With all the flawless young faces and midriff-baring vixens cluttering TV screens, it's refreshing to watch Lauren Ambrose play Claire Fisher, the shrewd, hearse-driving, acid-tongued teen of HBO's hit black comedy, Six Feet Under. As the youngest and most complex member of the Fisher clan — a dysfunctional family running a funeral home in Los Angeles — Ambrose nails the confusion and fragility of adolescent angst while struggling with a life surrounded by death.

"I love Claire," Ambrose tells TV Guide Online. "She's not involved in the family business, but she grew up in that very bizarre setting. As a result, she's had to raise herself in a lot of ways. She's got an interesting perspective on the world."

How does Ambrose's upbringing compare to Claire's? "I've lived through a lot of typical teen things, so it's just a matter of pulling them up," says the 24-year-old Connecticut native. "But I don't think I was quite as angry as Claire. I do love playing a teenager, though. It's such an amazing time in a person's life."

For Ambrose, whose credits include Law &#038 Order, Party of Five, and the 1997 Kevin Kline comedy, In &#038 Out, Claire is easily her most off-center role to date. Still, she's a favorite among the show's rabid fans.

"I've been getting some interesting feedback," she laughs. "Just the other day I was having breakfast when this woman approached me and very loudly said, 'Wow, you are so much thinner in real life! I can't believe it! Boy, I guess it's true what they say — the camera really does add a lot of weight.' She went on to tell me how she loves the show, but I was speechless. I just looked at her and was like, 'Uh, thank you... I think."