Hacks: Season 2

By Joanna Langfield

Having already established the story and the characters, our reunion with the veteran standup and her protegee runs deeper, funnier and is as curious and it is self-assured.

Having lost her gig in Vegas, Deborah decides it is time to take her act on the road. Ava and the team climb aboard the bus, helmed by the most welcome addition of Laurie Metcalf’s task master of a road manager. Marcus (the wonderful Carl Clemons-Hopkins) mans the desk, along with a few other deals, Jimmy and Kayla try to negotiate their office situation, and we get drop ins from the most welcome Nina (Jane Adams), DJ (Kaitlin Olson), old pal Harriet Sansom Harris and Kiki (the hysterical Poppy Liu). I talk about these characters like family because, well, they are. So beautifully written and played, its lovely to get to spend even more time with them, as some of us try to laugh with and learn more about one another.

But the heart of it all is Deborah and Ava, both embodied spectacularly by Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder. A tremendous team of writers has tackled a lot here, not just the back and forth between an older and younger woman, but the complexities of mentorships, as well as basic decency, if not, at its best, friendship. We met these two last season, had our introductions and got the set up of how they might push and pull one another. In these new shows, we get to watch how all that unfolds, against a backdrop of uncertainty. Trying times, as we know, can bring out the best and the worst in us. Here, they do both. But maybe they also remind us we can find strength in the relationships right there in front of us. For better and for worse.