Caring Too Much
New York magazine|December 6-19, 2021
In Sort Of, Bilal Baig plays a caretaker still learning to love themselves.
E. ALEX JUNG

WHEN I GO ABOUT my day and a casually ignorant comment comes my way—something we used to call “microaggressions”—I usually give very little. Maybe a cocked brow or an “Uh-huh.” It’s, like, Whatever.

Sabi, the gender-fluid protagonist conceived and played by Bilal Baig in CBC and HBO Max’s Sort Of, gives a great whatever. Sabi uses they/them pronouns; they have choppy bangs and long curls and a penchant for bangles, crop tops, and shiny things. They’re perceptive and droll, someone who knows their body can elicit a response—some form of confusion as cis-normie people attempt to mentally slot them into a preexisting taxonomy. Sabi might stonewall or deadpan: Totally. They work two jobs, as a bartender and a nanny to two half-Asian, half-white kids (very Toronto). In the pilot, the family they work for—well, really, the man of the house, Paul (Gray Powell, looking like a frowny Duplass brother)—has decided to let Sabi go. He offers to help them find another family because of how difficult it might be, he says, “for someone like you.” He tries to amend the comment,and Sabi cuts him off: “It’s whatever.”

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