Cussing is a character that doesn’t get its just due in BETTER THINGS. It is another skill that Sam (Pamela Adlon) has mastered. I’d suggest that she add it to her resume. In Thursday’s episode, she shows us how proud she is of this skill when Duke (Olivia Edward) blurts her first swear word: shit. Sam has an initial reaction that makes you think she’d be upset, but instead, she sort of congratulates her on growing up. Can you imagine parents gathered in their “my kid is better than yours” circles sharing the ages at which their children blurted their first cuss word?
My Angela said her first cuss word at 8.
Well, my Dicky said his first cuss word at 5.
Get this. My Justine’s first words, true story, were “fuck this shit.”
Parents one-upping each other is a part of nature. It’s normal, but I’ve never heard a parent being excited about a kid knowing even one word in the swearing dictionary. But we are talking about Sam. Sam is not your conventional mother. She encourages her kids to use swear words because it helps them be more expressive. Doesn’t the word “shit” sound so much better than “thing.” Just say it. Alone, that word is expressive even when expressing nothing.
Cussing is also a form of being transparent. Sam is all about that when it comes to her kids. Lucky for her, the oldest daughter hasn’t completely shut her out. Most teenagers go through that phase of not wanting to talk to their parents about anything because they think they know it all, and they might be engaged in sexual activities that their parents would immediately freak out about. Sam cusses in front of her kids; she has joked openly about abortions in front of her kids; and she allows them to call her “lame,” so there’s nothing the kids would even desire to hide from her. That, my friends, is parenting. It encourages your kids to look at you as a flawed but loving human being. They also get to understand they are, too.
So, Max (Mikey Madison) opens up to her mom about her dickhead of a crush. Number One – Sam didn’t like him to begin with because he lied about being gay in order to get freaky with Max. Straight men and liars are not allowed in Max’s room, so good riddance to that douche (no offense to the practice of douching).
This episode also gives us the best laugh of the season. Sometimes-racist Phyllis pulls the best joke on Sam. She lies sprawled out on the kitchen floor in a dead man’s tape kind of position alarming both Sam and Frankie (Hannah Alligood). I think Frankie’s reaction is the best because she almost coils back out of the kitchen and yells her mother’s name even though she’s right next to her. Sam is legit-scared, and Phyllis cackles in the way that only an older English lady can. If you don’t remember anything about this episode, remember the cackle. It is shit-good.
“Scary Fun” is scary funny. Best episode to date.
Season 1, Episode 8 (S01E08)
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