Home Television Somebody Somewhere review – Bridget Everett anchors endearing comedy | American television

Somebody Somewhere review – Bridget Everett anchors endearing comedy | American television

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Somebody Somewhere, a thorny and endearing seven-part HBO series created by and starring comedian, actress and singer Bridget Everett, begins the day after a loss. Sam, a middle-aged woman played by Everett, struggles to adjust to life in her hometown of Manhattan, Kansas (also Everett’s hometown), where she returned a year earlier. to take care of his beloved sister Holly during an illness.

Six months after her death, Sam works as a halfhearted standardized test scorer and sleeps on Holly’s couch; she still can’t bring herself to touch Holly’s bed. Sam is a blank, inward-looking, little-talking shit to everyone but a nice co-worker and former high school classmate, Joel (Jeff Hiller), who remembers her as a “whore. big deal” during their show choir era (hence the BFD title of the first episode, written by Patricia Breen and directed by executive producer Jay Duplass).

Quiet isn’t how one would describe Everett, a staple of the New York comedy scene, as a bawdy, thunderous performer of alternative cabaret (saucy signature songs include boobs, what do I have to do to get that dick in my mouth? and keep it in your pants song). HBO has Invoice Somebody Somewhere as a “coming of age” story and it’s pretty accurate – both for Sam, reeling from the loss of the one person who seems to have understood her, and for 49-year-old Everett , in her first starring role on the show after years of small roles (perhaps most famously on Inside Amy Schumer).

Everett’s stage persona is larger than life – her operatic voice, her libido, her body and above all her breasts, with which she was known to motorboat enthusiasts. Sam, on the other hand, is a repressed and unconfident alter ego of the impetuous artist, a fictional vision of what could be, if Everett had not left the “Little Apple” for the big one, or had been doctored instead. to be emboldened. Sam wanders between the home of her pretentious sister Tricia (Mary Catherine Garrison) and her parents’ farm, stuck and uncertain, dressed in oversized clothes, alone. She’s a singer at heart and the author of Everett’s own dirty songs, but she’s afraid of the heartache the music will expose.

Sensing his potential, Joel, a gay Christian with his own complicated relationship with his hometown, invites Sam to his “choir practice” – a misleadingly titled celebration of music and homosexuality and a haven for the misfits of the city. The climactic scene of the first episode, like half of the episodes in the series, is a moving musical number: Sam, coaxed by Joel, kisses the stage for the first time in years. The moment, played with compelling stakes by both Everett and Hiller, cements the show’s two central romances: Sam’s re-embracing of singing, and thus his more honest self, and the tender, sour friendship and all. quite a winner between her and Joel. at an age when most adults seem to avoid making new platonic confidants.

Both relationships are a joy to watch blossom, even if they aren’t always the most exciting. The enjoyment of Somebody Somewhere depends somewhat on your threshold of intrigue – there are resentments and buried secrets, tense conversations and occasional outbursts, but little external conflict or antagonism. For the most part, everyone on the show (even Tricia) is a good person at heart who tries their best, tries to communicate, and makes small accomplishments along the way.

Although filmed in Illinois, the series’ many interstitial shots showing corn fields and a pretty university street (Manhattan is home to Kansas State University) effectively evoke a Midwestern city: warm, a little sleepy , unassuming and full of characters if you know where to look. , as Sam and Joel’s friend Fred Rococo, the master of choir practice ceremonies played by New York drag king, Murray Hill.

The main draw, however, is Everett, who I’d watch do anything after imbuing Sam with that bruised charisma. For all of her walls, which Everett never lets us believe are anything but flimsy and ill-fitting, Sam has an undeniable, magnetic motherly side – not in the sense of literally having children, the absence of which leaves Sam to feel judged by the faith and the family of his city. environment, but taking care of others. She’s a disarming and unvarnished support for her teenage niece Shannon (Kailey Albus), the person who convinces her father Ed (an excellent Mike Hagerty) to convince her alcoholic mother Mary Jo (Jane Brody) to try rehab. When she goes after Joel after a particularly painful afternoon receiving Tricia’s judgments, it only takes a day for her to redeem herself with a vulnerability erased. “I don’t think I’m really a friend,” she says.

Joel disagrees, as do I. Welcoming Sam – hurt and warm, subdued and obnoxious, finally open to new friends – into your life for seven half-hour chapters is a cinch, as natural as Sam’s final command of the karaoke mic.