Hacks’ Jean Smart Says Deborah Is Growing ‘Weary’ of Her Sister Drama: ‘It’s Not Getting Her Anywhere’

Deborah Vance may have finally opened her door (literally) to her estranged sister Kathy, but that doesn’t mean she’s fully ready to let bygones be bygones.

In Episode 7 of Max’s Hacks, Deborah hosts a lavish Christmas party for her friends and family, including a fake winter wonderland and gifts with only the finest French edges. But when her pregnant daughter DJ wants to invite her aunt for the holiday, Deb reluctantly agrees to invite Kathy to the festive gathering which leads to desecrated gingerbread, a baby gift overstep and (since this is Hacks we’re watching) a dramatic argument fueled by faux-snowballs.

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While agreeing to the reunion at all seems almost saintlike for Deborah (considering her usual disposition, that is), her portrayer Jean Smart says that tough exterior might finally be cracking, even if she won’t cop to it at first.

“I think there’s a part of her that is starting to get weary of the fight and weary of hanging on to that anger, as much as that has sort of fueled her for all these years,” Smart tells TVLine in the video above. “That anger and that bitterness have sort of been her engine… But I think that she’s growing weary of that, of feeling angry and lonesome because she realizes that it’s not getting her anywhere.”

Succession vet J. Smith-Cameron appears as Kathy (replacing Linda Purl from Season 1), and from their very first scenes together, she and Smart effectively sell the strained bitterness that lingers between the two warring women. (If you’ll recall, Deborah’s husband left her for Kathy, which led to the sisters’ unfortunate falling out.)

“They immediately felt like sisters,” says co-creator, executive producer and director of the episode Lucia Aniello. “It was awkward and funny and sweet, [but] they still push each other around like sisters would. It was just an amazing experience.”

We’ve witnessed a lot of growth in Deborah thus far, which as Marty previously mentioned, can partly be attributed to Ava’s presence in her life. But what makes now the right time for the sisters to even attempt reconciliation and will they eventually be able to rebuild the broken bridge between them? The episode leaves the door open for the future.

“It’s always one step forward, two steps back with Deborah,” says co-creator/EP Jen Statsky. “At the end of Season 2, she admits that she took up a lot of space and she’s starting to consider her role in this great trauma she experienced.”

See what else Smart and Statsky have to say by pressing PLAY on the video above, then hit the comments section to tell us your thoughts on the episode.

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