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Hacks wouldn't work without Hannah Einbinder's Ava

  • The HBO Max comedy "is as pure a two-hander as I’ve seen on television in recent years — a comedy buoyed by the prickly, slow-to-develop relationship between two characters with utterly different approaches to comedy, but similar stumbling blocks," says Daniel D'Addario. "Both Deborah Vance (Jean Smart) and Ava Daniels (Hannah Einbinder) are carefully-written, elegantly played characters; each one fuels the show’s action through stubborn commitment to her own perspective, along with, gradually, some growth. But while Smart has, justly, been hailed for her work on the series, Einbinder’s work, like her character, feels relatively unheralded. This is surprising to a viewer who sees the show as a well-balanced depiction of two complicated people, and should have been expected by anyone who recalls the strangely intense pitch of conversation around Girls and its protagonist, Hannah Horvath. There is something about common human traits embodied by a young person that seems to rankle viewers. To wit: Ava, who exists somewhere between millennial and Zoomer, is frustratingly self-centered, slow to recognize the opportunity she’s been handed, and a challenge to be around. The trick of Hacks is that all of those descriptors fit Deborah, too. To reiterate: Ava is no picnic, and the show knows this."


    • Hannah Einbinder admits feeling imposter syndrome when she began filming Hacks because she had never acted before: “I very easily can spiral into believing the worst things,” says Einbinder. But while filming Hacks, and getting to contribute her own jokes, she became more comfortable and incrementally more confident. “As time went on, I began to feel like this experience really changed my brain chemistry in a way that I’ve been trying to change it my whole life. I’m really wired without self-esteem, to be honest with you. I don’t feel that it was built in me," she says. "But it came to the point where, I respect Jean (Smart) so much, and I respect (Hacks creators) Paul, Lucia (Aniello), and Jen (Statsky) so much. If they say I’m doing a good job, and I respect them and their opinions, then I can choose to believe them. It’s made me feel a lot better.”
    • How Einbinder's bisexuality informs her Hacks character: “As someone who exists in a (kind of) middle in terms of sexuality and gender, I have at times, especially in my early days of attempting to accept myself, felt really out of place. I was never fully one thing, so I never fully belonged anywhere,” Einbinder says of what she calls the “privilege” of portraying a character who could help others feel seen. “I think if I had seen more images of bisexual characters, it would have been easier. It would have been more clear. My journey wouldn't have taken me so long to accept that I had been kind of brainwashed by the binary in a lot of ways.”
    • How Hacks production designer Jon Carlos created Deborah Vance's mansion
    • Hacks deserves more attention for its stellar fashion choices

    TOPICS: Hannah Einbinder, HBO Max, Hacks, Jean Smart, Jon Carlos, Costume Design, LGBTQ, Production Design