I have high hopes for this show. Also, ABC has been endlessly promoting it, so I’m ready for the repetitive commercials to stop.
Matthew Perry’s character, Ben, is in charge of San Diego’s ‘Sunshine Center’ arena. And he is not so sunny. Or at all sunny, really. He’s a 40-year-old gloomy Gus who only thinks about himself. Crystal (Allison Janney) is the absolutely insane and mildly racist owner of the arena. The Sunshine Center hosts concerts, political conventions, sports games, and special events like circuses.
First crisis! As a hockey game gives way to a circus performance, the hot water pump is broken and Hurley (from Lost) and his maintenance crews can’t melt the ice.
Second crisis! Crystal’s son Roman (Nate Torrence) needs a job. Except he has no skills.
Third crisis! There’s a circus elephant loose in the arena.
Fourth crisis! Despite Ben’s usual desire to be alone, he decides to pursue more commitment with the marketing director, Alice (Andrea Anders). Aaaaand she breaks up with him. So she can move in with his best friend.
Allison Janney handles her light-hearted role fantastically. She hilariously cruises around the arena’s underbelly in a golf cart, and as we already knew from “The West Wing,” she has fantastic comedic timing. Nate Torrence is a comedic find with his sunny character and naivete. He’s amazing as Crystal’s son. It’s also smart to set a workplace comedy in an arena, which is something new and provides opportunities for interesting crises.
I think this show needs a little bit of time to come into it’s own. Many shows do, of course. The pilot was a bit rushed and confused, but I think the talent is here to make this show a good one. Ben also made a bit too much of a transformation to be believable in one episode, but this show has potential.