‘Someone Somewhere’: Has a TV show ever portrayed grief so powerfully?

Photo illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast/HBO

HBO someone somewhere may be a show about small town life, but watching it often feels colossal. Amid Main Street’s modest shops and quiet parks where people still greet each other as they pass (instead of pretending they don’t exist), there’s a tapestry of complex feelings draped over the depiction of Manhattan, Kansas. (which is actually the humble suburb of Chicago).

someone somewhere is masterful in depicting how the languorous rhythm of provincial life opens people up to the reality of their emotions. The only noise there is to drown out thoughts is that of a few crickets and bluebirds – and they’re not very loud at all.

Seems a bit dramatic for a show that’s primarily a comedy. But in someone somewhereThe terrific pilot episode alone is irrefutable: this series understands how much living and especially returning to a small town can weigh heavily on the heart.

Although each episode of the series is its own compact rollercoaster of emotions, neatly nested within half an hour, someone somewhere not afraid to sit and simmer in those feelings. The show has been particularly successful in its study of grief and how its difficulties follow us through life, whether we like it or not, often being dragged on at particular times. How the show investigates those moments and the ways we try to deal with hitting those walls at unexpected times is more than just relatable. It is healing.

No TV show deserves to be a hit more than “Somebody Somewhere”

Sunday night’s Season 2 premiere proved that someone somewhereThe ability to capture it was no accident.

In the show’s first season, Sam (Bridget Everett) returns to Kansas to care for his sick sister, Holly. She finds herself contemplating a lifetime of regrets, which only catch up with her once Holly has passed. The reason Sam was in his hometown was gone. In its place are fond memories, trinkets of sentimental value, and an internal stalemate that leaves Sam struggling to salvage the shattered pieces of his career and relationships.

Over the course of seven episodes, Sam figures out how to start moving forward, thanks to the support of his new friend, Joel (Jeff Hiller), and his stoic father, Ed (Mike Hagerty), who seems to be the only other member . of Sam’s family who allowed their grief over Holly’s death to be clearly visible.

A few weeks before filming for Season 2 began, news broke that Hagerty had died of an epileptic seizure. “I loved Mike from the moment I met him,” Everett wrote in a tribute on Instagram. “He was so special. Warm, funny, never met a stranger. We are devastated that he passed away. Mike was adored by the entire cast and crew of someone somewhere.”

The show’s writers wrote Hagerty out of the second season, but his presence is still felt. someone somewhere explains Ed’s absence by asking the character to leave Kansas to visit his brother, following an increasingly strained relationship with his beloved wife, Mary Jo, whose alcoholism escalated. is aggravated in Season 1. When Mary Jo has a stroke, Ed is unable to care for her, and she is placed in an assisted living facility.

Instead of approaching the loss of Hagerty as an obstacle, someone somewhere approaches it as death itself, honoring the actor’s memory by letting the angst felt by the show’s cast and crew envelop the season. It’s a nice nod to Hagerty’s impact on the show, without pouring more pain on a show that has so deftly managed to avoid becoming melodramatic.

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In the Season 2 premiere, this is brilliantly depicted in a scene where Sam is suddenly emotional about her father’s absence. Now that she and her sister, Tricia, are going to rent their family’s farmland, Sam must clean out the barn to make it presentable to potential tenants. Over the years, the barn had become less of a convenient place for storage and more of a scrap shed. Organizing all of his content would be daunting, but the task is made more difficult by what it means for Sam and his family.

Sam starts by trying to take out an old plastic trash can, until she realizes she doesn’t really have a home. “I have nowhere to put him,” she said, sighing and kicking him in the side, before resigning herself to spending a whole day in the barn. She throws old weathervanes, maneuvers 80-foot-long pipes, and drags old, rusty tractor chairs to the bed of her truck. Sam laughs here and nods there, realizing his dad had his own system for keeping track of everything. The barn and the farm on which it rests are all marked by its presence.

After a good while of work, Sam sits down to pull herself together and dials Joel, who immediately senses the heartache in his voice. “It’s just really weird being here with all your stuff, you know?” Sam said. “I wanted him to leave, and I pushed him to leave, and I’m glad he left. Because I know he couldn’t have cleaned that barn, it would have broken him heart. Everett follows that line with a beautifully executed punch: “I didn’t know that would break mine.”

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As tears begin to form in Everett’s eyes, the fourth wall is about to break. It doesn’t feel like a character or fiction anymore – it’s incredibly real. “Just sitting here, Joel, and he…he’s everywhere,” Sam says. The way Everett says “everywhere” is exceptionally effective, as each syllable is meant to land in a different corner of the barn, alongside lingering memories. from Ed. “Every inch of this place is him, you know? He loved this place. And now I just feel like I’m packing his whole life away.

Joel offers to come to the barn to help her, but Sam instead asks him to stay on the phone with her for a minute. Together they sit in silence, with nothing but a cellular connection between them. Before Joel came into his life, Sam had no ability to deal with grief, and certainly not as effectively. Although cleaning the barn turned out to be a more emotionally difficult task than she had anticipated, it’s thanks to Joel that Sam is able to let those feelings flow through her, instead of burying them in humor. – or worse, push them away altogether.

Anyone who has had to sort through the belongings of a loved one after they are gone understands that this is a uniquely beautiful experience. We get to admire their life, spread out before us, each element with its own unique story. It’s also what makes it so incredibly difficult. The presence of those who are dear to us is never felt more acutely than when we set foot in their history. It’s delicate. Everything, even the bric-a-brac, seems precious.

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This scene is the perfect distillation of what makes someone somewhere to bloom. The show turns those robust feelings into compact 30-minute ruminations on life, where seemingly insignificant moments are treated with the care and understanding they aren’t always granted in other scripted series. Everett has quietly become one of television’s most spellbinding stars, and her captivating work in this sequence isn’t just award-winning, it’s important.

The grief of loss is so complex, and often so incredibly difficult to address, that it is crucial to have so many honest representations of its myriad forms. In these representations, we have the opportunity to capture the reflection of our own experiences. The pain of bereavement is lonely and isolating. And, thanks to this scene, those who might not have a Joel to their Sam, still have someone somewhere.

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