If you’ve ever seen any of Actor, Pamela Adlon’s work (think Marci in Californication, or Pamela in Louis C.K.’s show Louie, for starters), then you would probably not be surprised to find she is every bit the straight-shooting, refreshingly unfiltered type of gal she portrays on TV. If you haven’t yet had the pleasure of catching Adlon on screen, now is your chance. Her labor of love — the show she writes, directs, stars in and co-created with Louis C.K. — Better Things, has premiered on FX Network and it is an absolute gem!
We were lucky enough to snag an invite to an exclusive screening of the first two episodes of the show as a part of a fantastic and indulgent mom’s night out event at Estrella Restaurant on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles. An intimate gathering of moms of all ages eagerly accepted the opportunity for a night away from dishes and bedtimes while we sipped craft cocktails and sampled delicious lite bites before settling into a plush screening room for two episodes worth of poignant and laugh-out-loud hilarious mom moments. (Oh, and there was chocolate covered popcorn. Lest I forget the chocolate covered popcorn.)
There were moans, groans, and giggles as we watched Adlon portray the role of a working actor and single mom of three girls (based very closely on her real life) to a point where we could all recognize ourselves in her. Quick cuts between fierce and fresh dialogue showed small (yet never-ending) moments of laundry gathering, dishwasher loading and throwing food in her mouth on the go — details that will no doubt hit home with all moms out there.
The cherry on top of a thoroughly enjoyable night of guilt-free wine and TV (ie. a mother’s dream) was the lively Q + A after the screening with the superwoman herself, Pamela Adlon. Adlon touched on everything from the daily mayhem of raising three teenage daughters to how she got her show made with almost an entirely female cast, especially starring a 40-something single woman, a demographic she says tends to be “virtually invisible,” not only on TV, but in real life, too.
On motherhood, Adlon stated very clearly that she has two major rules that she tries her very best to follow. Firstly, you can’t feel guilty. It is impossible to be mother, daughter, wife, friend, employee/employer, or human perfectly, so let’s all stop trying. Secondly, you can’t take any of it personally. By that, she means your children’s behavior… especially for those with teenagers. They are living their own reality that has very little to do with you. Almost in the same breath, however, Adlon expressed her regret for sometimes spending so much time on set working on a show depicting her screen life with three actresses playing her daughters rather than back in her real life with her real daughters so it’s safe to say she — like all moms — tends to break rule number one.
Better Things centers on Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon), a single, working actor with no filter raising her three daughters, Max (Mikey Madison), Frankie (Hannah Alligood) and Duke (Olivia Edward) in Los Angeles. She’s mom, dad, referee and the cops. Sam also watches out for her mother, Phil (Celia Imrie), an English expatriate, who lives across the street. Sam is flawed and fierce with her love for her daughters, and her own mother, as well. Sometimes, heaping the love on when she feels guilty. Sam’s just trying to earn a living, navigate her daughter’s lives, have fun with a friend or two and also – just maybe – squeeze in some private time once in a while.
Better Things airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.