Monday, September 24, 2012

'Go On' is a Fresh Surprise

Sarah Baker, Matthew Perry and Brett Gelman try to
work things out in NBC's "Go On."

 TV 

I really like Matthew Perry. Always have. He doesn’t have a huge range as an actor, but he can do sarcasm well and he’s been able to shed a lot of his Candler Bing persona which is a good thing. I had high hopes for his last sitcom try, last year’s Mr. Sunshine. It was a silly show that tried to be sentimental as well, but just didn’t click with viewers.

This year he’s back in another silly sitcom, but this time the writers get the sentimentality down. NBC’s Go On  is about Ryan King (Perry), a recent widower and sports talk radio host who is trying to re-enter society while still grieving. He’s bitter and angry and so, his boss, Stephen (John Cho), wants Ryan to join a support group to get some healing before coming back on the air. Of course he resists, but he has no choice, so he joins a group of people who on the surface appear to be more messed up than him, but in reality are very much the same. Still, that doesn’t stop him from trying to run the group himself.

Laura Benanti plays Lauren, the group leader (whose only support group training was that as a weight loss program counselor), who has the thankless job of keeping this group in line. All of the other members of the group are diversely different. One of those members I recognized right off the back from her work as another group therapy member in the short-lived Ted Danson comedy Help Me, Help You back in 2006.

Go On isn’t a hilarious comedy, but it is an enjoyable one with a strong emphasis on friendship. In one episode, his group invites Ryan to go bowling with them. He of course refuses saying that he doesn’t like bowling. In response, one of the other members lays down the law and tells him that sometimes you have to do things with and for others because you love them.

The show never gets too sappy, but still has a very big heart. It is created by Emmy Award-winning Scott Silveri (Friends), Todd Holland (Malcom in the Middle), and Kary Nixon (Free Agents and Miss/Guided) and is surprisingly clean. My only fear for this show is that they might run out material, but for the time being, it’s pretty fun and worth watching. And who knows, you just might learn something at the same time.

Go On airs on NBC at 9:00 p.m. on Tuesdays.

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