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‘Hacks’ Season 2 Set to See Deborah Vance Bombing in Smaller Venues and Ava in a Desolate Place

The ending of Season 1 saw Deborah offering Ava the chance to go with her on the road to try out the new material the young woman has crafted for her. But is that necessarily going to make for a career home run?

Hacks Jean Smart HBO Max

Jean Smart in “Hacks”

Courtesy of HBO Max

We don’t have a release date yet for the second season of HBO Max’s Emmy-winning series “Hacks,” but showrunners Paul W. Downs, Lucia Aniello, and Jen Statsky are giving audiences a tease of what the future holds. In a recent appearance at SCAD TVFest, the trio discussed how Season 2 sees fading comic star Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) and her assistant Ava (Hannah Einbinder) working through things.

The ending of Season 1 saw Deborah offering Ava the chance to go with her on the road to try out the new material the young woman has crafted for her. But is that necessarily going to make for a career home run? As Downs said during the festival, “What we were most interested in exploring was what it’s like for someone like her to keep bombing. It might be something novel and might be something exciting in the beginning, but someone like her who has fans that come to see her, and sells out a 2,000-seat theater in Vegas and crushes, what is it like when you’re on the road in small venues and not doing well? What does that do to your spirit, and what does that do to your relationship, and what does that do to your psyche?”

And the season finale, which saw Ava passing defamatory information about Deborah to a group of Los Angeles producers will be focused on in Season 2. ““While it’s an exciting thing to see them as fish out of water, it also means that Ava is in, like, really desolate places which is a great place for Deborah to hide the body when she does – if she does – find out about the email, for those who have seen the show and know that Ava could be in a bit of trouble when that surfaces,” Downs said.

“Hacks” would secure three Emmy awards in its debut season, for Aniello’s directing, writing, and for Jean Smart’s performance as Deborah Vance.

In an interview last year, Downs said Smart perfectly encapsulates Vance as a character. “When you’re doing something that is hopefully as grounded as we wanted the show to be, we had to have someone who played both the comedy and also the emotionally-grounded moments in equal measure,” said Downs. “It’s a very short list of women in that age bracket, and Jean was at the top for us. Also, she really was emblematic of the character in that, even though she’s worked prolifically and has never been maligned by the industry in the same way Deborah had, we always felt that she was under-appreciated for the range and amount of talent that she has. To give her a starring role to shine in is one of our proudest accomplishments.”

The entire “Hacks” panel can be viewed here.

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