June 21, 2022 at 7:55 am #1204991528
I was a little mixed on S2, just like I was on S1. The Deborah/Ava show is spectacular, even more so this year because Hannah Einbinder really elevated her game. She seemed to be in Smart’s shadow in much of S1 and got crushed in a few scenes. In S2, she went toe-to-toe with the master and met her every step of the way. The rest of the ensemble just kind of sits there for me, like a stage wait until the next Deborah/Ava scene. It does not feel like a fully-integrated ensemble like Ted Lasso or Abbott Elementary. In those series, you can mix and match the characters in any combination and come up with gold. Not so in Hacks.
Much of the story this season was strong and I could buy Deborah’s journey to her eventual epiphany about what would make her new material work. The only place I felt things were mis-calibrated was the cruise episode, where Deborah’s inability to read the room felt counter to her years of experience. Much more balanced was her foray at the state fair, highlighted by her scenes with Harriet Sansom Harris, for me this season’s MVP in guest stars. (Jane Adams was very solid playing someone you itch to smack; Laurie Metcalf was gilding a weak lily of a character in an unnecessary bit of showy casting.)
The culmination of the season was extremely well done and the final Deborah/Ava scene was sensational, heartbreaking, and spot-on in terms of character. Overall, I felt this season took us on a satisfying journey (albeit with a bit of extra baggage) and I am glad it has been picked up for a third season. While the finale was realistic and had the courage of its convictions, it’s not where I want to leave these characters for good.June 21, 2022 at 8:10 am #1204991555
This was fun and enjoyable to watch but it has such low ambitions that it makes it very easy for itself to be appreciated. The closest thing to a conflict we’ve got this season was a dog swallowing pills—if you know what I mean. Perhaps part of its deal is seeing a middle aged actress offered daring scenes, but then again it doesn’t even come close to Emma Thompson in her latest film. This could have been easily made as a movie but few would talk about it.
Several other comedies don’t generate big laughs either, but then they at least commit to do the dram- part properly. Hacks doesn’t do the dram- or the -edy particularly well. There are no stakes.
Bill Hader and Barry in everything (2 babka)
The Great - Elle Fanning, Nicholas Hoult and comedy writing and directing
Severance in drama series, writing, Adam Scott for best actor, Ben Stiller for drama directing, and the whole cast in supporting.August 15, 2022 at 2:48 pm #1205046720
Hacks was my comedy series winner last year. Having just finished the new season, I am immeasurably disappointed. Sure it’s solid, but I could not agree more with the posts above saying there are almost no stakes. The season starts with some then quickly turns them into a gag with the lawsuit bit that could have been an interesting undercurrent but materialises into nothing. Ava and Deborah’s relationship is also muddier than ever because of this so the finale ending with Deborah’s decision neither felt earned nor like the twist it was supposed to be. Smart continues to be great and peaks with “The Click” but has no proper showcase here which is strange. Einbinder gets better material but revealed her limitations as some emotional moments fell ultimately flat due to the speed at which she returned to her regular self once the moment had passed with no shadow of the traumatic events upon her.
The biggest disappointment though was the actual comedy as I smiled a lot but little more. Incidentally, this was the only time I laughed out loud:
I’m still trying to find time to write a review of this season but I just want to say that interaction between Ava and Ming-Na Wen’s character where she says she’s not going to be poached as a client from Jimmy to which Wen responds “I don’t know you” to which Kayla responds “guess what you’re never gonna” just has to be one of the most rofl gags I’ve seen all year lol.
Really hoping season three can return to the show’s former glory.August 15, 2022 at 3:06 pm #1205046741
I think it’s a fun show. It’s written brilliantly at times for it’s two main stars Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder, but as an ensemble I wasn’t feeling the supporting cast in season 1, and felt them even less during season 2. I didn’t enjoy the sub storylines and I didn’t enjoy any of other cast members. I am coming back for S3 solely for Jean and Hannah to see where this goes.August 15, 2022 at 3:12 pm #1205046753
I was surprised that people preferred Stalter and Downs this season to last. Whilst they had more material, the quality of it was greatly reduced and much of their stuff felt like filler. Would never have predicted Downs for the Emmy nom if I’d realised.Not now
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