Episode 1 of Somebody Somewhere starts with a woman named Sam reeling from the loss of her sister who passed away six months prior. Her colleague, Joel, notices her crying outside and offers some comfort. In fact, he agrees to cover for her so she can take the rest of the day off and head home.
En-route, Sam notices that one of her old classmates, Kayleigh Normandin, is about to release a new book. This is another reminder that for Sam, she hasn’t moved on and has been stuck in a rut since then.
Sam and Joel start talking more at work, where the pair reflect on their high school days. The Class of ’87 to be precise. Sam used to be a great singer and Joel gushes over how good Sam was. Only, she never really pursued this.
On the way home, Sam and Joel both pick up Kayleigh’s book and laugh about how awful it is. Eventually they put it down, likening it to bathroom reading material, as we get a glimpse of Sam’s dysfunctional family. A family that appear to be hoarding toilet rolls it seems.
Anyway, most of the tension here stems from Tricia, who laments that Sam’s latching ono her daughter and turning her into “the new Holly.”
Thankfully, Joel is a shining light here and he encourages Sam to join him at choir practice that night. When Sam shows up, she finds solitude with new friends, Fred Rococo and Michael. We also learn here what was written about Sam in Kayleigh’s book. It turns out she wrote about Sam sucking on tampons, with the nickname Sampire.
In order to prove she’s still got “it”, Joel puts Sam on the spot that night and encourages her to join him on stage for a song. With Joel on piano duties, Sam eventually lets loose and begins singing, leading to a rapturous applause.
The Episode Review
Somebody somewhere made a pretty big goof with this series because this isn’t a comedy. Despite the genre listing it as such, this is much more along the lines of drama with a sprinkling of half-amusing jokes.
The introduction to Sam is pretty rough here too, and her sitting in a car laughing with Joel laughing over a woman’s book being published feels incredibly cynical and mean-spirited – despite what may be on the pages inside.
I know there’s more context to come from this but it just feels ill-fitting, especially when the tone flits back to heartwarming during the choir practice and recital bits at the end of the chapter.
Everything in between feels pretty run of the mill so far; woman returns to her hometown and struggles to fit in, serving as a square peg trying to fit in a round hole. We’ve seen this storyline play out a million times before, although to be fair the diverse representation of this show is a definite plus.
I’s way too early to be casting that much judgment on this show but Somebody Somewhere gets off to a rather tepid start. Let’s hope things pick up in the next episode.