The Reel Review


The third season of the Emmy award-winning HBO Max comedy series starring Jean Smart and Hannah Einbinder picks up a year after legendary comedian Deborah Vance, following her huge hit TV special, fired Ava urging her to create her own path, only to have them now reteaming up when Deborah gets an opportunity to go after the coveted spot hosting a late-night TV talk show.

Hannah Einbinder and Jean Smart in Hacks

While the focus smartly remains on this Joan Rivers-like comedian and her clever writer, Season 3 also fleshes out the rest of the cast of characters with notable performances from Kaitlin Olson as Deborah’s daughter DJ, who discovers during a celebrity roast of her mom that they really aren’t that different (Deborah is just addicted to getting laughs), Paul W. Downs, who as Deborah’s agent Jimmy, realizes the importance of personal feelings above personal ambitions, and his bumbling but ultimately resourceful assistant Kayla, played by a hilarious Megan Stalter. There are also several fun cameos sprinkled throughout the nine half-hour episodes.

Jean Smart in Hacks

Those doubting the show’s chops after a stellar Season 1 and an even funnier Season 2 will be pleasantly surprised. Season 3 is still just as clever, heartfelt and hilarious. Einbinder in particular hits some emotional high notes towards the end of the season which should finally net her an Emmy. The final moment of Season 3 is sheer brilliance, as Ava is forced to quickly learn what she needs to do to win Deborah’s respect.


• Production on Season 3 of Hacks was paused when Jean Smart underwent a heart procedure.

• Like her character in Hacks, Hannah Einbinder is bisexual.

• Megan Stalter, who plays agent assistant Kayla on Hacks, is also known for her videos playing deluded characters prone to theatricality, mispronunciations, and botched suicide attempts. Stalter is also bisexual.


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