Better Things

TV review by
Kari Croop, Common Sense Media
Better Things TV Poster Image
Mature single-mom comedy is raw -- and refreshingly real.

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

Though it's a mature-content minefield with messy morals, the show quietly underscores the importance of family. It also explores the challenges of parenting in the modern world and what it's like to be a woman working in show business.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Sam's a loving mom who makes a lot of compromises -- and her fair share of mistakes. But at the end of the day, her daughters are the most important thing in her life.

Violence
Sex

No nudity, but frank discussions about sex (including some shots of artfully obscured internet porn) and crass phrases such as "eating my p---y."

Language

Unbleeped language includes words such as "clit," "p---y," and "c--k," along with "goddamn," "ass," and "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Social drinking; a teen character wants her mom to buy her pot.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Better Things centers on a single mother who makes her living as an actress and comedian while raising three daughters and checking in on her mother, who lives across the street. Though there are kids in the cast, the show focuses on decidedly adult issues, including parenting, careers, and sex. Characters frequently use unbleeped language (including "c--k," "p---y," and "clit"), and sexual situations include internet porn searches and oral sex. There's some social drinking, too, along with teens who talk about smoking pot.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bychris d. October 14, 2016

Mom may be over the top but it is a good time

OK so I watched the show and here is what I can see from it yes the mom is clearly not a role mode parent and never promises that she is she swears and drinks i... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byhaileyhoff14 January 8, 2018
Even though it does contain some inappropriate things teens these days have seen these things before and it is just a great laugh for teens and up to enjoy
Teen, 13 years old Written bysa677 July 24, 2020

it was honestly really good, I started watching it think it was just gonna be one season not knowing it would be four seasons, but overall the show had many positive role models, outcomes, and themes .

I will say there are various scenes talking about sex or leading to that but honestly aside from that the show gives you the insight of what a single working mo... Continue reading

What's the story?

Single mother Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon) isn't sure if there are BETTER THINGS ahead for her and her three daughters, Max (Mikey Madison), Frankie (Hannah Alligood), and Duke (Olivia Edward). But she knows that what she's giving is as good as it gets -- for now -- as she splits her time between the mundane tasks of motherhood and her career as a working actress, not to mention check-ins with her mom, Phil (Celia Imrie), who lives right across the street. And with that much juggling, she's bound to drop a few balls, right?

Is it any good?

Unapologetically raw and refreshingly real, Better Things is one of the better things on television, particularly for moms who can relate to the doing-it-all-while-drowning narrative. For amid all the crass talk and completely thankless tasks (from dinner prep and dish duty to cleaning out the dogs' ears), you'll also find wonderfully surprising moments of truth that remind you how fleeting and precious those moments can be -- and that, in the end, what you're doing is mostly worth it. Ridiculousness and all.

Better Things was written, co-created (along with Louis C.K.), and performed by Pamela Adlon, a real-life mother of three (and an Emmy-winning actress best known for voicing Bobby on King of the Hill) who dedicated the project to her daughters, and that's a detail that definitely shows. It's not necessarily because it's appropriate for them to watch right now -- because it probably isn't. But when they're old enough to truly appreciate it, they'll have a heart-achingly accurate portrait of a parent who tried her best to make things better.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Better Things' take on parenthood and raising kids -- specifically daughters -- in the modern world. What's particularly hard about being a single mom, and how does it affect the family dynamic? Who are the most important people in Sam's support system?

  • Who is the intended audience for this show, and how can you tell? Is Better Things completely bad for kids?

  • How does Better Things compare to other comedy series that focus on single motherhood, both past and present? What's it doing differently, and does it work?

TV details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love family comedies

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate