Created by Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen, also credited with writing most of the episodes, “Somebody Somewhere” contains a significant autobiographical component for Everett, herself a Manhattan native. That authenticity shines through in a way that cannot be faked, in the specificity of the world and the characters that makes the series absorbing.
“Somebody Somewhere” is a true masterclass in not just crafting authentic, nuanced characters and building a fully engrossing world, but also naturalistic dialogue. The series makes it seem effortless in the way something expertly made so often does, yet closer inspection reveals the extent of the craftsmanship. Buoyed by stellar performances from the whole cast, the show demonstrates a rare understanding for the value of negative space and how to use it — when something is more effectively communicated through silence than with shoehorned dialogue, and how to shape those silences such that the unsaid is still conveyed with a wonderful degree of specificity.
Everett is remarkable as a woman who hides behind a mask of apathy and witty barbs. She’s hardly the sort to talk about her feelings by choice, but Everett’s performance manages to consistently convey to the audience things that Sam refuses to say or acknowledge with crystal clarity. It’s a subtle and compelling portrait of depression, a sadness that creates an intriguing counterbalance to the bold and bawdy sense of humor for which Everett is known, which also gets plenty of opportunity to shine.
Joel presents an intriguing foil to Sam while also being a fascinating character in his own right, a man whose timid and painfully awkward exterior belies a surprising amount of charm lurking just beneath the surface. His strengths and weaknesses complement Sam’s own to a degree that their friendship, and the way it pushes them both to grow as people, feels fully organic. Of the more peripheral supporting cast, the delightfully theatrical local agriculture professor Dr. Fred Rococo (Murray Hill) is a standout, a member of the merry band of oddballs and misfits Joel brings together over the course of the show. So too is Sam’s father Ed (Mike Hagerty), an affable family man struggling to come to terms with the realization that his aversion to conflict has only enabled his wife’s alcoholism.