Parenthood EP David Hudgins on Hank's Status and a New Path for Sarah that Will 'Let Her Shine'

ParenthoodSeason5SpoilersWith Jason Ritter off romancing Alexis Bledel on Fox’s Us & Them and Matt Lauria thisclose to closing a deal to return to Parenthood, one of the last remaining questions surrounding the NBC drama’s Season 5 is: What’s the status of Ray Romano‘s polarizing (kinda) homewrecker Hank?

“We’re currently discussing it,” executive producer David Hudgins shared with TVLine at the recent ATX Television Festival. “I love Ray Romano and thought he was so good on the show last year…. He’s great in that part and he works hard. He doesn’t just show up and do his [scenes]; he actually researched the character.”

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While Team Mark some fans didn’t take too kindly to Hank at first, Hudgins explained that from a behind-the-scenes standpoint, Romano’s appeal was undeniable.

“It was so interesting because we wrote the character [of Hank], then Ray was cast and then we shot [his first] scene. But the first time we actually saw him on-screen — and I think it was with Lauren Graham — we said, ‘Oh my gosh. Wow. This is watchable… This is kind of great!'”

All that said, the EP promised that Sarah’s Flavor of the Season will not be the driving force of her storyline this time around.

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“We definitely want to set Sarah on a path,” Hudgins noted. “Her story last year — and arguably the year before — was about a lot of things, I thought; I actually feel like Sarah Braverman’s story really has always been, ‘I’m a single mother trying to figure out my way with a husband that wasn’t really there and hasn’t really helped.’ But just naturally, because of the way the story’s developed, there was a triangle last year with Hank and Mark.”

Noting that while said love story was “good and interesting” and created necessary conflict, “There is a very conscious effort on our part to set Sarah on a path that will really let her shine — and in conjunction with that, she may still have some love interests.”

“The thing is,” he continued, “Lauren is so good at that stuff — she’s so great at acting those [love] stories — that it’s hard not to want to tell them. But your question is good because we really are thinking about ‘What is Sarah’s story now?’ And what’s interesting about her [in Season 5] is that her kids are gone. If her identity before was as a single mother, well, Amber’s been out of the nest and now Drew’s out of the nest. What would that mean for a woman like her? How is she going to find herself? What’s she going to do?

“Sarah is going to have a great arc this year,” Hudgins again assured, adding with a laugh, “and it isn’t going to be completely about her love life.”

Are you hoping to see Hank return? Does Sarah’s “new path” excite you?

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85 Comments
  1. Aryn says:

    EVERYBODY LOVES RAY!!! Hopefully the TPTB will bring Hank on full time :0 He’s such a great asset to the show and has awesome chemistry with not only Lauren Graham, but the rest of the cast as well. I love the back and forth between them, just seems so real and effortless by the actors…I am all for Hank to be around for the long haul – hope Ray Romano wants to hang out and bring smiles to this girls face each week!!!

    • Arien says:

      I’d love to see some Hank (as Sarahs BF) and Adam stuff, esp. if they explore the connection between Hank/Max a bit more.
      And grumpy Hank dealing with Braverman-Family-Fun :-)

    • Cort says:

      Loved what Ray brought to the show as Hank. Enjoyed his scenes with Lauren and agreed with you about the chemistry. Also and unexpected his chemistry with Max. It was always interesting watching those two play off one another and having Max’s character deal with someone besides family and classmates. I am so onboard with more Ray/Hank

    • Nicola says:

      I love Hank as a character and I love him with Sarah. He just seem like a perfect fit for this show. They are both at a similar stage in life where hey want similar things. Their chemistry with each others kids and Hank’s chemistry with Sarah’s family is fantastic. Their relationship makes for great TV.

    • Melissa Mens says:

      I wasn’t a fan, so not everybody.

  2. Loz says:

    Good! I’m glad Sarah’s going to be getting something that doesn’t always involve her love life. I love Lauren Graham so I know it will be good.

    • Loz says:

      Forgot to say I’m on team Mark too…… don’t like Ray at all. So if it’s not Mark then hope it’s someone new.

      • Caro says:

        Yeah, I liked the actors but I didn’t like Hank or Mark for that matter! I think Hank was too boring for Sarah and Mark was too young. He couldn’t pull his weight as her significant other. I’d love a more equal match! I really loved Seth, I’d LOVE to have him back and see them trying to give it another go!! But if not Seth, then maybe another really gorgeous guy please!

      • Melissa Mens says:

        I agree 100%. Not a Ray/Hank fan at all. If Jason Ritter’s new show fails, bring back Mark, if not someone new,

  3. rebecca says:

    I may be in the minority here, but I don’t like Hank & Sarah.

