We Needed the Glorious Return of Jean Smart in ‘Hacks’

5/13/2022 10:30:00 PM

Season 2 of HBO’s “Hacks” is messier, less focused, and more chaotic. Who the hell cares—it’s Jean Smart at the top of her game in blissful new episodes of “Hacks.”

Stand-Up Comedy, Hbo

'Hacks' premiered last year like a ray of light piercing through storm clouds. The world feels pretty terrible right now. It felt pretty terrible then, too! What’s more fun than years of static misery? What a time to be alive! kpfallon writes.

Season 2 of HBO ’s “Hacks” is messier, less focused, and more chaotic. Who the hell cares—it’s Jean Smart at the top of her game in blissful new episodes of “Hacks.”

is still the serotonin blast, the satiating fuel for joy-parched souls, that it was.stars Smart as Deborah Vance, a trailblazing stand-up comedian at the sunset of her career, being pushed out of her popular Las Vegas residency for younger blood. She’s imperious and intimidating, regal and brash, and undeniably strong with a vulnerable streak. Smart crafted a character in the mold of Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller, whose bawdy one-liners, obvious ego, and radiating star quality made the fictional Deborah Vance an instant icon; gays started wearing Deborah Vance merch with her face on it as if it was a rock concert tee.

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kpfallon I want to watch an episode every night for the rest of my life. I hope HBO can arrange for that to happen.

Jean Smart Is Probably Cruising to Another Emmy WinJean Smart is already the Emmy contender to beat, thanks to HacksOn HBO Max's second season—but Selena Gomez and Quinta Brunson might just crash the race. Selena lo merese 🕵️🕵️🕵️🕵️🕵️👏👏👏 Sorry, Selena Gomez delivers her lines in a monotone. She really needs to learn the craft. Selena gomez 👌👏🤩

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If the simple pleasures we get, the fleeting distractions that uplift, are fun things to watch on TV, then Hacks is still the serotonin blast, the satiating fuel for joy-parched souls, that it was. The HBO Max series stars Smart as Deborah Vance, a trailblazing stand-up comedian at the sunset of her career, being pushed out of her popular Las Vegas residency for younger blood. Elle Fanning wasn’t recognized for the first season of Hulu’s The Great , but she now has an individual SAG nom under her belt, indicating substantial industry support; Natasha Lyonne cited for the first season of Russian Doll, and she only goes bigger in the time-travel comedy’s bonkers sequel. She’s imperious and intimidating, regal and brash, and undeniably strong with a vulnerable streak. Employees of LimnoTech prepare to have a smart buoy taken into Lake Erie and placed near a Cleveland Water intake near Euclid. Smart crafted a character in the mold of Joan Rivers and Phyllis Diller, whose bawdy one-liners, obvious ego, and radiating star quality made the fictional Deborah Vance an instant icon; gays started wearing Deborah Vance merch with her face on it as if it was a rock concert tee. Maisel and has been nominated every year she’s been eligible. The tension at the heart of the series was that Deborah was being forced to work with a young comedy writer, who herself came with career baggage, in order to remain relevant enough to keep her Vegas slot. This accuracy also benefits notetaking in apps such as Moto Note, and it’s able to seamlessly convert handwriting into text as an alternative to using the onscreen keyboard.

Hannah Einbinder’s Ava, a moody, resentful millennial, was Deborah’s foil-turned- Odd Couple confidant. (By contrast, poor reviews will probably prevent Sarah Jessica Parker ’s Carrie Bradshaw from making a long-awaited category return for the Sex and the City And Just Like That… ) Such a long list of possibilities makes for an exciting first phase of campaigning, with a blend of old and new that’ll yield inevitable surprises on nominations morning—even if the eventual winner, for now, seems fairly predetermined.com CLEVELAND, Ohio – The smart buoys that have become an important source of data for Cleveland Water and other organizations that monitor Lake Erie were redeployed Wednesday. In sly and subtle ways, the series deepened over the course of the season, exploring how their respective traumas bonded them despite generational differences and their collective obstinance. That’s what made the series great, and its haul of Emmy Awards speaks to that. But it’s the kind of once-in-a-lifetime performance from Smart that created not just a fandom or admiration, but an obsession. For example, the data will include the amount of chlorophyll in the water, which could indicate the likelihood of a toxic algal bloom, said Ed Verhamme, principal engineer for LimnoTech, a Michigan company that developed the buoys in partnership with the Cleveland Water Alliance. Smart playing Deborah Vance is one of those performances that you can’t stop talking about, and won’t. A double press switches between front and back cameras.

