‘Somebody, Somewhere’ Ep. 1 – ‘BFD’ Review: “Simplicity at its Finest”
In a world that appears to be falling apart, Somebody, Somewhere takes us back to the basics. To the simple tasks that seem almost too daunting at times. Like getting up in the morning. Or going through your dead sister’s old things. You know, life. The mundane things of the “every day” that Somebody, Somewhere reminds viewers that make life meaningful – that which makes up the good and the bad. Amid all the noise of the world, Somebody, Somewhere cuts right through it. Not with grand gestures or a gimmicky plot, but with the journey of one woman’s road to finding herself. We all get lost sometimes.
Starring Bridget Everett as a woman mourning her sister’s death and having to move back to her home state of Kansas, Somebody, Somewhere is the critically simple story of healing. Healing and acceptance. Sometimes the lines blur between the two in Everett’s performance of Sam. Is she healing from her sister’s death, or is this also about accepting herself? It’s both. Everett brings earnest integrity to her performance as Sam. Having lost her sister, Sam is confused about her after such a traumatic event. Did she even know beforehand? That’s the thing about loss; it accentuates every other part of life. Crystalizes everything else that people would rather ignore.
Hitting the ground running, the show wastes no time delving into the aftermath of a death. Sam’s confusion and sorrow permeate every scene. It follows her around like a dark cloud, closing in with an ominous warning. It’s also perfectly balanced by the comedy that seems to flow just as easily as the darkness. Reminiscent of Tig Notaro’s One Mississippi, this series balances the lightness with the underlying bleakness of trauma quite well. Sam becomes the viewer’s quirky yet dynamic anchor in a world with critics all around her life.
One of the episode’s best moments is Everett’s rendition of Peter Gabriel’s and Kate Bush’s “Don’t Give Up” at the end. Right off the gate, the series gives us that cathartic moment. That relief Sam craves. After spending the entire episode making the “rounds” as one does when they come back to their hometown, Sam has this moment of absolution, in a church no less. A church made up of “misfits” of the Midwestern belief system. Sam’s work friend Joel (Jeff Hiller) invites her to choir at “church,” which turns out to be a space where people of the LGBTQ+ community go to exist. Not many places in the Bible exist for those who don’t fit the qualifications of white normalcy.
Funny enough, it’s the church where Joel, a gay man himself, chooses to host these events. It’s not so much the history behind the structure, and everything it represents that makes Joel compelled to go there, but the sense of peace he feels once he inhabits it. Maybe it’s his way of reclaiming a space that is still very violent and indifferent to people like him.
The church becomes the conduit through which new hope is reestablished to a group of people who often feel helpless by the world around them. It’s about a song that professes acceptance and reassurance. One that can only exist with another, as Sam relies on Joel’s soft “don’t give up, you still have friends” by the end of it. Remind her and the viewers that there is always someone out there who cares. Who wants to be your friend. It’s hard to remember when your own family doesn’t accept you for who you are, as the cliche goes. Somebody, Somewhere is a well-paced-out marathon that requires time, effort, and care. Time to learn about every character’s pathology and care enough to stick with them. And they do, matter, that is.
Somebody, Somewhere is about the somebodies that make up this world and the ones we are lucky enough to find and care about. It’s refreshing to have a character like Sam be so adamant about this fact through her flaws and virtues because people matter. More importantly, the people closest to us matter despite their mistakes. Everett is a force of nature as Sam commands the screen during every scene. She leaves nothing on the table in just 30 minutes of screentime, which is hard to do. Just like people matter, I think the story Somebody, Somewhere is trying to tell matters, especially in a world that’s become apathetic to everyone around them. – Mariana Delgado
Somebody, Somewhere is currently airing every Sunday on HBO Max.