Better Things: “Hair of the Dog” Season 1 Episode 9 Review

Photo Credit:http://www.vulture.com/2016/11/better-things-recap-season-1-episode-9.html

I find value in what Better Things brings to the television spectrum, I really do, but these unnecessarily abstract connections between vignettes are really starting to chip away at my enjoyment of the series. The show has always been heartwarming, perhaps overly so, but moments like this aren’t enough to tie episodes like “Hair of the Dog” together. Nine episodes in, I already feel like we’ve exhausted most of what Pamela Adlon wants to express that’s fresh about the difficult lives of single mothers and working actors.

This episode starts with another difficult conversation between Sam and her mother. We then segue to Sam talking on the phone with a friend about her sex life. Then there’s a long scene where Sam and a friend take their teenage daughters to a concert and flirt with younger men. Afterward, Sam seemingly confronts a Bulgarian mobster about a table she’s trying to sell out of garage. Finally, she has dinner with her family and two men who helped move said table to the backyard. With such random tangents like this, Better Things is starting to feel like someone you know fairly well recapping their week over drinks. You’re used to this person’s daily struggles and the general status quo of their life, and you like them, but when nothing interesting is happening in their life, the conversation is really just filling the air.

Adlon is a smarter writer than most people one margarita in on Friday afternoon, so there’s a general flow to the episode. Scenes with Phyllis bookend “Hair of the Dog.” The phone conversation leads into the promiscuous night at the concert. But these are just small links that don’t really push the season or series forward at all. As the penultimate episode of the season, it’s difficult to not wish for a little more going into the finale. Better Things will never be a big show with twists and such, but it could use some more profound episodes to get us interested in its second season. Now it’s entirely up to the finale to do so, as this episode had some fun moments, but was mostly a bore. Grade: C+

By Matt Dougherty

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