By: Amanda Guarragi
When we are children, no one ever explains adulthood. We just see our family members existing and going through the motions as adults. It isn’t until you are in the middle stage of being a young adult, where you fully realize that no one actually has it all figured out. As someone who just turned 26 – I know, it’s not that old – it feels like there is a deadline approaching. It feels like you are riding this wave and you don’t know where it’s taking you. You have some sort of plan but nothing is fully formed. You also feel like you want to try everything before you somehow can’t. As I was watching the first episode of Sort Of, I got pretty emotional. Even if you’re feeling lost, there are shows like this, with characters who are feeling the exact same way. There’s this beautiful honesty that makes this show special.
The series follows Sabi Mehoob (Bilal Baig), a gender-fluid 25-year-old Pakistani Canadian, living in Toronto. Sabi decides to follow the advice of best friend 7even (Amanda Cordner) and move to Berlin for a change of scenery. Leaving Toronto means distancing from an uncommitted partner and a thankless job as a nanny. Although these seem like easy circumstances to part with, things become complicated when Sabi’s employer Bessy (Grace Lynn Kung), mother to Violet (Kaya Kanashiro) and Henry (Aden Bedard), is critically injured in a bike accident. This leaves an unprepared, ill-equipped, and at times insensitive father (Gray Powell) in a challenging position. Sabi needs to make a decision whether they will stay with the family during this difficult time.
When structuring this show, Baig wanted to make sure that there was a balance between emotional and comedic moments, “Isn’t life that blend of drama and comedy and tragedy and hope? It’s all of those things, so because we wanted to centre realness, truth and authenticity, it then meant that the genre, or the tone of the show, was going to be reflected in that.” Sometimes people can find the humour in the darkest of times and that needs to be shown on screen. There are moments in this show that have dry humour, during some disheartening scenes. People can cope with situations differently and that’s why this show will resonate with so many.
More importantly, the character of Sabi has been created to represent everyone who has been struggling with who they are. Whether they are struggling in their love life, family life, or even their work life, Sabi comes with some anecdotes through their own struggle. The strength of this show is the diversity within the lives of the characters and their own experiences. When asked about their own experiences being written into the show, Baig said that the character of Sabi has gone through more,
“I think parts of it for sure, but overall when I look at the eight episodes, a lot of things happen to Sabi that haven’t happened to me. It feels like the texture of my life is represented in the show but then again working with other writers and choosing situations and story beats that felt dramatic and funny mean that the arcs for all the characters were really transformed into their own.”– Bilal Baig, Co-Creator of ‘Sort Of’
As Baig explained the creative process, it felt like the show was special from the beginning, even before production. There was a writers room full of people who shared their own experiences with each other. That in itself, already makes the team stronger, which then results into something wonderful. You could feel that the stories forming for each character came from someone’s heart. Sure, for dramatic purposes, there are some embellishments, but it comes from such an honest place.
Sort Of is a very refreshing series about a young adult trying to navigate their life. It has a diverse cast with character stories that will resonate with everyone. It not only pulls on the heartstrings but the writing for these characters will make you connect with them on a different level,
“I think that it is going to be really transformative because I think then that means that people of all genders will be talking about characters like Sabi or their friends or some of their other queer/trans/non-binary characters we’ll meet later on in the season. I think there’s just something really powerful about looking at what it means to evolve and change and how it’s not as scary.”– Bilal Baig, Co-Creator of ‘Sort Of’
For those who are feeling like they are a little lost right now, definitely tune in on October 5th. You will instantly connect with Sabi and will be laughing at their dry humour throughout the series.