Thursday, January 11, 2018

Better Things

Anyone who's yet to see the Season 2 finale of Better Things ought to do that first. If you're not planning on seeing it anyway, go right ahead.

A little background: Better Things is a show loosely based on the life of its writer, director, and main actress, the very talented and always hilarious Pamela Adlon. It follows the lives of Sam and her three daughters: Max (Mikey Madison), the oldest; Frankie (Hannah Alligood), the middle; and Duke (Olivia Edward), her youngest. The show also features Sam's mother Phylis, played by Celia Imrie.

In this scene, Sam choreographs a dance sequence as a high school graduation present for Max. It caps an episode in which Max haggles for a mother-free graduation party and then suffers the broken promise of an absentee father during the ceremony.

Pay attention here to their facial expressions: Sam's relaxed and steady focus, her self-assured grin. She knows the dance may go under-appreciated like pretty much all the insane work she puts into parenting, but she wanted to do this thing of beauty for Max, and she's nailing it.

Alligood is exceptionally talented, but whereas her mom is also a professional actress on the show, Frankie is just a child. Like any teen, she's very selective about where she keeps her attention. She's quick-witted like her mother, but brash and inconsiderate in an adolescent way. Still a good kid wanting to rally, she's more careful here, more absorbed in her movements.

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