Queer and Sober

Sofia Black-D’Elia Brings a Dark, Comic Sobriety Narrative to Life on Single Drunk Female

· Updated on October 4, 2023

In the second season of Freeform’s Single Drunk Female, Samantha Fink (Sofia Black-D’Elia) is approaching two years of sobriety. As she slowly attains the peace and clarity for which she’s fought so hard, life continues to throw Sam roadblocks. Over the course of the season, Sam navigates her first post-sobriety relationship, works on repairing her friendship with Britt (Sasha Compère) – marries, then divorces her ex-boyfriend, Joel (Charlie Hall) – and falls out with her mother, Carol (Ally Sheedy).

All the while, her sponsor, Olivia (Rebecca Henderson), has moved to Maine to live with her sister, as she was ordered to remain on bed rest during her pregnancy.

Sam’s former boss, Nathaniel (Jon Glaser), has also become her current boss at the new Boston publication she writes for — which is where she begins to date her coworker, Alex (Ricky Velez).

While the show’s first season took us into uncomfortable territory, as Sam was forced to deal with the emotions she numbed with alcohol, Season Two shows us an even more vulnerable side of Sam, as she realizes she can’t escape in the same ways she once did. To make for more of a challenge, she loses the lifelines that helped her cope through the early stages of her sobriety.

Over a phone call with Sofia, INTO chatted with the actress about the complex dynamics of Single Drunk Female, and how Sofia envisions the continuation of Sam’s journey.

INTO: First off, I want to say, I love this season. I binged the whole thing in one day.

SOFIA BLACK D’ELIA: Wow! Thank you.

What I loved about season one is that while it had its dark moments, it still felt a bit cozy. I feel like Season Two was a little bit darker, as Sam is almost two years sober and in more real-life situations. What were the conversations like when y’all were discussing the tone for this season?

I think we tried to continue the same tone that we sort of found by the end of Season One. This is a half-hour comedy, first and foremost, but we want it to be grounded and tell an emotional story as well. And hopefully, those emotional moments sneak up on you. But we definitely want to make people laugh.

In episode four, we see Sam and Carol get into an explosive argument after Carol finds Sam’s book of resentments. Was it challenging filming those argument scenes with Ally Sheedy?

Oh, no, it wasn’t challenging at all, it was very fun. Ally and I love arguing with each other. She’s my favorite scene partner. And I learn a lot every time I get to work with her. When we first read those scenes at the table read, we were both pretty thrilled about them and really excited to just drive each other nuts.

Throughout the course of the season, we see Sam navigate losing both the chosen family she found with Olivia, and cutting off communication with her birth mom. Do you think it was necessary for Sam to lose both of those lifelines in order for her to grow?

Absolutely. I think that Sam needed to find her own way. I think she was really looking for answers in a lot of places that she wasn’t going to find them. Olivia giving her space was a blessing in disguise – as well as her being able to take space from her mom and get out of that house and sort of get to the point where she understands that she actually does really need a new sponsor. She needs to get back into her community and the program, and I think this was a necessary part of her journey.

I think my favorite episode this season was episode seven, where we Sam at her dad’s shiva, and where the issues with her family and her drinking began to skyrocket. We also see Sam in present-day, as she’s coping with a death in her AA community. Do you find it more cathartic when you get to play past-Sam or present-day-Sam?

That’s my favorite episode, as well. Not only of this season, but out everything we’ve made so far as a team. I don’t know that I find catharsis in playing the character, but there’s so much joy for me and getting to slip back into the Sam of days past and see how far she’s come. Because I think even though her recovery can sort of be one step forward, two steps back, she really is a much different person and has grown so much. It’s really joyful for me to go back and forth between those two things. And also, playing that side of her is really fun, because it feels different and spices things up.

A lot of your characters are tough, but protective of themselves and their family. We’ve got Tea from Skins US and Sabrina from The Mick, to name a couple. But in Sam, we see a more sensitive, raw young woman. Is it tough putting this sort of vulnerability on display?

It’s definitely new for me. And I think it’s really fun actually. I love playing characters like Sabrina, who are borderline sociopathic in their inability to express real emotion, especially in a comedic setting. But it’s also really fun, with Sam, to be this walking open wound. She feels things very deeply, so I never really have to be that guarded when we make the show, which is very freeing.

SINGLE DRUNK FEMALE – Freeform’s “Single Drunk Female” stars Sofia Black-D’Elia (Freeform/Sami Drasin) SOFIA BLACK-D’ELIA

What was the most challenging scene to film this season?

Weirdly, it was a very simple scene, which was during the shiva episode. Garrick and I go to the funeral of this character that we’ve never met, named Dean. I was incredibly sick that day. I didn’t have COVID, but I did have a fever and was losing my voice. I looked at Garrick at one point, and I was like, “I don’t know that I’m speaking real words, so if these don’t come out as mine, can you just make something up and help me out here?” I really have no memory of how that day went, and I can’t believe we got something usable. But that was definitely the hardest day.

Do you ever receive messages from fans talking about how the show has helped with their sobriety?

People have been so open and generous with us, and often tell us how much time they have in recovery, whether it’s 10 days or 10 years. I think they either see themselves or someone they love reflected in the show, which is so gratifying and moving. I’m really touched by how many people share their recovery stories with me, especially when they’re just walking by me and on the streets of Brooklyn and yell, like, “My daughter has three years” or something, and then keep walking. That’s kind of my favorite version of the responses we’ve gotten from the show.

In the finale, we see Sam moving into her apartment – but of course, she takes one more L after losing her keys. After spending the night on the roof, she and Darby (Busy Phillips) realize that she has finally found her higher power. What do you think is in store now for Sam in season three? What would you like to explore?

What I’m most looking forward to is, now that she’s realized that she has these coping mechanisms that are maybe not the healthiest—what does she do without those? If she’s not trying to date somebody, if she’s not fighting with her mother, if she’s not doing the things that she’s always sort of done to avoid and distract herself, what happens then? And what does that look like? And what sort of weird hobbies or bizarre things at work can she try to consume herself with? I think she’s clearly someone who doesn’t like to sit in silence and be alone. That makes her very nervous. So those are the things that I would be really interested to see. Hopefully, we get that chance because I love telling the story. I love the character and I love the world around her, and our amazing ensemble.◆

Single Drunk Female airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. EST on Freeform. All episodes are available for streaming on Hulu.

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