Pilot: “Better Things”

[Negative thing about comedies. Negative thing about comedies. Comedy isn’t funny. Comedy is tiresome. This comedy is unoriginal. This comedy is unoriginal. … Oh look! Okay. … Okay. … Okay. Yeah. I think I can do this.]

The new FXP TV series “Better Things”, is a hilarious and deep look at life as a single mom, which should easily appeal to all who watch.

This comedy series stars Pamela Adlon (“TripTank”, “Sanjay and Craig”), Mikey Madison (“Bound for Greatness (Short 2014)”, “Pani’s Box (short 2013)”), Hannah Alligood (“Miracles from Heaven” “Allegiant”), Olivia Edward (“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”), and Celia Imrie (upcoming “Bridget Jones’s Baby”, “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie”).

It was created by Adlon (“Louie”) and Louis C.K. (“Baskets”, “Horace and Pete”).

The series originally debuted on Sept. 8, 2016 on FX.

Sometimes it’s simply amazing what you get interested in. I started seeing promos for this, paid attention to them constantly, enjoyed them each and every time, and then just knew I had to check it out. I’m so glad I did. The fact that it’s a comedy, I think speaks volumes. I truly hope more people check this out, as it’s going to be the best half hour you spend with a comedy!

The best thing about this show, isn’t the fact that it’s incredibly funny. That comes in at a very close second, but is absolutely important. What’s best is the fact that this show explores the life of Adlon’s single working mother, and never does it in a boring fashion. Sure it may seem like the daily events she goes through are random, but they aren’t. It’s just another day in her life, and it’s utterly fascinating. Better yet, for some viewers, is the fact that it’s totally relatable. They’ve no doubt experienced something similar, or are currently going through the joys of being a single parent with a job. For me, someone who isn’t a single parent (or parent at all), I’m somehow still able to find a lot of enjoy about this show. I quite like Adlon’s character. It truly didn’t take long. I think before the first commercial break, I was in love with this show. It’s a comedy and I love it. That rarely happens. It’s all about presentation.

Part of that presentation is the smart approach to comedy. This show is funny. It didn’t rely on stupid antics, physical comedy, although that could still come along, but I doubt it will in the traditional way we’re used to. You know, the way that pretty much is to blame for my dislike of comedies. This is smart comedy. And like with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”, it offers a critique on the exact thing it’s portraying. There’s also just the delivery of lines, which is what sells most of the comedy. I was surprised that the bits shown in the TV spots were still so funny. I watched the pilot twice, mainly as I had no other reason not to, and I still loved it! It was funny both times. I mean, come on, that itself has got to be pretty rare, no matter who’s saying otherwise.

Some of my favorite lines, which hare better if you see them play out, are:

“… pure shit on a stick…”

“No! Hide things from me, please!”

One thing I can’t write verbatim, which was a great way to start this pilot and series, was the teaser. Adlon’s sitting on a bench in a mall or some such place, and her youngest is crying. We learn why, but that’s only because some older woman who’s sitting on the same bench keeps staring. So, Adlon, being the amazing person she clearly is, comments about the crying and the older woman’s staring. Adlon says that if she wants to buy the six dollar earrings for her daughter, she can. Or to stop staring. Classic and brilliant moment in so many ways. A brief few minutes and we get all we need to know.

I would say a major perk of this show, regardless of how many episodes Adlon writes herself, is that there will be an interesting view on parenting while being a working parent, plus things in life that are worth commenting on. Take the above hilarious bit for example. That’s the brilliant thing with television shows; criticisms can be heard and view points shared, and if done well, they’ll be memorable. It’s sometimes how we learn about things, even when we’ve thought about them for some time. It’s certainly something I’ve come to love about various television shows. Sadly, I doubt we’ll gets many more like this, especially ones that feel organic.

I can’t resist adding this. It doesn’t really add to the episode, or probably the show as a whole, beyond what it shows, but there were some amazing cameos/guest star appearances! Julie Bowen, Dale Dickey, Bradley Whitford, and Constance Zimmer each made brief appearances. Fortunately, due to the stellar writing, these appearances served great purposes. They brought out some funny comedic moments, which like the rest of this episode and hopefully the show, came about in the most organic way possible. A likable and relatable character will most definitely not be an issue.

The fact that there’s a brilliant comedy on TV just sends me over the moon. I’m absolutely excited about this show, but am also torn by the fact that it’s starting now. The Fall network TV season is about to begin and now there’s this. Just one more show that needs my attention. How am I to manage? While I search for that answer, I’ll be busy laughing and enjoying the amazing work featured in this new series. If I don’t watch any other sitcom this fall, I think I’ll be okay with that. However, I’ll also be quite sad. It just means that this show is the most recent, of so many, that actually got it right. Perhaps other creatives and network heads will see the importance of this type of show.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s