Pamela Adlon’s critically acclaimed comedy “Better Things” makes its return later this month with its third season after a year-plus hiatus — a break during which the show severed ties with its disgraced co-creator Louis C.K. — and viewers can expect the FX show to address power abuse in Hollywood in its own way.
Adlon, who stars, writes and directs the semi-autobiographical series, was on hand Monday at the Television Critics Assn. press tour in Pasadena to promote the new season. The show revolves around Adlon’s Sam Fox, a working actress and single mother of three daughters.
The new season, which premieres Feb. 28, arrives with a heightened level attention as the first without C.K.’s presence. After sexual misconduct allegations against the comedian surfaced in the fall of 2017, FX quickly moved to end its business relationship with him. That included his removal from “Better Things,” on which he had a notable influence by writing or co-writing nearly every episode of its first two seasons.
This season Adlon had a team of four writers. Asked how the comedy has changed in the wake of the departure of her writing and producing partner, she said: “Well, it’s different in that I didn’t have him, the only person to write with. Instead of just two people concentrating, it was five of us in one direction.”
“It was a head-cracking, amazing experience for me,” she added. “I’d never been in a writers room, let alone run a writers room. But I loved it.”
Adlon didn’t address C.K. much beyond that. But she did talk about an upcoming episode that will look at abusive behavior in the entertainment industry — with the focus on looking at how that abuse of power isn’t always sexual. Her character, Sam Fox, has to contend with a difficult director on the set of a film.
“I’ve been working since I was 9 years old so I’ve seen everything,” Adlon told reporters. “The thing that is kind of this ugly air that hangs around so many … is the abuse of power; people being rude; people in an upper echelon position mismanaging, wasting peoples’ time; hurting people emotionally and psychologically.”
As an actress who has experienced some questionable behavior, she said it was important for her to incorporate those elements into the show.
“I’m trying to make a model for a kinder, gentler workplace,” Adlon said. “It doesn’t have to be a scary thing … I like now that I’m in a place where I hire people and I make a safe space.”