Need to put some pep back in your step? Sit down for a session with Liza, the manic personal motivator played by Cheri Oteri in Life Coach, a series of shorts that run as interstitials on AMC and on the innertubes at LizaLifeCoach.com.
Caveat: Cheri Oteri could pretty much read the phone book and I would find it fall-down funny. Her performance here contains the expected elements of neediness, barely suppressed rage and hideous cutesiness, but the stroke of genius is that she takes her character of a life coach—a certified life coach—seriously. While she pays due tribute to the trade's air of overcaffeinated quackery, uses vaporous buzz words, generally makes a fool of herself and usually ends up getting implicated in her clients' problems, Oteri is hip to the fact that life coaching is a strenuously unflaky profession, powered by toughen-up rhetoric and impatient with airy-fairy self-absorption. After all, America's original life coach was Ben Franklin. The best joke may be that Liza is actually a pretty good life coach.
The show's format still seems to be in flux. In one episode Liza gets in trouble for acting black during a role playing session. In another, a client trusts her with a $148 million lottery ticket because "you're a life coach." A psychotherapist comes to Liza because the life coaches are taking all his clients. There's also an interactive element where you can send your own problems to Liza. And in this inspired piece of coaching, Liza helps out a happy grief counsellor: