'Better Things' finale forced Pamela Adlon to relive watching kids grow up

Pamela Adlon plays Sam Fox in "Better Things." Photo courtesy of FX
1 of 5 | Pamela Adlon plays Sam Fox in "Better Things." Photo courtesy of FX

LOS ANGELES, Feb. 28 (UPI) -- Pamela Adlon said the final season of Better Things, premiering Monday on FX, forced her to relive seeing her daughters become adults.

"It's deeply personal to me because my kids are all grown now," Adlon said on a Television Critics Association Zoom panel. "They grew up, and they're leaving everybody in the dust, a little bit."


Adlon, 55, created Better Things and stars as Sam Fox, an actor raising three daughters as a single mother. Adlon's kids are 24-year-old actor Gideon Adlon, 21-year-old actor Odessa A'zion and teen Valentine "Rocky" Adlon.

Sam's daughters are Max (Mikey Madison, 22), Frankie (Hannah Riley, 18) and Duke (Olivia Edward, 15). Adlon said the series finale of Better Things does not close the book on the Fox family either.

"They have so many more stories to tell," Adlon said. "It would be nice, one day, if we did."


The young stars of Better Things also shared feelings of growing up through the six years of filming the show. Season 1 premiered on FX in 2016.

Olivia had booked roles on The Mysteries of Laura, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend before Better Things. Edward said she was still impressed by the production of Better Things when she began the show as an eight-year-old.

"I felt like I was a kid in a candy shop," she said. "I'm looking at the cameras and looking at how everything worked."

As a minor, Olivia also attended school while working on Better Things. She said she wants to continue acting as an adult.

"This has been pretty much half of my life," Olivia said. "I want to continue to work on my craft, and start writing."

Better Things was Madison's first television role, and led to film roles. She played a Manson cult member in Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood and a teenager pursued by a new killer in this year's Scream.

Madison said she feels the ending of Better Things as a milestone, too.

"Max's storyline this season was difficult, also because I knew that it was the last," Madison said. "That's something I thought about every day, that this is the last time we're going to see Max."


Madison said that Max has learned to appreciate her mother over the course of the series. Max was a rebellious teenager, but Madison says viewers will see Sam and Max support each other reciprocally in the final season.

"They were at odds in the beginning," Madison said. "They've become friends in the end, and she's almost taken on some of those mothering roles herself."

Besides her daughters, Sam resolves some issues with her mother, Phil (Celia Imrie), in the final season. Adlon said she also learned to appreciate her real-life mother, Marina L. Segall's, qualities when Adlon stopped resisting her.

"Oh, she's funny," Adlon said she realized. "It doesn't have to be annoying."

Adlon said Season 5 also shows Sam's growth by valuing her family. Adlon said that when Sam has her mother and daughters together, she is fulfilled.

"When we started the show, Sam was just a single mom in her 40s, who would try to knock boots once in a while," Adlon said. "That's not her concern anymore. Her concern is taking care of what she has."

New episodes of Better Things air Mondays at 10 p.m. EST on FX and stream Tuesdays on Hulu.


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