Take Me to the Pilots '10: ABC's 'Mr. Sunshine'
Matthew Perry, Andrea Anders and Allison Janney give this midseason comedy some potential
[As I've already mentioned, and will continue to mention each and every one of these posts that I do: This is *not* a review. Pilots change. Sometimes a lot. Often for the better. Sometimes for the worse. But they change. Actual reviews will be coming in September and perhaps October (and maybe midseason in some cases). This is, however, a brief gut reaction to not-for-air pilots.]
Show: "Mr. Sunshine," ABC [MIDSEASON]
The Pitch: "Chandler Bing's Very Special Midlife Crisis"
Quick Response: [I hadn't been planning on doing midseason shows here, but somebody on Twitter asked specifically about "Mr. Sunshine," so I figured I might as well...] The elements are all in place for "Mr. Sunshine" to become a pretty funny comedy. You've got Matthew Perry, Allison Janney and Andrea Anders, all versatile favorites (plus a solid supporting cast). You've got a relatively unfamiliar milieu in the show's sporting arena backdrop. [I'm not saying it's a terrific milieu or that the pilot convinces me that it's necessarily a meaningful milieu, thematically, but I'm sure it's a milieu that hasn't been overexposed on TV. I'm now done saying 'milieu.'] With Tommy Schlamme directing the pilot with his signature walk-and-talks, you get a clear sense of a show that wouldn't mind being thought of as "Sports[Arena]Night." And there were definitely parts of "Mr. Sunshine" that made me chuckle, generally because of those aforementioned elements (and the un-aforemented elephants). What plagues the "Mr. Sunshine" pilot, though, is an obsequious need to over-explain the overall circumstances as if to say, "We promise there's a hook to this TV series. No, really!" See, Perry's character is celebrating his 40th birthday and realizing that he's been self-obsessed for so long that he no longer even knows how to make human connections, a fact I know because his character announces, "All of a sudden, I want to make a connection and I don't have the first clue how to do it" and because multiple characters reference his selfishness and whatnot. It's my suspicion/hope that once "Mr. Sunshine" stops needing to tell us that it's about a selfish guy trying to be less selfish and starts just becoming about a selfish guy trying to be less selfish, I might be able to relish Perry's trademark snarkiness, Anders' trademark perky loopiness and Janney's oddball eccentricities. Portia Doubleday, James Lesure and Nate Torrence also have potential.
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