It’s been 14 months since we had a new “Better Things” episode, but don’t despair. The season-opener (Feb. 28) indicates the show is better than ever. Here’s the story I sent to papers:
By Mike Hughes
Yes, Pamela Adlon says, show-business has plenty of frazzled, fractured people.
There’s ambition and despair. There’s “that angry air that hangs over so many.”
And yes, she’s always wanted to be in the business.
“I grew up on sound stages with my dad,” she said. Don Seagall had a successful decade, writing comedy scripts; his daughter savored it all.
“I remember following (director) James Komack around with a scarf around my neck and holding a script like I belonged there, pretending I was the director …. I loved being in that environment. I still do. It’s the
only work that I truly, truly love,”
That’s despite pushing herself to extremes. While taking other jobs (especially for cartoon voices), Adlon co-created “Better Things,” based on her life as single mom to three girls. She starred and directed; she
wrote every episode with Louis C.K.
Then she suddenly had more work: C.K. admitted to sexual abuse and was dropped; for this season, Adlon was on her own, hiring four writers to help.
“I’d never been in a writers’ room, let alone run a writers’ room,” she said. “And I’m not sure I did it the right way. Still, I loved it.”
Some stories come from experiences she’s had as a mom. In the season-opener, she takes her eldest daughter to Columbia College in Chicago, which happened in real life.
Others are from her mom. That includes a scene in which she tells her kids they have five minutes to express their rage and then shut up. Olivia Edward, who plays little Duke, gets to unleash a sudden cascade of verbal abuse.
“She was jazzed about shooting this,” said Hannah Allgood, who plays the middle daughter. “She had a blast.”
On days like that, almost anyone might love show business.
–”Better Things,” 10 p.m. Thursdays, FX
— Season-opener, Feb. 28, reruns a 11:20 p.m. (after a rerun of last year’s season-finale at 10:37) and 1:57 a.m.; also, Saturday night (technically, Sunday morning) at 1 a.m.