Comment:

One of the odder side-effects of spending however many weeks locked down in my house is that I've come to notice other people's houses a lot more. And not in an entirely healthy way.

Right now I'm extremely thankful that the big man upstairs didn't proclaim "thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's digs", when he was drawing up his list of commandments because, friends, I've been coveting like there's no tomorrow. I guess because for the past six weeks or so there hasn't really been a tomorrow. Just a claustrophobic Groundhog Day-like experience where the idea of time became more of a concept than an absolute.

I'm pretty sure that when I look back on the level 4 lock down in, say, 10 years, I'll vividly remember it being exactly one day long. Heck, why wait a decade? Even now my brain is smushing the past 49 days all together.

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That said, I very much like being at home. It's just after being here so much recently I've come to realise that I would very much like being in another home a lot more. I'm of course grateful to have a roof over my head but that doesn't change the fact that the house is drafty, cold and increasingly too small for the four people that live in it.

By far the house I've been coveting the most is the one in Pamela Adlon's absolutely brilliant dramatic comedy Better Things. The show just wrapped up its gob-smackingly great fourth season on Lightbox and each week without fail I would turn to my partner and tell her how much I wanted that house. And everything inside.

Mikey Madison as Max, Olivia Edward as Duke, Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox, Hannah Alligood as Frankie in Better Things
Mikey Madison as Max, Olivia Edward as Duke, Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox, Hannah Alligood as Frankie in Better Things

Adlon plays a fictionalised version of herself at the level of fame and success she had when the show started. Her character Sam is a mildly successful actress and cartoon voice actor and a solo mother of three girls, aged from about 11 to 18.

The show is easily one of the best on television. Like Better Call Saul, which also just finished on Lightbox, Better Things operates at a level far beyond what most shows could even think of, let alone aspire.

It's smart, brutally funny, often extremely touching but most of all, it's honest in presenting the messy everyday of life and everything that entails. Or, at least life pre-covid.

It highlights and finds humour in very specific problems and issues that women nearing 50 have to deal with; the onset of menopause, navigating relationships with children who are asserting their own growing independence and how women turn "invisible" after hitting a certain age.

But for all its realism it's also a show filled with whimsy and strange dream-like moments, and not just because its characters regularly smoke grass.

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Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox in a scene from Better Things, season four, on Lightbox.
Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox in a scene from Better Things, season four, on Lightbox.

So, although there's the grounded everyday joy at replacing a busted toilet there's also an episode that revolves around a handyman's psychic wife attempting to rid the house of a ghost that's been haunting the place since a fatal accident during a dinner party game of hide and seek in the 1930s.

Ghost or no ghost I still covet that house. I don't know the name of the style, is kinda Mexican art-deco-looking a thing? Probably not. But that's sort of what it looks like.

But the outside is not so important really. What I love about this house is how homely and lived in it is inside. Sitcom houses are either a little too tidy to be believable that a family lives inside or they're too strategically messy. On Better Things it just feels right. Like the cast and crew have really just pulled up to Adlon's actual house to shoot a few scenes and then left again.

Big rugs cover the orange-tiled floor, the lounge has big comfy couches, cushions everywhere, and a piano. Extremely cool art spices up every wall, elaborate lamps shine mutely and at the top of the staircase is a little park bench to sit on.

Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox in a scene from Better Things, season four, on Lightbox.
Pamela Adlon as Sam Fox in a scene from Better Things, season four, on Lightbox.

The hub however is the home's kitchen, which is where a lot of the action takes place this season. There's dishes piled up, pots and pans and ingredients and produce everywhere and a healthy stash of hard liquor. I don't like cooking at all but I gotta say, I adore that kitchen. It's had a lot of screentime with the camera lovingly and cinematically filming Sam cooking up big batches of chilli, pasta and even a bat mitzvah / quinceanera feast for her daughter Frankie's 15th birthday celebration.

The house is cluttered and although everything inside is cool, it's cool in an op-shop/garage sale kind of way. Everything feels lived in.

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It's a great house is what I'm saying. Easily the best house on TV. And that's because what it really is, is a home.