I got behind Matthew Perry when he did return to do Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. But when 60 was abruptly cancelled after a season, I was pissed like any fan would be.
Learning that Matthew was doing another show had me all excited again. The best part was learning Matthew was going to write and co-create it.
Two-years of waiting and there he was --- Matthew on the small screen. Mr. Sunshine.
And guess what Friends fans? Mr. Sunshine is Chandler Bing!
Matthew Perry plays Ben Donovan, who manages the Sunshine Sports Arena. The pilot episode opens with Ben turning 40 and realizing he's yet to "grow up" and learn stuff like "commitment". Doesn't that sound totally familiar to you? That's exactly where Chandler Bing was ten years ago. It was not easy to shake off the idea that Ben isn't Chandler. What makes it harder was, every single time Ben moved or spoke? It was, unmistakably, like watching Chandler Bing all over.
Now, Chandler being my favorite friend? I should be pleased seeing he was sort of an extension of Ben Donovan. And I am, really. Matthew Perry can do no wrong in my eyes.
Only...this time, in Mr, Sunshine? "Chandler Ben" is surrounded by a bunch of goofs and misfits who are, unfortunately, so, so, so much more interesting than Chandler Ben.
- Allison Janey plays the boss, Crystal Cohen, and she is a hoot. She's probably better off staying in the rehab but that would make the office atmosphere totally boring.
- Nate Torrence as Roman Cohen (Crystal's son, but they "aren't close) and Portia Doubleday as Heather (Ben's assistant) play minor roles. But without them, I don't think this show's going to be as funny. You have to watch Mr. Sunshine to see why.
- Andrea Anders plays Alice, Ben's co-worker and friend-with-benefits. She is not as goofy as the rest of the other characters, but Andrea is a bowl of sweetness and I truly like her ever since I've seen her on Joey. In real life, Andrea Anders is Matt Le Blanc's girlfriend and it was actually icky to watch Matthew and Andrea kissing because of this. With her on the show though, Mr. Sunshine feels a lot like Better Off Ted.
Critics who have seen the pilot months ago are quick to point out the lack of funny on Mr. Sunshine. But I found myself laughing out loud a couple of times. The characterization is a crazy fit and the jokes sound well-written to me. In fact, the jokes had a touch of Chandler Bing in it, I have to say. And that pleases me to no end.
Maybe a little tweaking will help, if only to please those darn critics. But as it is, Mr. Sunshine? Totally makes me happy!