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First thoughts 2012: NBC’s Go On

Go On poster

Written by : published Friday 14th September 2012

First thoughts 2012: NBC’s Go On main image

I think it's safe to this on behalf of the entire television audiences the world over (or at least those in the world familiar with Friends):

Oh Matthew Perry, how we’ve missed you. That is the general feeling you’ll get upon watching Tuesday night’s new NBC comedy Go On which aired its second episode this week. Go On is about Perry’s Ryan King, a charming yet irreverent radio sportscaster who after the loss of his wife in a car accident, finds solace from members of his mandatory group therapy sessions with a diverse group of individuals ranging from crazy cat lady Sonia (Sarah Baker), blind guy George (Bill Cobbs) to the definitely crazy weirdo Mr. K (Brett Gelman). So after the pilot episode and second episode “He Got Game, She Got Cats”, is the show worth your time?

Most assuredly yes.

Cast photo of GO ON via NBC

Before the sneak peak on NBC, there were some screeners issued out to some individuals and while this examiner could have reviewed this and Animal Practice early, both series were not only early cuts but left interesting aftertastes. While Animal Practice was more negative, Go On was a fresh surprise of comedic goodness. There was the question though whether or not the series could keep up what it established in the “Pilot” which was a series lead by Perry and it’s amazing cast, down some oddball moments akin to the characters of Community but with a bit more seriousness and beyond all else: heart.

Sometimes comedies live and die by heart. A fellow reviewer and friend Jerome Wetzel noted that within FOX’s Ben & Kate that for all it’s shortcomings that the final moment of the series had enough heart that it openly warrants further viewings. While I will note the show might need a few more episodes before casting a final decision, it isn’t one that I happily proclaim. The heart provided in that series did not feel earned. But with Go On, the heart is supremely earned.

Trying to seem impartial about Matthew Perry though is a bit tough for this examiner as Chandler was my favorite Friends character, and Perry is a gifted comedic actor. His roles on Scrubs and even the very much-maligned Serving Sara and Mr. Sunshine are quite good, but it is the writing that lets him down. Here, Go On is a perfect fit.  Perry’s comedic timing is always best when he is constantly sarcastically depressed and happily excited and as Ryan King, Perry gets the entire package. 

Another reason for concern was to see how the show would not only carry on the heart and warmth provided in the “Pilot” but to also see what it would do with characters from his workplace.  Go On seems destined to seem that the workplace would fall to the wayside or disappear completely from the show, losing Allison Miller as Carrie and John Cho as Steven, but “He Got Game, She Gots Cats” puts to bed any fears on that as well.

Dat's a lotta cats dere!

Go On also dares to be a bit different in its approach as well.  When George as a blind guy asks Ryan to close his eyes and hear what is happening on the basketball court, and Ryan does so, thus fading to black, which then cuts to the black at the end of the episode, it was a bold choice. One that I found delightful, bold and daring for a network show, and I applaud the writers, producers and show runners for not only doing that but making it part of something that again counts: heart.

And that is what makes Go On work, really, is the large amounts of heart that is in the show.  For as certifiable as some of the characters are (being I can’t entirely relate to some of them) the show makes you feel for them on such a great level that even though we are first with Ryan, they win us over just like they win Ryan over. And I love the show and the characters even more for it.

Overall Go On is the best of the new crop of series on any of the networks that I’ve yet seen, and it pleases me to say that as Matthew Perry is always welcome on the television screen (and in a way, like Ray Romano, should never be OFF television).

About the author goodbadgeeky

goodbadgeeky

Nick ‘Nitro’ Arganbright has an extreme love for a good story, whether it be in film, tv, video games, comic books, music or more and it shows in each article and podcast he produced. The titular podcast he produces is called The Good The Bad & The Geeky with co-hosts Jon Bettin and Nathan ‘DJ Meat’ Haley. The podcast has helped him make a few contacts within in the industry which he hopes to use to entertain and inform readers of his reviews on Examiner.com and The TV King, offering an average joe opinion that is often overlooked in major print and online publications. If you’d like to e-mail him, please do so at [email protected] or you can tweet him on twitter at @goodbadgeeky.

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