Pamela Adlon found a niche in Hollywood on her own terms

NEW YORK — Pamela Adlon jokes that she knew she wasn't going to take home an Emmy Award by her seating placement at this year's show.

The co-creator, director, writer and star of FX's "Better Things" was nominated for lead comedic actress. She was seated near Jimmy Kimmel and Stanley Tucci, who also didn't win.

Adlon found her mind wandering to a possible consolation prize: a gift basket. "I tapped Tucci and was like, 'Do you know if nominees get like a big gift basket or whatever?' He was like, 'I think we used to.' I was like, 'OK, I just want to make sure.'"

She brings that realness and perspective to "Better Things," which airs on Thursday nights (10 p.m. Eastern). The semi-autobiographical series, now in its second season, is based on her life as a single mom raising three girls.

Adlon works steadily in Hollywood but doesn't have the level of fame that makes her a paparazzi magnet and says she often finds herself making sacrifices to mother those around her.

Adlon says she's always had a maternal instinct.

"It's never turned off," she said in a recent interview. "When I was 19, my friends used to call me 'mother and care unit' because people would be crashing on my couch. On (the) set, everybody calls me mommy or commander. I like commander."

Adlon, also known for her roles on "Californication" and "Louie," directed every episode of the second season of "Better Things."

"It's the ultimate. I got to do four or five jobs on my show. I got to produce, write with Louis C.K., direct and act. And I got to wear my own clothes and decide what people wouldn't do to my face and hair, which is my favorite," she said with a laugh.

She also makes sure to look after her TV daughters, well, like a mom.

"I'm always considering where they are that day. Did you eat? This one is flat-lining, go get some food in it. This one is texting, let's take the phone away. ... Things like that."

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Online:

http://www.fxnetworks.com/shows/better-things/

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