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Say what you will about “The View” co-host Sherri Shepherd’s views on evolution, the relative flatness of the Earth and general historical dates –when she is placed in a fictional construct (that loosely resembles her real life), she’s quite fun to watch.
That doesn’t mean that Lifetime’s new, very conventional sitcom “Sherri” is a smash, though it does have amusing moments. Reminiscent of “Seinfeld” in that it mirrors the early career of a comedian — Shepherd plays a paralegal while pursuing stand-up and struggling with single motherhood — “Sherri” takes viewers through the paces with a lot of sass and the occasional funny bit.
In the pilot, Shepherd is grieving over the loss of her marriage (the fact that her husband cheated on her not just with a woman but with a white woman is brought up more than once; it’s hard to imagine that the inverse of that racist statement would make it to primetime TV). Her confidence is shored up by her loyal, ditzy co-workers, who take her out for a night on the town. (Oddly, the break room in which they seem to spend all their time echoes the set of a sitcom Shepherd also was on, “Less Than Perfect.”)
Where “Sherri” gets its momentum is from the mugging of its heroine (“the stages of grief are anger, anger, anger, anger and candy”) and its plot twists: Shepherd confronts the now-pregnant gal who stole her man (guest Malcolm Jamal-Warner, in a welcome return to the form) and discovers she’s Sherri’s biggest fan; and a cougar-gone-wrong moment when the young man’s mom shows up to collect him and both parent and Sherri end up whaling on the young man.
“Sherri” is a slip of a comedy, an appetizer yearning to be the main course. Shepherd’s a likable, charismatic presence on-camera, and her adherence to girl power to get through life fits perfectly with Lifetime’s raison d’etre. Just don’t expect much, and “Sherri” will never let you down. Not unlike a good piece of candy.
Airdate: 7-7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 5 (Lifetime)
Production: Faithwalker Prods., Wass/Stein Prods., Lifetime Network
Cast: Sherri Shepherd, Kali Rocha, Tammy Townsend, Elizabeth Regen, Kate Reinders
Executive producers: Dave Flebotte, Nina Wass, Gene Stein
Creator-writer: Dave Flebotte
Co-executive producer: Sherri Shepherd
Producer: Werner Walian
Director: Andrew D. Weyman
Director of photography: Donald A. Morgan
Production designer: Michael Hynes
Costume designer: Michelle Cole
Casting: Marc Hirschfeld
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