How Breakout ‘Barry’ Season 2 Episode Led to ‘Pushing the Show Into New Places’ for Season 3

The response to “ronny/lily” had a direct influence on the approach to the new season, EP Alec Berg revealed


When the HBO series “Barry” returns for Season 3, the show will benefit from the response to the breakout Season 2 episode “ronny/lily.” So revealed co-creator and executive producer Alec Berg during the show’s TCA panel on Wednesday.

“I think the response to that episode was so strong that it did open our minds a little bit to being more ambitious and expanding the scope and kind of pushing the show into new places,” Berg said in reference to the Season 2 episode that Hader co-wrote and directed. The story, which was something of a bottle episode, followed hitman Barry (played by Hader) tussling with a Taekwondo master and his daughter throughout the episode.

Hader won a Director’s Guild of America award for helming the episode and returns to the director’s chair for Season 3, but while he acknowledges that “ronny/lily” was a bit left-of-center for the series, he contends it was still in keeping with the show’s focus on character. “Even though that episode is like a weird bottle episode, it still essentially is about Barry and Fuches’ relationship, and I think that’s one of the reasons it really works,” Hader added.

“Each episode’s its own thing, and you’re always just trying something different. We tried something different on that one, but the show always works when it’s about the characters and the emotion of what’s happening. We’re learning this in the writing and the editing and everything, every time you try to do something that’s led by a joke or a crazy idea, it doesn’t work as well. It always works when the story’s working and the [characters] are working.”

The third season of the show sees the return of cast members Stephen Root as Monroe Fuches, Sarah Goldberg as Sally, Anthony Carrigan as Noho Hank, Henry Winkler as Gene Cousineau and Sarah Burns as Detective Mae Dunn. Returning recurring cast includes D’Arcy Carden as Natalie Greer and Michael Irby as Cristobal.

“Barry” Season 3 premieres Sunday, April 24 on HBO and HBO Max and was created, written and directed by Alec Berg & Bill Hader; executive produced by Bill Hader, Alec Berg, Aida Rodgers and Liz Sarnoff; produced by Julie Camino. Additional season three writers include Emma Barrie, Jason Kim, Emily Heller, Duffy Boudreau and Liz Sarnoff.