Manhattan Setting for HBO’s Somebody Somewhere

Kristin Brighton (BA ’97, MA ’99)

Those who called Manhattan, Kansas, home while they attended Kansas State University might be interested in checking out the new HBO dramedy Somebody Somewhere, starring and executive produced by Bridget Everett, the notoriously over-the-top cabaret singer and comedian who grew up here. 

As both a K-State English grad and a Manhattan townie, I was very excited (albeit also apprehensive) to see how the city I love and spend much of my professional career promoting was portrayed on the series. The company I helped to found in 2006, New Boston Creative Group, handles a lot of economic development marketing for Riley and Pottawatomie counties through an organization called the Greater Manhattan Economic Partnership (GMEP). Our goal is to attract new businesses and talent to our area. I spend time every week writing and sharing content to introduce our region to the world.

While I make a living telling people what a great place Manhattan is to live, work and play, sometimes our community doesn’t get the same type of praise in national media. From time to time, Manhattan is the butt of jokes about being the other Manhattan or The Little Apple on SNL and other media. Likewise, when Kansas gets a mention in entertainment it’s often in reference to tornadoes, The Wizard of Oz, or conservative (and extreme) politics.

That said, New York City-based Everett hasn’t broken ties with her hometown, having close friends and family who still call Manhattan home, so I had hope this show would turn out well. As I watched the first episode with my family back in January, I was tickled to see many local attractions, products, businesses and K-State props featured in the show, piquing my interest to write about it for GMEP. However, I decided to be cautious and watch the whole season first to make sure the favorable portrayal continued, and thankfully, it did! Even better, the show turned out to be endearing and entertaining, making me very excited to promote it as well. HBO has renewed the show for another season, so Bridget and her team are hard at work on new episodes. I can’t wait to see where they take things next!

After I posted some thoughts about the show on my personal Facebook page, I was invited to share my GMEP articles here on the English Department’s blog. Manhattan Businesses Pleased to Be in Bridget Everett’s HBO Series Somebody Somewhere highlights local businesses included in the show, and Local Color Spotted in HBO’s Sombody Somewhere, Season One is my analysis of each episode and what appears to be fact or fiction about Manhattan. In both, I’m very careful not to include plot spoilers, so feel free to check them out even if you haven’t watched the show yet on HBO Max.

If you notice anything I missed, feel free to reach out to me at

— Kristin Brighton (BA ’97, MA ’99)

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