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[3.5 stars]

Finding new and unique shows is what makes dragging yourself through the thick mud of mediocrity worthwhile. Bilal Baig’s (with Fab Filippo) premier effort is a wonderfully compelling and unexpected comedy with bite. As the gender-nonconforming Sabi, Baig takes us on a journey of humor and discovery because we join Sabi at a time when even they aren’t sure about how to define themself.

In fact, at the top of the series Sabi is so exhausted from trying to explain themself to other people, they don’t bother explaining anything anymore. It makes for oddly quiet moments where they just allow negative conflicts to just wash over and past them without comment. But even at its funniest and most outlandish, it stays believable and real. And, of course, the point is having Sabi come into their own and understand themself and their place in the world better.

It reminded me, structurally if not at the same quality, of Fleabag; you can see its influence in how the story unfolds. Much like Fleabag with each episode, Sabi reveals a bit more of themself and their past providing context. And the journey, also much like Fleabag, is unexpectedly moving.

It helps that Baig and Filippo found a great supporting cast. Sabi’s work-family of Gray Powell, Grace Lynn Kung, and especially their kids in their premier roles (Kaya Kanashiro and Aden Bedard) provide humor and pathos in unexpected ways.

And their real and extended family are equally strong. Amanda Cordner, Supinder Wraich (SurrealEstate), and Ellora Patnaik each bring some wonderful levels and background to Baig’s journey, not to mention their own stories. And the addition of Cassandra James juices it all up for a fabulous conclusion.

Basically, find this one and enjoy its unexpected charm and honesty. And expect more from Baig and Filippo down the road. The two are a great team and I expect they will only improve their chops with time and resources.

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