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Go On (NBC) - Series Premiere: Synopsis and Review

Updated on September 13, 2012

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.

What do you think of 'Go On'?

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    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 4 years ago

      Hi tch2rd2,

      I agree with you, Go On was one of my favorite shows as well! It's such a shame they cancelled it, the show really had a lot of potential. It didn't follow through on a lot of occasions which is probably the reason it lost viewers in the end. Still, it's a shame it won't be amusing us anymore.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      tch2rd2 4 years ago

      How on earth could someone(s) cancel this excellent show? This show was my absolute favorite show last year... period. I don't say that lightly because I really don't watch a lot of TV. Nevertheless this show came along like a shimmering stream running through a dry desert. Each week I would faithfully watch this show... like a child waiting for Christmas morning to arrive... then proceed to watch the reruns on my computer as I worked out. I am sad and dismayed to see this excellent show go away because it faithfully delivered an amazing show each week. Shame on the executives at NBC for this horrible decision!

    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 4 years ago

      Hi pairieprincess,

      Even though it has some really funny moments, I agree that Go On is not realizing its full potential. While it's trying to be anything but shallow, it often comes across as exactly that. However, some of the best comedies started out being only mediocre, so I'm not ready to abandon Go On just yet.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

      P.S. I loved your pun!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 4 years ago from Canada

      Robin, I have been trying to like this show, but I get frustrated when I watch it, and it just seems shallow. You have done a good review of the show starting out. Like you, I thought it had potential, but as the season "goes on" it seems that potential is not being realized. Great review!

    • First Colony profile image

      First Colony 5 years ago

      That was the name, thanks for remembering. I really wanted to like it since I enjoyed Aaron Sorkin's writing on "The West Wing" and "Sports Night". The problem was that it was a drama based on a late night comedy show (like a Saturday Night Live) and 30 Rock premiered at the same time. It had its moments, but no, I didn't like it.

    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 5 years ago

      First Colony, it just came to me what show you meant. 'Studio 60 on the sunset strip', right? Perry did kind of the same character on that show, if I'm right. It didn't last long, but I didn't like it either. Did you?

    • Robin Oatley profile image

      Robin Oatley 5 years ago

      Hi First Colony, Alecia and Jools,

      Its amazing how they keep things light even though the subject is everything but light. Perry is cut out for a role like this, he really knows how to use sarcasm to make difficult subjects discussable. I think this will be the strong suit of this series.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      Robin, good review. I am looking forward to seeing this in the UK because I really like Matthew Perry and think it might grow on me.

    • Alecia Murphy profile image

      Alecia Murphy 5 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

      I was thinking about this yesterday when I saw it was airing immediately after the Olympics. I figured NBC wanted to draw the interest of an early premiere.

      I didn't know it was about Matthew Perry as a widower, that's an interesting concept. I also think it's remarkable that they're using group therapy for the premise- just like "Common Law." I hope this is a success I think Matthew Perry's a brilliant comic actor. Thanks for the review Robin!

    • First Colony profile image

      First Colony 5 years ago

      I watched this last night, and I enjoyed it. It also helped that it was aired without commercials! My wife was afraid that the series was going to be depressing since it deals with people losing their loved ones due to death (or in the case of one, a coma). I think that while there will be serious discussions, Perry's character's sarcasm will help keep things light.

      I also liked the guest stars. You had Kevin Garnett (KG) as a guest, although you only heard his voice, and the in-studio guest was the football diva Terrell Owens, who has had multiple run-ins with the media. If the show continues to bring in sport stars for cameos, I think it will appeal to men while some of the group bonding may appeal to another demographic.

      My favorite scene was the "March Sadness" scene, and I was upset with Lauren when she arrived and crushed the group's enthusiasm. I thought they were having fun, and it helped people open up.

      I hope this show does well. I enjoy Matthew Perrry as an actor and would like to see him do well. Mr. Sunshine didn't do well, and do you remember the Aaron Sorkin show about a late night comedy show? I think that one only last half a season. I did enjoy it last night, and I'll watch further episodes.