FORBETTER OR WORSE

FX’S must-see com­edy, BET­TER THINGS, re­turns!

CBS Soaps In Depth - - Reader's Poll - — Kelli M. Lar­son

FX’s edgy, raw and of­ten achingly real com­edy, BET­TER THINGS, re­turns on Thurs­day, Septem­ber 14, at 10 p.m. EST, and trust us, what the se­ries — cowrit­ten by star Paula Ad­lon and Louis C.K. — has in store is worth the wait! Sam, the neu­rotic, over­tired, sin­gle ac­tress who’s ap­par­ently lost her fil­ter is back, and her world is even more com­pli­cated than it was be­fore!

“The flaws that Sam has as a mother, a per­son, a daugh­ter and a friend are shown with real com­pas­sion, truth and hu­mor,” ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer M. Blair Breard ob­serves, “but with­out com­ment­ing on them or high­light­ing them with quo­ta­tion marks.”

Stressed Out “To The Max”

Sam’s lengthy se­ries of sighs, which open the pre­miere, say a lot about where she is in life: to­tally over­whelmed! She’s thrown a party at the house, and teen daugh­ter Max’s guest raises more than a few eye­brows. “He’s an eter­nal man-child who is way more en­am­ored of him­self than ev­ery­body else is,” Breard shares. “He be­lieves that he is God’s gift to women.”

While this guy and his equally “charm­ing” brother have re­ally gotta be seen to be be­lieved, what Sam fo­cuses on is yet an- other ob­sta­cle with cranky Max that she’s loathe to face. How­ever, ac­cord­ing to Breard, the sur­pris­ing thing that hap­pens next is “one of the most beau­ti­fully writ­ten pieces of par­ent­ing that I’ve seen.” Alas, Sam should prob­a­bly be grate­ful not to know what’s go­ing on un­su­per­vised else­where in the house with lit­tle Duke!

Worst. Date. Ever.

The fol­low­ing week, a be­lea­guered Sam’s at­tempt to get a lit­tle bit of “me time” goes to­tally off the rails, start­ing with her lat­est bed part­ner. “She’s very in­tol­er­ant of his needs,” Breard says wryly. “She doesn’t have the time of day to make this guy feel good about him­self.”

Look for their date to go from bad to worse, cul­mi­nat­ing in an epic public show-

down that’s poised to be­come a clas­sic piece of TV. Might the posh get-away Sam treats her­self to af­ter­wards prove re­ju­ve­nat­ing? Um, have you met Sam? She’s ille­quipped to han­dle even that.

The Strug­gle Is Real

Just ahead, the ac­tress will con­tend with her on­go­ing strug­gle with ag­ing in Hol­ly­wood, jux­ta­posed with daugh­ter Frankie’s com­ing-of-age is­sues with gen­der iden­tity. “We are go­ing to let that play out,” Breard previews. “The way it’s ad­dressed is not what you’d ex­pect.”

BET­TER THINGS prom­ises to keep view­ers laugh­ing, cry­ing and gasp­ing in sur­prise this sea­son as Sam con­tin­ues try­ing to hold it all to­gether with­out si­mul­ta­ne­ously fall­ing apart. “She’s [deal­ing with] uni­ver­sal strug­gles,” Breard con­cludes of the char­ac­ter. “We’re all im­per­fect… we just don’t get to see our­selves re­flected on TV that of­ten.”

“Phyl­lis doesn’t drive Sam crazy in the ob­vi­ous man­ner that we see in TV moms,” Breard sug­gests.

Right: “Sam is ca­pa­ble of so much more than she seems to be,” Breard says. So the way she han­dles Max’s dilemma might sur­prise view­ers. BET­TER THINGS’ lead­ing lady won an Emmy for voic­ing Bobby on KING OF THE HILL.

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