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'Better Things': Olivia Edward recaps season 1, episode 7

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Jessica Brooks/FX

Every week, the cast and crew of FX’s Better Things — a semi-autobiographical comedy created by Pamela Adlon and Louie C.K., centered on Sam Fox (Adlon), an actress and gnarly single mom of three girls — is taking EW behind the scenes. For each episode, a cast or crew member is recapping, sharing thoughts on what went down, and walking us through the ins-and-outs of the show. Here, Olivia Edward, who is nine and plays Sam’s youngest, Duke, brings us into episode 7, “Duke’s Chorus.”

On Duke’s aversion to chorus…

Duke isn’t really into singing. It’s really boring to her, especially because of the songs she has to sing. She likes pop songs, and they don’t sing pop songs in her chorus. She’d prefer to be at home, hanging out with her sisters. Or else watching TV in bed. Duke really likes her bed. 

On filming the playdate scene…

There were a lot of kids that I got to meet in this episode, and a few of them became my friends. Ivy [George], who plays Morgan, became my close friend. Filming this was the first time we ever met and now whenever I’m in L.A., we try to get together. On set, we ate cupcakes and played a little bit. When we had the dress-up scene, we put on our own lipstick and really played that game — it was so fun. 

On Duke’s retro style…

I wouldn’t say I don’t like Duke’s clothes, but they’re not my style. I’m more likely to wear a leather jacket and leggings or jeans. 

On working with Pamela Adlon and onscreen sisters Hannah Alligood and Mikey Madison…

We all really have a connection. They’re like my second family and really understand me. Mikey, Hannah and I had a sleepover before we taped, and it was so fun. We went in the pool, wrote a few things, and watched Glee and I Dream of Jeannie

On being cast as Duke…

I went on two or three auditions, but on the last one, we had to wait a little while. In my brain, I was going, Did I get it? Did I not get it? Then, we got a call from Pamela, she talk to my mom, and when I picked up, she said, “Would you like to play Duke on my TV show?” I was like, “Yay!” Of course, I celebrated with cake because that is my life and I love cake. It was a vanilla flower cake with fondant and jelly inside. 

On tuning into Better Things’ more “adult” scenes…

My mom will watch the show first and tell me the scenes that I’m allowed to watch. There’s never really a scene that I’m in that’s too bad. Duke’s a little like me — she’s sweet, the youngest, and in her mom’s eyes, she’s innocent. But sometimes she can do some sneaky things…

As told to Caitlin Brody

Better Things airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET on FX.​

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