I have a comment to the marketing team’s of networks who promote shows…..stop showing 80% of the show in the promos!!!! I was so excited for the premiere of Mr Sunshine but about half way through the premiere I realized something, I had already, pretty much, seen this. You know why? Because all the promos showed so many different parts of the show that I basically saw the premiere and didn’t know it! All the great one liners and zingers that were in this episode I had already seen a couple of times in promos. I hate when that happens. But you know what, I still loved it!!!
Mr Sunshine’s main protagonist is Ben Donovan (played by Matthew Perry), the GM of the Sunshine Center in San Diego. Ben is just turning 40 and juggling his career, his crazy boss Crystal Cohen (played by the amazing Allison Janney) who owns the Sunshine Center, his fear of his assistant who was known to have set a man on fire, Heather (played by Portia Doubleday), and his love/sex life with Marketing Director Alice (played by Andrea Anders) who has now told him that she is ending with him so she can have a committed relationship with the always in a good mood, Alonzo (played by James Lezure.) I didn’t lie before when I told you how incredible this cast is! Ben is a good guy but a little self-absorbed and arrogant. We see that Ben, while good at his job, is lousy with people. He doesn’t know anyone’s name (and doesn’t care to remember them) and he is contradictory in his direction to suit the moment. A clear understand of this is formed when he is talking to Hurley (we never did get his real name and like Ben, I don’t care because Jorge Garcia will always be Hurley to me) about why the ice still isn’t melted so the circus can perform. He doesn’t know his name, the direction he is giving him is completely different from before, and he has very little patience with Hurley. Reading this you probably think, “man this guy sounds like a complete jerk.” If it wasn’t Matthew Perry playing Ben with Perry’s quick wit, incredible charm, and ubiquitous facial expressions, you would be right. But Perry is able to pull it off and have this narcissist be quite likable. And can I just say, I am so happy to see Perry back on my TV screen. I really missed him and this show suits him perfectly!
So far it looks like the character I am going to like the best is Crystal. She is a riot!!! I always knew Janney was talented and certainly isn’t the type of actress to be type cast because I have seen her play lots of different types of characters…from CJ Craig on the West Wing, to Juno’s stepmother in Juno, to Violet Newstead in Broadway’s 9 to 5. But it’s funny to see her play such an off-balance, out of touch with reality type of person. It must be very strange for people who only associate her with the West Wing. Crystal likes to have grand gestures showing how wonderful she is…like rounding up a group of ethnically diverse children and having them hand her a trophy. But it seems these events usually go awry because Ben explains to her that covering up her grabbing a child to shield herself from ax-wielding clowns (she’s terrified of clowns but then again who isn’t) and throwing said child to the ground will cost more than when she kicked the policeman but less than when she sank the mayor’s boat. She is so thrilled. I just love how completely oblivious she is to reality. When she started singing her “ethnic song” at her press conference, my husband and I were crying laughing. It was very early Michael Scott-ish. Crystal reminds me of the type of person, and maybe this is just my wishful thinking and knowing how incredible Janney is I think it could work, who will early on come across as a slightly racist, ignorant, dolt, but will eventually show what a truly loving, intelligent, and thoughtful person that she is deep down. But I can’t wait to watch her again next week and see where this story goes between her and her son Roman (played by Nate Torrence.)
Mr Sunshine looks to be a winner for ABC. The ratings last night were strong (3.7 rating and 10.57 million viewers.) Luckily for Cougar Town, it’s already renewed, but Mr Sunshine had the highest ratings in that time slot (the same as Cougar Town’s) since Cougar Town premiered in 2009. Now let’s not get crazy. Let’s see what the numbers look like in a few weeks but it is certainly great news for the mid-season rookie!! Of all the new comedies that have premiered so far mid-season (and I think there are 1 or 2 more to go), Mr Sunshine is the best. You should check it out!