Go On is a new comedy that airs every Tuesday night on NBC. I was really excited for the return of Matthew Perry to the sit com world because I believe that he really carried F.R.I.E.N.D.S. from an acting standpoint. I know I am not the only Matthew Perry fan out there, but he is not the only thing that is interesting about this series. Go On gives us something unique in a very serious comedy that is an endangered species in today’s day and age.
Go On revolves around Ryan King, played by Matthew Perry, who is a middle-aged Sports Radio host. Within the first few minutes of the show it is revealed that Ryan’s wife has recently died and the people around him are concerned about his mental health. Due to their concern, Ryan is barred from coming back to work until he has completed ten sessions of group therapy so he reluctantly agrees to go. Like most people, Ryan approaches therapy with the assumption that it is for crazy people, believes that he is not crazy, and decides that it is best to just get the whole ordeal over with as soon as possible. However, during the first session Ryan has a surprising level of fun as he takes over the group and arranges a competition to determine who is going through the worst ordeal. Even after Ryan goes through what seemed to be an enjoyable session, he still desires to get out of therapy and return to work. However, Ryan soon realizes that therapy isn’t the worst thing in the world and decides to continue attending the sessions. Now, before you go asking yourself: “Hey! This is sounding like a drama to me. Why would this idiot say that Go On is a comedy?” I will remind you that laughs are to be had. If the fact that the show stars Matthew Perry isn’t enough of a tell, each of the group members are portrayed as quirky individuals and their situations, although not inherently funny, are made light of.
Each of the members of the therapy group have experienced some kid of loss in their life and use very typical coping methods. I will not detail all of the recurring characters in the series due to their sheer numbers, but there are some that are worth mentioning. Obviously Ryan King needs to be mentioned because he is the main character. Ryan is a narcissist and self-proclaimed bad person that is dealing with the loss of his wife Janie. Due to the fact that his loss occurred very recently, we have begun to see Ryan cycle through the various stereotypical such as grief eating, escaping into your work, and avoiding the issue. The fun part about Ryan’s character is getting to see the self-absorbed jackass that is Ryan King continuously put in his place by what are, by his standards, a bunch of lunatics. The person usually keeping Ryan in check is my personal favorite character Anne who is played by Julie White. Anne is dealing with the loss of her lover with extreme anger. Anne is adamant about making sure that Ryan knows he is not better than her by being, what I think would make a lot of comedies better, a sassy middle-aged lesbian. The next interesting character is Mr. K played by Brett Gelman. As of now Mr. K has not shown any indication that he is dealing with a form of loss in his life, but he is unique in the fact that he is a really creepy guy. Mr. K is a heavy-set bearded man who is made to act as though he has a plethora of odd fetishes and generally makes the entire group feel uncomfortable. For now Mr. K is there for comedic effect, but his character is starting to grow slightly. Finally we have Lauren Bennett played by Laura Benati. Lauren is the group leader and is trying to help these people even though she has no therapy credentials and only has experience giving speeches as a weight watchers success story. Ryan and Lauren are in a constant struggle over Lauren’s overly soft and emotional way of handling the group and the two seem to be growing together to see that there is merit to many different philosophies in life.
Honestly this show really surprised me. I started watching it because I am a huge Matthew Perry fan, but Go On is in my opinion a great example of a serious comedy. I am not a big fan of shows like Two and a Half men because it is just a bunch of crude jokes and scantily clad women, while a comedy like Go On is very relatable to a greater group of people. We have all experienced loss in our lives to an extent and it always helps me gain a greater connection to something when I see it as realistic. Along with that, Ryan’s job as a sports radio host is bringing in some pretty cool guest stars like Jeremy Roenick and, in the next episode, Chris Bosh. Go On has a good mix of laughs and emotion, a large cast that can relate to a great number of people, and current guest stars that make the show pretty unique in the current weekly comedy line up.
Watch Go On. Thus far I have been nothing but impressed, I believe that the show has not yet hit its peak, and there can’t be much better on TV Tuesday nights.