Pamela Adlon has been collaborating with Louis C.K. for a decade, first co-starring in the comedian’s shortlived “Lucky Louie,” then going on to serve as a writer, consulting producer and guest star for his considerably more successful FX series “Louie.” Now, Adlon is headlining her own FX show (on which C.K. is an executive producer), and much like “Louie,” the series — which centers around Adlon’s Sam, a single, working actor raising her three daughters — often straddles the line between comedy and drama.
“I feel like everything is funny in my life, there’s a lot of funny in the darkness,” Adlon said, addressing the tone of the show. “In terms of categories, it’s like what we talked about with ‘Louie’ … I just feel like there’s really no category for this kind of thing. It’s not comedy or dramedy. It’s like the incredible feelings show.”
Executive producer M. Blair Breard agreed, “Because of the nature of the business, we have to be categorized, but we’re crossing all sorts of boundaries. There’s so much heart and reality and love, humanity. In all these life moments that are happening, if you can’t have a sense of humor about it, you’re never going to get through it.”
Adlon admitted that although she has drawn inspiration from her own life in writing the show, she spent a lot of time with writer’s block before she cracked the concept. “When I was first coming up with the idea for the show, it was really hard for me, I was talking to Louis about it – I could come up with ideas for him all day, and when it came to me, it stopped.” As a mother of three daughters, she said, “I always knew that telling a story about girls at three different stages developmentally was very interesting to me.”
She said her own daughters have become close friends with the three actresses who play Adlon’s daughters on screen, Mikey Madison, Hannah Alligood and Olivia Edward, and her kids are “excited for these stories to be told, because it feels like they have a voice.”
“Better Things” premieres September 8 at 10 p.m. on FX.