‘Go On’: Third time’s the charm for Matthew Perry?
“Go On” marks Matthew Perry’s third attempt to make it back into the big leagues.
Most people know Perry for his iconic role as Chandler Bing in NBC’s hit comedy “Friends.” But after 10 seasons, the show came to a bittersweet ending and the actors went their separate ways. Perry, although having done a few movies, has largely stuck with NBC comedies that haven’t quite made it past the first season. Its heartbreaking to see this amazing, funny actor fail twice within the past 10 years, first with “Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip” (2006) and then with “Mr. Sunshine” (2011). So, fingers crossed that “Go On” is well received.
Now, I wouldn’t necessarily blame Perry for these unsuccessful shows. I mean, he’s an Emmy nominated actor for goodness sake. It’s a combination of bad timing, bad luck and in the case of “Mr. Sunshine”, a poor supporting cast.
“Go On” is a story about, well, going on. The show follows Perry’s character Ryan King, a sports radio reporter who has just lost his wife in a car accident. In the fashion of most recently traumatized characters, he tries to convince his friends that he is in fact fine. He doesn’t want their sympathy, he just wants to move on and go back to work.
Unconvinced, Ryan’s boss (John Cho) won’t allow him back unless he attends group therapy and can prove that he is fine. King reluctantly goes and it is there that he meets a diverse group of quirky people who have recently experienced some sort of tragedy, ranging from the death of a loved one all the way to the death of a cat. Soon enough, King unenthusiastically becomes their beloved leader and they begin their journey — moving on, or as I should say, go(ing) on.
Sounds good right? Well, the show has potential, this is for sure. For one, its got Matthew Perry playing a character fairly similar to Chandler Bing — the same wit, the same pessimism and the same deep underlying sadness guarded by jokes and insults.
The characters also have a lot of promise, with the diversity similar to the cast of “Community.” You have your grumpy, yet funny old man, your oddball with crazy, irritating antics and your angry strong-headed woman.
Unfortunately, a lot of these characters should have been cast differently. I found myself thinking about how funny the lines were, and yet I wasn’t laughing due to the poor delivery. But the characters are interesting, they all have baggage which supplies an endless amount of episode plots, character resolutions and touching moments.
Linda Holmes reminds us to be patient with new shows in her article on NPR. “Roughly speaking, when I watch comedy pilots now, I put maybe 10 percent under ‘ugh,’ 10 percent under ‘hooray,’ and 80 percent under ‘it will be interesting to see where they are in six or eight episodes.’ ‘Go On’ is one of the many shows in this last group,” she writes.
These are wise words. So many television shows have rocky beginnings. It is important to stay by the ones that have potential just in case they live up to what they were created to be. I kick myself every time I see a poorly piloted show get to its 3rd season, because then I have to try and catch up — always a stressful experience.
“Go On” is nothing truly special. In fact, many critics have already noted its similarities to “Community.” But be warned, “Community” fans, this show may be similar, but as of right now, with three episodes, it does not bring the laughs quite like “Community” does.
Needless to say, Perry is good, but it is questionable that the show will ever make it past the 13 episodes that have already been shot. I hope for Perry’s sake that it does. Truly, the show could either fail miserably or end up being hilarious. Watch “Go On” Tuesdays at 9/8c on NBC.