Sofia with an F is back with a V.
That “F” is a reference to the one in ex-Call Her Daddy cohost Sofia Franklyn’s first name, while the “V” is — let’s just say it’s about being back with a vengeance, after having teased on social media that her new incarnation was imminent. Franklyn has finally dropped the first episode of Sofia with an F, her return to podcasting as a solo host, following a spectacularly messy split with Alexandra Cooper, her former best friend and business partner with whom she created one of the hottest properties in the podcast game. It’s a long story, but the short version is that their show Call Her Daddy got that way because both women spoke with a devil-may-care frankness about sex, dating, and whatever the hell else they wanted to talk about, and all the women (and men) who comprised their ferociously devoted audience adored them for it. They were entertaining. And really good.
The news coverage alone in the wake of the cohosts’ rift earlier this year is proof enough that they built something big, and became big deals themselves. If they hadn’t, and if they weren’t, Barstool wouldn’t have come knocking and brought the podcast into its bro-tastic media empire, and The New York Times
“Hey everybody,” Franklyn says, by way of opening her new show. “I guess I’m back.”
For a good 10 minutes or so, after a brief intro that catches listeners up on where she’s been (including a relocation from New York to her hometown of Salt Lake City, where “I’m recording this from my mom’s closet), Franklyn finally gets down to it.
Cooper has already given fans her blow-by-blow of what went down, back in May, in the form of a half-hour video uploaded to her YouTube channel (a video which has racked up almost 2 million views as of the time of this writing).
Now, here’s Franklyn with her side of the story. It’s a story about what happened to two women at the center of a podcast that, as The New York Times put it, ultimately “descended into a fireball of chaos and internet drama” after becoming a bona fide hit – garnering millions of downloads and becoming one of the 20 most popular across all of Apple Podcasts.
“About four months ago,” Franklyn says at one point during the first episode of Sofia with an F, “in true 2020 fashion, I lost my best friend, I lost my show, and I lost my career virtually overnight. And not only that, but I became the subject of a very public, very aggressive, smear campaign where I was publicly attacked, bullied, and humiliated for months.”
Indeed, no sooner had Franklyn departed Call Her Daddy than the trolls cranked up the meme machine to 11, flooding Reddit with anti-Sofia images, threads, and the like. “Sofia Franklyn’s Ego has ruined her career,” one such Reddit thread declares. “You can’t change my mind.”
Franklyn pauses a couple of times during the inaugural episode, while telling her story, to exhale. The haters will say it’s for dramatic effect.
At a basic level, she goes on to tell her listeners, what happened is that she and Cooper were negotiating their contract with Barstool. Franklyn says that one of the problems is that they were making “far below the industry standard.” And everyone, from co-workers to both of their agents and lawyers, apparently knew it.
“Now, to everyone listening, I want to ask you a question,” Franklyn says. “And let’s really put our thinking caps on. If a man walked into his boss’ office requesting to be fairly compensated, would he be labeled as greedy? No, he wouldn’t!”
He would, in fact, be regarded as a “knowledgeable businessman.” She continued: “I deserved more than 4% for a show I not only poured my heart and soul into, but exposed every intricate detail about my mental, emotional and sex life (for) on a weekly basis.
“I know my worth.”
And then, she decides to switch from the professional to the personal. “I’m gonna talk directly to you, Alex. You were my best friend. You knew what I went through with depression. You knew what I went through, with my mental health, and you enabled an enormous media conglomerate to completely destroy my life. In fact, you participated in it.
“I reached out to you numerous times to salvage what we had, and you left (my messages) on ‘read’.” She laments an unspecified time in the past where she says Cooper previously tried to get her kicked off of Call Her Daddy (“You know what I’m talking about”) but saves some of her strongest words for anyone who bought into the rumor that Franklyn supposedly let her boyfriend come between the two women.
“I make all of my own decisions,” Franklyn said. “I am the daughter of a single immigrant mother. Independence has literally been rooted in me since birth.
“You guys heard me pour my heart out on that show for two years. If you thought for even a second I would let a man come between me and my friendships or my business, then you weren’t listening. You really were not listening.”
From there, it’s a transition to a Call Her Daddy-style free-form monologue on whatever Franklyn decides in the moment to talk about. There are bits about growing up in Salt Lake City, teenage escapades, shoplifting from the mall, expectations around women and pregnancy, and raising a family — much of it peppered with raunchy language.
By the end of the episode, Sofia with an F felt less like a podcast, in the way that so many of them can feel performative and constructed as polished shows that hosts deliver for the benefit of a group of fans they’re catering to. In Franklyn’s case, consuming her podcast at times felt more like I was intruding on something — eavesdropping on a personal conversation someone is trying to have with a close friend.
Miley Cyrus was a recent guest on Call Her Daddy, if that tells you anything about the glittery pop appeal of the show that Franklyn will now operate in the shadow of. For now, though, Franklyn just wants people to know that she’s back — back behind the mic, back in business and not hiding somewhere or lost or banished to an island of misfit toys. Her show’s first episode answered a lot of questions, including one about what happens next: “I will be back next week. And the week after. For f——-g ever. Because I’m not going anywhere.”