With Season 4, Pamela Adlon’s Better Things Proves It’s Consistently The Best TV Show
A year ago, we wrote, “Life is Better with Better Things” following the premiere of Season 3 on FX. We said, Pamela Adlon’s Better Things, shows us “how remarkably beautiful our messy lives are.” Better Things has proven to have staying power. Better Things is endlessly re-watchable. Each episode gets better the more you watch it, which in this new “golden age” of binge-able TV is rare. It is also unique to create a series where each episode is real, intimate, empathetic, and hilarious.
Like season 3, season 4 is created, directed by, and starring, the wildly talented Pamela Adlon. What Adlon has always had going for her is her ability to be human. She refuses to be formulaic or dumb down her voice. She talks with audiences as humans who can understand and relate to her life. Sounds easy but it is notably lacking in TV today. There truly is no one like Pamela Adlon’s Sam Fox or Better Things on television. There is a reason why. Putting yourself out there like Adlon does week after week, being truthful, real, finding the sadness, beauty, and humor in our day-to-day is intimidating, if not scary. Furthermore, Pamela Adlon and her team of writers are churning out some of the most brilliant, digestible, and thought-provoking writing that separates itself from every other show on TV.
We were skeptical that season 4 could live up to Season 3 because season 3 was perfect. Season 3 separated itself from season 1 and 2, and so far season 4 feels like the same Better Things and also a very different show. We are part of Sam’s midlife crisis. Her midlife crisis, however, is super stylish, including a muscle car and a snake.
Adlon illustrates the adjustment form season three as making sure it’s raining in Los Angeles during the first episode — a symbolic nod to washing away of the past and entering new territory. However, we’re still on the journey with the same characters, Sam’s daughters’ Max (Mikey Madison), Frankie (Hannah Alligood), and Duke (Olivia Edward), and her mother, Phyl (Celia Imrie). All of whom are lovable while also being irritating (except Edward’s Duke, who is just always loveable), which is how real life is. Each character is more relatable than the next. Each character is developing, which again is a feat in today’s mediocre television landscape.
Better Things is a woman-dominated show (even down to the new pet snake), and that’s a good thing. It’s a great thing. It is a marvelous thing and why Better Things is impeccable.