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Mr. Sunshine strives for comic success

By Jennifer Hillman

Is there a Friends curse? Well, that's what Matthew Perry is trying to find out with his newest comedy, Mr. Sunshine on ABC.

Like his former Friends stars, it's hard for Perry to get back into the business when everyone has only know him as his Friends character, Chandler Bing, for so long. Perry already has one failed comedy under his belt, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip back in 2006.   The only other movie that people recognize him in since Friends is 17 Again, in which he plays Zac Efron as an adult - but with Mr. Sunshine, there is hope.

Mr. Sunshine is all about the inside workings of the Sunshine Center, a coliseum venue, in San Diego. Benjamin Donovan, played by Perry, runs the show by controlling whatever crazy show will be playing at the Sunshine Center.

When you look at Benjamin, you see hints of Chandler Bing from his Friends hey day, but you also see a new, more cynical character emerge. Benjamin loves, but also hates his job. He also kinda hates everyone and only loves himself.

The best relationship in this show comes from Ben and Crystal, the owner of the Sunshine Center. Crystal, played by Allison Janney, is crazy, but that's what's great about her. She revels when someone makes her a churro cake, but who wouldn't?  You see the hate Ben has for her, but also the fact that he has been loyal to her crazy antics for ten years.

Mr. Sunshine is an interesting comedy.  A better word probably would be quirky.  Mr. Sunshine might not cater to the usual audience for laughs because it has the spin of 30 Rock and The Office on NBC. Both have a level of ridiculousness that eventually end up becoming uniquely funny. Mr. Sunshine tries to be funny at times, but like the shows stated above, there is no laugh track to guide you. You have to find the humor for yourself.

If Matthew Perry can grab and maintain an audience for the rest of the season, he might be able to defeat the Friends curse. At least for him, anyways.


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