BETTER THINGS Review: “Sam / Pilot”


Better Things Banner

is a comedy series created by Louis C.K. and Pamela Adlon. And it’s pretty good (so far). The pilot introduces us to Sam (Pamela Adlon), a divorced actress raising her 3 kids in LA.  You’ve heard the saying: “There’s nothing new under the sun.”  The premise of this show fits that, however, it’s a nice remix of the “bad moms” formula.

To me, Sam is off-color. To you, she might be exactly what your mom was like growing up.  She’s open enough about talking to her daughter about smoking weed and having sex.  She wants Sam to get her some organic weed.  That is, she’s pretty open about her daughter hiding those things from her.  Sam has no desire to hear about it. An “ew” exits her mouth as her daughter says that she should be glad she wants to talk to her about those things.

Although it seems like Sam doesn’t care, she really does.  Remember: she’s an actress.  And keep in mind that Sam is Adlon.  It’s inspired by Adlon’s own life, so I am sure she is in the writer’s room trying to keep a good balance of her wanna-be cool Mom moments and super-sweet tender moments, the sweetest of which is when she tucks her daughter into bed burrito-style and falls asleep next to her, upon her daughter’s request.


What’s interesting is that after this tender moment, Sam finds her older daughter high in her room with two friends.  She is obviously peeved but says nothing. As an LA resident, I can attest to how easy it can be for anyone to score pot.  I mean, maybe that’s everywhere, but especially here because we have dispensaries, so there’s no negative stigma attached to it anymore.  I’m not sure whether we have “organic weed” here, but it sounds very L.A.  I assume it will replace kale as our staple greenery.

Back to what I think is interesting – Although Sam was peeved, I am trying to figure out whether she was peeved because of one of two things: 1). her teenage daughter got high and snuck her two friends into the house or 2). the weed she smoked wasn’t organic.  Knowing Sam for only 30 minutes, I would guess a little bit of both.  Organic weed sounds nice. Sounds like the future, and Sam is all about that.  Maybe she’s regretting not being open to getting that for her, maybe?

Speaking of the future, Sam’s seems to be in the crapper. She’s booking work, which I think is excellent, but she’s not happy with it.  She’s doing voice-over work for a child’s cartoon, and she’s in some B project where her “husband” is kissing her bosom awkwardly.  She tries to suggest cutting out the scene where her “son” stumbles upon her “husband” kissing her in the nether regions.  She’s met with a comment about how that’s the funny part and an abrupt exit from her presence. This is her professional life.


Oh! And she might be having an affair with someone. “Nobody” texts her and says that he is thinking of her. She asks whether he is alone.  She sees the iPhone texting bubble appear and then disappear.  Uh – I am pretty sure that’s a no.  These are all signs that’s she’s dealing with a married man.  I’m quite interested to know about this man.  Wouldn’t it be awesome if it’s her ex? That would be comedy gold.

Despite the sarcastic energy that surrounds her life, she does have a great sense of dark humor through it all.  She’s actually damn funny and should consider a in comedy.

This leads me to Adlon herself. She is funny.  She is allowing us to see a somewhat true representation of herself through Sam, and so far, so good.

P.S. Thank her for being the voice of Bobby Hill from King of the Hill.  Brilliant.

TB-TV-Grade-B+Season 1, Episode 1 (S01E01)

Better Things airs Thursdays at 10PM on FX

Read all of our reviews of Better Things here.
Read our reviews of more of your favorite shows here.

writes by night and secures insurance for shows by day.
Twitter: @reneseford
Keep up with all Jennifer’s reviews here.

 | Contributor

Leave A Reply