A screw-up seeks salvation in Freeform's 'Single Drunk Female'
Samantha Fink is a mess.
As played by Sofia Black-D'Elia ("The Mick," "Project Almanac") in the Freeform comedy "Single Drunk Female," premiering at 9 p.m. Thursday Jan. 20, she's a 20-something who lost her job with a New York media company and gained legal trouble after a vodka-fueled run-in with her boss.
Forced to move back to her native suburban Boston and in with her overbearing mother, Carol (Ally Sheedy), she must sober up to avoid jail time. She takes a job at the local grocery store, attends support group meetings and attempts to straighten up and fly right.
The only trouble is, Sam doesn't think she has a problem, and now she's surrounded by many of the triggers that drove her to drink in the first place, including Mom and her former best friend. So she must confront the worst in herself in order to move on to her best self.
The series comes from the creative team of Jenni Konner ("Girls") and Simone Finch ("The Conners"), the latter of whom Black-D'Elia found instrumental in helping her get into the head space of her character.
"The story is based on her life," the actress notes, "and Sam is based on her, so I always had this really amazing resource on set and in the rehearsal process. So that was really helpful. But, instinctively, I do feel like she just kind of made sense to me and, yeah, I didn't have to think about it too hard."
Also helpful to Black-D'Elia was working out the contentious mother/daughter relationship with Sheedy ("St. Elmo's Fire," "WarGames"), who she says was a "total dream" to work with.
"I think that that relationship is one of the main things that drew me to the show," she says. "I think it's a really honest portrayal of a mother-and-daughter relationship. They know each other incredibly well. They love each other so much, but they can also push each other's buttons in ways that no one else can, and I think that that's really accurate.
"And I find in TV most often, mother/daughter relationships are really put into two different boxes," she continues, "whether they're best friends and get along beautifully or it's sort of manipulative and abusive. And I think a lot of mother/daughter relationships live somewhere in between those two things, and I think that's where Carol and Sam are."
Sam also has a champion in Olivia (Rebecca Henderson, "Russian Doll"), her sponsor in her support group and a media star in her own right, who proves to her that even falling-down drunks can be redeemed.
"The Olivia character really shows her that that doesn't have to be the end of your journey and you can change," Black-D'Elia says. "So she's kind of a beacon of hope in that way."