Pamela Adlon Interview

californication adlon

For years now, I’ve been a huge fan of Pamela Adlon.  Whether it’s her role as the voice of Bobby Hill or the fantastic character Marcy Runkle on Showtime’s Californication (or playing herself on the Starz series Head Case), she never ceases to crack me up.  In celebration of what sounds like it’ll be the best season of Californication yet, I had the chance to chat with Pamela for a few minutes, about what to expect, why she loves the show, and a few words of thanks from my favorite Arlen, Texas resident!

Marcy has become my favorite character, without doubt.  Everything out of Marcy’s mouth is great stuff. 

Pamela Adlon : Oh awesome, thank you so much.  I’m an every woman, I would think.

I have to agree – everyone can find something to relate to with this character.  Maybe not the rabid coke fiend that she became.  Tell me a little bit about – Macy was in a bit of a better place when Season 2 ended.  How much time has passed, where is the character now?

Well, our Marcy, our little cokie-smurf, has kind of traded one addiction for another.  From last season, with the drugs, and all that.  This season, she becomes very addicted to “exercise” with different partners.  Oh my god, I can’t even believe.  I guess it was the first time where I had to put in a call to Tom Kapinos and say, “Dude, how are we going to work this?” and he was like, don’t worry, we’ll do it this way, or whatever.  I’m like, I do have to show my face at my kids’ school, you know that, right?

How did you get involved in the show from the start?
It was a fluke.  I was offered a role in the pilot, just as Charlie’s wife in the restaurant in that one scene, where we set David up on this date, and I never expected to be a part of the show.  When the show got picked up, Tom Kapinos kept writing for me.  All this great stuff, and it was just a fluke that way, I can’t even believe it.  I got so lucky.  He was a fan of mine from years before, and that’s what Tom does. He kind of keeps a rolodex of his favorite people in his head, and he ends up working with them in some capacity or another, and we’re the ones who benefit.

Talk a little about where the other characters are this season – we know that Karen is out in NY, and Hank and Becca stayed back.
Well, you know, Hank and Becca are trying to make it work in LA.  I think Becca goes through some normal teenage stuff, and you know, they have ups and downs with the father daughter relationships and it’s difficult because Karen’s in NY.  I don’t want to ruin it, but we have a lot of great guest stars.  I think it’s our strongest season.  We would finish the table reads, and I would look down, and be like, what?  This is a half hour show, and it would feel like we’d done a feature film because there are so many layers and so many storylines.  These guys are just hitting it on all fronts.  Just unbelievable on so many levels.

I think starting from the beginning of last season to the end, so much had happened, so much changed, so many twists and turns, I couldn’t believe how much had gone by in the very limited amount of episodes.
I know, it’s true.  When you look back, you forget, and you say, Oh my god that was going on too!  It just makes it all the better for the people watching. For us to do it, it’s the most satisfying work you can get as an actor!

What would you say to someone who hasn’t watched yet – why should they be watching now?
In terms of just the kind of, the layers, and who it benefits, people would think it would be mostly a man’s show, but when I go to the gym, the women I see, they freak out when they see me. It’s like “you don’t understand, I love that show” and women tell me that they are Hank Moody instead of just men saying it.  I’ve had so many women saying “I’m Hank, you don’t understand”.  It’s crazy. In terms of, you have all the dirty that satisfies the stuff for guys, and you have all the emotional stuff that satisfies things for women.  

That’s true, I’ve seen episodes that I’m shocked to find myself kind of crying.  You don’t expect to be crying because Lew Ashby is on the floor after a bad hit, and the love his life is finally downstairs!
I know!  And what about when David was counting mermaids with his daughter on the cell phone when they fell asleep – it’s like poetry!

Exactly – it’s almost like you don’t expect it, because it’s got the humor, and it’s a little raunchy, but the weight that it gives to some scenes, it’s fantastic.

Is there a favorite episode that you’ve done so far?
Oh my god, there’s so many!  There’s so many!  I really like it when we’re all together, when we’re doing the scenes, when it’s David and Natasha, and we’re playing off each other.  We got to do that a couple times this season and I love that.  I like the party scenes, and the dinner parties.

The show is absolutely written in a way that I could see my friends at a dinner party or at a party saying the words that are coming out of your mouths.
Absolutely!  Absolutely!  It’s funny, when we do those scenes, and little Maddie is always there, I’m always like, please don’t talk that way!  She’s just incredible.  She’s just one of these kids that has just 100 years of soul in her face. She’s just amazing.

You look at where the character started to where she is now!
I know, she’s fabulous.  She’s really, really good.

What can you tease that’s coming up?
It’s just the ups and the downs of what goes on with David and his family, and what goes on with Marcy and Charlie. Marcy trades one addiction for another.  It’s not drugs any more, it’s rigorous exercise with multiple partners.  Just Hank trying to raise his daughter alone without her mom around, is a really kind of precarious situation.  Being a tween in LA.  What she gets exposed to, and he kinds of sees how the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree in certain respects, and she’s looking at her dad, going, well, don’t be a hypocrite.  That kind of thing, I guess I can tell you all that ha!  Kathleen Turner was unbelievable. This grand dame, just came in, and she was such a team player, crazy.  Rick Springfield, and Eva Amurri, who is Susan Sarandon’s daughter.  Ed Westwick.  A terrific season, really good.

I want to switch gears really quickly, and saying that King of the Hill is one of my favorite shows on TV.  I record every episode.
You do?

I love that show!
[As Bobby Hill] Oh thank you very much, I really appreciate it!

That right there?  That just made my day!  My friends and I were just talking this weekend about the episode where Bobby takes the self defense course at the Y for women?
Oh my god!  [Bobby Hill] LET GO OF MY PURSE!  I DON’T KNOW YOU!

[laughs]  That is just one of my favorite characters on TV – I’m constantly talking about that show, and I’m sad to see it go!  Is it the same way for you guys?
Oh god, absolutely!  I mean, they canceled us like 5 times before, so we never expected to last as long as we did.

And now we’ll get the series finale on September 13.  What happens in those episodes?  It’s probably been so long you don’t remember!
I don’t remember!

I read that Bobby becomes a ladies man!
He’s always been kind of a ladies man.


Check out the series finale of King of the Hill on FOX, September 13, and the season 3 premiere of Californication on Showtime, September 27!



Californication S2 DVD