BETTER THINGS offers us a lesson in real life superherodom (yes, I coined this term just now. It’s pretty good). Sam (Pamela Adlon) is one of them.
Sam lives in Hollywood. She is a vet actress. She does well for herself. Seems like a dream. Yippee.
However, she is a real person. She has a deadbeat baby daddy (Mather Zickel); her mother may be on her way to the land of forever forgetfulness; and she’s hot but not hot. I’ll explain the latter later.
First – about her deadbeat baby daddy. He tries to rope Sam into a plot to live down the street from his children while he works on some project but doesn’t want to actually see his children. What in all the flucks? Of course Sam is disgusted. I am, too. It must be hard for Sam to realize that she allowed this man to impregnate her 3 times. Luckily she got some amazing children out of it, but still. I’m sure the thought: why did I allow him to do that to me thrice? Runs through her mind certainly at times like these. How many women can relate to this? Despite his ridiculousness, she chugs along.
Second – her mother, Phyllis (Celia Imrie). She is a hoarder in denial; has bad hearing; and may be a candidate for Alzheimer’s. But all of these things haven’t taken away her funny. They may have added to it, which may explain why she said what she said to Lenny Kravitz’s character in another episode called “Brown.” Ha. Watching Sam care for her mother and yell at her at the same time is endearing: “Mom! Let me clear at least one table full of piles for you, please!”
Third – being hot. Sam is hot. But as with all things, “hot” is relative. Sam isn’t hot to men that she should be hot to (think: a Harrison Ford type), but she is hot to men that she shouldn’t be hot to (think: The Biebs). A newly formed man hits on her . Actually, he does more than hit on her. He proclaims that his penis is hard for her as she drives him home from getting fired from set. What a confusing time for a 40-something divorcee. Seems like you enter an alternate universe in your 40s. Things that are up should be down. Things that are down should be up. You get it.
Last but not least, her best friend’s husband is on Tinder. Now one of the rules of best friendship is that when your best friend is hurt, you’re allowed to attack whoever the perpetrator is like a rabid dog. The definition of rabid include irrational, but it’s a rule of best friendship, so it’s all good. Sam wants to attack, but Sunny (Alysia Reiner), her best friend, tells her to chime down: “Not everyone is ready to get out like you,” she says. How real is this? We’ve all been there. We’ve been with a mistake of a person, and we deal with it until we don’t want to deal with it anymore.
The moral of this episode is that Sam is human. She really is like you and me. No age, no marital status, and no money can separate the fact that we’re all just getting through this thing called life the best that we can. No medals or rewards given but we damn sure deserve them. So does Sam.
Season 1, Episode 6 (S01E06)
Better Things airs Thursday at 10PM on FX
Jennifer spends her nights writing, her days securing insurance for TV shows, and her in-betweens blogging about the silliness and seriousness of life on her blog.
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Jennifer Ford | Contributor