There’s a “real people” trend happening on cable networks right now and it’s amazing. Stories are being written about real looking people with relatable stories to tell. The new show Better Things is a great example of that and I believe will be setting the standard for future shows in this comedy/drama genre.
Cable executives are seemingly moving away from the larger than life comedy archetypes of years past in lieu of stars who look like someone you might actually know and therefore can relate to. Better Things does this with its star, creator and Executive Producer Pamela Adlon (Louie, Californication). She’s been a working actress in Hollywood since she was 12-years-old and has an edgy, yet genuine perspective on life in Hollywood.
But not just any perspective. A mom’s perspective. Can you see me jumping around, waving my hand like, oh oh oh that’s what MIH is all about! Yes. There are so many moms in Hollywood on all sides of the camera struggling to pursue their dreams and find creative fulfillment and this show tells Pamela’s story.
I saw the first two episodes of Better Things at a special FX viewing party at Estrella in WeHo and I can tell you from the opening scene the room was buzzing. I wasn’t rolling in the aisle with knee-slapping laughter because that would be weird. But I was laughing and nodding my head like, yep that shit happens to me all the time! Pamela Adlon was there after to answer some questions for us and tell us more about her vision.
She plays an actress and single mom of three girls of varying age. She explained it’s not autobiographical, but has definite similarities to her own life. Her mom is British and lives next door. She has 3 daughters including an older teenage daughter who makes her want to both scream and hug her at the same time. And she deals with awkward situations with roles she’s hired to play, but is conflicted about as a parent. Who’s been there? (*raises hand*)
I think the one thing that struck me most about this show is that there’s no villain, or anyone with alien powers, or flashy special effects. Better Things is grounded in real life. It shows you this women’s struggle to find connections with her kids, her mother and the men in her life. I also loved the music. It brings you further into her world and is always my favorite part of this kind of show. If you get the music right, your audience will always be drawn into your world.
Overall it’s a great show. There is a specific tone that fans will embrace. I cannot wait to be a voyeur in Pamela’s world while nodding my head at the similarities to my own.
Better Things is also Executive Produced by comedian Louie C.K. who also directed the pilot episode. It airs Thursdays at 10pm on FX. If you don’t have FX, you can watch the pilot with a special “preview pass” here.
Have you see Better Things? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!