Only two episodes into the series, Go On has already exceeded expectations. When Matthew Perry says that the show has heart, he means it. His character, Ryan King, just wants to grieve his wife’s death and help people at the Transitions therapy group in the process.
In the second episode of Go On, viewers find out that Ryan forces his assistant, Carrie, to work late just so he does not have to go home to an empty house. Carrie is clearly worn down because she has not had a social life in weeks. She wants to help Ryan, but needs a life of her own. When Ryan finally allows Carrie to have a social life, he invites himself to Carrie’s girls’ nights out. Ryan clearly has problems that he should not be imposing on Carrie. However, the man just lost his wife, so it is hard to get angry with him. Eventually, Ryan and Carrie set boundaries.
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.