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Hacks perfectly encapsulates the current moment of reevaluating real-life, unfairly maligned women

  • "It’s the perfect companion to our larger cultural moment as we start to reckon with how much our culture has mistreated and misunderstood famous women," says Marina Fang. "Deborah’s character shares a lot of similarities with the late Joan Rivers, but brings to mind other women who have been wronged, disbelieved and subjected to sexist media coverage. The last few years have brought public reevaluations — in writing, documentaries, TV shows and podcasts — of the ways our culture unfairly maligned everyone from Monica Lewinsky and Britney Spears, to Janet Jackson and Princess Diana, among countless other famous women. It’s this mirror to real life that makes Hacks surprisingly cathartic."


    • Hacks went from being a battle of generations to a love story: "What Hacks reveals itself to be, finally, is a love story, a sort of romantic comedy, of two people coming to see one another, to cut one another slack where necessary and to hold one another accountable when necessary," says Robert Lloyd. "One brings the wisdom and arrogance of youth and the other the wisdom and arrogance of age — each can see what the other can’t — and in the language of the rom-com, they complete each other. It is not a master-student or a mother-daughter thing. Deborah has a daughter, a hapless problem child played with affection by Kaitlin Olson, and Ava a mother, a hysteric played by the great Jane Adams, whose frightened vision of Ava moving back home requires her to euthanize the cat occupying her old room."
    • Hacks creators are thrilled with the critical praise Jean Smart is receiving: “There’s so much happening now, with rewriting the narratives of women in popular culture, and I just feel like people have finally caught up to Jean Smart,” says co-creator Paul W. Downs. Fellow co-creator Lucia Aniello, Downs' longtime partner, still marvels at Smart’s willingness to take on any challenge they threw at her. “Often there would be something that we would say, ‘Oh, we can change that to make it easier for you.’ And she would kind of shoot us a look, like, I don’t need anything to be easy for me, I’ll do what the script says,” Aniello says. Smart even wanted to do her own stunts—like when Deborah tries to run Ava down with her Rolls-Royce or jumps into a helicopter. “She is honestly Tom Cruise–level committed to her stunts, and I’m being dead serious,” Aniello adds. “If we told her we wanted her to strap herself to the side of a plane and have it take off, I guarantee you, she would do it.”
    • Hacks subtly recasts the past half century of American comedy as a warped matriarchy, through which we can chart the evolution of the “woman’s voice"

    TOPICS: Hacks, HBO Max, Jean Smart, Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs