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April 23, 2014

Matthew Perry Wears Many Hats In 'Mr. Sunshine' - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Aug 1st 2010 7:15PM
Matthew Perry and Allison Janney in the 'Mr. Sunshine' panel at the Summer 2010 TCAsMatthew Perry tried to use his goodwill with critics and his comedy skills to try to sway them into more enthusiasm for his midseason ABC comedy "Mr. Sunshine," but it was telling when the line the gallery laughed at the most was his most self-deprecating: "You can tell how successful my movies were by the fact I'm here."

The pilot ABC sent for 'Mr. Sunshine' wasn't awful by any means; but with the talent behind it -- especially Perry, who's an executive producer and has been involved with the writing on the show -- it probably should have been funnier.

Maybe it's the subject matter. Perry plays Ben, who manages an arena in San Diego. He's about to turn 40 and realizes that he's going to need to start actually relating and caring about people in order to not die lonely and bitter. So not only does Perry start off as semi-unlikable at the start of the show, but the title "arena manager" doesn't exactly elicit gut-clenching laughs.

The comedy, according to Perry, is in the dysfunctional family that runs the arena. No matter how wacky they're being, "they have to get it together because 18,000 people are there every night. We were just trying to think of a place where the most interesting insane things are coming in."

So in the pilot, we have ice that won't melt, a runaway elephant, and Crystal, the pill-addled owner of the arena, requesting a conjugal visit with John Cougar Mellencamp. Perry consulted with the manager of L.A.'s Staples Center, and promises that there will be plenty of similar stories coming down the pipe.

More tidbits.

-- After 'Studio 60,' Perry wanted to get into the production end of the business, which is why he is producing and writing on the show. He also liked Ben's journey because it reminded him of someone very close to him. "If you want to find out the answer to (why i'm nicer now), just pick up any newspaper from 2006," he said to laughs. "They say just write what you know so it's an interesting behavor to examine, to change your behavior to be a better guy."

-- Janney, about playing Crystal: "I spent seven years being politically correct on 'The West Wing.' Now I just get to be completely wrong on so many levels."

-- Perry doesn't have any intention of having any of his former co-stars guest in the first season on the show, in order to let the audience know that this show was "something new."

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