Jennifer Esposito by Bob D'Amico/ABC
We all have those friends who bring out the worst in us. Unfortunately for Jennifer Esposito's character on Samantha Who? (Mondays at 9:30 pm/ET, ABC), her impressionable pal is an amnesiac who doesn't necessarily want to muck up her clean slate. We caught up with Esposito to discuss Who's early success, what it's like to play a bad seed, and whether we can expect her character to have a moral makeover of her own. - Adam Bryant

TVGuide.com: So, how glad are you to be back at work?
Jennifer Esposito:
It's so nice. The cast is so awesome. That strike was just horrendous for everyone, and it's great to see our crew and our writers all back. We have a really lovely set, so it's so much fun to be back.

TVGuide.com: Samantha Who? was this season's highest-rated freshman comedy. Did you fear the strike would cripple that momentum?
Esposito:
I think some of the executives did, because that's their job to think about stuff like that. But I didn't worry about it at all, and neither did [costar] Christina [Applegate] or any of the rest of the cast. We know we have a great show that's really funny, and I think we have people out there who are really excited to see us. So I don't think it's going to hurt us at all.

TVGuide.com: What is it about the show that has made it so popular?
Esposito:
Christina is just beloved on TV, which is awesome. But I also think the cast is pretty fantastic - everybody is really individual. The creator, Don Todd, is one of the funniest, smartest writers, and the show's not your typical kind of slapstick humor. It's a little bit dark, and to be honest when I first read it, I didn't think we'd even make it on the air - I thought it was a little bit too out there. We play really despicable characters, especially me, and I didn't know if ABC [would] take a chance [on that]. It's nice to see that people love it.

TVGuide.com: So what can we expect from Andrea in the remaining episodes?
Esposito:
Well, she's just more and more self-obsessed and drunk. [ Laughs] I think we start to get into everyone else, as well as Christina. We get to see more of the people around her, which makes everything more interesting. Constantly being around such lunatics shines more light on who Samantha is.

TVGuide.com: Most of those lunatics just want to take advantage of her memory loss.
Esposito:
For my character, you'll see more of where she came from and why she's the way she is. With Melissa McCarthy's character Dena, you see that she's not just a sweet friend. She's really a predator - [she takes] advantage of [Samantha's] sickness. And her mom also just constantly wants to be closer to her daughter. So we all have our own agendas.

TVGuide.com: Do you advance your agenda in tonight's episode, "The Butterflies"?
Esposito:
No, it's really more of a turning point for Samantha in her work. An old project she was in charge of was to build over this endangered butterfly habitat, and the "new" Samantha wants to stop it. But it's a billion-dollar project, and of course, my character thinks she's insane. So, it's a deciding point for her, whether or not she can continue in this line of work and be that person anymore.

TVGuide.com: As you've said, Andrea is the "drunk" party friend. I assume you have a lot of fun playing the devil on Samantha's shoulder.
Esposito:
Yeah, it's really pretty awesome. But she doesn't think she's bad. Underneath it, very deep down, I think she's lonely. Samantha is her pipeline to the world - I don't think she has many people around and she never wanted or needed anyone because she and Samantha were so tight. But now that Sam's this new person, she's in fear of losing her one real friend and coming to terms with who she is, which perhaps isn't such a nice person.

TVGuide.com: Any chance Sam's new morals might rub off on Andrea?
Esposito:
Absolutely not. [ Laughs] I can't imagine it - it wouldn't be fun. I just don't think she knows how to be a different person. I think the writers might toy with something like that, but I think that's the fun of it. I think people love Andrea and the fact that she says whatever the heck she wants to say. We all wish we could sometimes speak our mind when we don't.

TVGuide.com: How was your stint on Rescue Me?
Esposito:
It was awesome. I absolutely love that show, and Denis [Leary] is just incredible to work with. He's so talented, and it was just such a great experience. It was a dream job. I would give anything to go back on that show.

TVGuide.com: You were also on the very successful comedy Spin City. Are you drawn to the funny stuff?
Esposito:
I love comedy. It's difficult, but I feel it comes easier. I enjoy being funny and making people laugh, and there's just so much in how you say things and the timing that makes it interesting. Working on Spin City, which was one of my first jobs, I couldn't have asked for a better learning experience. I was working with pros, and it was just fascinating to watch them work. But I would never give up doing drama - I enjoy doing both.

TVGuide.com: If you had amnesia, is there anything you wouldn't mind forgetting?
Esposito:
I have to say that there really isn't anything. Every experience is part of who you are, and I am pretty pleased with who and where I am. So, I think it would be a shame to forget about something, even if it caused pain, because I just don't believe in not being who you are. Regret is wasted because you can't change the past.