To be honest, my initial pull towards ABC’s newest show, Mr. Sunshine, was having the opportunity to see the fantastically hilarious Matthew Perry gracing my television screen once again. Why not give it a shot? It looks funny, clever, and my DVR is rather lonely. After watching more episodes that followed, I found myself not only enjoying the charm of Benjamin Donovan, as well as the other charismatic characters, but also finding the time to tune in every week at 9:30. As a viewer that takes a chance with any new television show, I want to be entertained, sucked in, and hungry for more. The last thing I want to think about is how to get back that hour of my life. But that was not the case with Mr. Sunshine. Ever since the pilot, I’ve been instantly drawn to its humor and ready for more.

In this week’s episode, simply named, “The Assistant”, loyalties and boundaries are put to the test. Under pressure from Alice, who has been apparently asking for an assistant for some time, Ben finally gives in and hires her the most unusual of all assistants: Roman. An optimistic, patient, and overall innocent personality seems like an unfit match, but Alice finally accepts.

Meanwhile, Crystal confronts Ben about the inappropriateness of the arena’s PR person during recent events. During their conversation, Ben reveals to Crystal that one of her employees, Nadia, has passed away. She quickly decides to have a funeral for her in the arena at the same time as the rodeo.

As Ben escapes into his office, his own potentially crazy assistant, Heather, reveals that she went through his email and found a message sent to him by Alice. Ben reads eagerly and finds that Alice feels as if the two of them had drifted apart and she misses him. Could it be that she actually misses him? Heather suggests that Alice is “open-minded” in having both Ben and Alonzo. Confused, he instantly juggles with the idea that there still might be something between the two of them. Unbeknownst to him, that email was meant for her current boyfriend Alonzo.

Accidentally sending a personal email about her relationship issues to Ben sets in motion a wave of hilarious problems. Alice’s true email to Ben was a question about having lunch with the Pizza King people, which was mistakenly sent to Alfonzo instead. When Ben arrives at her office, he surprisingly finds Alice, Alonzo, and… Alonzo’s ex wife? The interactions between all of them are awkward to say the least with Ben trying to find out more about the suggestive email and the presence of Alonzo’s ex wife, Tanya, creating an odd atmosphere in her office.

Without success, Ben recruits Roman to find out more about the email, while Alice finds out that Alfonzo is not yet officially divorced. This comes hot on the heels after feeling uncomfortable with the amount of time her boyfriend is spending with his ex wife. Roman divulges this truth to Ben, unaware that later Ben would ask Alice what was going on in her relationship and if it had to do with the email. Alice realizes that the only person she revealed that information to was Roman. Understandably let down, she storms away from Ben. Not so much sunshine at the Sunshine Center.

In the meantime, Crystal continues to mourn the loss of her close friend and employee by bringing in her family. She notices that most of the family’s clothing and belongings are familiar. Where has she seen those items before? The truth dawns on her as she realizes those items are her possessions. Her cleaning lady has been stealing her jewelry and fur. Ben suggests she cancel the funeral, but she doesn’t think canceling would be the best option. She decides she’ll take the high road, the dignified path, and “[rip] that old potato-peeler a new one in her eulogy.”

Afterwards, Ben finds Roman grouchy and sad welcoming employees at the entrance of the Sunshine office. Roman tells Ben that Alice has fired him for betraying her trust. Ben goes straight to her office to ask about Roman and the email. After much hilarious banter between the two, Alice informs Ben that the email was sent mistakenly to him, which was truly meant for Alonzo. After watching these two character interact for several episodes, it’s hard for me not to cheer them on and wishfully think that someday they will be together.

Before the funeral service, Crystal meets the granddaughter of Nadia, which to her great surprise, is named Crystal. By the look on her face, the audience can deduce that she’s had a mild change of heart. We close the episode in the arena, where the funeral is taking place. Of course, everything inappropriate that could happen indeed happens. It’s not everyday that you attend a funeral, in which the deceased is called a skank. But at the close of Crystal’s speech, she acknowledges that her cleaning lady was her friend and that she will be missed.

Crystal, acknowledging that Nadia had been disloyal, ultimately decides to forgive her. In the audience, Alfonzo apologizes to Alice and promises her that his focus will remain on what he has in front of him. Apologies are served all around. Ben expresses regret that he took advantage of his friendship, which resulted in the firing of Roman. His apology is sincere and even offers to find his friend another job. Roman is cheerful and accepts the apology, noting that he had been rehired by Alice to continue his job as the good-natured assistant.

Ben is, dare I say it, changing for the better. In the first couple of episodes, it was expressed by many that Ben was selfish, self-centered, and egotistical. In the recent episodes, however, I find that Ben is slowly evolving. He’s becoming more aware of people’s feelings and their perception of him. By being receptive, he is proving to others and himself that he can be thoughtful and considerate, despite his own needs. As a character, his evolution is just starting to pick up off the ground, but with time and more character development, I truly think that this show can be a hit and find a proper footing with a regular audience.

My upcoming review

March 31, 2011

Going to do my first review ever tomorrow! I’ve decided to write a little something about the new comedy Mr. Sunshine starring Matthew Perry. I find myself growing attached to the show, not because Mr. Perry is once again on my television screen (a big yay here), but because I honestly think that this comedy has potential to be so great.

I need to re-watch the episode to get the details and observe anything that I missed, but hopefully I will have it up tomorrow night.

-J