Go On (NBC)
Show: Go On (NBC)
Type: Comedy, single camera
One line description: Ryan King, a sports radio host, is trying to move on from the loss of his wife. He is sent to join a group therapy session run by the well meaning but under-qualified Lauren Schneider. Initially sceptical, Ryan learns the value of working with the group.
Tone: Ward, sentimental, harmless
Similar to: Community (group of misfits), Mr Sunshine (a lot of Matthew Perry)
Starring: Matthew Perry, Laura Benanti, John Cho
Quality: Average (40-60 range)
Go On - 101 - Pilot
Ok so Matthew Perry is an insensitive sports radio host whose wife died. His work insist on him going to therapy and naturally he rolls his eyes at the whole process. The group of misfits are all comic characters with sad stories. Lauren, the woman who runs the group, turns out to be unqualified for the job. However he realises that he does need help and she realises that he helps bring things out of others in the group.
It’s a fairly promising premise for a comedy. The group is large and can presumably incorporate new members. The pilot has gentle moments of sentiment where people in pain find moments of release. That feels like the sort of mainstream emotional appeal that a successful comedy would need. I didn’t find it particularly funny but there is promise there.
The main reason I don’t think “Go On” is going to turn into a good show is Matthew Perry. He is essentially meant to be Jeff Winger here. He is the insensitive, arrogant guy who has trouble dealing with his emotions. But not only does Matthew Perry not look like Joel McHale but he doesn’t act like him either. He still acts like later seasons Chandler. For me, Chandler is one of the great sit com characters at least in the first few seasons. Perry used to deliver his acidic sarcasm like it was a second skin he was trying to shed. Now it comes across as an exaggerated, self conscious performance. He never feels real and I think he may have trouble bringing the emotion that would make the role work properly.
I hope I’m wrong because it’s sad to see an actor who clearly doesn’t understand why they used to be funny. And “Go On” seems like it might be fun. My hopes aren’t high but I will definitely check it out when it airs for real on September 11th (The pilot aired after NBC’s Olympic coverage a few weeks ago).