Somebody Somewhere Co-Creators on Cultural Impact of Show, Future

In most cases, Bridget Everett and her Somebody Somewhere co-creators are uncomfortable talking about the success of the heartfelt Midwestern dramedy. But when it comes to winning the Peabody Award, they’re putting the humility aside. “I’m telling everybody that will listen that we won a Peabody,” says Everett. “I’m not normally like this, but we fly sort of under the radar. I’m so proud of this show, and I want more people to see it — if an award gets that done, then even better.” Here, Everett and showrunners Hannah Bos and Paul Thureen took a break from editing season three and spoke to THR about the show’s trajectory.

How would you describe the experience of shooting season three, and the vibe on set, especially as compared to the previous two?

BRIDGET EVERETT Honestly, it feels like a family. We had a lot of people that came back. Paul and Hannah do a great job of keeping everybody uplifted and feeling great, and I just feel like we have a better idea of what the show is now. There were so many beautiful moments that I’m really excited about.

HANNAH BOS There were a lot of tears and laughter, and we got to be present and really enjoy a lot of the moments. Even though we worked really fast, we still got to have a little bit more time in a few areas.

PAUL THUREEN It was also different — a bit nicer — to be shooting in 30-degree Chicago weather versus the 100-degree Chicago weather we had in previous seasons. Because of the strikes, our schedules shifted. But I will say that Bridget, everyone on set loves her, and she’s the best swag- and gift-giver.

Did you feel that family vibe on day one of the show?

EVERETT I thought that it felt instantaneous when we did the pilot. We had Mike Haggerty there, and being around him feels like you’re getting a big hug all the time. He did a lot to remind us to be grateful. We obviously miss him very much. And since nobody on this show is a big star (laughs), we’re all like, can you fucking believe this? I still feel that way, by the way. And this was a lot of people’s first job like this. Our First AD, who is the best First AD I’ve ever had, he would always say, we are so lucky to be here. It was not lost on any of us that we’re getting this opportunity for the first time in our 40s and 50s.

Did you have faith during the strike that you’d be able to come back to the show?

THUREEN No! But I’ll say that HBO is such a great creative partner. We’d written all the scripts for season three before the strike, in anticipation of hopefully getting the green light, and then we got it right at the beginning of the strike. And they’ve always been so encouraging. But I think every season, until we’re sitting in front of our TVs and see the HBO logo, we don’t believe it’s real. I think that just comes from a lifetime of disappointments.  

Some showrunners and talent have talked about needing to work through resentment or hard feelings that built up during the strike, but it sounds like you all returned to work with the studio in goods spirits…

EVERETT I hold on to enough negativity in my life. We had the opportunity to move forward and to give all these people jobs. So there was a lot of gratitude. And we have Amy Gravitt, our executive, who has been a cheerleader for us the whole. So I was excited to get back to work with Amy.

BOS We were one of the first shows to be back — as soon as we were told we were allowed to, we started preparing to shoot. The winter timing also gives season three a different feel, and I’m excited to show that tone of the Midwest.

Is there one specific thing you’re most proud of from season two?

EVERETT That’s got to be the shit scene. When we did that, I was like oh my God we’re going to lose a lot of people with this. But it made us laugh, and it made [producer] Carolyn Strauss laugh — every time she sees that scene she just cackles, and she’s been in the biz for awhile. We tried some new things and people came along for the ride and that was incredibly gratifying because I was scared.

THUREEN For me, it’s the evolution of grief. Mike Haggerty was very present in that season and we wanted to make something that was worthy of him.

Where — or in whom — do you look for feedback? How do you get a sense that certain elements, like the shit scene, of the show are connecting with people?

EVERETT For me it’s probably social media, with comments and messages. I know that social media can be such a toilet, but it can also be helpful to understand if you’ve gotten it right.

THUREEN There was also Bridget Everett Day in Manhattan, KS last year. I grew up in a rural town in Minnesota and seeing how people from our hometowns respond to the show is really important.

EVERETT I was in Manhattan, KS and we were out at Old Chicago — it was the only place we could get a table that night — and at different points somebody who runs queer studies at Kansas State and the head basketball coach came over to tell me they liked the show. I found it very satisfying that people from such different walks of life could see themselves in the show and respond well to it. You don’t want your hometown to turn on you and think you’re a big turkey.

I’m also from a small town in the Midwest, and something I often struggle to articulate is the way I dislike when coastal folks look down on the region, but that I also — with love and light — do not remotely want to live there myself. It feels like only I understand the nuance of loving someplace but having outgrown it, yet when I watch the show it feels like all of you understand that as well.

THUREEN I think you articulated that whole situation the way we would. We all feel that way. We love this place, but there’s a reason we leave. Working on this show has helped us find the beauty of where we’re from without ignoring the challenges of the place.

You mentioned that you learned a lot about what the show was in the making of season three; did you have a similar realization in going from one to two?

BOS Being in the edit really taught us about the tone of the show. Carolyn has said this show exists in the cracks, and we learned how to let the show breathe. And there’s this thing that happens, where the actors are still at the end of a scene, and the scene is stopped, but we use a lot of that footage. We also have learned to make it look and sound less like a TV show and more like its own special thing. There are story beats in season one that we felt like we needed to do because it was a TV show, and we would end up cutting them. So then in season two we just didn’t write those things.

I know it can feel weird to talk about receiving awards, or the importance of receiving awards, but I’m hoping you can tell me what they mean to you.

EVERETT I’m telling everybody that will listen that we won a Peabody. Because we fly sort of under the radar. I’m so proud of this show and I’m so proud we’re being recognized this way. I’m not normally like this, but I do want people to know. And I want more people to see the show, and if the Peabody gets that done, even better. If not, it’s just something that I can stare at. I know exactly where I’m going to put it, so that I can remind myself we got this one right.

Where are you going to put it?

EVERETT I have ‘Poppy’s Garden’ on my coffee table, which is a little shrine to my dog who died. So I’m going to put it right by the shrine. There would be no Somebody, Somewhere without Poppy. I’m number one on the call sheet, and you need that person to be able to engage emotionally — she opened me up. She gave me that ability. So there you go.

This story first appeared in the May 22 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. Click here to subscribe.

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