the curious case of a youth comedy about alcoholism, by Juan Manuel Freire

  • Screenwriter Simone Finch drew inspiration from her own path to sobriety for this enjoyable series, an interpretive recital from Sofia Black-D’Elia

What a fabric, Sam ★★★

Creator: simone finch

Direction: Leslye Headland, Phil Traill and others

Distribution: Sofia Black-D’Elia, Rebecca Henderson, Sasha Compère, Ally Sheedy

Country: United States

Duration: between 20 and 25 min. (10 episodes)

Year: 2022

Gender: Comedy

Premiere: April 6, 2022 (Disney+)

‘What a cloth, Sam’ is the shy, very shy Spanish title of ‘Single drunk female’more explanatory and rather daring title, considering that the series was created for the teen and ‘young adult’ channel Freeform. We are facing a curious case of a youth comedy about alcoholism: its heroine is close to thirty, but here profanity or the most graphic excesses of, say, ‘Euphoria’, a series that every current teenager consumes, but cataloged by HBO for older people are necessarily avoided of 18 years.

“And can (or should) a youth comedy be made about something as serious as addiction?” Some may ask. “Or a comedy, without more?”. You can, especially if there is knowledge of the cause. Following that old maxim of ‘tragedy plus time equals comedy’, the screenwriter simone finch (‘The Conners’) drew from his own experience to craft this story of a young up-and-comer derailed by drinking and must get back to square one before hopefully resurfacing. Finch got it: he can boast of having created a more than estimable series on the side of great collaborators, such as Leslye Headland (co-creator of ‘Russian doll’) directing and Jenni Konner (‘Girls’ co-showrunner) on production.

It’s not like ‘Wow, Sam’ is the first story to deal with alcoholism (or the struggle to leave it behind) with a certain sense of humor. It is easy to think of ’28 days’, whose protagonist (played by Sandra Bullock) was a journalist, just like Sam in this series. We first see her at the Buzzfeed-type company where she works, showing up late and drunk for a meeting and nearly gouging out her boss’s eye in the midst of the chaos. After a month of rehab, Sam is forced to return to Boston from New York and once again share a house with her mother (ally sheedyunforgettable Allison from ‘The Five Club’, in her first significant role in a long time). Still reeling from her husband’s death and somewhat emotionally estranged from her daughter, Carol may not always be Sam’s best ally: witness the moment she offers her daughter a glass of wine as if a cup was nothing. She can also be a danger Felicia (Lily Mae Harrington), former drunken comrade.

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Luckily, Sam has people like Olivia left (rebeca hendersonthe priceless Lizzy from ‘Russian doll’), her godmother in Alcoholics Anonymous, or one of her colleagues there, James (garrick bernard), with whom he had his slips and does not even remember. The classic plot line of ‘will they hook up or not?’ is tinged with dangerousness here: There is an unwritten rule that a recovering alcoholic should be sober for a day and a year before getting involved with anyone. To add excitement to the matter, a days-of-sobriety counter (very aesthetic, in pink Futura Bold) reminds us from time to time how Sam is doing and how long she still has to be aspiring to the new Joan Didion; and by the way, hook up with James.

We must thank Simone Finch, among other things, for having given Sofia Black-D’Elia the good leading role she deserved after too many anecdotal roles (she appeared in the classic ‘The night of’but I was the victim) and series that didn’t deserve it anyway (like the ‘furs’ American, much inferior to the British original). Calibrated in his comic and believable gestures in the dramatic part, he manages to give charisma even to the less remarkable moments.

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