Go On Will Go On
NBC hit a home run with Go On. The show stars Matthew Perry as sportscaster Ryan King, whose boss forces him to join the Transitions therapy group. Of course, Ryan feels that he does not need therapy and any attempt to convince people to agree with him fails because he keeps lashing out at everyone. For those who insist on making Friends comparisons, Ryan is Chandler Bing, if Chandler Bing suffered from clinical depression and was constantly sardonic. It is a little jarring at first, since Friends is still being rerun continually, but it works.
Ryan’s first Transitions’ meeting makes up a big part of the pilot episode. When he first arrives, Ryan takes his place in the circle and listens briefly to some of his fellow group members’ problems. He quickly gets fed up with the wallowing because everything in his life is a competition. Deciding to do something about this, Ryan pulls out a whiteboard and starts making a bracket that one of the group members dubs “March Sadness.” For someone to progress in “March Sadness,” they have to tell their sob story in 5 seconds and it has to be more depressing than their competitors. It is twisted that Ryan turns suffering into a competition, but for some reason it does seem like a feasible way to move on in one’s life. The winner was a Fausta, a woman who spoke mostly Spanish and lost both her husband and her son. As the winner, Ryan crowned Fausta with a pastry box that she now cherishes.
In the middle of Ryan’s unusual therapy session, the group leader Laura, walks in and is appalled that Ryan turned a Transitions session into a competition. Laura believes in talking out one’s problems and feels that Ryan is using humor to cover his up, whereas Ryan just thinks Laura is crazy and wants to be left alone. Some people may be uncomfortable rooting for Ryan, but others will agree completely with him because Ryan’s form of therapy works for them. When Ryan tells a group member who is stuck in the anger stage of grief to take up boxing because she has not punched someone in a really long time, he has a point. Laura was not able to get Owen to open up about his brother’s skiing accident, but Ryan was able to get Owen to open up in a matter of minutes because they bonded through their similar senses of humor.
After his first session, Ryan begs Laura to sign the paper that says he went to group therapy and can return to work. She refuses because he did not share anything and acted like Transitions was a joke. Ryan even goes so far as to follow Laura to her car and sit in the passenger’s seat. He wants to know what makes her qualified to lead a Transitions group. Ryan guesses that she is a certified therapist. Laura says she is not, so his next logical guess was that she has been through a lot of stuff and gone to group therapy herself. She again says no. Then, Ryan asks her point blank: “What exactly makes you qualified?” After explaining that she has been part of a world renown organization that has helped a lot of people, Laura eventually confesses that she was a Weight Watchers leader. Essentially, Laura is the leader of a group that she is not even qualified to lead. At her wits end, Laura leaves her car and Ryan finally shares why he is at Transitions. Once Ryan shares the story of his wife’s death, Laura signs the paper only to have Ryan immediately reveal the whole story was made up. Laura is annoyed, but seems a little relieved that he is now going to be out of her life.
Ryan goes back to work. Everything seems fine. He is interviewing Terrell Owens. As he is leaving his office building with a fruit basket, Ryan sees TO driving while talking on his cell phone. Ryan snaps and starts throwing fruit at TO’s windshield. The two men almost get into a fight, but people pull them apart before any real damage it done. This incident causes Ryan to realize that he has real problems and Transitions could help.
The pilot ends with Ryan back at Transitions revealing that his wife was killed in a car accident. She was texting him to get bag of coffee, which the viewers find out is why he got so angry at Terrell Owens. Ryan is clearly upset about the circumstances of his wife’s death. It will be interesting to see how Ryan’s life changes now that he has decided to be open about his problems.
The show is off to a great start. Ryan King is a great character, who is clearly in pain and is now ready to deal with it. He is someone you either love or find obnoxious. However, the rest of Go On‘s characters need to be developed more because right now they all appear to be one-dimensionally strange. The show will definitely continue to improve in quality. Despite being a fantastic show with a lot of promise, it probably will only be successful for three to four seasons. Go On is one show that should quit while it is ahead and go out on top.
Posted on August 9, 2012, in Comedy, NBC, Network Television, Primetime and tagged chandler bing, comedy, friends, go on, group therapy, matthew perry, nbc, review, ryan king, sitcom, terrell owens, transitions. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.