Photo Credit : ABC
Matthew Perry returns to television in “Mr. Sunshine,” a sitcom he produces as well as stars in. Besides Perry the show boasts familiar faces such as Allison Janney and Jorge Garcia.
By : SHAWNA BENSON
Matthew Perry returns to television in “Mr. Sunshine,” a sitcom he produces as well as stars in. Besides Perry the show boasts familiar faces such as Allison Janney and Jorge Garcia. Perry plays Ben Donovan, the general manager of the Sunshine Center, a multi-purpose facility which used to house a fictional San Diego basketball team, but now serves as a venue for concerts, conventions, circuses, and whatever else comes to town. Janney is Crystal, Ben’s slightly eccentric and very un-PC boss, who in the premiere donates $50,000 to a local charity to try to make up for her recent indiscretions with regard to betting on Himalayan dogs.
Photo Credit : ABC
Ben has a lot going on – not only is it his birthday, he’s trying to figure out whether he wants to be in a committed relationship with Alice, (Andrea Anders, “Better off Ted”) the marketing manager of the Sunshine Center. Meanwhile, the circus is in town, there’s still ice from the previous night’s hockey game to remove, and Crystal has saddled Ben with the task of finding a job for Roman (Nate Torrence “Studio 60”), her estranged son. If it sounds like there’s a lot going on in the first episode, there is. Clearly there are a lot of characters and stories to introduce, particularly the the fractured relationship between Crystal and her son, Roman and the love triangle of Ben, Alice and Alonzo (James Lesure, “Las Vegas.”), but there will also be chaos resulting from whatever event is taking place at the Sunshine Center and from Crystal’s antics.
Perry is at his best when he attempts to be a source of sanity in his insane world – it’s a role he perfected as Chandler on “Friends” and works well for him here. The frustration is that there is just too much going on. Garcia, who plays Robert, the maintenance man of the Sunshine Center, is fantastic, especially with Perry, but tragically is in only two scenes of the episode. I’m certain that will be fixed going forward as he becomes a bigger part of the show, but for those who have missed having Hurley from “Lost” in their lives, they’ll have to wait a little bit longer to really enjoy having him back on TV. Janney fares better as her Crystal gets a great deal more attention in the pilot. Janney has wonderful comic timing and her scenes with Perry are particularly strong.
In general the cast all does great work, and there is a lot of promise not only to the concept of the show, but in the strength of the characters. The biggest challenge for the show to overcome is one of cohesion. All of the individual pieces feel like a good fit, but there’s still something lacking in the chemistry of the leads. Perhaps after a few more episodes the actors will gel further, which would allow the rhythms of the show to become more fluid. As it is now, it feels choppy, as if it was developed bit by bit rather than as a whole story.
Ultimately, Mr. Sunshine could develop a following and do well on ABC. Perhaps Courtney Cox’s fans will show some love for her former co-star, as“Mr. Sunshine” will air in “Cougar Town’s” time slot for the next few weeks.
Mr. Sunshine premieres on ABC on Wednesday February 9th at 9:30 PM ET.