Full frontal confession (now there's an image that will likely scare little children), I love Matthew Perry. I have said it before, I'll say it again. But having said that I just watched his new show, Mr. Sunshine. And everything that can go wrong... has gone wrong with this show, taking the worst bits of Aaron Sorkin and missing out the good bits.
I don't want to go into a full analysis, but...
...I have rarely seen such a self-serving show that tries so hard to be funny and isn't. Matthew Perry has reverted to a mixture of Friends' Chandler and Matt from Studio 60, working that whole "I am detached but not really thing".
And the show looks and feels like it's filled with cast-offs of Sorkin shows, and that just... come on, Matthew. You should have known while putting this together that Allison Janney et at. will invite comparisons with both the West Wing and Studio 60, and let me tell you, if you are trying to go for rapid-fire dialogue, then at least go the whole nine yards (oh dear, I made a funny), because this here feels stuck somewhere between Studio 60 and a classical, bad working place sitcom. There is nothing there that brings you in as the audience, and the attempts at doing dialogue just...
... dear god, I have no idea where to start. Maybe with a scene with Allison Janney and you as you do a talk'n'drive (see? He learned from Thomas Schlamme and tried to "improve" on it, or perhaps merely improvise on it, no wait, it actually is Thomas Schlamme, but as I said while doing my analysis of Sorkin's strengths and weaknesses, you cannot take the structure and implement it on everything without regard to.... what was that again, kids? Ah yes, the stakes).
So, with that in mind, lets Sorkin the following scene up, okay?
PERRYI need you to get back to the office. There's an elephant loose -
JANNEYOh. Okay - I need you to help me with that charity speech I'm supposed to give.
PERRY- and you didn't hear a word that I have been saying, right?
JANNEYI just choose to not care.
JANNEYIs it in my room?
PERRYUh - no.
JANNEYThen I don't see the need to address it.
JANNEYThe issue. As opposed to that thing.
JANNEYThe thing we should be discussing. The charity thing.
PERRYNot the elephant?
JANNEYThe elephant is what you need to address.
JANNEYBecause that's what I pay you for.
PERRYTo hunt down elephants? Do I look like I hunt down elephants? I mean, do you see me carry a rifle? And a hat? It's an elephant! In San Diego. That's, like, a Steven Spielberg movie waiting to happen!
JANNEYI think that was a dinosaur.
JANNEYIn Spielberg's movie. The whole thing? That was a dinosaur, not an elephant.
PERRYWhat's the difference? They're both big! And on the loose!
JANNEYAn elephant won't eat you.
PERRYHow would you know?
PERRYHow? Have you ever been with an elephant? Ever seen them up close? Big! All I'm saying! Big and potentially angry. I mean, it was taken out of Africa and shipped here in a cage and work for peanuts - wouldn't you be angry? I know a whole part of the American people, still kind of pissed off about that when it happened to them.
And just to be clear. This? This up here is still not great. It's decent. And I pulled it out of my arse in less than two minutes. It infuses a little real world into a silly conversation, does a pop culture reference and shows that Janney's character really is off the rocker, and it sets up the whole "black and Asian children" thing that is about to come.JANNEYAre we still talking about the elephant?
JANNEYOh. Let's not, shall we?
It still doesn't address the major issues with the show, which are that you don't care about any of those people, and that Janney is merely a female version of Alec Baldwin's character in 30 Rock, but for god's sake, Matt, at least try...