Single Drunk Female’s Garrick Bernard on James’s Backstory & Relationship with Sam

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Rising star Garrick Bernard portrays James Chambers on Freeform’s Single Drunk Female. James has been sober for two years and is attracted to the show’s protagonist, Sam Fink (Sofia Black-D’Elia), but doesn’t want to date her until she’s one year sober. The two share fantastic chemistry and a natural connection.

Last night in Single Drunk Female’s Episode 8, titled” James,” James’s family learned he struggled with alcoholism, though no one wanted to admit it. James was in total denial until Sam stopped him from making a terrible mistake and urged him to get help.

TV Fanatic chatted with Bernard about James being a functional alcoholic, his relationships with his brother and Sam, and what he loves about the series.

Hi Garrick. Thanks for chatting with me. How do you think James was able to hide his alcoholism from his family for so long?

That is an excellent question. I think he is a professional and functioning alcoholic, and I don’t think his family was looking for him to have a problem.

Once you have a job as significant as coding or anything in software engineering, people don’t just assume that you are drunk or high or suffering from a drug problem. They think that you’re doing a job where you’re maybe a little eccentric. So, I feel like he could hide a lot behind his career in general and what he does.

Would you have called James a functioning alcoholic at the beginning?

James was the definition of a functional alcoholic, where somebody goes to work with a blazer, fancy shirt, drives a nice car, and has a flask in his pocket. Yes, he’s a functioning alcoholic.

That makes sense. And why do you think his brother Lucas was the only one that recognized James had a problem?

I think that Lucas is the closest person to him. He’s the only one paying attention, and it was mentioned in his attempted intervention that James was in a car accident due to drunk driving.

He was the one that was with him in the hospital, and he could see the report that he was drunk driving. Lucas knew that James had a problem, and he wanted to take care of his little brother.

Absolutely. How does it affect their relationship that no one believed Lucas?

There’s already some tension because James is the successful younger brother. There is some jealous sibling rivalry where Lucas admits that the son they believe is perfect is not perfect.

However, Lucas also loves James and knows he’s his younger brother and feels it’s his responsibility to bring it up to the family, or James might kill himself. So, that is the knife’s edge that Lucas has to dance on with his relationship with James.

I love that you and Sofia have such fantastic chemistry.

Oh, yeah, that’s my guy. That’s my friend for sure. It’s funny because she has such good chemistry with everybody because she’s a good actress.

While we were acting together, she was good at pulling the relationship out of James and Sam. So in our scenes together, following her lead was significant, and it did bring a lot out of the scenes themselves.

Your bathroom make-out scene was one of my favorites, and I honestly did appreciate that you both stopped to talk about consent in today’s culture.

Even though it turned into a prayer at some point, two drunk adults needed to consent to each other. That was definitely a point in the scene that we needed to make.

Do you think that James and Sam will get together when her year of sobriety is over?

I’m not sure. You’re just going to have to keep watching to find out.

You two are entertaining, and you have an incredible connection, so I’m rooting for that. What was it about that night with Sam that finally made James realize he needed help?

It was that moment in the streets where he refused to go home because he had to face all of his demons when he was at home. Instead of looking at himself in the mirror, he tried to walk into traffic and almost committed suicide in a weird and dark way.

After being saved by Sam and looking at what he almost just did, he hit rock bottom and realized he had a problem and needed to fix this.

It looks down the barrel of alcoholism as a disease rather than just this fun thing that people do like, oh, they’re an alcoholic and drink a lot when in actuality, this is a mental illness that people need to deal with it and look at seriously.

Yes. In the end, we saw James at his first AA meeting. Are we going to learn more about his journey and how his family processes it?

That will be answered. I’m not sure when but we’ll see. I think that’s in a couple of later episodes.

I would love to see more. I found this episode very interesting. So tell us, what has been your favorite part of the series so far?

All scenes with Sofia and Jon Glaser (Nathaniel) have made me laugh. Glaser is a comedic legend, and I love comedy in general.

Anytime I see him or Tammy Sagher(Kate) do their best work. It’s truly awe-inspiring. I love the scenes with them and Sofia as well.

Those have been quite funny, and on another lighter note, there were many great dance moves in this episode. Did you do those yourself?

I did. It was a little embarrassing, but I had to practice those in the mirror, get a little loose beforehand, and go for it.

I thought they were pretty enjoyable. So what would you like to tell the fans that they should watch for in the coming episodes? This episode adds a lot of context to their relationship and the distance James puts on Sam. In future episodes, you get to see how the characters unfold. I feel like it’s been building up to a nice moment.

Do you think we’ll get a season 2?

I hope so. I have looked at so many homes, and if we get a season 2, I can maybe go and see one. I still can’t pull the trigger on that, but it would be nice to log out of Zillow for a second.

Well, I wish you good luck with that. I hope they do too. It’s been an enjoyable series. Thank you so much for the chat, Garrick.

Single Drunk Female Season 1 airs at 10:30/9:30c on Thursdays on Freeform.

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

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