These may be fighting words, but I always thought Matthew Perry's Chandler was the coolest Friend. Ascerbic and sarcastic, but still a good guy, I rooted for him in a way I'd never root for other iconic, sitcom smart-alecs. (I laugh along with Neil Patrick Harris's Barney on How I Met Your Mother, but I'm not exactly pulling for that jerk to overcome his problems.) On Friends, Chandler kept me coming back, even when the Ross-Rachel drama-rama started making my eyes glaze over.
I hoped that Perry would land another great role after Friends' demise, and for a brief time, I thought his starring turn on NBC's Studio City on the Sunset Strip might be it. But that show never quite took off, and now Perry's headlining another, "behind-the-scenes-of"-style series. In Mr. Sunshine (ABC, Feb. 9, 9:30 p.m. ET), he plays a manager of a San Diego sports arena, a venue for not just sporting events, but circuses, rodeos, political conventions and rock concerts. He must contend with a megalomaniac boss (Allison Janney), her simpleton son (Nate Torrence), a girlfriend who's on staff (Andrea Anders) and the various glitches that may pop up amidst circuses, rodeos, political conventions and… you get the idea.
Will this be that next big role I'm hoping for for Perry? That's hard to say. The teaser doesn't send me into rollicking harrumphs of laughter. But there's always potential in a series that's exec-produced in part by Tommy Schlamme, who's spearheaded well-written shows like Sports Night, West Wing and Studio 60. And really, the writing is what I truly loved about Chandler. He had the best lines, and Perry delivered them effortlessly, like he'd thought them up himself.
Let's see if Schlamme can do that for Perry. If so, Mr. Sunshine might be his ticket to post-Friends success. Fact is, ABC is trying out the show for several weeks in the Cougar Town timeslot. It worked for Courteney Cox!
What do you think of the Mr. Sunshine teaser? Chime in below!