Brain Dump: Better Things, Good Girls, and Crazy Rich Asians

Constance Wu in Crazy Rich Asians

Today’s quick takes on TV shows will include Better Things and Good Girls, as well as a few thoughts on the film Crazy Rich Asians.

Better Things

Pamela Adlon in Better Things
Pamela Adlon is Sam

It’s season 3 of Better Things, and we’re not seeing so much of Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon) as mother to her three girls, but as an individual outside the family. In the episode “The Unknown,” Sam does a play with friends of hers like Jon Jon Briones, Norm Lewis, Gabrielle Ruiz, and Holland Taylor. The guest actors play themselves.

The thing I found noteworthy about this particular episode of Better Things was Sam’s growing attraction to a woman, Mer (Marsha Thomason). It’s throwing her off kilter and she isn’t handling it well. Mer isn’t going to fool around waiting during her dizzying indecision. It will be interesting to see if Sam represses it or acts on it in the future.

This video takes a look at all of season 3.

Season 3 is the first season of the show that Pamela Adlon has done on her own since Louis C.K. slunk away. She’s juggling all the balls and doing a terrific job.

Good Girls

Isaiah Stannard in Good Girls
Sadie comes out as trans

Both Better Things and Good Girls have a young female character I keep waiting to see come out as female to male transgender. It hasn’t happened with Frankie (Hannah Alligood) yet, but on Good Girls this week Sadie (Isaiah Stannard) told her mom (Mae Whitman) that she was a boy. He’s a boy.

It was beautifully done. Annie knew it was coming. As a viewer, I could see it from the first episode of the series. But when the words were spoken it was handled exactly right. The way the scene was written was sensitive and felt true.

To return to Frankie on Better Things, she may eventually identify as nonbinary rather than trans. I keep expecting something to happen there, and I’m curious to see what Sam will do about it when it comes.

Crazy Rich Asians

Michelle Yeoh, Constance Wu, and Henry Golding in Crazy Rich Asians
Michelle Yeoh, Constance Wu, and Henry Golding

Crazy Rich Asians is remarkable. A phenomenon. Not for its story, which is the standard romcom love story. For its cast, which is almost 100% Asian. In the all-white world of Hollywood, films with Asian or Black or Hispanic casts and actors playing roles representing their ethnic origins are still a rarity. It’s a struggle to get to tell your own story. This film makes a tiny dent in the dam.

In addition to Michelle Yeoh, Constance Wu, and Henry Golding, the film also includes a wonderful Awkwafina, Gemma Chan, Lisa Lu, Harry Shum Jr., Ken Jeong, Sonoya Mizuno, Chris Pang, Nico Santos, and many others. Actors of this quality shouldn’t be struggling to find work or stories to tell that represent their particular lives. It’s so affirming and gratifying to see this cast together to tell this story.

Here’s a powerful scene between Constance Wu as an aspiring wife to Nick and the evil potential mother-in-law played by Michelle Yeoh.

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