Entertainment

Sometimes you have to say 'no' 150 times to get the message across: Schneller

The Golden Globes may be meaningless to many, but it puts the spotlight on TV shows you otherwise wouldn't see, like Better Things.

Sam (Pamela Adlon) and Jeff (Greg Cromer) in Better Things.

Contributed

Sam (Pamela Adlon) and Jeff (Greg Cromer) in Better Things.

The Show: Better Things, Season 2, Episode 7 (F/X)

The Moment: 150 nos

Divorced mother Sam (Pamela Adlon, series creator) is driving to a hardware store with Jeff (Greg Cromer), the ex-husband of Sam’s good friend Sunny. Sam is being hard on herself. Jeff stops his truck and gives her a heartfelt talking-to: She’s doing her best. She needs to let up on herself. It’s the speech every over-extended woman wants to hear.

Sam is moved. And kind of turned on. Jeff leans in for a kiss. “No!” Sam says. “No, no, no, no. No, Jeff, no! Jeff? Jeff! No!”

She claps a hand over his mouth and keeps repeating No. When you think she’s about to stop, she starts in again. I stopped counting at 150 nos.

When Sam finally takes her hand away, Jeff says, “I hear you. But maybe you could just” do something crude.

Sam’s attraction pops like a soap bubble. “Eeeew!” she says. “Thank god! You suck!”

The Golden Globes are a meaningless award, but the one good thing they do is point people to underseen television series, as they did this year by nominating Adlon. Season 1 was pretty shaggy, but Season 2 found a groove.

Many women will relate to this moment — how susceptible we can be to a man who says one right thing, and how quickly he can wreck it. Interestingly, several men I like are put off by Sam; they find her too strident. But that’s precisely Adlon’s point. Sam says what she means. And if she says no 150 times, it’s because sometimes she has to.

Johanna Schneller is a media connoisseur who zeroes in on pop-culture moments.

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