It's Officially Time For Pajiba To Fall Head Over Heels In Love With Sofia Black-D'Elia
Past time, maybe.
So who is Sofia Black-D’Elia, anyway? Well, she’s a 25 year old actor from New York City who obliterates every role she takes. And if that’s not enough, she’s real, smart and evolved. She needs to immediately shoot to the top of your Pajiba 10 mullings and be watched in everything she does with biblical devotion.
You may already know her, though you might not realize you do. After a brief daytime stint, she debuted in 2011 on the MTV show Skins as the haughty and confident ‘Tea Marvelli.’ That’s her all the way on the right.
The following year she landed a role on Gosssip Girl as ‘Sage Spence.’
We see her again, really, three years later (unless you caught her smaller role in the fast-cancelled ABC series ‘Betrayal’) as ‘Erin Calder’ in the CW series The Messengers.
That’s her, standing in the shadows of this ensemble cast. At this point, if you’re a fan of hers, you might be getting a little tired of her not being the center of attention and kind of playing second fiddle to fairer-haired women.
But that’s neither here nor there, because honestly, she’s probably not on your radar at this point.
Many of you will discover her for the first time in the never-asked-for remake of Ben Hur, as ‘Tirzah Ben-Hur.’ Most of you don’t, because, y’know…Ben Hur. Here she is at the premiere:
But finally, in 2016, a year that was the biggest asshole ever, it gave us Sofia Black-D’Elia on a show that actually mattered: HBO’s The Night Of.
She played Andrea.
Looking back on that series, it wouldn’t have worked at all with the wrong person as the focal victim, but she wasn’t just great, she was utterly captivating. Her performance matched the award winning Riz Ahmed step for step, and without her ability to capture the dual fatalism and desperation for life of the Andrea character, that whole show would have crumbled. She absolutely crushed it. Effortlessly, she made us experience that impossible-to-fully-explain rush of adrenaline when a siren casts their gaze upon you. As Andrea, Sofia Black-D’Elia upped her game and put everyone on notice that she was more than just a pretty face.
So you can imagine how shocked (and pleasantly surprised) I was to find her yesterday on FOX’s new comedy The Mick. I tuned in because of an ironclad adoration for Kaitlin Olson, and a hope that her new FOX show would make hay. I had high hopes.
It was a mixed bag, honestly.
Like the Comedy Central show Idiotsitter, which takes Workaholics fan fave Jillian Bell and inserts her in kind of a fish-out-of-water uberwealthy scenario, The Mick’s premise features Olsen, of Always Sunny fame, as a degenerate aunt thrust into a custodial role when her Bernie-Madoff-esque sister and brother-in-law flee the country and leave her in charge of the estate.
I hate when I don’t automatically fall in love with a show I’m excited for. But this one might be a grower.
The Mick fails where many projects like this fail, namely not giving us a reason to relate or care right up front. They’re counting on the fact that we’ll love Kaitlin Olson enough to ride the train through the night, but even as amazing as she is, its a tall order. They establish her in the very few first frames as truly repellent and hygienically disgusting. I mean, yay! that we’re in 2017 and we can have female leading characters who are willfully fucking nasty. That’s actually progress. But give me something more to notch my spurs into, The Mick! Maybe once upon a time, case study white trash sitcoms may have been good clean fun and all the rage, but man, knowing that that particular voting block helped make a vile reality TV neo-Caligula the most powerful man in the world and set social causes back at least a quarter century? It’s much harder to watch them with a chuckle.
That said, The Mick is helped by very good casting, solid comedy writing, top-notch physical comedy and some breakout performances. Sometimes all it takes for a show to latch on is great ancillary characters. Notably well formed and acted are the characters of ‘Alba’, played by Carla Jimenez:
And obnoxious ‘Chip Pemberton’, played by Thomas Barbusca, reprising a younger Alex P. Keaton role for a new, more disaffected generation.
I’m not as sold on The Mick as I hoped I’d be, but the thing that will keep me locked in is the role of ‘Sabrina’, played by you-guessed-it: Sofia Black-D’Elia.
Here’s the thing: she’s a game changer. Sofia Black-D’Elia on a screen now makes any show immediately better. She has that fleeting and unique superstar quality where you’re magnetically attracted to them, regardless of whether you want to be or not. Their talent and presence just compels you. And I’m not hedging my bets on this one. I know real, honest-to-god talent when I see it. Someone smart will recognize this and stop making her the pretty thing in ensembles and recognize top-tier ability. Yes, she’s beautiful. That certainly doesn’t hurt. And she has ancient eyes that can suck you in with the power of a thousand black holes. And yes, she has that irritating quality where her hair looks fabulous no matter what you do with it. All of that helps. But she has rock-solid comic timing and presence. She exudes on-screen status without even trying. And she has that it-girl, je ne sais quoi quality. You can’t teach that shit, people. Either you have it or you don’t.
And lastly, as if all that wasn’t enough, she’s FUCKING AWESOME.
Here’s a Dolores Umbridge reference:
Straight Dolores Umbridge up in this. Oh and Happy Thanksgiving, I guess. https://t.co/LW5Hx4dkQG— Sofia Black-D'Elia (@sblackdelia) November 24, 2016
Here’s her reacting to the election the way we did, with horror and shock but determined to make a difference:
My dad: "This is your country. Accept that. Now change it." The tears will not stop. But this "I'm moving" shit? Fuck it. WE GOTTA STAND UP.— Sofia Black-D'Elia (@sblackdelia) November 9, 2016
I do not live in the country that I hoped I did.— Sofia Black-D'Elia (@sblackdelia) November 9, 2016
And she’s a Giants fan, which I usually might tick off as a relative negative, but she’s real and human!
Congrats are also in order to my beloved G-MEN OKAAAAAAY.— Sofia Black-D'Elia (@sblackdelia) December 12, 2016
Follow her on twitter immediately because her politics are perfect and she’s as pissed off and frustrated as the rest of us. Her feed is filled with wit and charm and passion.
This little vignette gives you a glimpse into her comedy timing:
So, friends, it’s time. It’s time to become fully aware of Sofia Black-D’Elia and the whirlwind of talent and intelligence she represents. It’s time for directors to give her the straight-up lead in something. It’s time for an Alicia Vikander-esque conquest of the visual universe. It’s time for us to carry her on our shoulders onto the field and make her victories ours. Because to my eye she’s in a class by herself and we’re looking at someone who, with the right roles, has the potential to be the Audrey Hepburn of this generation.
I hedge no bets. I take nothing back. She’s the real deal. She’s never going to let you down. She’s never going to break your heart. She’s never going to lose her way. She’s never going to pretend she’s something she’s not. She’s never going to look like an Ariana Grande pipsqueak in her mom’s high heels. She’s never going to be embroiled in a scandal. She’s only going to keep getting better and better and better. So, you can get on the train now, or you can wait until it runs you over. Your choice! But the phenom that is Sofia Black-D’Elia is only going to blossom more and more.
You can take that to the fucking bank.
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