    • Loz says:

      Your not… I don’t like them either…. or I don’t like Hank/Ray. Hoping for someone new though really wish Mark would be back.

    • Linderella says:

      Totally agree. He needs to stay in Minnesota or wherever it was he went to be closer to his daughter.

    • KathyNYC says:

      Not a fan either. I mean they had a good chemistry as actors I guess… but Hank is too much of a screw up for Sarah and was so selfish last year, I don’t want to see them together again – ever.

      • Nicola says:

        I disagree. I don’t think he is a screw up. He is just adjusting to being in a relationship after being independent for so long. Sarah is doing the same thing. I loved Mark as a character but he was always too young for Sarah and I’m not talking about their ages. He wants kids and a family and Sarah wants a life for herself now that her kids are adults. They were always just going to make each other miserable.

    • Carrie says:

      I didn’t like them as a couple AT ALL.

    • Anna says:

      I’m not either. I felt like he brought our traits in Sarah that weren’t really positive. She is the character that most needs to get her life together, and Hank was not helping her do that.

  4. CC says:

    Totally was not into Hank. Hope he doesn’t come back.

    • Cassidy Hayes says:

      Well, he is coming back FOR SURE. Deadline just announced it. I, for one, am a happy member of Team Hank.

  5. elm says:

    i would like for them to keep “hank” and maybe see a love triangle with hank/sarah/mark……

  6. Austin says:

    I love Mark x Sarah. I also kind of like Ray x Sarah. I just wish Jason Ritter was available!

  7. Lauri says:

    I hope Hank doesn’t come back. I hated him.

  8. l’m happy with this for three reasons:
    One. l feel as though ever since Sarah came into the show, it’s been too involved on her balancing out her children and struggle as single Mom who’s trying to play the role of both parents, but alas, she can’t as she’s also trying to work out her own image and self-identity. l loved her with Mark, but the only time Sarah was really single was the last half of season two and she was too focused on Amber’s rebellious behaviour at the time that she couldn’t find herself.
    Two. The fact that she jumped straight into something after Mark was appalling to her character. No, it was not out of character for her, as Sarah has always made mistake and never thought her actions through until afterwards, however, she was thinking of herself. l had no problem with her thinking of herself for once, but it really bothered me that it couldn’t be for her own identity. lt was more about following her heart and not her brain.
    Three. Now that both her kids have grown up and are out of the house, she can finally work on herself without the burden of a man. There’s still so much she has to accomplish on her own such as a career. She bounced from bartender, to shoe designer, to screenwriter and finally an assistant. Out of them all, art/design seems to be her forte, so l do hope the writers keep up the consistency there and allow her to pursue. There’s still a lot more to tell with her character and l really hope we see her explore a career and finally move out of home this season. lf the show were to be picked up for a sixth season, allow her to search for love, but l honestly think this season needs to define her character as a strong independent woman before thinking of her next relationship.

    • Mel says:

      Totally agree. As much as I loved Monica Potter’s story line last yea, I think it really overshadowed everyone else, as cancer in a family should, but this year I am really interested in Sarah’s progression and hopefully she can have a happy story this year. I like Hank/Ray, so his inclusion this year in her life is okay by me. I always liked Mark and he and Sarah made a cute couple, but I didn’t see a long-term thing with them. They were both in different places in their lives.

  9. GrahamCracker says:

    TEAM CYRVIVE FOREVER AND EVER!!

  10. joey says:

    I’ll miss Jason Ritter on Parenthood. he was great on the show.

  11. Arien says:

    Yes, please bring Ray back!! He did a marvelous (Emmy-worthy) job.
    Personally, I’m sick of seeing Sarah getting another love-interest every damn season. It’s about time she gets a relationship where she has to put in some work too instead of dragging around poor Mark for 4 seasons.

  12. Patricia says:

    No Hank.

  13. Jen says:

    I did not like Mark at all and I really enjoyed the scenes between Sarah and Hank so I definitely hope Ray Romano will be back!

  14. twighlight123 says:

    #TeamHank All the way!! I loved seeing Sarah with a grown-up. I never took to Jason Ritter’s character. I thought Ray Romano was marvelous in the role. Bring hime back! Bring him back!

  15. Wonder if John Corbett is still done with Parenthood even though the NCIS: LA spinoff didn’t get pick up as a series for CBS. Jason Ritter must come back if there’s a chance his new series Us and Them won’t last that long. :-(

  16. ErixN says:

    Please don’t let Hank come back. I want to see Sarah grow from this and she definitely digressed when she got involved with him.

  17. Kelly says:

    I liked Hank and Hank/Sarah. Nice to see her get other stories beside romance though.

