Known for her standout work on Louie and Californication, Better Things co-creator Pamela Adlon saw a big bet pay off in a big way today as she landed a nomination for Outstanding Leading Actress in a Comedy Series.
“I’m absolutely, 100 percent stunned. I cried for almost an hour straight when I heard,” Adlon says. “I’ve been acting my whole life. I’ve always been bringing up the rear—like, the side character—just wanting to keep working, never part of the Big Boys Club. So this is unbelievable for me.”
Wearing many hats on the FX series—as star, writer, director and executive producer—the project loosely based on Adlon’s life as a working actress and single mother of three came with its share of challenges.
“It’s an enormous amount of responsibility, but it feels natural for me because I’m a mother, I’ve been raising my daughters on my own for a decade, so it’s kind of the natural progression for me, because I’m a mom, and I’m a caretaker,” she says. “I’m able to cross the T’s and dot the I’s. My show is very handmade, and it lends itself to that, so it’s not an overwhelming amount of work. I put that much work into everything I do, so I might as well be doing all of these extra things.”
As a quadruple threat with Better Things, Adlon stands out as an example of the kinds of storytellers who should be supported in this day and age. Count Adlon among those women still befuddled by the apparent lack of representation of women in the industry, particularly in the role of director.
“For me, myself, I’ve been walking around, scratching my head, going, ‘Everybody knows that these stories are going to be more interesting, and layered.’ I feel like the big ‘man movies’ and ‘man stories’ are taking a far more ‘feminine’ slant, if ‘feminine’ means emotional, if ‘feminine’ means feeling and depth,” the actress says. “We don’t want to see people without chinks in their armor anymore. People are inherently flawed and have feelings, and everybody’s walking around raw right now. I think that’s the most relatable thing.”