Saturday, November 5, 2016

What I’m Watching: Better Things

Better Things: Season 1, Episode 8 “Scary Fun” (B+)

Now this is how you do a Halloween episode. I watch fewer traditional sitcoms than I used to, and therefore I’ve seen only a couple holiday-themed installments this year. This episode is set around the holiday but not centered on it, which is refreshing and actually works pretty well. This show is a comedy, certainly, but it also has a great dramatic edge which kicks in at just the right time. After interrogating Max’s hapless new boyfriend while she was protesting and banging loudly on the door, Sam knew exactly what to do when Max was crying and miserable, initially making a suggestion that would have worked for her when she was much younger and then offering to stay home and skip trick-or-treating to watch scary movies instead. Even Frankie, who was a real pain with all the pranks she tried to pull on her mother, stepped up in that moment and they had a nice little family bonding moment. Frankie really is quite aggressive with the torment she inflicts on her mother, even enlisting her grandmother’s help to really get her scared. The two older sisters have had their own personalities for a while, and this episode treated us to the emergence of Duke’s individuality. Getting caught cursing by her mother enlisted a wonderful sense of pride from Sam, hardly the reaction you might expect from a parent, and, according to the already button-pushing Frankie, apparently this behavior is nothing new, which makes Sam’s surprise about it all the more entertaining.

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