Return engagements

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“Sherri”
Tuesday 10pm, Lifetime

I used to have an irrational dislike of Sherri Shepherd. I think it was because I just didn’t understand the decision to cast her on “The View,” especially since she came on at roughly the same time as Whoopi Goldberg, and I felt the two of them kind of cancelled each other out. And she started saying the stupidest things. But then she started appearing on “30 Rock” as Tracy Jordan’s wife, and I realized that Shepherd is in fact awesome, and I don’t care if she does think the world is flat. Now in addition to her daytime gig she’s got her own sitcom, one based on the real-life misadventures of herself, her cheating husband and the woman he knocked up. Malcolm-Jamal Warner plays the cad, which I guess means Theo Huxtable is officially all grown up.

“Nip/Tuck”
Wednesday 10pm, FX

Time to wrap this one up. Although last season had a couple of totally insane high points, “Nip/Tuck” obviously jumped the shark a few years back. Tonight the first part of its final season begins, although everybody seems to be over it. Most of the cast is already working on new gigs—Kimber is now a pimp on “Melrose Place,” Liz just signed on to be a marriage counselor on “Dexter”—but here’s hoping things go out with a bang. Certainly the reported guest-star line-up is promising: Rose McGowan, Linda Hunt, Frances Conroy and Kathy Griffin will be popping up, with returns by Joan Rivers, Vanessa Redgrave and—most excitingly—Famke Janssen as the craziest transsexual life coach ever captured on film.

“30 Rock”
Thursday 9:30pm, NBC

After winning its third consecutive Emmy for Best Comedy Series last month, “30 Rock” finally returns. And thank God for that, because my mind grapes totally need squeezing. The producers have apparently learned from last season’s ratings-baiting/critic-angering guest-star-palooza (Jennifer Aniston, Steve Martin, Salma Hayek, Alan Alda and more all stopped by to varying degrees of success) and are reportedly toning down the stunts this year. That said, look for a return engagement from Will Arnett (“Arrested Development”), out for revenge after being ousted at GE, plus a guest spot by TV legend Betty White, who knows a thing or two about biting workplace comedies, and will be playing herself.

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