'Sherri' is less than perfect but mildly amusing
Regardless how whack-a-doodle Sherri Shepherd comes off on "The View," she's always been an entertaining comedic actress, often elevating lesser material (think: "The Wedding Bells," "Less Than Perfect," "Wednesday 9:30 (8:30 Central)").
She does it again and to an even greater extent in Lifetime's "Sherri" (7 p.m. Monday), a series built around her persona. It's a low-budget, low-risk sitcom that doesn't attempt to break any new ground. "Sherri" just wants to make viewers laugh and sometimes that's enough.
Shepherd stars as a version of herself: Sherri Robinson, a divorced single mother with one foot in the entertainment business (there are mentions of guest spots on "30 Rock," which Shepherd has done) and the other working part-time as a paralegal (this is where the fiction comes in). Presumably this Sherri is not on "The View."
In Sherri's regular office job she gossips with friends and endures a well-meaning but brittle boss (Kali Rocha, a 1993 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University). Sherri also nurses a broken heart since her husband cheated on her.
Starring: Sherri Shepherd.
"Screw me once, shame on you," Sherri says. "Screw a white girl, we done."
Malcolm-Jamal Warner ("The Cosby Show") guest stars as Sherri's ex-husband who compounds his original sin in Monday's premiere episode. The strong guest cast in the premiere also includes James Avery ("Fresh Prince of Bel-Air") as Sherri's father and Michael Boatman ("China Beach," "Spin City") as a potential new suitor.
"Sherri" is executive produced by sitcom veterans, including Dave Flebotte ("Desperate Housewives," "The Geena Davis Show") and Mt. Lebanon native Terri Minksy ("Lizzie McGuire," "Less Than Perfect"), and the show has the feel of a comedy that would have aired in prime time on ABC in the late '80s or '90s.
If you're looking for a smart, brain-massaging sitcom, watch NBC's Thursday night lineup. If you're just seeking a few (sometimes cheap) laughs, "Sherri" provides.
After airing at 7 p.m. Monday through Friday this week, "Sherri" moves to its regular weekly time slot, 10 p.m. Tuesday.
First Published October 4, 2009 12:00 am