"I feel pretty lucky to be working in television right now," says Rebecca Metz, who recurs in the new F/X series Better Things, (Better Things) premiering September 8. Rebecca plays “Tressa,” talent manager and friend to Sam Fox (Pamela Adlon.) Adlon is the show's co-creator and executive producer, and is best known for her roles as “Marci” on Californication, Louis C.K.'s on-again-off-again love interest “Pamela” on Louie, and for her Emmy-winning voiceover work. In addition to her Better Things role, Rebecca returns for a third season as wisecracking waitress “Melinda” on Showtime's Shameless on Sunday, October 2.
"The boundaries are being pushed further than they've ever been pushed before," notes Rebecca. "There's more of an interest than there's ever been in portraying a truly broad range of people and characters." And for this accomplished character actor, that means more opportunities to show her remarkable range in both comic and dramatic roles on some of today's most groundbreaking shows. Since graduating from the prestigious Carnegie Mellon School of Drama, Rebecca has made her mark on television in a string of memorable guest roles on dozens of popular and critically acclaimed shows, from Nip/Tuck to Weeds to Maron.
A proud Jersey girl born and raised in Bruce Springsteen’s hometown (Freehold, not Asbury Park — look it up), Rebecca was drawn to acting from an early age. Her parents, both classically trained singers who perform in community choirs, inspired her to follow a creative path, as did a favorite childhood TV show. “I honestly think the impetus for wanting to be an actor came from watching The Muppet Show,” she says with a laugh. “And from the backstage scenes, where they’re all freaking out and having a crisis and trying to keep from showing it onstage. I thought that looked really fun.”
After studying theater and the performing arts in high school, Rebecca was accepted into the highly competitive acting conservatory program at Carnegie Mellon. Most of her classmates aspired to work on Broadway or in film, but she harbored different ambitions. “My background is in theater and I will always come back to it, but I wanted to be on television before it was ‘cool,’” she says. “I’ve always loved TV. It just felt like the right place for me.” Early in her career, Rebecca made the most of small roles on The King of Queens, Gilmore Girls and Scrubs among many others. (She once spilled a tray of drinks of Maura Tierney while working on ER — sorry, Maura!)
Then she took a huge leap forward with a pivotal, graphic role on Ryan Murphy’s plastic surgery drama, Nip/Tuck. Even on a show known for controversial characters, Rebecca’s fearless turn as masochistic patient Abby Mays stood out as one of the series’ most memorable. When Rebecca was offered the challenging part, she remembers thinking, “OK, here’s where I find out what I do when faced with a really great role that will demand a lot of me psychologically and emotionally. And I was really excited about it.” And her courage paid off. “I got to go in for bigger and better roles after Nip/Tuck,” she says. “It changed everything.”
After Nip/Tuck, Rebecca began landing more dramatic roles on shows like Boston Legal, The Mentalist, Justified and Southland. But her comedic skills have continued to serve her well, too, on Weeds, Californication, The Mindy Project, The Thundermans, Maron and particularly Shameless, on which she has appeared for three seasons as the foul-mouthed Melinda.
“I really like the current trend in television right now that blurs the line between drama and comedy. I think that’s how life tends to be,” Rebecca notes. And even on comedies, she adds, “I like characters with a dark streak. I like characters who find comedy in darkness. I like characters that let me push myself to make a big choice.”
In addition to her frequent television and commercial work, Rebecca has appeared in numerous independent and short films, most recently Jake Hoffman’s Asthma (2014). She is also a voiceover and stage actor whose theater credits include Sheila Callaghan’s Kate Crackernuts (24th Street Theatre) and Burglars of Hamm’s award-winning musical, The Behavior of Broadus (Sacred Fools).
But today, there’s no question that Rebecca is all about the small screen. “Television is going to places it’s never been before,” she declares. “And I get to be a part of that. Every time I go to work, or even go to an audition that is in the front of my mind. I feel very fortunate to be here for it.”