‘Better Things’ Is a Tasty Morsel of Comedy

Pamela Adlon learns from her collaboration with Louis C.K. and delivers a great Better Things

Better Things is quick and scrappy. Star Pamela Adlon (LouieGrease 2) created the show with Louie collaborator Louis C.K., and her new show is obviously influenced (in a good way) by her work with the veteran comedian. There is something very thoughtful and hilarious about Better Things that shines through. It’s immediate proof that some of the best comedy comes from the absurdities of real life.

Adlon plays Sam, an actress who is juggling acting gigs with the hardest job of all: being the single mother of three girls. During a callback, another actress asks her if she’s dating anyone at the moment, Sam vehemently denies it, and says, “I’m dating my daughters. They’re my love life.” Sam’s seemingly nonexistent love life is clearly going to be a constant theme in Better Things.

The only other regular characters that we are introduced to in the too-short premiere are Sam’s daughters, and the drastically different dynamics she has with each one is one of the strongest things about the first episode. Max is giving Sam the most trouble at home. She asks her mother if she could get her pot because Max thinks her mother would actually appreciate being in control of her daughter’s drug curiosity. Her youngest, Frankie, is curious about her body, but Duke, the youngest, is still very much in love with her mommy.

The episodes are short, and they feel like comedy morsels. You just want more. Talking about the plot much would really spoil it, but what you need to know is that Better Things makes a strong debut by not telling us everything. The sidelines are very loaded with humor, and Adlon is screamingly good and grounded as Sam. She’s been on the periphery for a long time (you’ve heard her voice a million times surely), and this is a chance for her to come front and center.

Better Things airs Thursdays on FX at 10pm ET.

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