After three seasons, 22 episodes, and an untold number of laughs, Hulu’s “Shrill” is coming to an end. Earlier this year, the streaming platform announced the third season would be “Shrill’s” last, before setting a release date for Friday, May 7.
During Thursday’s Television Critics Association Winter 2021 Press Tour presentation, Hulu released the Season 3 teaser and held a panel with the cast and producers. You can get your first glimpse at Aidy Bryant and Lolly Adefope in their last episodes below.
Hulu has also provided the following synopsis. [Author’s Note: The below graph contains spoilers for Season 2.]
The new season finds Annie (Aidy Bryant) energized by her breakup with dud boyfriend Ryan (Luka Jones) and her newfound momentum at work. Annie feels like everything is finally falling into place for her, but does she actually know how to get what she wants?
Also returning for the final season are series regulars Ian Owens and John Cameron Mitchell. The series’ showrunner and executive producer is Ali Rushfield, while the original book’s author Lindy West also serves as executive producer and writer. More executive producers include Rob Klein, Elizabeth Banks, Max Handelman, Lorne Michaels and Andrew Singer. The series is produced by Warner Bros. Television, Broadway Video and Brownstone Productions. Warner Bros. Television serves as the international distributor.
Speaking during the panel, Rushfield said she did not know going into Season 3 that it would be the series’ last set of episodes, but they were told in time to craft an appropriate finale.
“We didn’t know going in, but we knew somewhere in the middle of there, with enough time to make an ending we were good with and lands the characters in a good place,” Rushfield said. “So we didn’t know then, but we feel good with the way it landed.”
“I’m, of course, sad the show is ending because I love working with Lindy and Ali [and our cast], but I’m also so proud of what we’ve made, and it feels like a really nice beginning, middle, and end to me,” Bryant said.
During the panel, Bryant said that her former “SNL” colleagues Fred Armisen and Julio Torres will both appear in Season 3.
“Shrill” premiered at the 2019 SXSW Festival to largely positive reviews. Based on West’s memoir “Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman,” the Hulu series embodied the first edition’s cover note, that read: “Women are funny. It’s OK to be fat, and feminists don’t have to be nice.” Though some critics cited the series for perhaps being a bit too nice at times, many recognized it as genuine, smart storytelling and hailed Bryant’s moving lead performance. (Adefope has also been highlighted as a breakout, though the whole cast received high marks.)
The series follows Annie, a young staff writer at a local Portland news outlet who vows to stop letting other people define her voice — in other words, she wants to change her life, not her body. Annie’s journey toward self-empowerment goes beyond her job and affects her relationships, as well, whether it’s her slacker boyfriend Ryan or her roommate and best friend Fran.
During the panel, Bryant and West said they didn’t set out to make a show that was just about being fat, though they did want to speak to the different ways society treats anyone who appears overweight.
“I think we were careful not to think of it as activism because we wanted it to be effective as the story — because that’s the best way to secretly feed people activism,” West said. “We wanted to make a great show that affected people emotionally, that didn’t feel like you were being force-fed a lesson. That was top of mind always, and it really served those moments and helped them land.”
Season 2 expanded to eight episodes, two more than Season 1, and was met with less enthusiastic praise, though its mission to challenge pre-existing perspectives and start a dialogue about finding your voice kept it a unique entry in the TV world. Season 3, the show’s last, will look to wrap up Annie’s quest with definitive progress.
“When we were talking about her fat experiences, we always knew that was just a piece of her story,” Bryant said, adding that they created multi-dimensional characters with a lot to say. “I think we did that, and we’re really proud of it. I think people will be excited to see these final episodes that talk about not only where she’s started but where she’s landed.”
Watch the teaser below.
“Shrill” Season 3 premieres Friday, May 7 on Hulu.