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‘Mom’ scene-stealer Kristen Johnston: I’m not subtle

Mom | Thursday, 9 p.m., CBS

Dating can be tricky for anyone, but doing so while sober has its disadvantages. This week, the Chuck Lorre sitcom “Mom” takes a look at this issue when recovering alcoholic Tammy Diffendorf (Kristen Johnston) prepares to go on her first post-prison date — after being jailed for trying to rob an Outback steakhouse on “cops eat free night” — with help from foster sister Bonnie (Allison Janney) and her AA friends.

“I think anybody in recovery can relate to that. The whole concept of dating — it’s a process that is helped along a lot by the lubrication of alcohol,” says Johnston, 51. “Your date’s prettier, you’re prettier, they’re funnier. Everything works better, within limits. Going on a date for the first time sober is pretty intimidating.”

Johnston said she is about 10 years sober, having previously shared her own battles with drug and alcohol abuse in the 2012 memoir, “Guts: The Endless Follies and Tiny Triumphs of a Giant Disaster.”

The two-time Emmy winner for her role on “3rd Rock From the Sun” (1996-2001) spoke with The Post by phone from her home in Studio City, California.

You first played Tammy in an episode last April. Did you think she’d return?
No. It was a one-episode deal. Over the summer [the producers] said they’d like me to come back for a few more. I’ll be on the show this season and maybe next. We’ll see how it goes. I’m just riding the wave and having a fantastic time.

How would you describe Tammy?
She’s probably the dumbest smart person you’ll ever meet. She’s so many things at once. She’s a criminal, but she’s also innocent. She’s clumsy but also very sophisticated. She has no editing button and just says whatever she feels — and it’s usually the wrong thing.

Is she a tragic figure, or a hopeful one?
Hopeful — very hopeful. She really is excited about her life right now. She’s had no stimulation for so long; I guess — after prison — pretty much everything kicks ass. [laughs]

In this episode, Tammy gets quite a makeover. What was that like?
Tammy is not a feminine girl; she wears truck-driver chic. I’ve never spent less time in a makeup or hair chair! They basically do nothing to me, which I love. [In this episode] she’s all dolled up, wearing a hot black dress, makeup, did her hair. It was really fun to play this tomboy, to say the least, who all of a sudden is stomping around in high heels.

Do you worry about making Tammy a little too over-the-top?
[Huge laugh] That’s a good question for me! I’m pretty self-aware: I’m not the most subtle actress. She’s a jarring character. But it is important that it’s always rooted in reality. I’m a theater actor, so my instinct is big. When I think I’m delivering a very subtle line and I’ll see it in a movie six months later and I’m making all these cross-eyed faces — oh my God, sometimes my face gets away from me, you know? Let’s put it this way: no one’s ever told me to go bigger.

How are you handling your sobriety these days?
Life has never been better. Really. I am having a great time. I really feel like I’m on borrowed time. I shouldn’t be here. I just feel like I’ve been given another chance to do it right. And I take it seriously. I love being sober and the recovery community; it has given me such great gifts. And I count this job as one of them, I really do.

— Eric Hegedüs


And here’s what else to watch this week:

A Million Little Things | Wednesday, 10 p.m., ABC

Gary (James Roday) recalls fonder days when Jon (Ron Livingston) was there for him during his chemo treatments. Meanwhile, Katherine (Grace Park) grapples the balance of being a working mother without Eddie (David Giuntoli).

Will & Grace | Thursday, 9 p.m., NBC

In order to land a handsome TV news anchor with a penchant for cute morons, Jack (Sean Hayes) convinces Will to act like a boob. Karen (Megan Mullally) enlists Grace (Debra Messing) in a scheme to protect her alimony. A strip club is involved.

Matt Bomer as McCoy Whitman and Eric McCormack as Will Truman in "Will & Grace."
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Matt Bomer as McCoy Whitman and Eric McCormack as Will Truman in “Will & Grace.”Chris Haston/NBC

FBI | Tuesday, 9 p.m., CBS

After a key witness and a US marshal are murdered, Maggie (Missy Peregrym) and OA (Zeeko Zaki) track down the informer connected to their murders.

All American | Wednesday, 9 p.m., The CW

Billy (Taye Diggs) finds himself forced to spend quality time with Grace (Karimah Westbrook) and defend his decision to marry Laura (Monet Mazur). Meanwhile, Spencer (Daniel Ezra) shocks his Crenshaw cronies and Beverly Hills pals at the homecoming dance.

The explosive homecoming dance awaits the "All American" kids.
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The explosive homecoming dance awaits the “All American” kids.Eddy Chen/The CW

Lethal Weapon | Tuesday, 9 p.m., Fox

While Cole (Seann William Scott) celebrates Christmas with his daughter Maya (Shay Rudolph), Murtaugh (Damon Wayans) hopes he can convince his son RJ (Dante Brown) to come home from Costa Rica.

A Charlie Brown Christmas | Thursday, 8 p.m., ABC

This 1965 perennial may be the best Christmas special ever made. The plot is simple: The gang mounts a pageant as Charlie Brown bemoans Yuletide commercialism. Bonus feature: “Peanuts” strips that have been turned into vignettes.

Don't worry, kids: Things get better for Charlie Brown (and his tiny tree).
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Spoiler alert, kids: Things get better for Charlie Brown (and his tiny tree).United Features Syndicate

The Rookie | Tuesday, 10 p.m., ABC

Officer Bradford’s (Eric Winter) mettle is tested when his junkie wife, Isabel (Mircea Monroe), is arrested. Sergeant Grey (Richard T. Jones) informs Officer Nolan (Nathan Fillion) that a celebrity is going to shadow him while on patrol.

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