Adlon joked as she surveyed the audience in the Whitby Hotel screening room in Manhattan that the crowd was full of “Easter eggs” for her autobiographical show, starting with her real-life brother, Greg Segall, who is portrayed by Kevin Pollak in the series.
Adlon noted that she considers New York her “home town” and she pointed out a slew of old friends in the crowd, some of whom have influenced characters, character names and storylines on “Better Things,” which bowed Wednesday on FX. Adlon stars as an actor and single mother of a certain age who is struggling to stay afloat in Hollywood while raising three daughters.
“It has been an incredible time and journey for me,” Adlon said of producing the show. New York is home, but part of the fun of filming “Better Things” is being able to document people and places in Los Angeles that she loves, including the West Hollywood institution Hamburger Haven, which closed for good last year on Christmas Eve.
“We’re documenting stuff that resonated with me in my life,” she said. Adlon gave a special shout-out to the young actors who play her daughters: Mikey Madison, Olivia Edward and Hannah Alligood. “You guys are incredible,” she said.
Alligood was plucked from obscurity out of Alabama for the role, or as Adlon put it, “she came to us covered in amniotic fluid.” Adlon mentioned having conversations with Alligood’s parents early on about whether the show had to use salty language. “I said ‘I refer you to the movie ‘Taxi Driver’ — Jodie Foster was 12 years old,” said Adlon, who has been a working actor since she was a pre-teen.
Adlon’s immense talent — she is star, writer, executive producer and she also directs most episodes — was hailed in succinct and colorful terms by FX Networks exec VP Jonathan Frank, who introduced her as “an all-around bad mother——.” Frank also read from a glowing review of season four.
As Adlon wrapped up her stream-of-consciousness remarks at the mic, she promised that despite the critical praise, the show “is not going to be as good as the weird train wreck that this was.”
(Pictured: Mikey Madison, Olivia Edward, Hannah Alligood and Pamela Adlon)