Searching for a sofa in a cruel world


When TS Eliot promoted “objective association” – the principle that emotion in art should be expressed through objects or events – he may not have imagined a sofa. But in Noa Osheroff’s comedy short “Sofa So Good” from 2020, the living room staple, or its absence, is a narrative engine and entry point into the main character’s psyche.

Abeer, a young, unemployed New Yorker, spends the duration of the film excitedly searching for a sofa for her apartment. She had one, but her ex-boyfriend took it when they broke up. Her pursuit of him leads her, briefly, as well as on a Craigslist goose chase and an ill-advised Tinder history.

For Oshirov, who wrote and directed the film, Aber’s adventures are quintessential in New York. Moving to the city, Oshirov recalls, she experienced many “New York moments”—Querky encounters and discoveries that sounded like something out of a comic. “You hear about people with weird professions, or you go on Craigslist and try to find something and you get something completely different. At first, you’re shocked every time that happens. Then she said, ‘Well, it’s New York.'”

It is fitting, then, that her film should have an audience of comedians. (Oshirov, founder and host of The Standup Show, has cast many of her cast.) Natalie Okar, the backup performer, deeply resents the role of Abir; Tom Thakkar from Comedy Central is a goofy hiker (not a walker!) she hangs out with; Comedian, actor, and DJ Omri Angel plays a very friendly craigslist stranger who promises a couch and produces a trampoline. Perhaps the most intriguing New Yorkers who share apartments are the figure of Karen, Abeer’s roommate. Powerfully embodied by writer and comedian Ashley Hamilton, it’s real.”Karen“Equal in self-respect and self-justice.” Now, if you’ll excuse me,” she says, seconds before she shuts her bedroom door in Abeer’s face, “I’ll go watch porn with my headphones on, because I’m so considerate.”

After this crazy competition, Abir can take a break. What she gets is a visit from her mother (played by Hiam Abbas, from “Rami” and “The Caliphate”), who offers comfort as only a mother does. Sitting on a pile of pillows, instead of on the sofa, she pulls cans of beans out of her purse for Aroma. “I’m not worried about you,” she declared after learning of her daughter’s problems. “Oh really?” Abir asks. “Really. You have no job, no fiancé, no sofa. You have nothing to lose.”

This hawkish optimism may resonate with New Yorkers grappling with the pandemic. At least, “I really hope the movie makes them laugh, especially after a year like [2020]Oshirov said. For her, the film is “a reminder of the way New York once was, but also a reminder that New York doesn’t stay the same.” Even if we once had a sofa, maybe we could live with a trampoline.

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