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by Ethos

Mr. Sunshine – “Heather’s Sister” Review

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011

What a great episode.

Mr. Sunshine had a solid pilot and has since delivered two excellent episodes; each one better than the last. Tonight’s episode perhaps was less fun during the climax than it was during the ride to it, but it was the most I’ve laughed out loud while watching television in a long time.

Surprisingly, the best character of the first two episodes, Crystal, was played down this time and Roman got his turn to bring the biggest laughs.

Well, check that, biggest laughs tied with the very most awkward and hilarious blind date I’ve ever seen on television.

In fact, I was giddy almost the entire episode. Heather’s ability to put Ben on edge with her combination of being incredibly sweet and creepy is continuously amusing. Alice’s ambition plays off Alonzo’s sense of superiority well, and Crystal is just always just insane enough to provoke laughs.

I was mildly annoyed that they didn’t really seem to wrap up the fact that Heather was supposed to be leaving last episode along with the fact that Roman set a golf cart on fire. Maybe we were supposed to connect a few dots on that one, but a small reference would have been nice.

Still, Heather’s Sister was a fantastic episode with a great guest to play Ben’s blind date. If Mr. Sunshine continues like this, it is shaping up to be the best comedy this year over the not-as-impressive-as-season-one Modern Family.*

SCORE: 9/10

*Of course this doesn’t count Community, because Season 2 of Community will forever go down in history as one of the greatest seasons of any television show in existence. How have I not reviewed an episode of that show yet?

Mr. Sunshine – “Pilot” Review

Tuesday, February 8th, 2011

These people are a LOT crazier than they look

I can’t really say “Matthew Perry is back!” because he was never really a force to be reckoned with before. He was the best part of the lukewarm smash hit Friends, and a general failure at the box office after that.

But it appears he has taken that exact sentiment and transformed it into a very promising concept for an off-kilter single camera sitcom.

Perry plays Ben Donovan, the manager of operations for a second-tier entertainment arena. He hits his 40th birthday surrounded by an insane boss, Crystal, a friends-with-benefits co-worker, Alice, and an appropriately diverse set of minor characters for Perry to bounce off of.

In terms of shows currently on television, Mr. Sunshine seems to be stylistically and thematically most similar to 30 Rock. It has snappy dialogue, a setting in which pretty much anything can happen, an eccentric boss, a moderately successful main character in their 40s starting to realize their own pitiful existence, and a potential for sincerity among all the complete weird.

For a pilot, I was particularly impressed with how well the episode introduced the premise, characters and their relationship to Ben so quickly and efficiently. Sometimes pilots can feel too calculated or introductory, but Mr. Sunshine worked at a brisk pace. It was able to set everything up and have its own sitcom-worthy plot.

There are the usual staples of two people destined to be “just friends”, but otherwise the dynamics seem relatively fresh. Even the comparisons to 30 Rock are largely superficial.

I mean, you’d never see Jack Donaghy sing a song with the lyrics, “all the blacks, the whites, and the asians” to a group of children before hurling one into a crowd of clowns with axes. And I have a feeling that Crystal Cohen is just getting started and might be the real star of the show.

We’ll see how the season develops, but it’s a promising start, and the setting of an arena means that there are many, many possibilities for crazy shit to happen every episode. We’re already promised lingerie football, so…

SCORE: 8/10

Mr. Sunshine Premieres Tonight

Monday, February 7th, 2011

Yeah this has been a great week of handheld gaming, blah blah. But I’m a whore and my Modern Family reviews really bring in the hits for our site, and I like talking about TV, so it’s here to stay; no matter how irregular (that’s what she said?)

Not to be misleading because this isn’t about Modern Family (although the show has been good as of late). If you remember a list I made back in August, I mentioned that I had my eye on Mr. Sunshine, Matthew Perry’s new single camera comedy.

The promos don’t have me sold either way, so I’m looking forward to judging for myself tonight. It’s on at 9pm EST on ABC or CTV depending if you’re in Canada or the States. If you’re elsewhere, then I have no idea!

