According to the Wrap, Nicollette Sheridan’s $20 million lawsuit against Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry (and ABC, ABC Studios, and Touchstone Television) alleges that he physically assaulted her and fired her for complaining about it. But what was the root of all this animosity? She maintains that it “occurred because he is a homosexual man and she is a heterosexual woman,” and that he “ultimately terminated her on account of her sex, her sexual orientation and her age.” It’s a surprising conclusion, considering the historically good relationship between vampy women and gay men. And then we found a piece of video evidence against Cherry from a 2008 appearance on Starz’s Head Case — an improvised comedy on which real celebrities receive fake therapy — that further confuses the issue.
In the clip (watch below), Cherry sits with Housewives co-star James Denton on Alexandra Wentworth’s couch, as the actor complains that he doesn’t get enough to do on the show. Cherry belittles Denton throughout the segment, here comparing Denton to a mere coaster (while Teri Hatcher is the drink that must be supported). Though it’s all presumably in fun, Denton’s complaints do echo Sheridan’s issues, save for the physical-assault parts. There are a few ways to interpret this clip: (1) The fact that Cherry is comfortable enough portraying himself as a patronizing, disparaging jerk means that there’s no way he could be that way in real life. (2) Cherry actually is a jerk in real life, hence his comfort playing himself that way, but he’s a jerk to men as well as women, thereby negating Sheridan’s claims of sexism. (3) It strengthens Sheridan’s suit, in a See, Cherry was so nice to men that he only joked about being mean to them way. Who knew Starz could ever be Exhibit A in a lawsuit? And will Party Down ever show up as a legal precedent?