  18. BrianR says:

    It would be great if she chose a career for once. The first season or so she’s a graphic artist. The next season a playwright, and this lasts season an aspiring photographer. Come on pick something.

  19. Melanie says:

    I wasn’t invested in Sarah/Mark at all, and I loved Hank, so I hope Ray Romano comes back!!

  20. Carrie says:

    Uh, whatever happened to her career as a playwright??

  21. Patrick says:

    I really liked Hank and I want him to come back, but I also LOVED Sarah’s playwright story line. Love it even more now that Lauren has proven herself an accomplished author with her novel “Someday, Someday Maybe”. I really want Sarah to go back to writing. Whether Sarah finds success or not in it, I know Lauren will do it great justice.

  22. Brock says:

    I am SOOOOOO not a fan of Ray or Hank. At all. I didn’t feel he fit with the cast. They usually are spot-on with casting and characters, but to me this wasn’t a mesh

  23. C says:

    I absolutely loved Hank/Sarah’s storyline. It was so natural. I adore Jason/Mark, but Hank/Sarah are much better matched. When Hank gave Sarah that picture of her for Christmas, I teared up so much. Very good couple.

  24. ABBY says:

    Lauren Graham was the reason I started watching Parenthood however for four straight seasons I have thought that Sarah and all her storylines/romances were (by far) the weakest part of the show. I’m hoping for none of her past romances to return so then maybe there is a chance she may get a pairing/storyline I can actually enjoy as much as I enjoy the rest of the show.

  25. mia says:

    I’d love to see Sarah have a plot that’s outside of the romance. But I do hope they bring back Ray Romano. He was delightful and a great fit for Sarah

  26. If Parenthood wanted to change the dynamic of how they write for Sarah, having Ray Romano join the cast full time as a potential longterm spouse would be ideal, but the paycheck is probably far too high.

  27. Maggie says:

    I will follow Jason Ritter to whatever show he is on. I’d like to see Lauren’s character grow-up this year. She’s too old to act like a teenager. I hope Ray doesn’t come back so Lauren’s character can do something different this year. I love Parenthood and so happy they are getting 22 weeks this season. My favorite family is Joel, Julia, Sydney and Victor. Plus I’d like to see more of Camille and Zeek.

  28. Cathy says:

    I would like to see someone else for her; someone more her equal, someone who challenges her to think outside the box, and not cater to the norm, and is very supportive. I liked Jason Ritter, but he was too young, and I don’t see Ray Romano as someone long term.

  29. Radha says:

    I still don’t like Hank and this just cements the fact that I will just have to fast forward Sarah’s scenes once again. Mark was NOT too young. He was 30 and she was 42. They are people together with bigger age gaps that make relationships work. If Sarah was hooking up with a 19 year old, I can understand why people would have an issue. Mark was a responsible adult who had a job and morals. He came to her when her son was sleeping with his girlfriend in his house. How was any of this cause for the two of them to break up? Just because they’re not the same age? And Hank is better? Isn’t HE too old for Sarah himself?

    But to each his own. I have plenty of other characters on the show that make me happy, so I’ll tune in for them, not Sarah.

    • Mel says:

      Sorry you don’t like Hank, and hopefully you won’t FF through Sarah’s and Hank’s scenes. Even though the age difference between Sarah/Mark was only 12 years, the fact that he wanted kids makes that age difference way more difficult than Sarah and Hank’s age difference.

    • James Butler says:

      I don’t see why viewers would think Mark was too young for Sarah; he was just what she needed r in her situation. Hank was self centered and a leach who wasn’t acting in Sarah’s best interest when he ask her to go with him on his trip and knowing she and Mark had already made plan on a trip of their own at that same time and she was irresponsible for accepting..

  30. Abby says:

    I was a Mark fan, but I held no ill will against Hank and actually felt like his relationship/whatever it was with Sarah was more compatible – probably because they had more life experiences in common, like parenthood, emotional struggle, etc. I actually thought Ray was phenomenal. I was really pleasantly surprised with his acting and don’t mind him coming back at all (I say this as someone who just never got my head around or into ELR). That said, this interview sort of leads me to believe that Seth may return in some capacity? I mean, he is the undisputed love of Sarah’s life… What’s happening with the NCIS spin-off Corbett’s supposed to be doing?

  31. Davey says:

    I was so relieved Hank went to Minnesota and I hope he stays there. Is there a way Sarah can have a storyline that doesn’t depend on a man?