Also, if you didn’t see the Dungeons & Dragons episode of Community last Thursday, then you’re not a real nerd.

Edit: Turns out that Canada gets it two days before the states, so you suckers south of me will have to wait until Wednesday. 8pm EST on CTV Mondays, 9:30 EST on ABC Wednesdays.

Some Semblance of Order and Also: A List!

Saturday, August 28th, 2010

Riddles was right, he and I talk a lot about TV. You can witness some of my own indignant, stubborn opinions in the comments for the post below this one. This will not be the last TV Week not only on account of this being a short week, but on account of my attention being elsewhere. I’ve been playing Metroid: Other M all week and feel like I’m close to being finished now, but I need to blitz to make sure you all get a full review by tomorrow. Not only that, but my girlfriend is finally moving to Toronto early next week and I’m scrambling so that she won’t realize that she’s dating a swamp creature living in a pigsty.

So to offset my absence, I’m going to quickly list some shows that I have my eye on for the upcoming season in the order that they interest me.

Gloria gets Most Improved Character. Also: Al Bundy!

1. Modern Family

While nothing on TV has come close to the comedic and calculated perfection that was Arrested Development, Modern Family is definitely the best show on TV since. A large, nearly perfect cast sell subtle moments, genuine character growth and reactions, and more importantly, absolute comic gold. The second season is always very interesting for a show that comes so strongly out of the gate, and in this case, I’m actually a little worried. Unlike Community, which steadily got better, Modern Family was completely consistent, and after a long break, critical and commercial success, and 14 Emmy nominations, I have some fear that the pressure might catch up to them and we might see a stumble. Fingers crossed, though.

2. Community

This was a show that I always wanted to love because of Donald Glover, but wasn’t completely sold on at first. About midway through, however, Community finally found its groove and began to make some really funny television. A lot of the writing is heavily based on pop culture references, so it tends not to be as clever as 30Rock or Modern Family, but its absurdity and endearing characters has made me a loyal fan and I expect the 2nd season to be far better than the first.

3. Mr. Sunshine

This is the only show on my list that hasn’t actually aired any episodes yet. Matthew Perry’s highly sought-after mid-season replacement is a single camera comedy about a 40-year old dude’s midlife crisis. As a Chandler fan, I’m interested in seeing how this ends up.

Hopefully the son character is around just as often in season 2

4. Cougar Town

Speaking of Friends, former castmate Courteney Cox had her own single-camera comedy launch last year to decent success. Which makes sense to me because it’s a decent show. A lot of people are – justifiably – turned off by the name, which is a shame because it’s a misleading title. Like Bill Lawrence’s last show, Scrubs, Cougar Town is more about character and silliness than it is about superb writing and intellect flexing. However, while I quite enjoy it, the show definitely doesn’t have the special place in my heart that Scrubs has. I’m just interested to see where the show goes from here, because unlike Modern Family, Cougar Town’s first season actually felt like a bit of a prelude to a long-running series.

5. Parks and Recreation

I’m surprised that this even made this list, but when I stop to think about it, it deserves the spot. I have not seen any of the first season, and only half the of the second (which I hear is way better anyway), but I found myself more and more endeared to it every time I watched. Not much else to say here, but that I enjoy watching a (not as smart) version of The Office that doesn’t have the same level of incredible awkwardness.

The Castaways

Like Riddles and I have talked at great length about on AIM, I’m sorta off The Office bandwagon now. I was a massive fan, but I feel like it has gone noticeably and drastically downhill and Season 6 barely held my attention. I’ll need to hear a lot of good things about Steve Carrell’s final season for me to care. 30Rock is another show that I really like, but it just seems to exist in the background for me now. I’m not really interested in it, but I haven’t become disillusioned like I have with The Office. I will watch and likely enjoy it, but I’m not doing jumping jacks for it and it doesn’t actively excite me.

Back to Metroid: Other M!