“When I was first coming up with ideas for the show it was really hard for me,” Pamela Adlon says of Better Things, FX’s first comedy series with a solo female lead. Louie creator/star Louis C.K. expanded his FX portfolio with this third series, which he created with longtime friend and frequent collaborator, Louie‘s Adlon. Better Things is a semi-autobiographical vehicle for Adlon, as Louie is for CK. It centers on Sam (Adlon), a working actor with no filter trying to earn a living, navigate her daughters’ lives, and have fun with friends.
“I was blocked, and talking to Louie about it. I could come up with ideas for him all day long, but when it came to me I was stopped,” Adlon said this morning at TCA. The series, debuting September 8, centers on Sam (Adlon), a working actor with no filter trying to earn a living, navigate her daughters’ lives, have fun with a friend, and squeeze in some private time on occasion.
“Where is the dad…is he like Olivia Newton John’s husband? Do I have a gay brother? He lives in a guest house! I always knew that telling a story about girls at three different stages, developmentally, was very interesting to me.”
“I’m wearing my dad’s green sweater in the pilot,” Adlon revealed, describing her father as a “real journeyman writer” and “the son of a junk man” who “used to write soft-core porn and dime-store novels to get by,” and who “loved to laugh and be part of everything in the world.” Her mother supported the family, she said. “My mom is a little 80-year-old lady from Cheshire and I knew I wanted to have a real English person to play my mother,” describing the character as “formidable and then a little fluff.”
“I feel that everything is funny in my life and there is a lot of funny in the darkness…I don’t like anything that’s dark without heart.” She insisted Better Things, like Louie Defies categorization. “It’s not comedy or dramedy. It’s The Incredible Feeling Show.”
Adlon is nominated for an Emmy for guest actress in a comedy series for her recurring role on Louie as Louie’s friend and love interest. She has received two Emmy nominations for Louie (and won an Emmy for her voice-over performance on King Of The Hill).