Reviews of movies and TV focused on women

Review: Somebody Somewhere, the first few episodes of season 1

Bridget Everett in Somebody Somewhere

Somebody Somewhere is a half-hour show on HBO Max. I wouldn’t call it a comedy. It’s about a 40ish woman in Kansas who still hasn’t figured out her life or where she fits in the world.

Somebody Somewhere stars Bridget Everett as Sam. She moved back to her home town of Manhattan, Kansas because he sister was dying. Now, six months after her sister’s passing, Sam can’t move on and can’t make sense of her life.

Her parents (Jane Brody and Mike Hagerty) own a farm. Her mother’s an alcoholic and her father isn’t coping well. Sam’s other sister Tricia (Mary Catherine Garrison) is judgemental and unsupportive. Sam keeps learning things about Tricia’s husband that she wants to keep from Tricia, which is not easy.

Jeff Hiller in Somebody Somewhere

Sam works at a company that scores students’ essays. Also working there is Joel (Jeff Hiller). Joel remembers Sam from high school choir, but Sam doesn’t remember him. Joel is friendly and helpful and kind. He invites Sam to “choir practice” which is code for a group of people who meet in a church hall to drink, dance, and sing.

Most of the people at choir practice are outcasts or misfits like Sam. Joel is gay as are many others. There are trans people. It’s a found family of marginalized people. Joel gets Sam to sing for them and she’s a huge hit.

Sam says singing makes her happy – even though so little does – but it also makes her sad. She has talent but hasn’t done anything with it.

The series was created by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen. Jay and Mark Duplass are among the producers, which is an immediate tip off that this series will be different and original. The characters are so finely realized with minimal strokes that they feel like real people immediately.

I watched the first few episodes of the series and can’t wait to see more. Somebody Somewhere has been renewed for a second season already, even though the first season is still underway. If you appreciate character driven stories and feel for the messed up underdogs, I think you will enjoy this series.

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