tek's rating:

Mr. Sunshine, on ABC
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Matthew Perry plays Ben Donovan, who manages the Sunshine Center sports arena, which is used for a wide variety of different events. The first episode takes pains to tell us, time and again, that Ben doesn't care about anyone other than himself, that he isn't interested in them. However, at the same time he's somehow a nice guy, more or less. And he wants to try to change, become more interested in other people. It's kind of a fine line to walk, portraying someone with a basically downbeat personality, who's also funny and... I dunno, just not like mean or anything. But Perry's definitely the perfect actor to play such a character; Ben doesn't really seem that different from his characters on Friends or Studio 60. Anyway, I already like the guy.

But he's just one of an ensemble of quirky characters. The arena is owned by Crystal Cohen (Allison Janney), who is... um, well, apparently she likes to get high, and she's basically a public relations nightmare in any number of ways, which Ben has to deal with. He might preempt some problems she could cause, but he can't prevent all of them, because she does like to exercise the power that comes with, you know, being his boss. Anyway, while she ostensibly likes people more than Ben does, it seems she's worse at dealing with them. This includes her son, Roman (Nate Torrence), who is very upbeat, though he has no skills and he doesn't seem very bright. Crystal forces Ben to find a job for him at the arena, though she seems to have no interest in dealing with him, herself. The arena's marketing director is Alice (played by Andrea Anders, who I liked on Joey and Better Off Ted), who is supposedly a lot like Ben. The two of them were, until the pilot, "friends with benefits." But she's also been seeing Alonzo, who runs the arena's charity and community outreach program, and who has an impossibly positive disposition. In the pilot, Alice decides she wants to commit to him, so Ben will just be a friend without benefits, from now on. Which seems to be the main reason he's decided to try to change. There's also a girl named Heather, who is Ben's assistant, I guess. It's said that she once set a guy on fire, so of course Ben is jumpy around her. But she seems nice enough. And she apparently likes Roman.

And that's pretty much all I can say. The cast was pretty good, so the show was funny and quirky, and stuff. Unfortunately, it didn't last very long (9 episodes, with four more unaired). I guess I don't miss it that much, in retrospect, but I still wish it would've lasted longer. It deserved to do better than it did in the ratings.

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