Somebody Somewhere is a tragicomedy series whose first season premiered last year and the first two episodes of the second season just aired. The show follows Sam, a single middle-aged woman who returned to her hometown Kansas to care for her ill sister Holly.
Created by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, essentially a story about misfits dealing with acceptance, the show also has a heavy dose of family drama, friendships, adventures and hardships, radiating out of the dynamics among the characters.
Sam, daughter of a farmer in Kansas, works at a grading centre, evaluating children’s test papers. Having returned a year ago, to care for her ill sister Holly, her family suffers a heartbreak when Holly doesn’t survive. Her death affects Sam the most. Staying in a separate house, she visits her parents frequently but has to deal with Tricia (her elder sister), Rick (Tricia’s husband), her father and mother. Although the family deters from using caustic speech about Holly being a lesbian, they also aren’t particularly overcome by intense grief after her death partly because of their religious ethos. Life goes on as they say, but without Holly, Sam is like a flower with no colours.
Before Holly died, Sam had moved out to Lawrence possibly to make it big in the music industry and couldn’t get a breakthrough due to low self esteem. Now that she is back , she decides to stay for good trying to gain acceptance for her not having made it big in life or even found a partner. Single, she shows no sign to be on the lookout for a possible long term mate and crossing 40, she is pestered by her sister Tricia.
One day, Shannon, Tricia’s teenage daughter contacts Sam and requests her to give away some of Holly’s clothes to her to which Sam agrees. Sam and Shannon share a lot in common and Sam being her aunt, adores her to no end, but this doesn’t sit well with Tricia. Worried that Sam would influence Shannon negatively, the same way she did Holly, she feeds Sam an earful.
Not particularly doing well at work as well, Sam’s lonely and depressing existence gets a bit of levity with the arrival of her high school classmate Joel who happens to work at the same Grading centre. He invites Sam to a presbyterian church choir practice. Sam gets shocked to see that the “choir” is just a code word for a party being organised by Joel and other sweet but eclectic characters. This new found group helps Sam find her joy in singing again.
Sam continues to frequent these clandestine choir parties and begins to shed off the weight she carried, but her dysfunctional family was just too much to handle sometimes. One fine day, she sees Rick with a lot of cash in his back pocket. Where could he have got that much cash? She follows him along with Joel, and ultimately senses that Rick is peddling drugs. The reality was that he was cheating on his wife Tricia with her business partner Charity. Sam tries to stay mum about the subject but on a stormy day, when both Tricia and Sam get hammered together drinking, Sam spills the beans on this affair, leading Tricia to lose her composure. She throws Rick out of the house and asks Charity to let her run the jointly started shop.
Sam’s mother seems to be past the verge of an occasional drinker; she now begins to wear the badge of a full fledged alcoholic. Sam asks her father to put her in rehab where she could get some treatment. Where can traditional parents believe in the concept of rehab which sounds like a resort for coked up celebrities? But upon Sam’s insistence, her father puts her in a rehab but not before she crushes his foot with her car, all in an inebriated state.
Sam Visits Holly’s Grave
In a heartbreaking scene, Sam goes to visit Holly’s grave and finds only a plastic marker on it instead of a proper gravestone with the final terms of endearment engraved on it. It turns out, Sam’s mother was contacted several times to pay for the gravestone but she simply let the phone ring. With no one to blame , Sam helps the people she can within her powers. She gets the choir member Fred, who also happens to be a professor of agriculture at a local college, to help her father with his farm. She gets Joel to patch things up between Tricia and Charity, and they get back together to run their store. In a rather comical scene, Sam refuses a promotion at her job when she realises that her life would become even more miserable by this hike in responsibilities at the workplace. So instead of just requesting to stay at her current position , she quits the job altogether and starts to work at her sister’s store helping her out.
On Christmas day, a cloud of loneliness hovers over Sam. She parties ferociously with the choir cohort, but when she gets back in her room, the dead silence and the darkness takes her into as much depth as she had just flown with her friends.
Why Does Sam Feel Lonely?
With her age reaching over 40 and her sister-cum-best friend Holly resting in an unmarked and decrepit grave, life is sometimes a bit too hard for Sam to bear. In Joel, she finds a trustworthy and kind friend but he being gay is busy with the ups and downs of his own love life. Her issues with her own weight and struggle with self-worth make it hard for her to shine forth, not that she doesn’t try. The escape with the newfound friends provides only a temporary relief but it’s not enough to fill the hole in her heart.
Somebody Somewhere is a sweet but honest show about inclusivity and a reminder that somebody somewhere is always being excluded from society and the courage and tenacity it takes to overcome that kind of neglect while dealing with loss and other inevitable hardships life offers. It’s available on Hulu.