One of the best parts of the new school year is the culmination of new television series and the return of your favorite shows. Summer is great, but I spent a lot of it watching reruns of “Friends” and “One Tree Hill,” waiting for my favorite shows to return and anticipating the new ones. Let’s just say my calendar is more cluttered with the start of television shows than actual life events of importance. I’m interested in many shows this fall, but one in particular caught my eye, mainly because of the show’s main character, Matthew Perry. He stars as Ryan King in NBC’s new comedy television series “Go On.”
The show, which airs Tuesdays at 9 p.m. following “The Voice” and premiered Sept. 11, revolves around Ryan King, a sportscaster who is having trouble coming to terms with the recent death of his wife, Janie. Ryan’s boss and close friend, Steven, played by John Cho, forces Ryan to join a support group for 10 weeks. Ryan grudgingly obeys and meets what is possibly one of the quirkiest, and for lack of a better term, weirdest group of people one could ever meet. The group includes people coping with losing family members, dead cats, blindness and other troubles.
As an avid “Friends” viewer (“Friends” is, in my opinion, one of the greatest and most well-written shows on the planet), I go crazy with happiness and start singing the “Friends” theme song when I see one of the six stars branching off into something new. Unfortunately, too few of the “Friends” alums had successful careers following the show that ran 10 seasons. You mostly hear about the beautiful Jennifer Aniston, who has starred in a number of films, but the buzz focuses more on her personal life than her career. Matt LeBlanc seems to have found success with his TV series “Episodes,” as well as Courtney Cox with her series “Cougar Town.” It was refreshing to see Perry starring in his own television series.
To give “Go On” some credit, it is entertaining because it is quirky. Each character in the support group brings a unique type of humor to the table, which gives the show a sense of character. One of my personal favorite characters is George, played by Bill Cobbs. George is hilariously cynical due to his blindness and his senility but has wisdom to offer Ryan hidden underneath his cynicism.
However, the script seems to be a bit forced, making what is meant to be funny not funny at all. Instead it comes off as slightly ridiculous and sometimes a bit slow. On the bright side, Perry’s performance as Ryan King is pleasant because his sarcastic and humorous lines and mannerisms seem to have a hint of Chandler Bing in them, making viewers nostalgic for the beloved character.
The show’s humor is not entirely clever and is without a touch of political commentary that is so often seen in NBC television series such as “Parks and Recreation” and “30 Rock.” If you are in the mood for an easy-to-watch show where a woman buys 10-plus cats to hide her feelings and Perry leads a surprisingly light-hearted tournament to rank who has suffered the most, perhaps “Go On” would float your boat.
Where “Go On” lacks in humor at times, it makes up for it by making viewers “awwww.” It is a heartwarming show, to say the least, as you witness Perry’s character arc from an independent man who hates sharing his feelings to somebody who grows to care about his fellow support group members and slowly begins to come to terms with his wife’s death.
In the show’s defense, it has only aired three episodes and is competing with many successful NBC series (“Parks and Recreation,” “Community” and “The Office,”). Mind you, “Parks and Recreation,” which is extremely successful and is going on its fifth season, started off slow and seemed to be headed in the direction of cancellation. So who’s to say that “Go On” isn’t traveling down the same road as “Parks”? I say give the show a chance. With some tweaks to the script, there is definitely potential for a light-hearted, entertaining show for the masses to look forward to every Tuesday night. Mathew Perry entertained the country once; he can certainly do it again.