Go On (NBC) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review
On September 11th, NBC will premiere the comedy series ‘Go On’, at 9/8c. The show is Matthew Perry’s (‘Friends’) latest comedy show, after the short-lived ‘Mr. Sunshine’. On August 8th, NBC aired the pilot after the Summer Olympics, hoping that people would like it and watch the series when it premieres in September. I have, of course, seen the pilot and here is a synopsis and my opinion.
After having lost his wife a month ago, radio sports programme host Ryan King (Perry) can’t wait to get back to work. In order to do that, however, his boss wants him to attend ‘life changes’ group therapy at the local community college. Reluctantly, King goes to one of the meetings.
When he gets there, it turns out that the therapist, Lauren (Laura Benanti, ‘The Playboy Club’) isn’t there yet, but the group starts anyway. King tells the other members that he is just there to observe. When some of the group members start bickering about whose story is the worst, King urges them to go on, because “that’s the fun part, right?”.
He even starts a competition where each time, two members get to tell a short version of their story. The winner of a round advances to the next. In the end the winner of the competition is Fausta, though what her actual story is remains unclear because she mainly speaks Spanish.
Lauren, the therapist who turns out not to be a therapist at all, refuses to sign off for Ryan’s boss, because she thinks that he has more trouble dealing with his wife’s death than he is showing. By telling a fake story about his wife’s death, Ryan manages to trick Lauren into signing off after all.
Now, Ryan can finally get back to hosting his radio sports programme. While heading home from his first day back, he sees one of his guests texting while driving in the parking garage. Ryan gets furious at the man, and it turns out that that is the real way his wife died. Ryan realizes that he needs the therapy sessions after all.
In ‘Go On’, Matthew Perry brings back the sarcasm he did so well when portraying Chandler Bing on ‘Friends’. This makes for some funny moments during the pilot episode. While losing your wife and attending group therapy are very serious subjects, the way King deals with his emotions, shielding them with sarcasm, makes the show funny and lighthearted while still remaining serious.
While he is very good at what he does, it is striking that Perry always only does this sarcastic character that can’t deal with emotions. He did it in ‘Friends’, ‘Mr. Sunshine’, and now again in ‘Go On’. The question remains whether that is because he is a one trick pony or that he only gets cast in these kinds of roles because everybody knows him so well as Chandler Bing.
The show ‘Go On’ does resemble one of NBC’s other shows ‘Community’. Both shows revolve around a man who is the latest addition to an existing group but somehow becomes leader of said group. Both groups consist of very diverse people who become quite close and experience all kind of things together. ‘Go On’ should beware that their show doesn’t become a spin-off of ‘Community’ but a show on its own.
Something that is still lacking in the show is more depth to the characters other than Ryan and, to some extent, Lauren. However, it is almost impossible to introduce more than one or two characters with depth in just one half hour episode, so if the other characters will be introduced to some more extent in the episodes that are still to come, I won’t be complaining a bit.
The pilot of ‘Go On’ looks very promising. The show gives a quick introduction of all the main characters and a glimpse of what the show will be like. The way the show introduced the members of the therapy group by means of the competition was very clever and fits really nicely in the show. On thing we know for sure is that ‘Go On’ will contain a lot of sarcasm and some absurd situations. This series is really a must for the fall season.
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