Single Drunk Female Series Premiere Review: Freeform’s Dramedy About Recovery Shines

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Freeform’s new dramedy Single Drunk Female focuses on getting through the day and starting over.

The series was a pleasant surprise. It’s not an overly serious approach to alcoholism and recovery, though the dramatic covers emotional aspects of Sam’s relationships. It’s also not slapstick funny with her getting drunk on the floor all the time.

Single Drunk Female walked a delicate balance of emotional depth and snarkiness. Sofia Black-D’Elia shined to portray a young woman trying to rebuild her life after hitting rock bottom.

In  Single Drunk Female Season 1 Episode 1, Sam thought she was a high-functioning drunk. She showed up to work with vodka in her water bottle, insisting she could do her job.

When her boss confronted her and ultimately fired her, she became belligerent. She drunkenly assaults him with her phone. Soon, she found herself in trouble with the law and court-ordered sobriety.

As her probation officer repeatedly inferred, someone higher up liked Sam because she got a sweet deal. It just takes a while for Sam to think of other people besides herself.

At first, she wanted to complete her AA meetings as quickly as possible and be done with everything. Like many alcoholics, she doesn’t believe she has a problem.

Olivia: This is not something you want to do alone.
Sam: This is not something I want to do at all.

Sam was in complete denial that she thought she could have a few beers and control her drinking. Freeform showed how easy it was to slip out of control, especially when confronted with emotional triggers.

Sam: They say the secret to sobriety is one day at a time so I’ll just start over tomorrow.
Felicia: Tomorrow is always a new day.

Sam’s ex-best friend Brit (Sasha Compere) broke the essential rule of the girl code and is now engaged to Sam’s old boyfriend Joel( Charlie Hall). Running into Brit the night of her bachelorette party sends Sam off the deep end and Brit and her current BFF Felicia (Lily May Harrington) into protective mode,

Sam’s friendships were some of the most exciting parts of the first two episodes. Watching Brit and Felicia argue over who would get a drunk Sam home was one of the funniest scenes. Felicia and Brit hated each other, but they both cared about Sam.

While they were fighting, though, Sam snuck into her car and backed into Brit’s party bus.

Sam had officially hit rock bottom. She was sent back to jail for the second time in two months, and her sobriety calendar reset to zero days. Sam’s mom, Carol(Ally Sheedy), has hit her limit.

Their mother and daughter relationship is fraught and dysfunctional since she wanted to help her daughter, but she was still grieving the loss of her husband and just wanted to be left alone.

Carol: Everyone wants to have some wine at night. It’s hard to be a person.
Sam: I’m just doing the best I can.
Carol: I’m sure you have. The rest of us have done the best we can the whole time you have been drinking.

As Carol noted, it’s often tricky making it through the day without a glass of wine. It’s even harder to be a person. That is the actual premise of Single Drunk Female.

Everyone has their issues, and it’s time to make the best of it and take baby steps one day at a time, as we see Sam start to do in Single Dunk Female Season 1 Episode 2.

Sam’s recovery made her relatable. She found herself help from her no-nonsense AA sponsor Olivia (Rebecca Henderson), her stylish grocery store boss Mindy (Jojo Brown), and her off-limits crush and fellow addict James (Garrick Bernard).

Even though Sam was only nine days sober, she was exhausted from withdrawal and working at the grocery store. It was funny to see her falling asleep behind the cereal boxes.

Sam didn’t want to work there until Brit informed her she needed to pay her $5,000 for the additional damages to the party bus. While Brit may be painted as the bad guy, I suspect there are more layers to their relationship.

Brit, are you serious? Do you think I would be doing this if I had $5,000?

Sam

Sam panicked because she didn’t know how to get that money. Showing up unannounced at Olivia’s was the wrong move since her wife Stephanie didn’t like her sponsees monopolizing their time constantly.

Their relationship has its own set of issues since Stephanie only let Olivia and Sam chat for five minutes precisely before returning and making passive-aggressive comments, trying to get Sam to leave. Olivia taught Sam to think like an adult.

Part of your recovery is to act like an adult in the world and figure out a solution.

Olivia

Unfortunately, Sam’s relationship with her mom made her regress to a teenager when she found her mom with a new boyfriend named Bob. Sam was more convinced than ever that her mom wanted her gone, and they got into a screaming match.

It’s hard for two grown women to share a house after many years, especially for Carol after losing her husband recently. She needed her own space to heal and move on without worrying about her daughter.

We saw Sam’s growth because instead of going into a liquor store, she called James for help. These two have such an easy chemistry.

Sam had a hard time resisting James after he came to her rescue, but he reminded her of that pesky rule of no dating until she’s one year sober.

Sam: We could skip the relapse and go straight to sex.
James: That sounds great, but you’re kind of untouchable until you’re a year and a day sober.

That puts things in perspective.

While Sam needs to get sober for herself, she won’t t want hat sobriety calendar to keep resetting itself because it will be farther away from a date with James.

Sam finally took ownership of her mistakes and became responsible.

When she returned to work, Mindy appreciated the initiative and offered extra shifts. Sam also received her first paycheck.

It’s your first sober paycheck. You should be proud.

Mindy

Sam looked so proud of herself when she sent the first installment payment to Brit. The power is shifting.

It will be interesting to see how dynamics change now that Sam has taken back control of her life.

While each episode only ran between 22 to 25 minutes because of commercials, it would have done better with a few extra minutes to breathe. It needed the full 30-minutes to capture some of the crucial moments.

However, there was an outstanding balance of self-discovery and snarky fun to make this another Freeform hit.

Black D’ Elia delivered some of her best work, whether it was her drunken assault or realizing that she earned her first sober paycheck.

We can’t wait to watch the rest of Sam’s journey through recovery and learn more about her essential relationships.

Over to you, TV Fanatics. Will you be tuning in again to follow Samantha’s journey to recovery?

Are you interested in learning more about her relationship with her mom or her potential romance with James? Chime in the comments below.

Remember, if you missed the episode, you can watch Single Drunk Female online right here via TV Fanatic.

Single Drunk Female airs at 10/9c on Thursdays on Freeform.

Laura Nowak is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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