In a recent interview with Slate, Kevin Daniels, the actor who plays Hank on Sirens pointed out that Bob Fisher and Denis Leary “really try to steer clear of any stereotype” with his character. Hank loves men just as much as he loves sports and tossing back beers with his co-workers. Or, as he says in this week’s episode to a woman in search of a new gay best friend: “I’m not a girl’s kind of gay… I do not go dancing. I do not go shopping. I do not watch Dance Moms and make bitchy comments.”
Make no mistake, this is hardly the first time a gay character has worked against type in a TV show, but I think it speaks to how much thought goes into Sirens and each episode. Tonight’s episode offered up ample opportunity to truck out every cliché under the sun, as Hank—shepherding this woman along as she gets her broken arm attended to—basically holds auditions among the gay hospital staff. They have fun talking about these men after the fact, pointing out their flaws and egos, but the show wisely never parades these characters in front of the camera for our amusement or judgement.
What I especially appreciated about this episode was how it put the spotlight on Hank for once. If memory serves, this is the first extended segment that he’s had on the show away from Johnny and Brian and the rest of the Eminent crew. Daniels is the more understated comic actor of the bunch, and leaving him free to show that off in those quiet moments in the hospital was great to watch.
That’s not to take away from the rest of the episode, where Johnny and Brian are left behind to oversee a birthday sleepover (the mom of the birthday girl was Hank’s patient). In the course of an hour, things go from relatively calm to near chaos with the young ladies fighting over who gets to sing Beyonce’s parts in a karaoke show, and the two EMTs getting makeovers before they realized what hit them. It’s a simple rule of comedy that some of the funniest material comes from putting characters outside of their comfort zone, and Sirens executed it as perfectly as the cartwheels their young charges were doing in the house.
Robert Ham is a Portland-based freelance writer and regular contributor to Paste. You can follow him on Twitter.