Aidy Bryant loves challenges of making Hulu’s ‘Shrill’

Rick's Reviews

The final season of Aidy Bryant’s “Shrill” on Hulu will be available May 7. (Photo courtesy of Hulu)

(KGET) — It’s said that nothing in life is certain except for death and taxes. You can add there is a certainty that a TV show will eventually be canceled to that list.

“Saturday Night Live” cast member Aidy Bryant started doing double duty by working on the NBC variety show and her Hulu series “Shrill” at the same time. Now that “Shrill” has come to the same inevitable end with the third and eight-episode final season that starts May 7 on the streaming service, Bryant’s happy she continues to have a job but sad she’s losing her series.

The Arizona native found that working on both programs at the same time – despite all of the massive timing and logistical problems that creates – was a big reason she loved doing both at the same time.

“Certainly it was difficult and challenging, but I also felt up for it and happy to do it.  It’s very bittersweet to me,” Bryant says. “I’m, of course, sad that the show is ending.  I love working with Ali and Lindy, and our cast and crew in Portland have been such a transformational experience to me.  So that part, I’m incredibly sad about.

“But I also am so proud of what we’ve made, and it feels like a really nice beginning, middle, and end to me.  So that piece of it feels really nice.”

“Shrill” offers a look into the life of Annie (Bryant) who is described as an overweight young woman who wants to change her life — but not her body. The need for change has come about because of everything that Annie has had to deal with ranging from sick parents to job concerns. There’s also the way the world looks at her because of her weight.

Season three has Annie energized by her breakup with her lackluster boyfriend and her new energy at work. Things are beginning to fall into place and all Annie has to do is figure out how to deal with that.

One big reason Bryant was so energized to do “Shrill” while continuing to work on “Saturday Night Live” is that the Hulu comedy gave her the opportunity to look at her own life.

“It was a really special experience to sort of go back to a place where I started in a lot of ways.  Like, the first season of Annie is a person who I was maybe more in my, like, teens and early 20s.  And I feel so far from that now,” Bryant says. “So to go back and sort of revisit the pain and the self‑hatred and pure misery of that was a really wonderful experience because I was able to kind of look at where I am now.

“I think that’s part of where we get to in this season and where I’m really proud of how the season ends. I think the idea that you come away with is that the battle against self‑hatred is never over.  There’s no cherry on top or golden prize at the end.  It’s going to hit you when it hits you forever, but you can deal with it in different ways.  And in that way, I think Annie’s journey really comes to a beautiful end.”

Bryant’s reflection on her career so far shows how her work on “Saturday Night Live” – since joining the cast in 2012 – has earned her two Primetime Emmy Awards, including  for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. Along with starring in and producing “Shrill,” Bryant was a voice talent in the animated series “Danger & Eggs.”

She also recognizes how working on “Saturday Night Live” gave her the foundation for understanding television to the point she felt confident in helping create “Shrill.” As one of the producers of “Shrill” she learned how to make television under extreme circumstances with a limited amount of time.

“I feel very lucky that I had that foundation going into this because this is a whole new ballgame as far as the scale and the responsibility and the pressure.  And so, in that way, I feel like the thing I learned is I can do it.  I can do it.  I did it,” Bryant says. “I’m so proud of what I did, what we did.  This was an incredible team effort.  And there are many pieces of it, including the way we worked together, that I think I’ll carry into so many things in the future.

“I really don’t doubt that I will work with all the people that have been involved with this show in other capacities someday.  And that’s the greatest gift of all.”

Those people include fellow executive producers Ali Rushfield and Lindy West plus cast members Lolly Adefope, Ian Owens and John Cameron Mitchell. 

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