Monday, October 15, 2012

Go On—My Thoughts


About a month ago, I shared a listing of programs that I was looking forward to watching this fall.  Now that a few weeks have gone by, I thought I’d revisit some of them and give an update.  Tonight, we’ll talk about one of the new comedies that was on my radar, Go On, starring Matthew PerryGo On_thumb[3]

Here’s the premise:  Ryan King (Perry) is a sports radio personality who has recently become a widower.  When he tries to return to work after his wife’s passing, he cracks up just a bit, leading his best-friend/boss (John Cho) to insist on a visit to a loss support group.  Naturally enough, King goes to the group session begrudgingly, feels superior to all the “crazies” in attendance, and then eventually begins to care for them and they for him. 

I have to tell you honestly that there is absolutely nothing unique about this show.  The humor is far from refined, and you can see the punch lines coming from a mile away.  For the most part, the characters are one-dimensional, and half the time I don’t even remember their names, but think of them more as the “cat lady”, “lesbian lawyer”, “blind guy” . . . you get the point.  And yet . . .

I keep watching it, and I keep laughing.  I even missed recording it a couple of times somehow, and watched the episodes online, just so I could stay caught up.  Caught up with what, I’m not entirely sure, because it’s certainly not like there’s any sort of intricate, on-going plot twists to keep up with.  But it is mildly amusing, and like the very best comedies, it has moments of genuine heart hidden underneath all the goofiness that help you see there’s more to these characters than we initially believe. 

As you might expect from the main character, most of these moments come from Ryan King himself, and Perry is the perfect blend of over-confident jackass and grieving husband.  He’s not as much like his famous character, Chandler Bing, as I think they try to make it seem in the commercials.  I also really like the scenes with Perry and John Cho.  Cho may be most widely known from the Harold and Kumar films, or maybe the Star Trek reboot, but I tend to think of him from a role that came after those two: Demetri Noh from the short-lived series, FlashForward.  (As an aside, I really liked that program, and feel a little cheated we didn’t really get a resolution, but that’s another story.)  In any case, he works well with Mathew Perry, and I like to see the dynamic of their relationship showing that even good friends often don’t know how to act around those who’ve suffered a loss.  It’s a very real aspect of things to bring into a fairly farcical set up, and I appreciate that.

The other primary character in the show is the group leader, Lauren, played by Laura Benanti, recently of The Playboy Club.  As a character, I find her just a little bit irritating, but I’m coming around to her.  Eventually, my assumption is that we’ll begin to see at least serious flirtation between Lauren and Ryan, maybe even an actual relationship.  But my hope is that’s a development that’s a ways off yet.  Not only because we know Ryan has just lost the love of his life, and it seems too soon, but also because the chemistry between Perry and Benanti hasn’t quite gelled yet.  Things still seem a little off to me, just a little bit forced, but it does seem to be improving as the weeks have rolled along.  I think they’ll get there eventually; they just need a little time.

All in all, I know this is not a particularly glowing report, though as a bottom line I would say that I like this show.  Go On is not likely to be hailed as ground-breaking comedy, and probably won’t win any awards.  But I always feel better after I watch it, and I think that’s what a comedy show is designed to do.


31 Days of TV