I know we are going onto episode three tomorrow night but I’m just getting around to talking about Go On. Go On is the return of Matthew Perry (again) to headline a show. Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip and Mr. Sunshine failed miserably. So will the 3rd time be the charm for Perry? Not only do I hope so, but I believe it will be.
Matthew Perry is leading man Ryan King…a snarky sports broadcaster who recently lost his wife in an automobile accident. To deal with the tragedy of losing his wife, his company insists he enroll in group counseling. The group is led by Lauren (Laura Benanti) who we learn has no background or expertise in psychiatry but has lost 40 pounds through Weight Watchers and became one of their leading motivators. Joining Lauren is a calamity of characters with some wacky problems (like Sonya, who uses cats as a substitute for issues with her boyfriend) to serious issues (like Owen, whose brother is in a coma after a terrible accident and Owen really struggles with talking about it.)
The cast is solid. Perry is his typical charming, witty self. I know there are many people who don’t like Perry because they feel he plays Chandler Bing with every roll. But I don’t think that’s the case (see his guest role on The Good Wife.) Perry is playing a beguiling, funny, witty, sharp character that was popularized by playing Chandler Bing. And as a result, when shows are looking for someone to play a character with those types of qualities, Perry fits the bill perfectly. It’s the same with Jack Nicholson. If you need a womanizing asshole with a wise ass sense of humor, who’s better than Nicholson? No one! Same here. And since I love Perry, I’ll watch him any day of the week. He wasn’t what killed those last few shows….the writing did. But that’s not the case here.
The rest of the cast is very complimentary. It’s a fine line between quirky and lovable and annoying and stupid. Especially when trying to write about a cast of people in group therapy for many different reasons. It can’t be too sad, or sappy, or out there…then you turn people off. But so far, the writers and the cast have done an excellent job of selling funny, weird, and sentimental. I loved the scene in the second episode where Ryan takes George (who’s blind) to a Lakers game and Ryan is giving George the play-by-play. George tells him to knock it off, because he’s driving him crazy, and to close his eyes and listen the game. It will tell you all you need to know. So far though, I like everyone…especially Anne, Owen, and George.
I read one review where the critic talked about this show having a Community feel to it. And I think they’re right. Community is about a common element bringing a group of people together who would never normally socialize with one another. Go On has that same premise. I love seeing all these different personalities meshing together.
WHAT’S NOT WORKING
Right now, not much. The only thing I will say is that Benanti hasn’t had a chance to really shine yet. So far she’s been rather boring…which pains me to say after watching her Tony Winning performance in Gypsy on Broadway. She’s amazing!! But in this role, she’s really dull around this wacky, motley crew. It’s early, so I’m holding out hope she gets better as we get to know her more.
John Cho is also pretty wasted in his role. He only shows up sparingly so I’m not sure what the direction for his character is moving forward. Again, it’s early so they may figure something out.
Overall, I like this show and will keep watching it. At first I thought the potential love interest for Perry’s Ryan would be Benanti’s Lauren. After episode 2, I’m now thinking it might be his assistant, Carrie (Allison Miller) or we may have a bit of a triangle…even though there has been no indication of a romantic relationship between Lauren and Ryan yet. It’s still way too early after the loss of his wife, but you know it’s coming. But since I’m in no rush for that, just keep bringing on the comedy surrounding the therapy group and I’m good!
DVRs: 4 DVRs