Tuesday, May 02, 2023

TV Tuesday: Somebody Somewhere

As I've mentioned here before, my husband is not generally a fan of comedies, so when we find one we both like, it's usually something pretty special. Our recent find is Somebody Somewhere, a hilarious show with a lot of heart.

Samantha, aka Sam, (played by Bridget Everett) returned to her hometown of Manhattan, Kansas, to care for her sister who had cancer. Now that Holly is gone, Sam feels stuck. She's part of a seriously dysfunctional family, and she feels like she personally has failed at her life. She doesn't know how to move forward. Sam gets a job at the local test center, grading student essays. Her sister, Tricia, is bugging Sam to find some purpose in her life; she runs a successful boutique shop downtown and is married with a daughter. One day at the test center, when Sam breaks into tears, another grader named Joel, played by Jeff Hiller, approaches her and tells her he's sorry about Holly. It's clear from what he says that he and Sam went to high school together, though Sam doesn't remember him. They were both in show choir together, and Sam was a swimming star as well. She never even noticed Joel back then. But now, the two misfits gradually become friends. Knowing what an amazing singer she is, Joel invites Sam to "choir practice" at his church, though it turns out to be, as he whispers to her after she arrives, "not officially sanctioned." Choir practice is a place for everyone to be themselves and to express joy, and with Joel's urging, Sam begins to sing again, rediscovering an old passion. Challenges continue to pop up--with Sam's parents, with Tricia, in Joel's life--but the two of them become very close friends and support each other, as they each grow and learn more about themselves.

This show has an intriguing, twisty plot, with all kinds of surprises along the way for Sam and Joel, but that is only a small piece of what makes it so special. It is hilariously, laugh-out-loud funny but with a deep emotional heart. If you are offended by language, sexual references, toilet humor, or--well, just about anything--this is probably not the show for you. Nothing is off-limits here! But this very funny show is not afraid to wade deep into difficult topics, from alcoholism to grief to infidelity. Through it all, Sam and Joel's friendship grows stronger, and they help each other to become their true selves and rediscover joy.

Somebody Somewhere is an HBO original, so it airs on HBO Max. We were delighted to find that we discovered it just before the premier of season two, so we were able to start the second season right after finishing the first one. We look forward to every episode, though we have to be careful if we watch during lunch--those sudden belly laughs can be hazardous while eating!

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