Ok, so, I think I am kind of over BETTER THINGS, already. The “bad moms” formula is played out. There are too many cliché scenarios in this episode that weren’t remixed in any interesting or funny ways, except one.
The episode opens with Sam (Pamela Adlon) at her OBGYN’s office. She learns that she has the reproductive system of a 16-year old. So, that’s good, I guess, for a 40-something. Or not because she’s been having sex sans condom with a buddy. Sam tells her friends the news, and they are obviously jealous. They sink in their seats and are probably wondering why their friend would tell them news that would make them feel so awful. Haven’t we all had awesome personal news to share with our friends, but we wouldn’t do that because it would make us look like a–holes? This was Sam’s a–hole moment. And it was very funny.
Along with her having no couth, she also seems to be a complainer. Don’t vilify me for saying this, but her single mother life seems to be more than exaggerated. Usually comedy is the result of exaggeration, but her pseudo-single-mom hardships are not funny. They seem to be a passive aggressive way to prove that her life is hard. Or harder than most. And I am not buying it.
She comes home to a disaster. Food is splattered on the floor. Clothes everywhere. Red cups in kitchen corners. Just a mess. And she’s delirious about it but does nothing to discipline her children. A teenage girl in a t-shirt and undies, who doesn’t even belong to her, appears in the kitchen and offers to take her younger daughter somewhere. Sam allows her to. What? In what single mom world would any of this be OK? And if it is OK, make it funny. This is a comedy, I believe. Instead, she sighs. Full disclosure: I am the daughter of a single mom, and there is no way in hell some half-dressed friend of mine would have the courage to appear in front of my mom around edible things, let alone volunteer to take my sister somewhere. This scene was a great opportunity to make something ridiculous comedic. It just made me exhausted seeing Sam’s exhaustion. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the intention.
She ends up giving a speech about female empowerment at her daughter’s school. She relates not yet having your period, having your period, and being in menopause to female empowerment. The comparison isn’t horrible. But her delivery is. It was dry, uninspiring and was trying way too hard. For Sam, the actress, delivering a speech should be something she is at least OK at. She’s rather bad with this one. Although she gets some cheers, as a viewer, I’d give it 5 out of 10. I just remember it being a speech about periods. Nothing about how it relates to female empowerment. Meh.
I think that following Sam for a cool 22 minutes is too much. I understand now why her kids are a bit of a mess. It’s because she is. She’s kind of lazy at life and suffering from post-husband depression. I am not sure how long she has been divorced, but I am sure her kids would like her to be over it. So do I.
I’d like to see more of the daughters. Their names haven’t even stuck with me yet. And I am not sure I could identify who they are. Sam is the cool mom, but that seems to mean that she has all kinds of kids coming in and out of her home. I am surprised she’s not confused about which kids belong to her. I just know she has 3 girls. Hopefully, we get to see their unique storylines soon.
I was underwhelmed with this episode, but I am hopeful that Sam will step it up next time.
Season 1, Episode 2 (S01E02)
Better Things airs Thursdays at 10PM on FX
Jennifer Ford | Contributor