Apologies to every human being I encountered throughout the course of Hacks ’ first season for interrupting every conversation to blurt out some hyperbolic monologue about how great Smart is on Hacks and how meaningful a showcase this is after such a long career. A Starbucks barista and I once wept together while bonding over it. The company, which has a subsidiary in Cleveland called Freeboard Technology, put its first buoy off Cleveland in 2016, one near the Cleveland Water intake crib off downtown Cleveland and another 12 miles out that replaced a NOAA research buoy. The first two new episodes of Season 2 premiered this week on HBO Max. Are they as “good” as the first season was? It would be almost impossible to measure up to that. Judging by the episodes we screened, the new season lacks the tightness and direction of the veteran legend mounting an unlikely comeback and confronting what her life would mean without her career. “They are basically floating laboratories. It’s a great, if flawed phone, and the Smart Stylus adds a level of functionality that elevates it into a more versatile device.

But it makes up for that by embracing what it means when a series that was so tethered to a completed storyline loses that grounding. Season 2 of Hacks says a hearty “yes, and…” to chaos. After a moving finale in which Deborah surprises Ava at her father’s funeral and, not only emcees the service, but invites Ava to go with her on tour, a wrench is thrown in their path toward happily ever after. An example of those changing conditions is when a hypoxic layer of water at the bottom of the lake becomes depleted of oxygen and makes its way toward the water intakes bringing dissolved minerals such as manganese with it. In a testament to how brutally real this show about stand-up comedy had become, Deborah slaps Ava near the end of the first season. Ava quits and, in a drunken and high fit, sends an email to Hollywood producers she had previously interviewed with for a job exposing all of Deborah’s worst behaviors and personality traits, giving them permission to use the details in a series about a shrew of a powerful woman who abuses those who work for her.

“ Deborah doesn’t behave in the way you’d expect when she inevitably finds out, and it’s great material for Smart’s delicate drama chops and uproarious penchant for vengeful comedy.” The data is also helping Cleveland Water with long-term planning. ” The reunion at the funeral for Ava’s dad should be a kumbaya moment, but the audience knows that the other shoe is about to drop. In Season 2, it takes a beat for that to happen, and it falls like an anvil. Not a cartoon anvil, though.” The data from the buoys also provides helpful information to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. It’s an earned, emotional scene.

It also is the catalyst for the season’s chaos. Deborah doesn’t behave in the way you’d expect when she inevitably finds out, and it’s great material for Smart’s delicate drama chops and uproarious penchant for vengeful comedy. The buoys are designed to be removed at the end of the year before the lake freeze, but Cleveland Water hopes to enhance the engineering so that they can remain in the water over winter and continue collecting data that could help in such things as detecting e coli and nutrients that contribute to harmful aglal blooms, Stubbs said. It all unfolds during what ends up being the major conceit for Season 2, which morphs into a road trip comedy. We were going to say road trip “buddy” comedy, but that’s not entirely accurate for what unfolds between Deborah and Ava. There are things about the new season that don’t work in confusing ways.

The side characters of Jimmy, the agent (played by Paul W. Downs), and Kayla, his hilariously incompetent assistant (Meg Stalter), get beefed up screentime and their own plot outside of the Deborah drama. It turns out some things are better in small doses. Similarly, spending more time with Carl Clemons-Hopkins’ manager character is, in theory, nice—it’s a very likable role performed by a very likable actor. But you can’t shake the feeling that these threads are distractions from the main show.

Jean Smart in Season 2. HBO Max That spectacle is Jean Smart as Deborah Vance on an elaborate tour bus driving through the Midwest’s finest B- and C-tier cities. As a sweetener, boards the series as Deborah’s tour manager, a woman who is serious-as-hell about her job. It is my firm belief that Laurie Metcalf joining Hacks is the gift from the universe we’ve all been owed after what we’ve endured these last years, and Metcalf doesn’t disappoint. Duh .

She’s Laurie Metcalf. Mark Indelicato also joins the tour as Deborah’s assistant, which adds a fascinating new dynamic. These are characters whose messy lives are forgiven, and maybe even implicitly encouraged, because it’s all fodder for the all-important, unimpeachable art form: Comedy. He pops that balloon. “I don’t like comedy,” he says at one point.

“Everyone’s trying too hard. It’s, like, so awkward.” It’s never great when a series writes its own indictment, yet here we are. But we’re also here with Laurie Metcalf. On a bus.

With Jean Smart. Quibbles may be had, but all is forgiven. READ THIS LIST .