Welcome to the latest installment of our 2022 Pride Month Series! For the entire month of June, we will be highlighting different members of the LGBTQIA+ community who we think are great examples of representation and dynamic characterization. We will focus on fictional characters, celebrities, and activists alike — the positive voices within the LGBTQIA+ community and in mainstream media. Today’s spotlight highlights Samantha Fink (Sofia Black-D’Elia), the bisexual lead from Freeform’s critically acclaimed dramedy Single Drunk Female.
Freeform has long been a leader in creating queer content, from critical favorites like Everything’s Gonna Be Okay to hit shows like Cruel Summer and Good Trouble. That trend continues with Single Drunk Female, which follows Sam on her journey to sobriety. Forced to move back in with her overbearing mother and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after a drunken assault on her former boss, Sam must discover who she is without the social and emotional crutch that drinking provided her throughout her 20s.
Sam’s bisexuality is a critical part of her story without being the main focus, a delicate balance that the show pulls off well. She has both brief romances and deeper connections with people of multiple genders, which is meant to show how dating while sober is emotionally difficult for her rather than perpetuating the stereotype of bisexual people only being interested in casual hookups. Sam is messy but trying her best, and this makes her relatable. While she may have a lot to learn about life, she is comfortable in her sexuality.
Crucially, Single Drunk Female doesn’t stop its representation with Sam. Sam’s friends and coworkers are populated by other queer individuals, from her trans boss Mindy to lesbian AA sponsor Olivia and her wife, Stephanie. This makes Sam’s world feel real and allows for explorations of other perspectives and identities. Creator Simone Finch, who also identifies as bisexual, prioritized making Sam a bi+ character as a result of her own experiences, adding that, “I’m bi and I thought it was really important that Sam should be bi because it shouldn’t be a big deal.” Her explicit bisexuality is a welcome change from years of characters engaging in drunken same-sex hookups that are chalked up to bad decisions and sexual promiscuity rather than a character’s actual sexuality. Black-D’Elia noted this in an interview with The Advocate.
“I’m so proud to play this character for so many reasons. I think that she feels like a real person to me. And that [her bisexuality] is one of the aspects of her that feels the most real. I think often writers shy away from a character’s sexuality or oversimplify them. Simone [Finch] just wrote something that’s really truthful. It’s also really sweet because she’s so scared to find love as a sober person. And it is not a gender-specific fear. This girl does not know how to connect without alcohol running through her system.”
Most viewers now want to see themselves onscreen in the media they watch, and queer creators are finally being given the opportunity to tell their stories without coding or toning down their characters’ sexualities. Sam Fink and the other queer characters in Single Drunk Female represent a new era in television aimed at 20-somethings, depicting real adult struggles through characters who finally reflect their audience.
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Single Drunk Female will return for season 2 on Freeform. Season 1 is available to watch now on Hulu. Stay tuned for the rest of our Pride Spotlights this month!