Photo: RANDY HOLMES/ABC
December 11, 2007 12:00 AM

She’s the perfect blend of selfish snark and maternal concern. Yes, Jean Smart‘s hilarious antics on Samantha Who? make it a real pleasure to tune in. Remember last week when we discovered Regina (Jean Smart) was a co-conspirator with her daughter, Samantha, (Christina Applegate) in keeping a crashed car from Dad? (They sunk it in a lake!) Or on Monday’s show, how funny was it when Regina showed up to help Sam recover from a broken heart–after she set her up with the guy? Sure, it’s tough to pick, but here are the three reasons we love Jean Smart: 1. That breathy twang: When every phrase ends on an uptick (think The Hills crossed with Designing Women delivery), even insults and passive-aggressive motherly advice sound sweeter. (Take her dig at Samantha last week: “In different clothes, you could be a model!”)

2. Her Andrea-baiting: Regina may rib her own daughter, but she reserves her sharpest barbs for Samantha’s party-loving pal Andrea (Jennifer Esposito). On Monday’s episode, Regina crashes a pity party for Sam where the white wine is a-flowin’. And while all the ladies are imbibing, Regina can’t help but zing Andrea, boozily reminding her she doesn’t have to finish every bottle of wine. Says Regina: “It’s not like a box of Cracker Jacks with a prize at the bottom.”

3. Her offbeat hobbies: You know Regina’s quirky hobbies–no Tupperware parties here!–constantly surprise and delight. Whether it was last week’s clothing sale–where Regina forced Sam to model transformable outfits–or painting a birdcage just because, Smart’s character is no “typical” mom. On Monday’s show, she confessed she wished Sam would find a vacation home in Ashville, N.C., because the city supports a strong “mountain crafting” community. (Remember Andrea’s reaction to that one?)

Now you tell us: Are you equally enamored of Jean Smart’s character? What are your favorite lines from Samantha Who? –Brian Orloff

Photo: RANDY HOLMES/ABC

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