'Barry': Bill Hader Jokes "More Bad Things Happen" In Season 3 [TCA]

It’s been almost three years since the second season of the Emmy-winning “Barry” graced our screens. Following pandemic shooting delays, the third go-around is finally in sight. If you were hoping that the series namesake might finally escape his past life series co-creator and star Bill Hader has some bad news for you. Speaking during a virtual Television Critics Association panel this past week, Hader deadpans, “Even more bad things” in Season 3.

READ MORE: Bill Hader talks “Addams Family 2,” “Barry” season 3 and the joy of animated characters [The Discourse Podcast]

Co-creator Alec Berg adds, “But some good things, but also bad.

Hader quips, “Mostly bad.”

Fans were not supposed to wait this long to see out what happened to Barry (Hader), Fuches (Stephen Root), Sally (Sarah Goldberg) and Hank (Anthony Carrigan) after the dramatic events of the Season 2 finale. Hader reveals that the production was two weeks away from shooting in March 2020 when the first stay-at-home orders hit. The first table read had even taken place.

“And we all hugged,” Goldberg says.

“We all hugged,” confirms Hader.

“We all hugged but we didn’t know if we should or not,” Root admits.”

“Yeah. We were fully throwing caution to the wind at that table read. And then, yeah, we shut down,” Hader says.”

Berg remembers telling the group it could just be a few weeks till they started up again. Hader remembers that they even thought it could happen in May. But at that stage of the pandemic, it simply wasn’t possible. Instead, Berg and Hader hunkered down and decided to write Season 4. He adds, “And then while we were doing that, we went back and did a pretty extensive rewrite of Season 3. As far as how much time has expanded, you’re going to have to see the show.”

“Barry” had already earned massive acclaim for its first season, but it took something of an unexpected stylistic jump with the fifth episode of Season 2, “ronny/lily.” Hader doesn’t necessarily think much of Season 3 going in that specific direction. Each episode it’s “own thing and you’re always trying to do something different.”

“We tried something different on that one, but the show always really works when it’s about the characters and the emotions of what’s happening,” Hader says. “We’re learning this in the writing and the editing, and everything. Every time you try to do something, you know, it’s led by a joke or led by a crazy idea, it doesn’t work as well. So, it always works when the story is working and the people are working. So, even though that episode is kind of a weird bottle episode, it still is about essentially Barry and Fuches’ relationship. And I think that’s kind of one of the reasons it really works.”

Berg adds, “But I will say about that episode, in particular, I think the response to that episode was so strong that it did sort of open our minds a little bit to being even more ambitious and expanding the scope and kind of pushing the show into new places.”

No one on the panel wanted to spoil where any of the characters were headed in the third season (except that tease of a time jump), but Hader did give some perspective on Barry’s headspace as the season begins.

“You know, his one kind of boneheaded way of trying to get in touch with himself ends up really hurting a lot of people,” Hader explains. “And I think this season…I don’t think he knew the extent that he’s hurt people, and I think that’s what he’s kind of learning. But you know, he’s…yeah, I guess to answer your question, yeah. There’s much more to discover, I guess.”


Goldberg has some thoughts adding, “All the characters on the show are sort of constantly grappling with who they want to be, who they think they could be, a better version of themselves that they’re trying to become. And there’s all these fork-in-the-road moments, and they all tend to make poor choices. And that’s how they deal with the fallout. So, morality is sort of the undercurrent of the whole show which is what makes it so fun to play and the sort of moral duality in each of the characters.”

Berg has his own thoughts adding, “There was a moment where Fuches had him more or less convinced that he had to go back to Cleveland and be miserable. And so, to me, I just really enjoy thinking about the fact that every single thing that happens in the show is a consequence of Barry wanting a very much better life. But you could argue that every bit of that better life that he’s trying to achieve has led to all of this chaos. I mean, he obviously didn’t know it would be that bad, but he was warned.”

“Barry” returns on April 24 at 10 PM ET/PT on HBO and HBO Max.