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Why ‘Hacks’ is the best thing on stream TV right now

With all the Covid confusion we’re currently being inundated with, and with half the country going cray-cray in lockdown, the thing we need right now is a good dose of clever comedy.

I’m currently hooked on the Stan comedy series Hacks. In fact, I can’t get enough of the show, watching six consecutive episodes straight in my first night in.

The plot is pretty simple: a washed-up Las Vegas comedienne teams up with a cancelled Gen Z scriptwriter with the aim of creating a fresh quality standup show. The pair are polar opposites so far as taste and personality go, except for two things – they’re both very stubborn and funny as all hell.

It’s in their differences that the pair’s comedy gold begins to eventuate, seeing their combined sarcasm, irony and wit rolling into an avalanche of hilarious storytelling.

The main star of Hacks is Jean Smart – whom some folks may remember from the 1980s sitcom Designing Women. In that show, Smart played office manager Charlene Frazier – a sassy, brazen blueprint to Sex & The City’s Samantha, albeit sans the Cosmopolitans.

Hacks actually has a lot of Sex & The City going on in it. But it also oozes the sass of Golden Girls and Designing Women combined, the power play in The Devil Wears Prada, the see-saw personalities of The Odd Couple, and even some postfem wit a la Girls (not too much of that last one, thankfully).

Smart delivers the full gamut of acting capabilities in her role as Vegas diva, Deborah Vance. It’s a performance so wonderfully well-rounded, there are even moments where it feels you’re watching Meryl Streep. (But not Meryl in Proms because that was patronisingly bad.)

Anyway, Smart’s Deborah’s co-writer of a character, Ava, is played by Hannah Einbinder, who hasn’t done much television (save for one minor role in an unknown series) but does a great job in going up against Smart’s camera confidence.

Hacks is one of those shows that is bridging the gap in generational TV watching – meaning you and whoever’s with you on the couch, whatever their age, will all be getting a kick out of it.

It’s laugh-a-minute funny, and even has a humanitarian message of sorts: that once we peel away the prejudices of ageism, generations will find it easier to get along while also learning a heck of important stuff from one another.

Get your mind off the Covid blues but be prepared for a great big binge session. Hacks is addictive!

Antonino Tati

Hacks’ Season One currently streams on Stan.

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