somebody somewhere hbo

Warner Bros. Discovery

‘Somebody Somewhere’ should be your new obsession 

I didn’t intend to watch the entire first season in one day, but that’s how quickly the show grows on you. 


Audra Schroeder


Posted on Jun 15, 2023   Updated on Jun 20, 2023, 11:23 am CDT

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Right before Succession ended, I pushed play on Somebody Somewhere, an HBO Max show that I’d heard some buzz about, though nowhere near the level of Succession

I didn’t intend to watch the entire first season in one day, but that’s how quickly the show grows on you

Created by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, Somebody Somewhere is a Midwest hangout comedy with some slow-burning gut punches. Singer Bridget Everett plays Sam, who returned to her hometown of Manhattan, Kansas to take care of her terminally ill sister, and is now working through the grief and loneliness. 

The show is semi-autobiographical: Everett grew up in Manhattan, lost her sister in 2008, and her mother was a music teacher, so those elements are threaded into Somebody Somewhere. Sam getting the confidence to sing again is a big, emotional part of season 2. And if you’ve seen Everett sing live, seeing her do it on the show is a treat. 

In season 1, Sam meets Joel (Jeff Hiller) at work, and the two quickly become friends, filling the gaps in each other’s lives while getting their steps in. Their relationship is the central one in Somebody Somewhere, and blossoms into something truly beautiful after Joel takes her to “choir practice,” an after-hours meeting of the town’s queer residents. 

The show’s been described as “Like Seinfeld without the cynicism, Parks & Rec without the neediness for rapid fire cleverness,” but there’s really not another show to easily compare it to; Sam is a straight woman in her 40s, living in a small Kansas town, who’s friends with mostly queer people. Much of the action is just people talking, but some of the best scenes involve silence and characters sitting with their feelings. 

The friend who has their shit most together is Fred (Murray Hill), a professor and trans man. Viewers have cited one misgendering scene as an example of how TV shows and films should approach this topic. Sure, you do wonder if the characters encounter more homophobia or transphobia in their small town, but the show focuses instead on celebrating queer love and found family, a Midwest parallel to HBO’s other current must-watch show, The Other Two

The second season ended the same night as Succession and Barry, two much more stressful shows. There were some jokes about being a “Somebody Somewhere gay” as Succession spoilers and discourse filled Twitter, and how there’s no fandom because everyone just watches the show “like adults.” 

Why it matters

The show was just renewed for a third season, though there was some worry online that it wouldn’t be. A recent Vulture report on the state of streaming laid out why some beloved shows disappear after one or two seasons. (The answer is greed!) 

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*First Published: Jun 15, 2023, 6:00 am CDT