Wednesday, May 22, 2019

What I’m Watching: Better Things

Better Things: Season 3, Episode 11 “Get Lit” (B+)

This show aired its season finale this past week, and so I just have one more installment left after this and I’ll be fully caught up. I was surprised to see this show listed as one of Entertainment Weekly’s official early predictions to make a first-time appearance in the Best Comedy Series race when Emmy nominations are announced this year, and I’m curious whether installments like this one – and the others like it this season – will play with voters. It’s definitely hypnotic, but there’s a non-narrative aesthetic that’s both captivating and also hard to grasp onto since the plot rarely proceeds in a straightforward way. Opening the episode with a psychic in the house talking about a male presence was entertaining for the vicious treatment he got from Phil, who was ready to call out each of his parlor tricks as being easily contrived and guessed. Sam going ballistic on Max’s friends for smoking in the house was a solid scene, and she even managed to make Paisley cry, something that doesn’t seem all that hard, similar to Max’s own master manipulation of her mother. Frankie’s poetry contest performance was indeed impressive, though Sam should have realized that she wouldn’t be thrilled to be shown physical affection given the nature of her writing’s content. Sam’s response to the woman talking about her grandchild in the bathroom was pretty hilarious, commenting on the intensity of her experience and eliciting a simple disapproving “no” from her. It’s moments like those that really enhance this show.

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