In one scene on HBO’s hawkhouse, stand – up comedian Deborah (introduced by the stunning Jean Smart) responds to the mention of building a road in her own name in Vegas: “Maybe it will end in abortion. The clinic in it.” The Hawks is a show about two comedians from different generations playing the Litmus Test with each other, defeating one in sensitivity. As a show about two comedians – one struggling and the other established – it’s also the first show of a generation, the first show of a generation. This is something that even critics who write awake columns cannot dispute, because nothing, even the joy of giving up with a good laugh, is no longer sacred. However, the Hawks and its protagonists oppose it, and the result, as confirmed by the Golden Globe on Sunday, is great.
Jean Smart is Deborah, an elderly stand-up comedian from Vegas. Deborah runs a tight ship – even cross-checking the costs of her staff – and hires troubled General Zed-Er Ava. Ava’s innocence is balanced by her fundamentalism and her desire to do the ‘awakened’ thing, almost miserably. This is something that bothers her, but it also illuminates a bad personality.
Over the generations, Deborah and they have formed a weird team, most importantly, to put aside what is right and wrong, what is funny and what is not. Deborah proves that they are the perfect experiment she has always wanted to avoid, while the young guard becomes the mirror Deborah refuses to see. Hawkeyes discusses the subject matter of two artists, most importantly, the subjectivity of humor, trying to find a middle ground that is somewhat similar to generations’ understanding of life and morality.
Deborah is ugly, often blaming and unrepentant. The show has seemed a bit unfocused in recent episodes, however; Deborah is also a rare item, a female stand-up comic who once considered her ex-husband a ‘crazy woman’ and tries to break the ceilings while trying to attract an audience above her. This makes the role of Jean Smart an attractive look of controlled feminism, she is proud of her height, yet expresses the cracks that led her there. While playing Smart Deborah with arrogance and adult arrogance, Hannah Einbinder imitates the innocence of today’s awakened renaissance of the younger generation. It is fitting that both women were nominated for acting in the same category, and Jean Smart emerged as the undisputed winner.
Hacks must observe not only its sharpness and (sometimes) razor sharpness, but also the things it wants to deal with. We live in an age where the idea of a universal joke is unnecessary and almost inaccessible. As more and more people arm themselves with a variety of social media, every conversation that exists inside and outside your bedroom has a performance. Anything can be canceled, called or explicitly controlled, unless it evokes a particular kind of emotion, or by choosing to distract from it altogether, threatening to hurt it. Beyond the introduction of expression, art now has to contend with the reaction, the method it uses to measure the morality of its creator. It makes it impossible to build a form of humor that literally demands the release of your socio-political suspenders.
In this age of hyper-analysis, the show’s relevance goes beyond a radical assessment of humor. It seeks to portray the viewer, the evolution of discourse, and perhaps the equivalent of resentment and rebellion. What action and series are trying to tell us is not just a function of the right kind of principle, but also of the elements that enable them. If Deborah had access to social media in her day, she might have tweeted a thousand awakening statements a day, instead she grew up through a period of cautious silence. On the other hand, they fly very randomly and quickly from the trigger, which undermines your ability to think broadly about your actions and reactions to them (as well, morality often determines how much you should lose).
As the name of the show suggests, the women fighting in the hawk represent a woman’s survival instinct in the real world. Although Deborah is not afraid to blackmail her boss to the last, shining hooray, she is ready to break the bad and betray people for better opportunities, even if she is reluctant to wake up. Hacks are happily uncontrollable, often brilliant and, most importantly, a work in progress between two leading women – each echoing the perspective of generations that may be at work at some point in your daily life. There can be no longer a universal joke, but the hawkhouse is perhaps universally relevant, which is both hilarious and tragic at the same time.