I may be predisposed to instantly like anything that mentions The Losing Game and uses it to drive most of its plot. What’s The Losing Game, you ask? It’s when people share sob stories and compete (they don’t state it, but we do it internally) as to who has the worst life, who’s lost the most. I’ve often thought about this cultural phenomenon. This happens most often down here when a hurricane has passed by and everyone’s fighting to be the person with the most home wreckage.
People are ridiculous. As is the case with NBC’s Matthew Perry vehicle Go On.
Perry stars as stoic radio host Ryan King who after having lost his wife is mandated to go through at least ten group therapy sessions in order to get back to work. As you might expect, there are a lof of characters in the sessions (in both senses of the word), shenanigans ensue, and finally Ryan opens up by the end of the episode about his wife. It’s all a bit predictable, but that doesn’t make it bad. Not at all.
Let’s be honest here because it seems almost inevitable: this very well feels like NBC’s own “Let’s make Community…but broader.” There could only ever be one Community, obviously, but that’s probably the idea. These guys aren’t going to go chasing an inheritance through 8bit video games or telling stories through seven different timelines, and with that, NBC is hoping the show will catch mass appeal…and mass ratings. Could this be it? Or could this just be forgettable?
Thus far, Go On could easily come off as a complete mess, introducing an insane number of characters and trying to give each and every single one of them equal amounts of dimensionality. And even then, Ryan’s stuck in between two worlds: his support group and his job, all with different characters. It’s almost another Up All Night situation, which NBC had to retool to not feel as though the gap between the work and the home side of the show was too glaring.
It could come off as a mess, but mostly it just comes off as funny. You know, I don’t really ask much for a comedy other than to make me laugh. And Go On did that. Several times, in fact. It boasts an insane number of characters, sure, but each actor is extremely comedically (and dramatically) talented. It’s a recipe for disaster, but it’s also a recipe for a great comedy in the making — a setup that’s perfect for mixing comedy, caricature, and heart-warmth into one splendid half-hour each week. And this pilot showcased that well enough, proving it’s unafraid to be both funny and heartwrenching at once.
I’ll definitely be tuning in for more Go On come fall.
Go On premieres Tuesday, September 11th at 9/8c on NBC. Check our premiere dates calendar!
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