T h a h n oWednesday, February 23, 2011 -5A
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com
More caustic crazies from the artist
formerly known as Chandler Bing
By Imran Syed I Daily Arts Writer
"OK ... does anyone have an adult diaper?"
CBS spin-off a
Matthew Perry did dark, self-
effacing sarcasm long before it
became cool. His most memora-
ble tour of duty
TV - play-
ing Chandler Mr. Sunshine
- set the pace Pilot
for an entire
category of sit- Wednesdays
com characters at9:30p.m.
with its just- ABC
of cynicism and wit. Then, in
his next foray - writer Aaron
Sorkin's much-hyped but short-
lived "Studio 60 on the Sunset
Strip" - Perry translated that
same character to a sophisticat-
ed drama, and fared better than
Perry's latest project, "Mr.
Sunshine," is more of the same
- indeed, the caustic title of the
show itself is an indication. Perry
plays Ben Donovan, manager of a
sports arena in San Diego, Calif.
Overworked, stressed and bitter
to prove it, Ben is surrounded by
happier people who all seem to
have time in their lives for fun
and distractions. As- the only
one who actually does his job,
Ben has to solve the problems
everyone else ignores - loose
elephants, bratty teenage pop
stars and equipment malfunc-
tions among them.
Chronicling the absurd in the
everyday operations of a sports
arena, the show seems to have
all the pieces in place for a laud-
able distraction. While Perry's
biting sarcasm can run thin at
times, it's well balanced with a
couple of memorable characters
among the supporting cast. Alli-
son Janney ("The West Wing")
plays Crystal, Ben's narcotized
and obliviously racist boss. And
there are also Jorge Garcia
("Lost") as the building's facili-
ties manager (apparently named
"Bobert") and Nate Torrence
("Get Smart"), who plays Crys-
tal's comedically useless son,
With enough personali-
ties and problems to sustain its
premise, "Mr. Sunshine" works
relatively well in the role it has
apparently appointed itself to
fill: a dark comedy that banks on
the dark sides of facially pleasant
characters. Be it the cute, bub-
ByKELLY ETZ talking, even faster-typing com-
For the Daily puter whiz and they have the
exact information they need, all
CBS is getting lazy. Apparently in a matter of seconds. "Suspect
it thinks it can just throw in some Behavior" offers no legitimate
fresh faces, add a new setting, reason why the depicted FBI team
slap on a doesn't actually follow any real-
hyphen- * } . * world FBI rules and regulations.
ated title The only justification given is that
and voila, a Criminal Minds: these ho-called special agents are
new show. part of a "Red Cell" team, which
"Crimi- ' Suspect supposedly means they can do
nal Minds: Pilot whatever they want and expect
Suspect the audience to buy it.
Behav- Wednesdays at10 p.m. The only bright spark to "Sus-
ior" is the CBS pect Behavior" is Academy Award
newest winner Forest Whitaker ("The
in a slew of recent spin-offs that Last King of Scotland"), who plays
enable networks to recreate the special agent Sam Cooper. Though
same standard formula endlessly. he's saddled with some unfortu-
The only thing "Suspect Behav- nate dialogue, including the req-
ior" is missing is the voiceover uisite inspirational mini-speech,
"These are their stories," and it he manages to muddle through.
would be indistinguishable from The effect is a seemingly honest
"Law & Order" - or basically any character with a glimmer of per-
other crime drama on any other sonality.
network. The pilot of "Suspect The other characters have a
Behavior" so closely follows the total lack of chemistry with Coo-
conventional guidelines for the per and with each other. There is
standard crime show it's criminal no emotion in their interactions
in and of itself. and on the whole they're an unin-
teresting, unentertaining bunch.
The only character that has any
If a Forest falls backstory at all is "Prophet,"
played by newcomer Michael
in a bad show Kelly. As an ex-con with a temper,
"** he's a pending special agent until
the end of the episode when the
director of the FBI (Richard Shiff,
In the pilot, the team of assem- "The West Wing"), upgrades him
bled special agents is on the case to a full special agent.
of a child kidnapping in suburbia. In this last scene there is a
The twist comes when a distraught glimpse of a moment between the
mother arrives at the crime scene team; a spark of something that
to report that her daughter is also could be called chemistry. It's pos-
missing. Now the team is left with sible the show will pick up some
two seemingly unrelated cases steam in the coming weeks, but
- but these savvy special agents it's still just another crime drama
know better. They miraculously - and a mediocre one at best. The
find a correlation and, of course, potential viewers of this lacklus-
they're correct. The two cases are, ter spin-off will likely continue
in fact, intertwined and the spe- watching the original "Criminal
cial agents manage to save the day Minds" and leave "Suspect Behav-
as always, ior" to peter out after several
But FBI work can't be this episodes. It's only for the best -
easy - it's too unbelievable. All another spin-off drama is the last
the team has to do is call its fast- thing that TV needs right now.
