Adlon in “Better Things
”: Colleen Hayes
has added even more to her plate on “Better Things
” this season. The comedy’s sophomore run debuts on FX tonight, and the series’ co-creator, star, showrunner, writer, and executive producer helmed all 10 episodes. She directed two episodes of the critically acclaimed show’s first season, which centers on the professional and personal life of a divorced actress raising three daughters. What inspired Adlon to get into the director’s chair — and make “Better Things
” — was seeing another woman take the reins on a particular TV project.
“I never had the ambition to be a director and do all of this, nor was it on my radar,” Adlon told Variety in a new interview. “When I saw Lena Dunham
, when I saw an ad for ‘Girls
,’ I was like, ‘What is that?’ Then I watched it. I was like, ‘Oh, my God. Are you kidding me? She’s half my fucking age, and she’s running that shit?’ That was a head-cracking moment for me,’ she recalled. She realized it was time to take the lead and tell her own stories. And based on her decades of experiences on other people’s sets — particularly ones run by men — she was sure of what she wanted to avoid on her own.
“I know what it’s like to sit and whittle your life away on a set watching men — people — waste so much time and money indulging themselves,” she said. “It’s insane. It doesn’t have to be that way. This whole season was an experiment in ‘Things can be great and comfortable.’ You don’t have to scrape the marrow off your bones.”
The wide-ranging interview also sees Adlon sounding off on the dangers of seeking approval. “I used to worry so much about what people thought about me and be over-pleasing, and it was exhausting,” the “Louie
” alumna recalled. “When you stop worrying about that kind of stuff, you actually start focusing and doing the good work. The work that you’re meant to do.”
Adlon is up for an Emmy this year for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series. The ceremony and telecast will take place this Sunday, September 17.Pamela Adlon
on Being Inspired by Lena Dunham
and Saying Goodbye
to Over-Pleasing was originally published in Women and Hollywood on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.