Aired on: NBC
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I have to say, I am stoked by the new shows scheduled for the 2012 fall television season. One of those new shows, a comedy, features the comeback of Matthew Perry, a comedic actor who hasn’t had much television success after the hit series Friends. Though I am not much of a Matthew Perry fan, I found myself drawn to the show Go On based on the various comedic scenes shown in the previews released by NBC. So, I decided to check out the first couple of episodes to see if Go On held any merit.
In Go On, Matthew Perry is Ryan King, a high-ratings sportscaster who just lost the love of his life, his beloved wife. Worried that Ryan is not even making an attempt to handle his feelings of loss, his boss (John Cho) orders him to attend group therapy sessions until he is deemed capable of returning to work. Decidedly not into group therapy, Ryan decides to half-heartedly go along with the idea, hoping to skate through and return to work early.
He had already decided that group therapy was not his scene, but upon meeting the group he will be working with and learning that the therapist (Lauren Benanti) is going to be late, Ryan decides to take the session into his own hands, creating a competition to see whose story is the saddest. He learns that each member of his group is suffering from varying degrees of loss including loss of sight, loss of a partner, loss of a relative, loss of a cat, etc. While making a game out of the session, Ryan eventually learns that he is also belittling the feelings of those who are suffering in the group.
By the end of the first episode, Ryan begins to realize that he just may need the group, especially after irrationally exploding after seeing a well-known athlete texting while driving. We soon learn that Ryan’s wife died while texting and driving and that he has unresolved feelings about this fact. Ryan decides to return to group therapy for a while.
In the second episode of Go On, Ryan tells his fellow group members that action is the key to success and that feelings are not important. In order to get over their problems, the members of the group must take charge of their lives. Thus, he persuades one girl to dump her boyfriend and replace him with a cat…but one cat turns into two…then three…uh, oh! Meanwhile, Ryan himself is circumventing feelings of loneliness by clinging to his assistant (Allison Miller) in an attempt to avoid going home to an empty house.
Grief is a very tough issue and I think that Go On does an admirable job in dealing with this issue head on, using humor to underscore the need of some for such therapy groups to keep them balanced and help them cope. Sure, some of the situations are a little over the top, but I found that the show did a decent job of balancing humor with drama and giving the audience just enough to laugh about while still offering up food for thought. Surprisingly, I enjoyed Matthew Perry in his new role and enjoyed his interactions with other members of the show. My particular favorite is George (Bill Cobbs), an elderly blind man with a whole lot of humorous wisdom.
So far, I’d say that the 2012 fall season has one hit comedy on its hands with NBC’s Go On, airing Tuesdays at 9PM EST.