Season two of Amy Huberman’s comedy series, “Finding Joy,” opens with her titular character, Joy, dressed in neon pink, ready to plunge through a vinyl curtain “birth canal,” with a pack of red-hoodie-wearing “placenta.”
The theatrics serve as a fairly on-the-nose metaphor as Joy “rebirths” her new career as an independent vlogger, continuing her hunt for happiness as she did as a fill-in network host in season one. The six-episode second season premieres Monday on subscription streamer Acorn TV, and features Huberman reprising her role as Joy, a woman who is a little bit like all of us: looking for a way to be happier.
Huberman rules court among fellow exceptionally funny, female Irish TV creators, like Sharon Horgan (“Catastrophe,” “Divorce”), Lisa McGee (“Derry Girls”), and Aisling Bea (“This Way Up”), who appeared in season one as Joy’s charmingly apathetic roommate. We caught up with Huberman pre-holidays, just before the birth of her third child, Ted. She talks Joy’s progress, the pandemic, and finding happiness in the darkest of times.
How is it having the second season drop in the midst of a pandemic?
It’s a scary time for the entertainment industry. Creatives are still developing things and doing what you can, but everything has been slower. It’s been lovely and distracting to have a show come out, but so much is still unknown and everyone is waiting for answers. Even with a lot of things up in the air, there’s getting control of the things you can get control of. I have writing to turn to.
Season one culminated with Joy’s job as a stand-in host ending and her potentially getting back together with her ex. Where do we find her now?
When we left Joy, she had been on this personal journey and thrown into the limelight. We wanted a different vibe [for season two], so when we meet her, she has a full sense of bravado like she’s learned everything. But the more we see, the more we realize it’s just a front.
The more she’s exposed in season two, the more she learns about herself. It’s ‘who is Joy?’ and not ‘who is Joy, this alter-ego?’ It’s an interesting, binary journey she goes on, between her personal reflections and what she puts out there as a [vlog host]. She goes on misadventure adventures that end up in self-discovery, and that was fun for us.
What do you think Joy is reflecting on in season two?
She goes into a journey of self-discovery in season one, but she’s reflecting back in season two. She’s figuring out, ‘Who do people expect me to be? Sensible, smart, respectable, girly?’ She’s doing a crash course in readjusting herself. Again, I think this only goes so far because there’s no authenticity. She’s putting on a show. It’s a process of growing up. Season one, she was more resigned to who she was, but in season two, she’s accepting that she’s not OK with it. She’s grown up and doesn’t know how to fill those shoes, so she thinks, ‘Will everyone like me more if I do this?’
One thing that stuck with me is the sexism in the types of suggestions people had for Joy to be a more successful presenter. Did you draw any of that from your own experience in the industry?
I think it’s a time when this is being discussed and it’s been amazing. I look back at my own career and there were expectations to not be too raunchy or too loud and you have to stay in your lane. It was prescribed rules and I think something I’d look into even further next season. I think, [for Joy], she’s being all the things to all people that she believes she needs to be. It’s all for outward perception. But then your foundation of who you are is, ‘What mold do I need to fit in for society?’ So who am I if it’s just ticking the boxes for everyone else?
Do you think we can learn anything from this time in quarantine from Joy’s search for happiness?
“Finding Joy” looks at the core of what makes us happy. That’s what all of us are looking for. It’s self-growth, learning, traveling, what makes us happy in the community and world. What relationships work — whether that be friendships, romantic, or family. It looks really complicated, but when you strip it back, it’s all we want. Joy is intentionally a lonely person. As much as this pandemic unites us because we all have to deal with it, it’s lonely as well. Loneliness is awful, but sometimes when it’s forced, it’s good, because you have self-reflection. But other times it’s just [expletive]. People crave the human heart.
Joy tries a lot of stunts and experiments to try to find happiness during her time as a host and vlogger. Are there any that particularly fascinated you?
We’re always trying to come up with set pieces that are manageable and within our budget. I’m like ‘We should totally go on a retreat to Thailand!’ And the producers are like, ‘Ehhh…’ I love wellness. [This season] we looked at the people who are jumping into the Irish Sea, which is cold even in the summer, and how cathartic that can be. And there’s a sense of community, having that shared experience. Joy is more of a cynic so it’s lovely to play with these things from her point of view. But if it were me, I’d be like, ‘Give me all the crystals.’
Interview has been edited and condensed.
Rachel Raczka can be reached email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @rachelraczka.