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A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
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.
- Parents say
- Kids say
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?
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