In 1982 the sequel to the hit musical Grease came out. It starred Michelle Pfeiffer and Maxwell Caulfield. It was panned by critics and was a bust at the box office. When I saw it as a preteen, I fell in love. I knew the songs by heart (Cool Rider FTW), had a crush on Maxwell Caulfield, and was thrilled that Pfeiffer’s character’s name was Stephanie. And there was one character who I identified with: Dolores Rebchuck. She was the little sister to Pink Lady Paulette and full of spunk:
The actress playing Dolores Rebchuck is Pamela Adlon. She has been acting since she was a child, often voicing animated characters. She has starred on shows like Californication, Lucky Louie, and most recently the show she is also directing and writing, Better Things. Her characters are always strong, smart, and full of attitude. In a recent episode of Better Things her character Sam is teaching acting students that an audience wants to see your weaknesses. Adlon’s characters always show their weaknesses, making them even more relatable.
On the Showtime show Californication, Pamela Adlon played Marcy Runkle, wife to Charlie Runkle (Evan Handler). Marcy is also known as “Cokey Smurf” due to her tiny stature and uncontrollable cocaine habit. She is manic and has little to no time for bullshit. She calls out both her husband Charlie and his best friend Hank (David Duchovny) when they get out of hand, showing tiny doesn’t mean weak.
HBO’s Lucky Louie was the studio recorded precursor to FX’s Louie. Pamela played Louie’s wife Kim and also wrote one episode. Louis C.K. created the show and has encouraged Adlon’s writing on Better Things. They have great chemistry together. In one memorable episode C.K. goes full frontal and his on stage wife doesn’t even flinch.
Better Things is one of my favorite shows on tv. Sam is an actress mom to three girls. Pamela wrote the show that is based on her life. The honesty in each episode makes me jump up at least once and yell, “YES!” A recent episode titled Eulogy is a requirement for any parent who is tired of feeling underappreciated. As somebody who wears her heart on her sleeve but always polices her feelings, I love how direct, unflinchingly truthful, and even a little bitchy Sam is. She is who she is and anybody who has a problem with that can exit stage right.
If you like comedies that keep it real and don’t hold back, watch Better Things. If that isn’t your thing Pamela Adlon also voices characters on Bob’s Burgers, Uncle Grandpa, and even voices Halley Wolowitz on The Big Bang Theory. She is a talent in Hollywood that isn’t going anywhere.