Roush Review: The Unvarnished Honesty of 'Better Things' Is Surprisingly Moving
No one does reality checks better than Pamela Adlon.
"This is normal. You're degenerating," a chipper ob-gyn glibly informs menopausal Sam Fox (Adlon), the harried earth-mother heroine of the slice-of-life Better Things. Tell her something she doesn't already know.
In the wonderfully pungent comedy's third season of vignette-style episodes, all 12 directed by Adlon, Sam is prone to hot flashes, disturbing sex dreams and distracting visions of a long-absent father. Just what she doesn't need as she firmly but lovingly single-parents three maddening, marvelous daughters and copes with her own dotty mother, who could be a danger to her offspring.
Watching Sam on the warpath, with a rude school mom or an arrogant director on a dehumanizing movie set, is to marvel at her nerve and guts. And yet for all of its barbed and scatological humor — be warned, there's a colonoscopy episode — there's an unvarnished honesty to Better Things that has a way of grabbing and moving you just when you least expect it.
When mistaken for a prostitute (don't ask), her first instinct is to ask, "What's the going rate for someone like me?" Sam, you're priceless.
Better Things, Season 3 Premiere, Thursday, February 28, 10/9c, FX