Unrequited love. It’s a familiar topic in song, literature and film. Rarely is it depicted in a manner more heartbreakingly true to life than in Sherren Lee’s Someone Not There. Ms. Lee has created a smart, sexy and strikingly relatable series. Almost everyone has suffered a broken heart. We’ve fallen for the wrong person, sure that s/he is our ideal mate. We’ve had our hopes and dreams crushed by not having our love returned. Maybe we have been the one causing the pain or the one caught in the middle of two people trying to make each other jealous. Perhaps we have tried being the voice of reason or just been there to lend a shoulder to cry on when a friend is in despair over a relationship.
Sitting on a bench and eating ice cream, the couple in the opening scene of Someone Not There appears to be lovers. Their banter and body language seems too intimate for them to be brother and sister. The couple is Elle (Jenna Jade Rain) and Roland (Romaine Waite). Our assumptions about their relationship are dispelled when Roland asks Elle if she is bringing a date to the event that night. The look of confusion and hurt on Elle’s face give a hint where this story is heading.
Elle, an event planner, has encouraged long time best friend Roland to create an online magazine. At the launch party, Roland declares that Elle is his “best friend and the most beautiful woman in the world”. Elle beams with delight, but her good mood lasts only until Roland introduces his date, Emily (Katie Buitendyk). Spurning the attention of Roland’s friend Brad (Jon Rhys), Elle prefers to hang out with her best girlfriend Niki (Jenifer Alejandra Simmons). As the party ends, Elle insists on walking the drunken Roland back home. Still high on the success of the evening, the two end up in bed. The next morning an ecstatic Elle is crushed when she realizes Roland does not reciprocate her love. How is it that a man and a woman can be best friends living in the same world, yet see things so differently?
Hurt and resentful, Elle tries to make Roland jealous by openly hitting on Brad. Niki tries talking sense to Elle, but Elle resists, sure that Roland will eventually see the how right they are for each other. Elle tries to rationalize her feelings. Why should she give up her amazing relationship with Roland to go looking for “someone not there”? Roland tries to make it up to Elle by inviting her to spend the weekend celebrating his mother’s birthday at her cottage. Of course, she accepts. No spoilers, but this final episode of the season will keep you enthralled until the very last scene.
Kudos to Creator/Director Lee and Producer Liz May for assembling this immensely talented crew: DP Igor Alves, Production Designer Alexandra Campbell, Editor Brian Cruz, and Music Director Sammy Younan whose choices for the soundtrack could not be better. The cast is perfect, especially the two leads, Rain and Waite, and it was a pleasure to see Kelly-Marie Murtha in the role of Suzanne, Roland’s mother.
So get out your handkerchiefs and tune into Someone Not There. The show’s website is full of special features like cast and crew info, songs from the soundtrack, and interviews with the cast and their take on their characters. You can also listen to our interview from Toronto Web Fest as Daniela DiIorio chats with Sherren Lee, Romaine Waite, and Alejandra Simmons, and see if you are Team Elle or Team Roland!
By Susan Siniawsky