank's problems are the result of his condition, and the refusal of others to accommodate it. However, much humour is derived from Hank's attempts to overcompensate for the condition, and the bizarrely inventive ways he tries to negotiate round it.
  • Long List: In "I Think I Broke My Dad", Emily is rehearsing her piece for the school talent show: a presentation on lizards that consists of nothing but a series of long lists of facts about lizards. These include the types of insects lizards eat, the types of spiders lizards, and the continents on which it is not too cold for lizards to live (Hint: it's every continent except Antarctica). Her mother Rosa's attempts to spice up the presentation backfire horribly.
    Emily: Many lizards prey on insects such as ants. Or grasshoppers. Or flies. Or crickets. Or beetles. Or earwigs...
    Hank: Yes, my sister is going to win over the audience with her amazing talents of boring people so badly that their brains just give up.
    Emily: Or ladybirds. Or butterflies. Or termites. Or...
  • Loser Protagonist: Hank has learning disabilities, gets bad grades, isn't popular with his teacher or the principal, and is bullied by Nick.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: McKelty has made it clear that he hates Hank, yet in the episode "Undercover Hank", McKelty develops a crush on "Hannah", who is simply just Hank in a female disguise.
  • Picture Day: The subject of "Camera Calamity". Every year Hank's school photo matches his school report perfectly - they're both terrible. But this year Hank's making sure his photo is picture perfect - until McKelty ruins it with a fountain of fizzy drink. Can Hank get clean and tidy and back in front of the camera before the photographer leaves?
  • Protagonist Title
  • Protest By Obstruction: In an attempt to stop Hank leaving Westbrook in "Hank's New School", Ashley, Frankie and Mr. Rock storm into Mr. Joy's office and then lock the door, glue Hank's feet to the floor, and handcuff Mr. Joy to his chair.
  • The Punishment Is the Crime: In "Ballot Box Hunter", McKelty wins the election for school council by cheating. However, after Miss Adolf tells him that being on the council means attending half-day council meetings at the school on Saturday, and wearing a full school uniform for the meetings, Hank is suddenly glad that he didn't win.
  • Road-Sign Reversal: In "Open Day", Mr. Joy is attempting to shut down the music department. As part of this, he exiles Mr. Rock and Emily to the music room for the duration of Open Day; ostensibly so they can explain the music curriculum to visiting parents. He then takes down all of the signs pointing to the music room to ensure that no parents find their way there.
  • Sadist Teacher: Ms. Adolf is Hank's teacher who despises even the concept of anything fun. She is very harsh towards students in her class who don't understand the lessons, like Hank.
  • School Play: In "The Curtain Went Up, My Trousers Came Down", getting the lead role in the school play should be a cause for celebration for Hank. But with school bully McKelty determined to get the role for himself and Hank struggling to learn his lines, it's not as easy as he thought it was going to be.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: The outgoing, funny and creative Hank versus the serious, intellectual and know-it-all Emily.
  • Slipping into Stink: In "Hank Rocks Out!", Rosa and Stan get locked inside a portable toilet at a rock festival. Stan attempts to break the door and winds up tipping the toilet over: covering the two of them in human excrement.
  • Teacher's Pet: Nick McKelty is this to Miss Adolf. Emily would love to be a teacher's pet, but most of the teachers find her incredibly annoying.
  • Three Amigos: Much of the action centres around Loser Protagonist Hank and his two best friends: the cool in a “doesn’t try too hard” kind of way Frankie, and the Asian and Nerdy girl Ashley.
  • Token Trio: The Three Amigos team of Hank (white male) and his two best friends: Ashley (Asian female) and Frankie (black male).
  • Trash-Can Band: In "Open Day", Dean Bitterman Mr. Joy—as part of an attempt to close the music department—has sold off all of Westbrook Academy's musical instruments. Desperate to promote his department to the perspective parents, Mr. Rock finds of a box of parts that had fallen off broken instruments and, with Emily's assistance macgyvers them into a set of new, unique instruments. He uses these to form a marching band and crashes Mr. Joy's presentation.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: In one episode, Hank and Nick are on a camping experience with Miss Adolf. She gets extremely sick and they call for help using a cellphone Hank brought. Miss Adolf, instead of thanking them for saving her life, fails them both for having a cellphone when they weren't supposed to, even though it was only Hank who brought it.