Hacks: Hacks - Season 2
May 13, 2022 11:16 AM - Season 2 (Full Season) - Subscribe

The dark mentorship between legendary Las Vegas comedian Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) and her young, entitled writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder) continues to evolve as the two travel across the country workshopping Deborah’s new stand-up act.
posted by thecaddy (15 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
The first two episodes are out on HBO Max now - apparently they will be released two per week.

I am enjoying this so much so far - I love the road trip aspect of this, and the chemistry between the two leads manages to be even more dynamic than in season one.
posted by simonw at 8:26 PM on May 14, 2022 [3 favorites]

First episode reaction: oh for fuck's sake just tell her ava you're going to get an ulcer

Also, I was absofuckinglutely certain that the result of Deborah's pep talk was going to be her son-in-law getting literally murdered in the next round.
posted by Etrigan at 9:29 AM on May 16, 2022 [5 favorites]

I'm a latecomer -- only watched season 1 over the last couple of days -- but wow, I'm in love. I especially appreciate their willingness to let every character be awful from time to time. So, so human.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:38 PM on May 21, 2022

Can we talk about the cruise episode? Their discussion while Deborah is fixing Ava's manicure (holy intricate rituals, Batman)...so much of season one was about how Deborah had to contort herself in order to succeed within patriarchy, and now this tender conversation about how that has also structured her experience of her own sexuality...whew.
posted by icebergs at 4:25 PM on May 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

The cruise episode, with Deborah's spectacular bombing at the show, was so, so good. And, I just finished this week's pair, and in terms of Deborah figuring out her creative expression, it follows right into that.

I continue to be totally blown away by Jean Smart's portrayal of Deborah on stage. She is so believable up there, retelling jokes, just being in the skin of a comedian. It might be my favorite part of the show. I could also watch Deborah and Ava talk about anything.
posted by gladly at 6:15 PM on May 27, 2022 [4 favorites]

Ahhh episode 6 was so good! It was so enjoyable to watch Deborah start killing it onstage. I'm excited to see what comes next. On another note, as a Gen Xer I feel like I have nothing in common with either of the two main characters, but I still really like this show.
posted by emd3737 at 11:38 AM on May 29, 2022 [4 favorites]

The fact that she can only have the psychological breakthrough on stage, and only as a punchline, is perfect. Like it wasn't worth examining her careerism until there was a funny angle to it.
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:00 PM on June 1, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah, episode 6, "Click" is where the arc became clear, and who doesn't love a triumphant montage? That part where Deborah realizes she has to hold herself to account reminded me of what Louis CK coulda shoulda done.

Also, it's been a pleasure to watch this season alongside George Carlin's American Dream because a big part of his life and career was rediscovering himself after a slump.
posted by whuppy at 5:37 AM on June 3, 2022

I think it's the silver lining of a comedian's instinct that “there is no line” and that anything can be funny. When that's truly your ethos, it's inconceivable that you'd pass up a joke that's right there just because you'd have to make fun of yourself. “It's funny because it's true” is trite, but that joke doesn't land unless Deborah admits it to herself and makes the audience believe it too.

(And, yeah, it's what had me so disappointed about Louis C.K., because of all the comedians I liked, he was the one who had demonstrated the most capacity for introspection. There was a path back for him in which he'd have been genuinely contrite and self-deprecating, one that he'd already cultivated the on-stage persona for, and he squandered it.)
posted by savetheclocktower at 10:47 AM on June 3, 2022 [2 favorites]

Did their episode order get abruptly cut from 10 to 8 or something? That last episode felt really rushed.
posted by Blue Jello Elf at 9:19 AM on June 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Yeah, the last two episodes took a weird sharp turn and suddenly they were trying to speedrun a season of Entourage. Jimmy's out on his own with his wacky assistant! They can't find a venue! Deborah might drop Jimmy for Janet! Ava's going to miss the big night! They can't sell the special! Everyone loves them!
posted by Gary at 3:11 PM on June 4, 2022 [1 favorite]

Wow, that felt like a series finale! They're not picked up for more yet, but the creators have talked about plans for later seasons.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:57 PM on June 8, 2022

I loved this season. I enjoyed Season 1 but had some issues with it, mainly that it dragged at times and the central relationship was a bit too abusive to be funny to me.

But the writing was SO GOOD this season, and the two central characters had so much more depth, as did their relationship. By the end, when Deborah was mercy-firing Ava, and Ava was crying about it, I really believed her heartbreak and I also believed that Deborah was doing what was best and that it was a personal sacrifice for her. That's a lot of character development!

I also really enjoyed how queer this episode was, in both big and subtle ways. The cruise episode was one of the best episodes of TV I've seen in a while. As soon as they found out it was a lesbian cruise, I cackled. OF COURSE Marcus and Deborah would assume "gay" meant "gay men" and of course Deborah loves gay men but punches down at lesbians. And they were pretty restrained with the easy jokes at the expense of lesbian culture (I do own several pairs of Chacos).

The conversation Deborah and Ava had while Deborah was doing Ava's nails was just one of the most interesting and nuanced discussions of queer identity and experience I've ever seen on TV. Maybe THE most nuanced? It's the kind of conversation I've had many times with queer women and non-binary people but never expected to see on TV. Usually shows just stick with a black and white "Born this Way" frame OR will try to skate past identity by embracing a sort of de-queered "fluidity" but this was a real, deep, challenging conversation about compulsory heterosexuality, the scripts we've been given about ourselves, and how complicated it can be to figure out what we truly want. I loved it.

I also loved how they made Ava so much more comfortable in her skin when she was in a queer setting. Yes, she's still awkward and a bit immature, but she gets a swagger that we don't usually see her with. It made me realize that a lot of her brattiness and immaturity we see when she's in Deborah's world is probably because of how much that really is not her world.

It'll be interesting to see where they go with all of this next season. They will have to put Ava and Deborah back together somehow. Maybe Ava's show will hire Deborah to act on it? Maybe she'll finally get her talk show and hire Ava?
posted by lunasol at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2022 [5 favorites]

One other thing about this show: the dialogue is FUNNY. Why is it that movies and TV shows about comedians are often not funny? But especially the dialogue between Ava and Deborah is just so sharp and well-observed and just funny.
posted by lunasol at 2:49 PM on June 21, 2022 [2 favorites]

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