Before she started turning heads as power-hungry viper Lori Volpone on Showtime's showbiz satire, Beggars and Choosers, Charlotte Ross starred opposite Pauly Shore in the infamous 1997 Fox sitcom Pauly. And get this ? she's not denying it.

"I never claimed the show to be highbrow," Ross tells TV Guide Online. "I knew what I was getting into, and I had the best time playing that character. I laughed the whole time we did that show."

Ross believes the media's bias toward the offbeat comedian contributed to Pauly's sudden death. "All of the interviews that I did for that show, I spent the first 10 minutes defending Pauly," she sighs. "Thank God I really did like him. The press just ate the poor guy alive. I've never seen anything like that and I'd never wish that on my worst enemy.

"It was such a harsh rap," she says. "I thought, 'How could someone deal with that?' And now every time I pick up the paper it says something like, 'It's as bad as a Pauly Shore movie.' They always use that terrible comparison."

Still, even Ross admits to a little anti-Shore bias heading into the project. "I was one of those people who had preconceived notions about Pauly, but he was actually one of the sweetest people I had ever worked with," she says. "Maybe it's because of where I caught him in his career, but he was a sweetheart."