Today let’s talk about prime-time TV starring Matthew Perry and Nick Jonas (like how I lumped two stars from wildly divergent age groups together in one phrase? I think that’s what ABC is doing, too, in the hopes of attracting all types of viewers. It might just work, too.) See, there’s a brand new show on ABC and it began last week but you can actually tune in tonight and feel like you got in on the ground floor. It’s called Mr. Sunshine and it follows (the hilarious and spectacular ) Modern Family on ABC and while it’s not nearly as funny or instantly addictive as Modern Family, it may find its sea legs. I watched the first episode last week and am looking forward to chapter 2 of Mr. S – starring said JoBro – tonight.
Full disclosure, I am a big Matthew Perry fan. He was always my favorite Friend. So when I heard about his new series, I was very psyched. (I also liked Studio 60 – apparently much more than anyone else did, and wondered why it got cancelled). What you need to know right out of the gate with Mr. Sunshine is that Perry is anything but sunny, and he’s anything but cheery and/or good-natured. And if he wasn’t Matthew Perry, he might not even be likable. So as usual last week’s pilot was completely weighed down with the fact that they have to get tons of information across in a matter of minutes. Perry starts out awkwardly, although that’s sort of his shtick, and it looks as if he is uncomfortable playing the role of someone unlikable. In fact, the whole show is based on the fact that here’s a guy who runs a massive sports arena who thinks only about himself, being doomed at 40, and his own less-than-noble attempts at self-gratification. Sound like a downer? It was, somewhat.
Until Allison Janney stepped onto the screen and everything got good again.
She plays Sunshine’s hyper-neurotic, even more self-obsessed, pill popping boss and she is the ultimate foil to him (the fact that both actors naturally exude such fierce intelligence doesn’t hurt, either). In this age of the jaded, ironic, publicity-seeking spectacle that so often doubles as a TV workplace, she is perfection. And in tonight’s episode we get Nick Jonas appearing as “a temperamental popstar who would prefer you call him a rockstar”. I’ll tune in. Will you? The jury’s still out on Mr. Sunshine, and hopefully given its major pedigree they’ll give it a few episodes to get warmed up before anyone starts talking about whether the new series should stay or go. Still, I think the combo of Perry and Janney (with a very strong supporting cast) might be tough to beat over time. So I’m optimistic. If you tune in tonight, let us know what you think and we’ll see how the whole thing progresses.
1) 17 Again
3) Studio 60 and the Sunset Strip
4) The Whole Nine Yards