Pilot – | Review Score – 3/5
One Day at a Time – | Review Score – 2.5/5
I’m Sorry, But? – | Review Score – 3/5
Shamrocks and Shenanigans – | Review Score – 2/5
Sober for the D and V – | Review Score – 3/5
Look Me Up Sometime – | Review Score – 2/5
New York – | Review Score – 4/5
James – | Review Score – 4/5
Higher Parent – | Review Score – 2/5
A Wedding – | Review Score – 4/5
Created and co-written by Simone Finch, Single Drunk Female serves as an intimate reflection of the writer’s own personal story of addiction and recovery. It’s likely due to Finch’s unique perspective that this Freeform dramedy lands (in its better moments) with such emotional verve.
Sofia Black-D’Ehlia stars as 28-year-old recovering alcoholic Samantha Fink–the show’s titular subject. She’s single, she’s drunk, she’s female; and this TV comedy explores the intersection of these identities throughout the course of 10 episodes.
Single Drunk Female follows Sam’s life, starting when she moves back home after being fired from her writing job for having a public drunken breakdown.
Now, Sam has to navigate recovery meetings, probation, a new job, dating life, reconciling with those she’s wronged, living with her mom–and doing all of this sober. Throughout everything, Sam learns that life can be hard–but equally rewarding whenever one shows up for things.
It takes a few episodes for the show to find its voice. Initially, most of the characters come across as caricatures (a few never evolve beyond this). And a large majority of the series’ early events simply act as vehicles to get to the next scene.
Eventually, bland plot lines mature into more complicated and engaging story threads. Where the plot starts as Sam simply trying to stay sober, it develops into a touching progression of her character’s personal growth.
This only starts to manifest when the show lets go of its need to include three to four separate storylines in each episode. With each instalment clocking just over 20 minutes, there’s not enough time to adequately explore more than one or two main plots.
Single Drunk Female tries this approach multiple times and fails, leaving several characters in relative obscurity and forcing them only through surface-level scenarios.
Several of the actors do their best to save trite plots. Garrick Bernard is always charmingly awkward as James, and Lily Mae Harrington delightfully brash and confident as Felicia.
It’s episodes like “James” and “A Wedding,” however, where the writing, themes, and character development succeed on their own. When the comedy-drama hyperfocuses, it more deftly draws compelling and complex themes.
Fortunately, the series approaches its central theme of alcoholism with a delicate hand. First, by centering a young female protagonist, thereby speaking to a specific demographic that doesn’t often see its struggles related in the media in a healthy way.
Second, Single Drunk Female dramatizes addiction without romanticizing it. Sam’s recovery is real and gritty. It’s often quirky and comical too, without compromising the serious nature of her journey.
Sam’s approaches to the challenges on her path to recovery make her an imperfect, but relatable character to root for. It’s an incredible process, then, to witness her character development throughout the course of the season.
Though the Freeform comedy doesn’t always impress, Black-D’Ehlia’s graceful performance as a sympathetic addict and Finch’s meaningful infusion of real-life experiences elevate Single Drunk Female to a better-than-average TV dramedy.
Verdict - 6/10