Jane Lynch is Heaven Sent in “Angel From Hell”

Angel From Hell Kellie Freeze
Photo: F. Scott Schafer/CBS
Angel From Hell
Photo: F. Scott Schafer/CBS

Less than a year after the end of Jane Lynch’s Emmy-winning turn as sweatsuit-wearing Sue Sylvester on FOX’s Glee, the comedy genius returns to scripted comedy (Lynch is also slays on Hollywood Game Night and hosting Wednesday’s Peoples Choice Awards) as a sublimely flawed guardian angel in CBS’ Angel From Hell.

In the half-hour comedy, Lynch stars as Amy, a woman claiming to be the guardian angel of a neurotic doctor named Allison (Maggie Lawson). Amy offers Allison unsolicited advice and when the guidance works, the duo form an unlikely friendship and Amy integrates herself into Allison’s life — though Allison isn’t sure if Amy is an angel or just insane. The jury’s still out on that point, which is OK with Kevin Pollak, who plays Allison’s father. “It’s more fun that we don’t know,” he laughs. Kyle Bornheimer is a worthy foil to Lynch as Allison’s suspicious brother. David Denham has the fortune/misfortune of playing Allison’s cheating boyfriend in the series pilot, who is mercilessly filleted by Amy’s barbs and all-knowing angel-wisdom.

Angel From Hell
Kyle Bornheimer, Maggie Lawson, Jane Lynch and Kevin Pollak.
Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Although Amy is less likely to be considered beatific as she is to have B.O., Lynch says of her character, “I think she is beautiful and glowing in her messiness.” Series creator Tad Quill sets up Allison’s situation. “What would it be like,” he muses, “if a person came into your life and said they were your guardian angel and, to boot, that person was drunk, possibly high, maybe smelled a little homeless? You would probably think that person was crazy, but there might be a small part of you that hoped it was true, because who wouldn’t want a guardian angel?”

Lynch shares one of the nuances of her character’s flawed rationale. “I said to Tad, ‘Maybe we’ll have her go to AA meetings because the cookies are free, and she loves listening to a good redemption story, but she’s not going to quit drinking.’ She doesn’t have any problem with her drinking — other people have problems.” And despite some of her personal vices and perhaps a lack of hygiene, Amy’s heart is in the right place. “She might screw up the time, she might screw up one minor detail, but for the most part she’s kind of heading in the right direction at all times,” says Lynch.

Angel From Hell
Is Amy (Jane Lynch) an angel helping Allison (Maggie Lynch) get her life together; or is Amy out of her mind? Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Regardless of whether Amy is divine or demented, Lynch is the perfect woman to be the bull in Allison’s china shop. “I think my being such a hot mess and being so anti-Allison is exactly the guardian angel that Allison needs,” says Lynch. “She needs someone to go in there and throw a bomb in the middle of her well-ordered life.” Lynch is a seraph in a vest delivering questionable advice and sardonic one-liners that border on transcendent.

Angel From Hell > CBS > Thursdays beginning Jan. 7, 9:30pm ET/8:30pm CT

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