In a way, the show is like a female version of Louie with the exception that Pamela Adlon is less socially awkward and she has three daughters instead of two.
Sam (Pamela Adlon) is an actress with three daughters. The oldest is Max (Mikey Madison) who is sensitive, in high school, and can be a bit of a brat. The middle child, Frankie (Hannah Alligood), is a bit of an odd one. The type who would talk about having her genitals cut at 13 in protest. Then there is little Duke (Olivia Edward) who is a child. One which wants to sleep in her mom’s bed, cry when she can’t get earrings she wants, and likes watching animal videos on the internet.
These three girls Sam raises on her own as she works, auditions, and sometimes tries to have a dating life. Granted, her attempts at dating come from seeing the dad’s of her children’s peers, but who has the time to really put yourself out there with three kids at three different school levels?
Since seeing her in Californication, and realizing her voice acting has pretty much been consistent throughout my childhood, I have really come to admire Ms. Adlon. Especially because there is something very odd about her. Not just the voice, but she doesn’t seem to be the type of actress who loves just getting a role. She wants to be a woman with some edge, with a voice and who isn’t an accessory, and she does it so well.
Take Sam for example. She is a woman with three weird and unique daughters and even in one episode you can understand that these kids are definitely Sam’s. Max represents how sensitive she can be sometimes, to the point of yelling at a store, and carrying a conversation, about graph paper; yet through Frankie, we see her sort of weird side. A side of her in which, while Duke is having a fit and some lady is staring, Sam confronts the woman by asking her if she’ll buy the earrings the child is crying over. Otherwise, piss off. Though as for how is she like Duke? Well, that comes with seeing her in love. Duke is just a kid who wants to be close to her mom and wants that type of innocent intimacy children desire. Which, while we do see her look for porn featuring women her age, we also see her reminisce over a guy who made her really happy.
Switching the focus from Adlon, be it her look or lines, I really hope we see more from Alligood. She to me was the standout between the daughters, and that was with one scene. Granted, in said scene, she was talking about how African girls experience genital mutilation, but she doesn’t say it with the intention to shock you. Also, the way Alligood says it doesn’t seem like it was intended to shock you. If anything, she is a weird girl, a product of a mother like the one she has, and with Duke being what you expect of a child and Max the same for someone her age, it makes Frankie a breath of fresh air.
On The Fence
Right now the only real similarity to Louie is the way the show is cut into segments rather than one episode featuring a whole storyline. That and the focus on a single parent and their children. Both of which are enjoyable, but I do wonder when it comes to establishing relationships and possible social musings, will we see Louis C.K.’s influence continue or will we get to see Adlon’s vision? For while I enjoy Louie, I don’t think we need a female version of it with the character being less shy and awkward about socializing and instead brash and almost a complete 180.
Feelings Since The Premiere
What I like about this show is it doesn’t have the bogged down nature of Louie. Adlon, even at her most annoyed, keeps things funny and engaging, and even when the show gets preachy it doesn’t make you feel like your drowning in someone’s sorrow. It, as opposed to Louie, does a better job at masking life’s misery with a constant silver lining of family, kooky friends, and there always being tomorrow.
In many ways, I wish I wasn’t so discouraged by the ratings the initial review got on IMDB since I honestly love this show and would like to cover it, but we are 5 episodes in at this point. Expect me to cover Season 2 though.