“Single Drunk Female” is a likable new dramedy. It’s about getting sober in your 20s, and while it can be funny, it does not shy away from painful truths — something you might expect in a half-hour series on an ad-supported channel, in this case Freeform. Sam, our sardonic heroine played by Sofia Black-D’Elia, hits bottom, gets into an anonymous program, and lives through all of the changes and challenges sobriety can bring into your life once self-medication is out of the picture.
When the story begins (the show premiered last week and airs on Thursday nights; it’s available Fridays on Hulu), Sam loses her job writing for a Buzzfeed-like website in New York after showing up wasted and belligerent. She moves back in with her widowed mother, the passive-aggressive Carol (Ally Sheedy), in the Boston area, gets into the program, and, terrified, feels her way forward. She has to learn to write and look for love without relying on her usual drinking routine. She has to look back and reckon with how drinking enabled years of narcissistic behavior.
Sam also has to deal with anger at her former best friend, who’s engaged to her former boyfriend. Her only remaining pal is Felicia, played irresistibly by Lily Mae Harrington as a ruthlessly loyal single mother (with a good Boston accent). In fact, most of the side characters like Felicia are enjoyable thanks to some good casting. Sam’s sponsor, Olivia, played with droll humor and excellent timing by Rebecca Henderson, is a kick, as is her lovably odd wife. Even the small characters written as types, such as the guy Carol is dating (played by Ian Gomez), wind up standing out thanks to the good performances.
There are times when “Single Drunk Female” is predictable, and the “drunk” acting is spotty in the flashbacks. But those flaws didn’t get in the way of my enjoyment.
Matthew Gilbert can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.