Thursday, April 14, 2011

If Matthew Perry had appeared on "Sports Night," Aaron Sorkin's great sitcom, in "Chandler" mode, that wouldn't have worked either

So I've been meaning to talk some about the show Mr. Sunshine, co-created by and starring Matthew Perry as the manager of a huge arena. I don't think I'm going to watch it any more (if there is any more), but I've watched every episode to date, and at a certain point I realized I was doing so not because I was especially enjoying it.

Rather because I was trying to figure out why it just wasn't working for me. And this is what I've come up with: They're trying to do Aaron Sorkin without having Sorkin, and Perry is out of tune with the rest of his show.

The similarities to a Sorkin show are easily evident, with Sunshine being set "backstage," as all of Sorkin's series (West Wing, Sports Night, Studio 60) are, and underlined by the presence of more than a few past Sorkin collaborators either in front of or behind the camera.

Aspiring to do a Sorkin-type show is a worthy goal, to be sure, but one thing this demonstrates is that it's harder than it looks. Even Sorkin doesn't keep his balance all the time, look at the third season of West Wing, and his ear for language is rare if not unique among his peers.

Without maintaining that balance, and without that sense of language, Sunshine is swimming against the tide...and it doesn't help that Perry is going in a different direction.

Perry appears to have two different styles of acting, both of which can be very effective.

One of these is, not necessarily only dramatic, but certainly more reflective, such as he employed on Studio 60 and his guest bits on West Wing. The other is basically sitcom, or more specifically Chandler, the wisecracker covering up emotional turmoil.

The latter mode frankly can be a bit overacted, but usually that's okay because it's in keeping with the rest of the show (nobody seriously thought Friends had much of a connection to real life, did they? And I liked the show.)

Trouble is that the two don't work together very well. On Sunshine, we have most of the cast smoothly underplaying (and hence coming off a little bit boring), while Perry overacts like Celine Dion putting over a song.

Only Allison Janney strikes a consistent balance, and appears to be having the time of her life, but she's helped by the fact that the weight of the show is not on her shoulders.

The combined result is like watching idiot acrobats who don't understand physics try to make a teeter-totter work with one person at one end and everybody else at the other. After a while, you gotta wonder why they're just standing there.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I just know I'm going to wake up in the morning pregnant and alone

But for now, my reaction to the budget speech President Obama gave today is: Intoxication.

Obama came home.

Holy shit.

The Star Wars Meme Trilogy Episode Two: The Meme Strikes Back

This is derived from a long meme I found on Becca's blog. She answered all 30 questions in one post; I think the original idea was to answer one a day for a month. I'm shooting for something in-between, breaking it down into three parts...which seemed appropriate.

Part one is here, this is part two; Part three is here.

11. Favorite battle

12. All time favorite scene in any of the movies:

The Millennium Falcon destroys the Imperial fighter at the end of Star Wars (I will never call it "A New Hope.")

"You're all clear kid, now lets blow this thing and go home!"

13. Favorite quote
"...a Jedi's strength flows from the Force. But beware of the dark side. Anger, fear, aggression; the dark side of the Force are they. Easily they flow, quick to join you in a fight. If once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice."

14. A scene that makes you happy

15. A scene that makes you sad/angry
Luke after Vader "kills" Ben Kenobi.

16. Photo of your Star Wars related things (books, action figures, posters, shirts, etc.)

Don't have one. It's not a lot, anyway--just a few books. But there is this picture of me Christmas morning 1980 (I think)...

17. Your favorite moment in The Phantom Menace

The 22 years before it.

18. Your favorite moment in Attack of the Clones

19. Your favorite moment in Revenge of the Sith

Obi-Wan light sabers Darth's remaining limbs off and leaves him to burn to death (he thinks). Either that or "POWER! UNLIMITED... POWER!"

20. Your favorite moment in Star Wars
See "All time favorite scene in any of the movies," above.