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Mr. Sunshine, “Pilot” (1.01)

Crystal (Alison Janney) is scared of clowns with axes.

This midseason, we’re trying to offer an overview of each pilot as it airs, even if we’re not intending on following the show regularly. A review of the episode, written by Matthew Perry, Marc Firek & Alex Barnow and directed by Thomas Schlamme, after the jump…

“No-one is the answer for you, because you only think about yourself.” – Alice

The cast of Mr. Sunshine is very, very good. There’s, of course, Matthew Perry, who could coast through un unfunny pilot on charm alone, the adorable Andrea Anders, of Better Off Ted fame, and the fantastic Alison Janney.  Thoxse I don’t know also do good work, especially James Lesure as the wonderfully-positive Alonso. And there’s a good throughline here, of an arena manager (and Ben makes sure to list all of the potential uses for the venue as a ‘see! this can be a show!’ moment) who, after 40 years of selfishness, begins to realise he might want more.

But this is really suffering from pilot syndrome. Ben’s character shift, while well-played by Perry and Anders, doesn’t quite feel earned at the end, even if the two have developed more chemistry than I expected. The jokes themselves earned, at most, a chuckle, even though Alison Janney throwing a child and running from clowns with axes should have left me roaring. It’s cute, and I’d like to see more, but there’s definitely a sense that this is a show that will have to grow into its comedy, rather than coming full-formed.

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  1. […] While my qualms about the quality were on point (as you might see in my less-than-enthusiastic review of the pilot), it seems I may have called this one badly, as Mr. Sunshine is looking more dead than alive. That […]



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