“Hacks” came out of the gate with a bang last year, debuting its inaugural season to much fanfare and rave reviews, racking up a slew of awards in the process, including the Golden Globe for Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy, as well as Emmy, Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild and Critics’ Choice statuettes for leading lady Jean Smart. And now the second season of the smash comedy has hit HBO Max, proving just as delectable as the first!
This time around, Las Vegas-based comedian Deborah Vance (Smart) is taking her act on the road to test out fresh material via an ambitious series of 35 cross-country sets in the hopes of securing a new residency after unceremoniously losing her longtime Sin City gig the previous season. Accompanying her on the journey in a luxe but tightly-quartered tour bus is her madcap team, writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder), assistant Damien (Mark Indelicato) and CEO Marcus (Carl Clemons-Hopkins). Laurie Metcalf even joins the show for a brief but memorable stint as hilariously gruff tour manager Alice, aka “Weed.”
Set across the U.S., “Hacks’” sophomore season showcases some fabulous scenery! Incredibly though, outside of a couple of brief scenes captured in Arizona (in Sedona and at the Grand Canyon, specifically), the cast and crew essentially never had to set foot outside Southern California to complete the filming! Instead, as Einbinder explained to Cultured, the production team secured locations “two hours in every direction from Los Angeles” to seamlessly stand-in for such far-flung spots as Springfield, Ill., Saint Louis, Mo. and Memphis, Tenn.
Burbank’s oft-filmed Safari Inn pops up as a Sedona-area lodging. Charlie Brown Farms, situated just south of Palmdale in Littlerock, plays the roadside stop in an unnamed town where Deborah teaches Ava the art of buying the correct sunglasses for a particular face shape. And Long Beach’s Cowboy Country Saloon masquerades as the Memphis bar where Ava takes her visiting mom for a girls’ night out.