Matthew Perry is finally back on TV, taking fellow Friends alum Courtney Cox’s slot for the week in the premiere of Mr. Sunshine. Perry plays Ben, the sports arena manager of the Sunshine Center. In the pilot, we find him turning forty and realizing that he’s completely alone. Everyone thinks he’s a self-centered jerk and he spends more time fixing the PR nightmares his boss creates than doing whatever his actual job entails.
There were a few cast members that i was pleased to find as regular cast members along with Perry. I knew that Lost’s Jorge Garcia would be on the show (though perhaps not as utilized as it should be), but I wasn’t aware that Allison Janney and Andrea Anders would be there as well. Andrea Anders, of Better Off Ted, plays a similar character to the one she did on BOT, but so far less quirky (though I imagine that will change with a few episodes). Allison Janney, meanwhile was a more exciting surprise. Had this show premiered a few weeks ago, it would not have mattered to me, but as I’ve just started a West Wing marathon (I’d never seen the show but now I’m in the middle of season seven), and CJ Cregg has become on of my favorites, this was nice to see. Where Janney played the quick, clever, and sarcastically funny Cregg, now she plays the hapless, non-PC boss and I’m loving her there too.
The big plotlines going right now are 1) Ben’s midlife crisis which plays into a love triangle between him, Alice (Anders), and Alonzo (we haven’t seen much on him so it is difficult to form a real opinion on the third party) and 2) the arrival of the son of Crystal Clear (Janney) who she has little to no relationship with (she even goes so far as saying she’s never had a child of her own, while he is in the room, when being honored for donating to a children’s charity).
The main complaint about this show has been that its tone and comedy is uneven (sometimes the jokes hit and other times they miss). While I would agree with this, I didn’t really mind it. At least not enough to be bothered by it. It’s a pilot and comedies in particular tend to have iffy pilots since they need to set up all the relationships. I hope it settles in comfortably because it would be nice to finally see Perry back and just as nice to see Janney back.