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Pamela Adlon: When ‘Better Things’ ‘Stops Being Relatable Is When I Stop Doing My Show’

As co-creator, executive producer, writer, director, and star of FX’s “Better Things,” Pamela Adlon juggles multiple roles to portray a single-mother household that’s not always well-represented on TV.

Ahead of the show’s FYC panel moderated by Variety’s Debra Birnbaum, which included Adlon and cast members Mikey Madison, Hannah Alligood, Olivia Edward, and Celia Imrie, Adlon shared why she thinks “Better Things” continues to connect with audiences.

Adlon told Variety at the Saban Media Center in North Hollywood that she is “grateful” viewers find her writing so relatable. “There’s something for everybody in my show because everybody has been in a family and a part of a family, so it’s not just for moms,” she said. “It’s not about being a mom or being a daughter. No matter what, everyone grew up somehow and that’s why I think people are relating to it in that way.”

She added that she tries to make the series “timeless” so that it can resonate with international audiences instead of being an “American topical show.”

“When it stops being relatable is when I stop doing my show,” Adlon said.

In the second season of “Better Things,” Adlon directed all 10 episodes in addition to the many hats she already wears on set. The key, she says, is simply to manage her time. “It feels more exhilarating to me than exhausting,” she explained. Plus, she rests for 20 minutes every day during lunch time.

Following the show’s renewal for a third season, Adlon cut ties with her manager, 3 Arts Entertainment’s Dave Becky, who also served as executive producer for the first season. FX also confirmed that Louis C.K. would be removed as executive producer and the show would no longer be produced in partnership with his Pig Newton production company after C.K. addressed the sexual misconduct allegations against him from multiple women.

In response to the shifts in production, Adlon said she has had changes each season of the show, including adjustments that required a new pilot. “It’s always massive changes and obstacles and it’s really just kind of status quo when you’re a mom, a single mom,” she said. “Other than that, [the show’s] pretty much the same, [and] hopefully everybody will like it.”

During the panel, Adlon did confirm the show has added a few new writers to the team and that talks about Season 3 began in February.

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