February 9, 2011

Show Review: MR. SUNSHINE

In a lot of ways the deck is stacked against Matthew Perry's new sitcom, Mr. Sunshine. Not only is it a mid-season replacement, but it has to follow ABC's mega-hit Modern Family AND replace cult favorite Cougar Town. Very few shows can bring the laughs that Modern Family can, and ABC alienated the small band of penny tossing wakkos that need them some Cul-De-Sac Crew. It could be a lose-lose situation if Mr. Sunshine doesn't impress audiences right off the bat.

Tough expectations aside, the first episode of Mr. Sunshine was decent, but the show itself has a long way to go. While I love Matthew Perry, he was by far my favorite Friend, his Ben Donovan was the weak link during the entire pilot. He really didn't get the lion's share of jokes, and when he did they fell flat. Plus, misanthropy does not look good on him even though I get the feeling this character might the closest to Perry's true self. The thing is, Perry can pull off this shtick (Studio 60 and Numb are proof), but he just missed the mark this time around.

Luckily, the supporting cast around Perry was able to pick up the slack. We only got a glimpse of Jorge Garcia's character, but he was responsible for my first big laugh of the night. Allison Janney's vaguely racist Crystal Cohen also brought the funny. James Lesure as the overly optimistic Alonzo could be a good foil for the cranky Ben, but he could also get annoying very quickly. Andrea Anders was good as Alice, but the character feels a lot like Linda from Better Off Ted.

While it's not fair, Mr. Sunshine made me miss other shows like Better Off Ted, Friends, and Studio 60 because I had to watch familiar faces in an inferior show. I even found myself missing Joey because at least Anders' character brought something different to the table (plus, it wasn't THAT bad). It'll be even more salt in the wound if Mr. Sunshine flops in the ratings because if ABC wanted a low-rated, workplace comedy with Andrea Anders, they could've just kept Better Off Ted on for 13 more episodes.

Speaking of workplace comedies, I'm curious to see if Mr. Sunshine will mesh with the rest of ABC's Laugh On comedy block. Every network has it's own brand when it comes to sitcoms: ABC relies on friends and family based shows, CBS focuses on funny cads and Chuck Lorre shows, FOX comedies tend to be out on the fringes of society, and NBC is home to the workplace comedy. It'd be easier to see this kind of show alongside The Office, Parks and Recreation, and 30 Rock. Heck, even Perry's disinterested routine could match up nicely with Jeff Winger, but Mr. Sunshine sticks out on ABC.

It may sound like I'm taking shots at the show, but I actually laughed a lot during the pilot. It's just that the flaws were too easy to spot, and they took away from what did work. First episodes are rarely winners out of the gate, and there was enough there to bring me back a few more times, but Mr. Sunshine is definitely on borrowed time.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Updates Via E-Mail