Arts·Here & Queer

'Like a big long hug': Bilal Baig and Grace Lynn Kung on the comforting mission of Sort Of

The pair sat down with Peter Knegt to chat about the huge success of the series — and what's in store for its second season.

The pair sat down with Peter Knegt to chat about the success of the series — and what's in store for Season 2

Here & Queer host Peter Knegt sits on a chair opposite two of the stars of the CBC series sort of, Bilal Baig and Grace Lynn Kung, who are both sitting on a couch. They are all smiling at each other.
From left: Peter Knegt talks to Bilal Baig and Grace Lynn Kung about the second season of Sort Of. (CBC Arts)

Here & Queer is an interview series hosted by Peter Knegt that celebrates and amplifies the work of LGBTQ artists though unfiltered conversations.

Sort Of is back.

After a first season that deservedly earned it both a dedicated fanbase and a bevy of awards (including a Peabody, joining Degrassi and Orphan Black as the only narrative Canadian series to ever do so), the dramatic comedy — or comedic drama? — series has returned for another round that is currently airing Tuesday nights on CBC TV and streaming on CBC Gem.

We were lucky enough to have the series' creator and star Bilal Baig and their co-star Grace Lynn Kung sit down for an episode of our new interview series Here & Queer to discuss the second season and what the experience has been like watching their show become so beloved and successful.

You can watch the interview below:

The second round of Sort Of is being billed as "the season of love," with Sabi — the series' gender-fluid nanny and bartender protagonist portrayed by Baig — openly expressing in the premiere that they're looking for that "Rachel McAdams kind of love."

"We definitely thought that after what they've gone through in the first season, they might be at a place where they're open to love in a way that maybe they had never been before," Baig says. "And that's exciting because I think with love comes trouble too, you know?"

What's also exciting is how many people are coming into this season of the show having already been so affected by its first. 

"I feel like a word that gets used a lot when people talk about their experience watching the show is 'healing,' and I take that pretty seriously," Baig says. "Because I think that there is a lot of pain and in the world and in particular communities."

In a still from a scene in the CBC television series Sort Of, Bilal Baig's character Sabi is sitting on the foot of a bed that Grace Lynn Kung's Bessy is sitting up in. They are talking to each other.
Bilal Baig (left) and Grace Lynn Kung in Sort Of. (Ian Watson)

Baig said a friend of theirs had described the show as "like a big long hug."

"It's really cool that people can find peace [from the show]. Of course there's realness in the show too, and honesty and not just ease. But I think that's also what people are responding to — that we're not offering some, like, cutesy version of our lives but that it is real and we can still find healing or comfort in that. That means a lot to me."

"[The show is] hitting people and that's the most beautiful thing because we don't get to be in those rooms with those people," adds Kung, who plays Bessy, the mother of the children Sabi nannies (who was in a coma for most of season one... but is very much not for this season).

"We don't know what everybody's going through, but [we do know] that they're finding something and they're reaching out and they're saying, 'Thanks for making me feel a little bit less alone or making me feel heard or making me laugh.'"

Sort Of is currently airing on Tuesday nights on CBC TV and streaming free on CBC Gem. It will debut on HBO Max in the U.S. on December 1st.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Peter Knegt (he/him) has worked for CBC Arts since 2016, writing the LGBTQ-culture column Queeries (winner of the 2019 Digital Publishing Award for best digital column in Canada and nominated again this year) and hosting the video interview series Here & Queer. He's also spearheaded the launch and production of series Canada's a Drag, variety special Queer Pride Inside, and interactive projects Superqueeroes and The 2010s: The Decade Canadian Artists Stopped Saying Sorry. Collectively, these projects have won Knegt four Canadian Screen Awards. Beyond CBC, Knegt is also the filmmaker of numerous short films, the author of the book About Canada: Queer Rights and the host of the monthly film series Queer Cinema Club at Toronto's Paradise Theatre. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter with the same obvious handle: @peterknegt.

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