HACKS -- My review



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  • HACKS -- My review

    I have a new favorite show. HACKS on HBO Max.

    It’s that rare comedy-drama that actually delivers on both. The funny parts are genuinely funny, and the drama is real, earned, engrossing, and surprising.

    And that’s not even the best part.

    The best part is Jean Smart. She’s always good in everything she does, which is admirable considering she’s done everything. But HACKS is her tour de-force. She has my vote for the Emmy right now. She plays a famous stand-up comedian, now relegated to a showroom in Las Vegas and hawking crap on QVC. She’s part Joan Rivers, part Wayne Newton, part Shelley Winters. Her character is so layered that you find yourself really rooting for her, even though she occasionally will do appalling things. On top of everything else, Smart is fearless, and all too happy to be shown in a less than favorable light.

    And unlike “Midge Maizel” we’re not asked to believe that every lame joke she tells just pulverizes audiences. To be honest, I find Deborah Vance’s (Smart) material to be way funnier than Midge’s.

    HACKS is a character study of a fascinating, complex woman played to perfection by Jean Smart.

    But wait! There’s more.

    Young Hannah Einbinder (Lorraine Newman’s daughter), plays a Millennial sitcom writer who tweets something deemed objectionable and her career is kaput. The only job she can get is writing fresh material for Deborah Vance. Their relationship and chemistry is gold. The job interview scene in the pilot alone is enough to start binging.

    The supporting characters are all terrific, and after watching all these shows shot during the pandemic with no scope and no energy, it’s such a pleasure to watch a show with crowds, and large casinos, and people eating in restaurants. They make great use of Las Vegas. HACKS almost makes me want to go there. I said “almost,” I’m still not ready and when I see the all the house trailers in hotel parking lots, I think: “Probably half of these people aren’t vaccinated and yet they’re indoors, and eating at big buffets” — I’ll let them get COVID, lose all their money gambling, and lose their mobile homes while I get my Vegas fix by watching the series.

    Each episode gets better and better and you learn more and more about each character. HBO Max drops two episodes every Thursday. I believe eight are available. I invite you to get on the train. I know everyone raves about TED LASSO, and it’s a damn fine show, but for my money (which I’m not spending on KENO) HACKS is better.

    It’s that super rarity — a Las Vegas winner.