  32. Carlita says:

    Love, love, love the chemistry between Hank and Sarah! Plus, it doesn’t hurt that 2 of my favorite shows of all time are Gilmore Girls and Everbody Loves Raymond!! I am so hopeful that Hank will be back so that I can see more of the awesomeness that is Ray and Lauren together!

  33. sarah says:

    I am not a fan of Hank! If we can not have Sarah and Mark then please bring on a better love interest for her!

  34. JB Smooove says:

    im just glad they gave ph a full season order to get this shiit out right.

  35. stephanie says:

    I really hope that Ray Ramona comes back this season. So glad Jason Ritter went off to Gravity Falls.

  36. Beth says:

    Really didn’t like Hank and Sarah together, they kinda just grossed me out. Mark was/is too young for her. Would love to see Seth, all cleaned up and ready to be the man Sarah wants him to be. You know she still loves him!!

  37. Ty says:

    I really hope they give Sarah better stories this season. She hasn’t had a lot of character growth since the end of season 2. I’d really like for her to move out of her parents’ house (perhaps with Hank). I can’t wait to see what happen this next season. Parenthood is one of my favorite shows on right now.

  38. Aimee says:

    I like Ray Romano as an actor, but there was just NO chemistry between him and Sarah, no sparks like with Mark. It made me uncomfortable to watch the forced romance between Sarah and Hank. I, too, would like to see Seth back in the picture. The passion/love between those two was obvious, and his age and their history makes him a much better match for Sarah.

  39. I agree that I am tired of Sarah acting like a selfish teenage and her children had to grow up on their own while she had to work out all of her relationship issues. I literally got sick to my stomach when she started the relationship with Hank. Hoped they would do a story line on workplace harassment, because he sure did mess with her mind a lot. Poor Mark, he loved those kids, and they depended on him. If this was the only story line on this show, I would have been long gone. Thank goodness they plan to give her a better story line this season. I hope she doesn’t have to play a woman on her period the whole season again.

  40. Ryann says:

    I wish the producers of Parenthood would stick with some of the choices they’ve made. We keep getting comfortable with new characters and growing to love them just to have their story lines discontinued. I really hope Ray Romano will return and that he and Sarah will stay together. And Matt Lauria should return too!

  41. Berker says:

    I’m glad to hear this – loved her story line last year but LOVED when she wrote the play – she was so passionate about it and then it fizzled. She is one of my favorite characters on the show.

  42. connie says:

    I really liked this show from the beginning. But please…Ray just doesn’t fit in. Sarah had enough dysfunctional men before. Never did care for him as an actor and I sure do not like him on here.

  43. Linda says:

    Can’t stand Ray! Too nasal and he belongs in a comedy.

  44. Carrie says:

    I like Hank/Sarah. Mark was too young and their relationship always seemed awkward.

    • leepreferstrouble says:

      THANK YOU! The awkwardness between Mark and Sarah was befuddling, and I thought I was the only one who noticed. I mean, they were always walking on eggshells around each other, and their conversations were unnaturally polite. WTF? Sarah and Hank, on the other hand, were playing off each other a la Christopher and Lorelai from the get-go.

  45. Judy Cole says:

    Here’s another vote for the Mark team! Love Jason Ritter and the character and did not like the Hank and Sarah thing. I do like Ray Romano…just not here!!

  46. SoCalMom says:

    If Ray returns, this viewer doesn’t. Can’t stand him in that role, and what a huge mistake it was to let Jason Ritter go.

  47. leepreferstrouble says:

    I shall light a candle of thanksgiving to the TV gods for Fox’s ‘Us & Them’ keeping Jason Ritter tied up. I don’t understand why they kept bringing his bland character back, when he and Graham had zero chemistry to begin with.

    Now, this is a serious question: Without any dislike for Jason Ritter whatsoever, am I the only one who thinks his father’s respected Hollywood legacy has made him quite overrated? Or do I just not see how talented he is? I mean, if Ray Romano can out-act you, that’s saying it all, man.

  48. Nonya Binis says:

    I am certainly the minority in saying I really do not like Mark OR Hank. Sarah doesn’t respect Mark enough to marry him and she kind of walks all over him. Hank is way too negative and he really annoyed me (no offence to Ray). I think Sarah will always be in love with her ex and they should get back together. So, he needs to get clean quick!

  49. janet says:

    I didn’t care for Hank and Sarah as a couple. Glad the romance is not going to be a huge part of Sarah’s story. Can’t wait to see her thrive!!!

  50. KM says:

    Love the show! Liked Mark but it wasn’t believable as a lasting relationship. Not fond of Hank at all. Whiney man with too many issues. She needs to get a life, I want to cheer her on. She can have it all but “all” please needs to be with a confident well adjusted man after confidence boosting success in a career she’s passionate about.

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