Comedians tend to have a lot in common with one another. They share the same fears, same frustrations, and a lot of the same dreams and goals. You hear the same ones over and over. Being on Johnny Carson was always a big one. Being on SNL I’ve heard at least a dozen times. And then there’s the one honor I covet the most; having a sitcom.
We’ve all heard of Seinfeld and The Drew Carey Show, but I bet a lot of people don’t know Ellen Degeneres had a sitcom for five seasons. Lenny Clarke had his own show on CBS, too. And those are just a couple of the lucky stand up comedians who got a chance to star in their own prime time show.
Then there’s the handful (or should I say fistfull!) of Playboy Playmates with sitcom credits under their belt. Jenny McCarthy had Jenny in 1997. Nikki Cox had Nikki in 2000. And then there’s my favorite: Pamela Anderson starred in Stacked which premiered on Fox in 2005.
The premise of the show follows the life of Skyler Dayton (portrayed by Anderson), a bombshell party girl similar to, well, Pamela Anderson. Sick of her boyfriend’s cheating ways, Skyler breaks it off and wanders into a bookstore ironically called Stacked. It’s ironic because she has big huge tits, and it’s a book store. Skyler is in search for a self help book about relationships.
The book store is owned by brothers Gavin and Stewart. Gavin is a failed writer, and Stewert is his equally nerdy yet more in denial partner in the business. The staff consists of one other person; Katrina, who runs the cafe in the book store. The ensemble is completed by the presense of Harold, a retired NASA scientist played by the familiar and talented Christopher Lloyd. The show lasted only two seasons.
I.LOVE.THIS.SHOW. I don’t know what it is, but I think it’s so funny. I think the plot lines are original, the cast is believable and I kind of hate myself about it. It kills me when comedic male roles go to comedians, and comedic female roles do not go to comedians. Whaddup wit dat? Believe me, I’m the first to admit, “She shouldn’t have a show, *I* should have a show!” But I don’t know, something about Pam’s comic timing… I just really love her as the ringleader in this circus of a book store.
If the actresses from the Golden Girls have credited anyone for the show’s success, it’s the writers. Even to this day if you asked Betty White what made Golden Girls a hit time and time again she would tell you it was the magnificent talent of the show’s writers. Steven Levitan, head writer on Stacked (19 episodes), also wrote for Modern Family and Just Shoot Me. Two shows I enjoy very very much, and who also give strong comedic roles to women.
So if it is the writing which makes Stacked a hit (in my mind) then did it need Pamela Anderson? Could it have been as amusing with a comedian as it’s lead? Is the show fueled by Anderson’s star power?
Another aspect I find entertaining of the show is the guest stars. Carmen Electra guest starred as Nikki Fuse, Skyler’s rival from her past partying days (Darling Nikki). Jenny McCarthy played Skyler’s childhood friend Eve (The Two Faces of Eve) who had undergone massive plastic surgery before becoming engaged to a 90 year old oil tycoon played by Bill Macy. Bill Macy is best known for his role as Walter Finlay on the 1972 sitcom, Maude. The lead on Maude was played by Bea Arthur, who was one of the roasters on The Roast of Pamela Anderson. They are both members of the animal right’s organization, P.E.T.A.
On top of having starlets and Playmates guest star, there are also many notable members of the comedy community. Tom Lennon, best known as his work on Reno 911 as Lieutenant Jim Dangle and various memorable characters on the MTV Sketch Show, The State guest starred as a sleezy hypnotist. Tom also cowrote the book Writing Movies for Fun and Profit: How We Made a Billion Dollars at The Box Office and You Can Too!
Matt Besser, one of the founders of one of the most well known popular comedy clubs in New York and Comedy Central Sketch Show Upright Citizen’s Brigade also guest starred as a guy who only came in the bookshop to use the bathroom.
Scott Adsit guest starred as an author from Gavin’s past. Scott is best known for playing Pete on 30 Rock.
I suppose what I’ve taken away from all this is while Stacked was good while it lasted, they had to have known it wasn’t going to turn into the next Seinfeld. When comedians get their own sitcom, they hope it runs for seven, eight, nine years. Pamela Anderson’s career is a rollar coaster ride. She played TJ Parker on Baywatch for five years but since then has been jumping from project to project. She’s in movies, she models, she’s an activist, she wrote two books and did a book tour, she was on Dancing With The Stars. To buckle down and do Stacked for eight seasons… It just wasn’t going to work.
What Hollywood obviously needs is a sexy young starlet with big knockers who has the drive and ambition to pursue comedy for the rest of her career. Hmm… Does anyone know someone like that?