warning Hi, we've moved to USCANNENBERGMEDIA.COM. Visit us there!

Neon Tommy - Annenberg digital news

Matthew Perry Lights Up Wednesdays In "Mr Sunshine"

Piya Sinha-Roy |
February 10, 2011 | 1:57 a.m. PST

Senior Entertainment Editor

Matthew Perry returns as Ben Donovan in "Mr Sunshine" (Creative Commons)
Matthew Perry returns as Ben Donovan in "Mr Sunshine" (Creative Commons)
Matthew Perry quite clearly knows his niche in the market. If something ain't broke, then it's definitely not worth fixing, and therefore, Chandler Bing is once again resurrected in the guise of Ben Donovan in "Mr Sunshine." Playing the standard goofy, self-centered, scruffy and sarcastic character that he's so in tune with, Perry plays a manager of a stadium who tries to operate in the chaos around him. Cue in some clowns, elephants, a love interest and a happy-go-lucky best friend, and you get the main premise of ABC's "Mr Sunshine."

"Friends"-lovers and haters have had all eyes focused on the cast of "Friends" since the show ended in 2004. Jennifer Aniston (Rachel) made the somewhat successful transition onto the big screen (although when wil that girl make a good movie?!), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe) pops up on occasion in films or in her fellow "Friends" shows and always delivers a stunning performance, while Courteney Cox (Monica) and Matt LeBlanc (Joey) are sticking to what they know best with TV, Cox with her successful comedy "Cougar Town" and LeBlanc in Showtime's new series "Episodes." David Schwimmer (Ross) is the only one to stay off the screen, preferring to take roles behind the camera and directing the Brit-comedy "Run Fat Boy, Run." 

The "Friends" have had to deal with apparent identity crises as they've struggled to find their own feet after the show ended. LeBlanc's first attempt at a spin-off called "Joey" failed tragically, but he seems to have found a new and meaner side by playing himself in "Episodes." Cox has managed to modify the character of Monica into Jules, the wine-swigging, overbearing whiney nightmare on "Cougar Town," while Perry has managed to pretty much play himself in every role he's taken since "Friends."

It's the supporting actors who help pull Perry's character into line. Alison Janney is hilarious as Crystal, Donovan's Zanax-popping, borderline-racist, clown-hating boss, Nate Torrance delivers funny in the form of Crystal's bumbling son Roman, Portia Doubleday is the resident crazy as Heather, Donovan's pyromaniac assistant, and Hurley from "Lost" (Jorge Garcia) returns as Bob Bobinson Bobert. 

The humor is taken down a notch from the witty repartee of Perry's first post-"Friends" TV foray, the short-lived "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip," but the level of crazy is certainly taken up a notch, and no doubt that it will result in some quirky comedy moments a la "30 Rock." Perry's love interest Alice is incidentally played by the very bland Andrea Anders, who happens to be dating LeBlanc in real life, a clear example of once a "Friend," always a "Friend," while James Lesure plays Donovan's best friend and rival for Alice's attention. 

The show has high potential to succeed, being placed in the timeslot following the hugely successful "Modern Family." And for those who say that Perry is stuck in the character of Chandler Bing, so what if he is? We all loved Chandler, and if he's back to light up our Wednesdays, you won't see me complaining.

Reach Senior Entertainment Editor Piya Sinha-Roy here, and follow her on Twitter @PiyaSRoy.



Craig Gillespie directed this true story about "the most daring rescue mission in the history of the U.S. Coast Guard.”

Watch USC Annenberg Media's live State of the Union recap and analysis here.