"What's her number?" "4815162342."
bly secretary who has a secret
past involving arson (a superbly
cast Portia Doubleday, "Youth
in Revolt") or the ex-basketball
player compensating for his
failures by trying just a little
too hard in the business world
(James Lesure, "Las Vegas"),
the show manages to find and
exploit for comedy the tiny bit of
evil that affects every little thing
these people do.
Mr. Sunshine follows in the
spirit of better shows like "Mod-
ern Family" and "30 Rock,"
but it lacks the game-changing
swagger that made those shows
instant classics. Still, given its
strategic placement in the times-
lot immediately following the
wildly popular "Modern Fami-
ly," the show should benefit from
a reasonable holdover audience
while it finds its footing. That
factor paired with the many nos-
talgic "Friends" fans who will
tune in, at least initially, should
get the show off with enough of a
ratings momentum to return for
a full season in the fall.
And we should hope that the
show does succeed, because,
whatever else it may lack, it is
an excellent vehicle to showcase
the very talented Perry: The man
was born to be on network sit-
coms, and it's good to have him
D RU M MiNG P REV IE W
Japanese Taiko drummers of Kodo
hitting up Hill Auditorium tonight
By LUCY PERKINS
Daily Arts Writer
The curtain rises to reveal a
simple scene - drummers and
their massive Taiko drums are
plainly lit as
they purpose- Kodo
fully sit upon
the barren Tonight at8 p.m.
they begin, Hill Auditorium
the audito- Tickets from $10
with cadences that have been
beaten for centuries. Originally
rooted in Japanese villages, these
rhythms resound throughout the
world on each stage on which
Kodo is a traditional Japanese
Taiko drumming group that
formedin 1981and has performed
worldwide and will play at Hill
Auditorium tonight. The group's
name cantranslate to "heartbeat"
or "children of the drum." Having
first performed in Ann Arbor in
1982, Kodo is on its current world
tour, entitled "One Earth."
"Kodo is regarded as one of
the important, traditional music
groups of Japan,"said Jun Akimo-
to, one of the group's managers.
"It is respected as a traditional
Japanese performing art."
The group is composed of 25
members, ranging in age from 21
to 60. For each member, training
According to Akimoto, mem-
bers must train themselves
physically, rhythmically and
mentally. In this process, mem-
bers are expected to runf6.2 miles
a day before they begin their
"There are all types of drum-
ming techniques and style skills
that members are required to be
able to do in order to perform in
the traditional way," Akimoto
said. "Members must learn to
open their mind and be con-
nected with the clarity of the art-
As Akimoto mentioned,
though there are Taiko groups in
both Japan and the United States,
Kodo remains one of the only.
ones that is continuously dedi- coordinator, the group has been
cated to the ritual of the art form. a hit each time they perform in
Other groups compose their own Ann Arbor.
songs from scratch, but Kodo "They are really high energy,"
sticks to custom. Render said. "The concerts are
"Kodo always tries to be loyal asnmuch a physical endeavor as
to the traditional songs of Japan," a musical one - it's very athletic
Akimoto said. "Kodo actually and really engaging. I also think
goes to the Japanese villages it's a cool cultural experience,
and asks villagers to teach their too. It provides a really interest-
music. After learning it, we ask ing glimpse into the older Japa-
the local people for permission to nese lifestyle, and people get to
hear that traditional sound."
This year, the group will per-
form twice at Hill, with one per-
M em ersrun formance tomorrow specifically
6.2 miles a day. gearedaes.
* J' This group is unique in that
their concerts appeal to all ages,"
Render said. "Kids love it and
use it. If they say yes, we arrange adults love it - it's just really
it and make it more attractive for accessible. It's not every concert
performing arts. We try to return that a five-year-old would be as
to the originalstyle every time we rapt as a 90-year old."
make arrangements for songs." Through fast rhythms and
One of Kodo's goals is to bring beats, Kodo tells complex stories
Japanese culture to the rest of from every corner of Japan. But
the world. According to Truly ultimately, it is through the sim-
Render, the University Musical plicity of tradition that the group
Society's press and marketing shares Japan with the world.
r ,- : ,
PLANNING TO REGISTER FOR
116o, nOW is the time to
apply for financial aid.