Julia Sweeney and her problematic Saturday Night Live character Pat return to torment Abby McEnany in the Showtime series' next installment.


Abby (Abby McEnany) is still working.

"I'm concentrating on how to move forward and change my life for the better," says the hapless Work in Progress character in the show's new season 2 trailer.

Indeed, when we reunite with Abby — a depressed fortysomething and self-identified "fat, queer dyke" — things look very different. She's been promoted at work, her best friend Campbell (Celeste Pechous) has moved in with her, and she has a new therapist pushing her to answer tough questions about what exactly is wrong with her.

"I don't have a better way of saying this, but life just got in the way of me killing myself," she says, her delivery encapsulating the strange mix of bleakness and optimism that has come to define the dark Showtime comedy, which is based on McEnany's own life.

But if things seem to be looking up (after watching Abby confide to a photo of her dead former therapist on her phone in season 1, it's great to see her getting help from an actual living person), she hardly has it easy. While trying to stay afloat, Abby must now face a family emergency, a global pandemic, and another run-in with at least one person who ruined her life.

Work In Progress
Abby McEnany in 'Work in Progress'
| Credit: Showtime

That person is actress Julia Sweeney, who, in a clever twist, played herself in the first season. After learning that her androgynous — and problematic — Saturday Night Live character Pat tormented Abby in her younger years because her peers used to compare Abby to Pat, Sweeney set out to make things right, befriending Abby and ultimately creating a new, more "woke" version of Pat that she unveiled to the public.

But her plan backfired, stirring up Abby's old traumas and leaving her spiraling.

Julia is at it again in a scene from the season 2 trailer, admitting to a room full of onlookers that she made a mistake reviving Pat, but the mere mention of Pat's name has them imitating the character and subsequently forcing Abby to relive her troubled past all over again. Can she and Julie patch things up, or will Julia remain a frenemy at best?

Also possibly back in the picture: Abby's trans ex Chris (Theo Germaine), who left her at the end of season 1 after a heated argument that culminated with Abby screaming Chris' deadname in the street. Will they patch things up, or is Abby's recent romantic interest gone for good?

Work in Progress was created by McEnany and Tim Mason. Lilly Wachowski executive produces it alongside McEnany. McEnany was nominated for a Film Independent Spirit Award for Best Female Performance in a New Scripted Series and won a Gracie Award for Outstanding Female Actor in a Breakthrough Role for the series.

Season 2 premieres August 22 at 11 p.m. ET/PT on Showtime. Watch the trailer below.

Related content: