‘Better Things’ Recap and Reaction: Episode 4 “Woman is the Something of the Something”


Better Things (airing at 10pm Thursdays on FX) follows up last week’s episode with another winner in “Woman is the Something of the Something”. Adlon uses her real life experience as a voice actor and comedian to portray acting in a different light. She’s been working in the industry for over three decades but doesn’t get stopped on the street. Adlon and Sam both take gigs to make a living. Neither party seems to hate their job, but both are aware of the garbage that comes along with it. Hence, this week’s episode.

better things episode 4 woman is the something of the something Sam played by Pamela Adlon with daughter who is texting on her phone

“Woman is the Something of the Something” in 22 Minutes

“Woman is the Something of the Something” opens with Danny Pudi playing a showrunner. He’s got the right role for Sam, but it scares Sam’s manager. So, her manager keeps the role hidden from her. Meanwhile, Sam is checking smoke detectors and trying to parent her kids. As a single mom, she’s starting to lose her mind over the number of kids that seem to be hanging out in her daughter Max’s closed-off room. All the while, Sam is contemplating getting a facelift.

Adlon milks each of these quick scenes for all that she can get. Honestly, it portrays a sense of comic timing that I never got out of Louis CK. That is usually chalked up to Adlon’s earlier start on TV and film. All the while, the episode is undercut with the idea that this dream role could be given to Rachel McAdams. Adlon continues on in bliss until both of these storylines meet up. When it happens, it’s great.

BETTER THINGS "Woman Is The Something Of The Something" Episode 4 Ivan Shaw as Dr. Sook, Alysia Reiner as Sunny, Pamela Adlon as Sam. CR: Jessica Brooks/FX

What Does It All Mean?

This episode works with the idea that women are interchangeable in Hollywood. While prior episodes have touched on it, having an episode’s sole focus did the topic wonders. Sam could keep killing herself to try and outshine Rachel McAdams, but Adlon realizes that the character doesn’t need it. Sam is a happy mother with other work. It’s not that motherhood is her sole focus, but it’s far more fulfilling to raise three healthy kids. Still, her manager got off way too easy for the devious omission.

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