‘Sort Of’ Season 2 Makes Ideal Holiday Viewing

“I want it to be simple, Rachel McAdams love,” says Sabi Mehboob in the opening scene of the Canadian comedy-drama Kind ofis the second season. What they mean is that someone who seems as perfect as McAdams—talented, successful, handsome in all the most conventional ways—should bring minimal baggage to every type of relationship he’s in. whether it’s a romance, a friendship or a family connection. Regardless of whether their assumption about the actress is correct (I’m going to go ahead and assume that her life is very complex), the question of whether Sabi and other characters should be simplified in order to satisfy the most important parts of their lives resonates throughout a season as generous and introspective as its wonderful predecessor.

Now streaming on HBO Max, it’s a season about love in general but family in particular, and what it means to be a part of it when you, like everyone else, aren’t Rachel McAdams. Sabi (Kind of co-creator Bilal Baig), non-binary twenties looking for purpose, and, yes, love in Toronto, must finally face off with their traditional Pakistani Muslim father Imran (Dhirendra) after returning from a long stay in the stranger. The path of least resistance would be to appease Imran while he is in town by forgoing feminine clothing and makeup in his presence; admittedly, Sabi doesn’t always correct him when he cheats on them. But what they want is for their dad to like the person they really are, which requires an honest introduction of self and tougher conversations. It also makes visiting Imran more difficult for Sabi’s newly independent mother, Raffo (Ellora Patnaik) and her sister Aqsa (Supinder Wraich), who resent Sabi for dominating their parents’ attention.

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Supinder Wraich, left, and Ellora Patnaik at Kind of


The Mehboobs have a mirror of sorts in the Kaneko-Bauers, an upper-middle-class family whose two mostly adult Sabi children serve as nannies. In a coma following a bicycle accident for most of the show’s first season, matriarch Bessy (Grace Lynn Kung) is now awake and slowly recovering with Sabi’s help. But her ordeal has revealed secrets and flaws in her marriage to Paul (Gray Powell), who is further threatened when Bessy, who is queer and Asian, emerges from her near-death experience resolved to free herself from this white man and hetero. As the children struggle to understand what is happening to their parents, Sabi becomes crucial in keeping the Kaneko-Bauers from falling apart. And like Imran, Paul discovers what it’s like to be a stranger in his own family – an experience Sabi is already intimately familiar with.

Meanwhile, the search for romance doubles as a search for chosen family. As Sabi’s love interests proliferate, the limits of their fling with Olympia (Cassandra James), a glamorous trans woman they clearly idolize, become increasingly apparent. Olympia is great when she deigns to pass, but she won’t let Sabi into her life. And so a more organic, McAdams-like option presents itself. The connection between family and romance is most explicit for Sabi’s brash best friend 7ven (Amanda Cordner), who dives into a relationship with a frivolous, narcissistic influencer named Arrow (Heath V. Salazar). What 7ven sees in this person is totally incomprehensible, until we meet 7ven’s frivolous and narcissistic mother, Gaia (Amanda Brugel).

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Amanda Cordner and Bilal Baig in Kind of


New episodes of Kind of, with her empathetic eye and sensitive soul, would be a gift any time of the year. (It doesn’t hurt that each full season is about as long as a Marvel movie, either.) But it seems fortuitous that this batch is coming, with two new episodes dropping every Thursday from the 1st. December, at that time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, when family comes first. Because what gets lost amid the bland, tinsel-studded seasonal fluff handed out by the Hallmark Channel and its imitators is the singular nature of each family that gathers around the tree, menorah, or whatever. best symbolizing the love that unites imperfect people with unused ones. vacation days to burn before the end of the year.

“All I want is just someone who understands me,” Sabi laments at one point. “Someone who takes me as I want to be taken.” It’s about as close to universal as feelings are about interpersonal relationships. You don’t have to be Sabi (or Imran, or Paul, or 7ven) to bewilder the parents who raised you, to feel like an outsider among the people you’ve known your whole life, to struggle with the tension between who you are and who you’re meant to be, or wishing that falling in love was easier. Even Rachel McAdams isn’t immune to being misunderstood. As difficult as it may be to make others really see us, Kind of affirms, we all deserve to be recognized and loved for the messy and complicated people that we are.

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