Many of us consider Sherri Shepherd the master of unintentional humor, thanks to her willingness to blurt out completely unfiltered opinions about any and everything on The View. But Shepherd is actually an accomplished standup comedienne whose occasional appearances on 30 Rock (as the wife of egomaniacal actor Tracy Jordan) have been among the show's best moments. Does this mean she can carry a sitcom - Sherri, on Lifetime - on her own?
Last night, Lifetime aired the show's second insallment of the pilot (not the official season premiere, which takes place next Tuesday, Oct 13) as a "sneak peek" for interested viewers. It was, unfortunately, marked by many of the failings that characterize the awkward pilot: clunky introductions, actors who didn't seem fully sure of their own characters, and so forth. But it just may find a home.
The show's plot: an aspiring actress struggles to regain her sense of self after she discovers her husband (played by Malcolm Jamal Warner) has impregnated a 23-year-old sandwich shop worker (the plot is loosely based on Shepherd's real-life struggles with her ex-husband Jeff Tarpley). Through her trials, she finds support in her coworkers, a "zany" group of paralegals (including the stellar Kali Rocha, whose caricaturization of a lonely office manager is sure to find fans). Unfortunately - and this may just be the standard fault of the pilot - all these facts are haphazardly thrown directly in the viewers' faces.
Sherri is not a good actress by any stretch of the imagination, but she does know a thing about comedic timing. The show's clumsy writing was punctuated by moments of the no-frills brilliance that has garnered Shepherd fans: when left to her devices and unfettered by lines, Shepherd is really funny. Hopefully as the show finds its footing over the course of the first season, it will stop trying so hard to be a standard sitcom.
Catch another sneak peek of Sherri tonight on Lifetime at 7 PM ET/PT.