When Pamela Adlon and Ron Bennington walked on stage at New York’s Village Underground to John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s “Mother“– the theme song from Better Things— the audience erupted and sang along. Adlon has struck a chord with audiences all over the world with her FX series Better Things, and she’s also given young audiences the chance to fall in love with the phenomenal song from Lennon’s first solo album, and older audiences the chance to rediscover the song, or in some cases hear it for the very first time. And that was absolutely intentional.
During the hour conversation which was recorded for SiriusXM’s Unmasked series, Pamela told host Ron Bennington that using the song was a top priority despite that the cost of using the song wasn’t exactly in the show’s music budget.
This is your theme song now. John Lennon and Yoko Ono It’s unbelievable,” Bennington said, asking, “do you ever get sick of hearing that song?”
“That song is…oh, that song is like porn to me,” Aldon said. “When Louis [C.K.] and I were cutting the pilot, it was that song. And we played the entire song over black. We were like ‘How long do you think we can make this show? This is amaaaazing.'”
Adlon went on to tell the audience that having that song as part of her show was absolutely essential. “I had to have that song,” she said. “It was like the number one thing. It was so important to me and I wrote this long like ‘Jerry Maguire letter’ to FX.”
But that’s not all, she also wrote an eight-page letter to Yoko Ono telling her how much this historic song meant to her and her show, and she may have added in a few other details to show her love and dedication. “I told her that me and my girls went to see her at the Orpheum in 2010 with the Plastic Ono Band and she was playing chess with the RZA on the stage for like 20 minutes and the audience is all shifting uncomfortably and I’m like do you know how much that meant to me?….and my daughters? Yeah. And when the fly was buzzing around your nipple… in the film?”
She never got an answer from Yoko to her letter, or even found out if Yoko read it, but FX did read their letter and they let her have the song despite that it was more expensive than the song budget allowed. “I mean it was like four times my music budget,” she said. And well worth it, because the song sets the tone for the half hour series perfectly.
Adlon herself says she never heard the song until a few years ago. “I have this whole theory that you can discover a new Beatles song every day for the rest of your life until you die. And that song– I freaked out and I wanted to share it with a lot of people… a lot of people haven’t heard it so… ”
You can hear Unmasked with Pamela Adlon on SiriusXM and catch it on iTunes as part of our Best of Unmasked series. And watch Better Things on Thursday nights! Best show on television right now? Yeah. It is.