Better Things - Quiet and Powerful | Sheryl Steines
Better Things - a place of comfort.

Better Things – Quiet and Powerful

Better Things.

I have spent the last five years watching this little show. No, not little. It’s soft, quiet, and powerful. Episodes are rich, full of life, and love.

Meet Sam Fox, a working actress, and divorced mother of three. Her world is full of eclectic friends, home, and children. While I’m not a working actress and divorced mom, I am a Jewish mom with kids who recognized something of myself in Sam Fox.

It’s the kind of show that feels like a big ball of love, a yet the stories, don’t come to a hard resolution. Because sometimes in life, our issues don’t just resolve in a happy ending. Sometimes they are just what they are.

I Watch Alone – Is that weird?

When I watch Better Things, I weirdly prefer to watch it alone, in the quiet of my bedroom. I can’t quite explain it. Watching is like communing with an old friend and all I can guess is, I just want to share her time alone. Or maybe it’s because the show is so raw and beautiful, I feel vulnerable and naked and want to keep it to myself.  

Really, I’m not nuts. It’s just that this character, Sam Fox seems so relatable to me. How she maneuvers through a divorce and dealing with her ex-husband, to dealing with her kids as their emotions take over, or their problems get bigger. Sam needs to adjust, change and learn a new way. But it’s how she reacts, that I understood the most. That deep breath to clear the emotion, to give clarity. I knew that moment when the world is one way and all of a sudden it smacks you down. You don’t know if there’s enough to pick yourself back up again.

There were moments I wanted to gab on the phone with Sam, commiserate with her, and give her a hug. It was like spending time with a girlfriend.

Better Things, a Quiet Show

Stories are so close to real life, it sometimes hurt. And why I watched it was because of all of these things rolled into one. Because sometimes, you find that comfort in the most unusual places, and for me, it was my 45 minutes with Sam and company.

I’m a big believer in the power of television drama as a way to tell an enriching, full story in which you get to know and love the characters. I got to know and love Sam Fox in a way that gave me a voice. She was for each episode, my voice, the voice of a mom who sometimes, gets thrown for a loop, and needs that someone to help pull them through. It was for me, a reflection of what I was living and thinking like someone read my heart and mind. Weirdly, I felt heard.

I get it, it’s television, and I really don’t know Pamela Adlon. But I truly admire the work she did on Better Things. I appreciate well-rounded characters, who are given the space to grow and change. And every time she took that deep breath, I took that same breath in solidarity.

I will miss Sam, Max, Frankie, and Duke. I will miss watching their lives unfold, seeing them at their worst so they can regroup and shine.  

Watch Better Things | Stream on Hulu (fxnetworks.com).

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