REVIEW: ‘Sort Of’ Is Definitely Good

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Sort Of - But Why Tho

Sort Of is a drama-comedy that originally aired on CBC Gem and will arrive in the U.S. via HBO Max on November 18th. The series, created by star Bilal Baig and Fab Filippo, follows Sabi Mehboob (Baig) as they navigate gender, friendship, work as a nanny, and life as the youngest child in a large, traditional Pakistani family.

Identity is hard under the most mundane circumstances. As average society conrt Oftinues to become more accepting of gender and sexuality identities outside of traditional binaries, a series centering on a character coming into their nonbinary identity while also being subjected to racial and class struggles doesn’t feel like a niche piece of television, it just feels like a reflection of the real world. Sort Of is, absolutely, revolutionary in its characters and themes. And incredibly, it also is able to simply exist and be really good TV without it having to make a giant deal of itself and its “diversity” or “breaking ground.” Which is also perfectly befitting the tone of the show and Sabi’s life. Sabi is just a really normal character. Their gender, sexuality, and race are outside of what’s typical for television, but you don’t feel like you’re watching a show pandering to a liberal audience or that’s specifically crafted for a few specific people to enjoy. You just feel like you’re watching a comedic drama unfold, and that itself feels revolutionary.

And the show itself is great. There’s basically three ongoing and overlapping plots: Sabi’s life as a nanny for two kids whose dad Paul (Gray Powell) is fairly frustrating and whose mom Bessy (Grace Lynn Kung) gets into a biking accident and falls into a coma, Sabi’s relationship with their mom and navigating “coming out” to her while still being unsure of what they’re even coming out as, and Sabi’s quest to have a life of their own as their best friend 7ven (Amanda Cordner) tries to get Sabi to move to Berlin with her and generally just have a life beyond the kids. These three plots are a bit dramatic, sure, but the struggles that come from them each feel very real and very relatable. Everyone acts their part excellently, including the kids Violet (Kaya Kanashiro) and Henry (Aden Bedard). I love Sabi’s low-key personality that flairs up quickly and strongly whenever something is important or exciting. And Paul and Sabi’s mother both make for great, different types of foils.

I don’t entirely love how 7ven’s bad influence on Violet goes without being checked. I hope that if Sort Of gets a second season this is reckoned with. But I do enjoy a lot the way that Paul isn’t made into a better person because of Sabi, Paul still pretty much sucks, Sabi is just a good and forgiving person who recognizes that blowing Paul off isn’t going to help the kids or help Sabi feel any better about themselves and their life. It’s a subtle aspect of their relationship that keeps Sabi from being the stereotypical magical queer wisdom-bearer who saves the straight white guy. And the best part is, he knows he sucks and any commitment to being better is on him, not Sabi.

Also, just shoutouts to the costuming crew, because basically, every outfit Sabi wears is on point, whether casual or more dressed up. It does a great job both expressing their individuality while also showing that nonbinary folks don’t just fit into one monolith of a look, or stick in the same grove at all times.

Sort Of is excellent for its comedy and drama and revolutionary for its total causality with regards to its gender, sexuality, and racial representation. Absolutely enjoy it for what it both represents and for what it is all on its own.

Sort Of is streaming now on CBC Gem and will be available in the U.S. October November 18th.


Sort Of
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

Sort Of is excellent for its comedy and drama and revolutionary for its total causality with regards to its gender, sexuality, and racial representation. Absolutely enjoy it for what it both represents and for what it is all on its own.