Stars: Matthew Perry, Laura Benanti, Julie White, Suzy Nakamura, Tyler James Williams, Brett Gelman, John Cho, Bill Cobbs, Sarah Baker, Allison Miller
Writer:
Lesley Wake Webster, series created by Scott Silveri
Director:
Andy Ackerman
Network:
NBC, Tuesdays @ 9 PM
Original Airdate:
September 11, 2012

Warning: this review is being written under duress. This reviewer did not volunteer for the gig; the editor insisted.

NBC’s new series GO ON has potential as it tries to mediate at once sending up and celebrating group therapy, along with sports radio. Putting Matthew Perry’s brand of snarkiness up against the sincerity – and often self-involvement – of others in distress has its merits, comedic and dramatic, and this series may yet hit a good stride.

However, the episode “He Got Game, She Got Cats” has three plot lines, only one of which actually works. Perry’s character Ryan, a sports radio host, and work associate Steven (John Cho) go to the room of old blind group therapy member George (Bill Cobbs), only to find that George’s treasured basketball has been stolen. Ryan tries to compensate for the loss by bringing George to a Lakers game – only to find that George has ways of appreciating the action that have never occurred to Ryan.

A second, more work-related plot has Ryan, still deeply grieving the sudden death of his wife, forcing his assistant Carrie (Allison Miller) to work late or let him tag along with her friends so that he won’t have to go home alone. It is very clear that Ryan is simply lonely and not sexually harassing Carrie, but it is an abuse of power that is well on the wrong side of funny. If Carrie treated it as understanding that her pal was especially needy, that would be one thing, but although Mille is quite good, Carrie is written and directed as a put-upon employee. When Ryan plays the friendship card, it seems to be coming out of the wrong deck.

The third storyline relies largely on what is the third rail for this reviewer. Notes to the creators of GO ON and episode writer Lesley Wake Webster: 1) The death of a pet is really not funny to the pet’s owner. 2) It will occur to even a fairly unhinged person who has experienced pet loss that it may be time to acquire another pet. 3) Nobody adopts thirteen cats in one day. That’s not how “crazy cat people” are created, nor will animal adoption agencies allow anything like this. 4) It is not possible to find good homes for thirteen adult cats in one day – it is possible to dump them at a shelter or sell them to a laboratory, but not find actual good homes. Because a surprising number of adults are actually ignorant about these matters, this is really unfunny. Once again, this whole topic is a personal sore point, which makes reviewer and subject a bad fit here.

Once more, GO ON demonstrates in fits and starts that it may grow into being something good, if the writers display a little more genuine sensitivity without losing their sense of humor. This isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) a paradox.

AGREE? DISAGREE? LET YOUR VOICE BE HEARD – COMMENT BELOW

Related: Exclusive Interview with GO ON star Julie White

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Related: TV Review – GO ON – Season 1 – “Pilot”

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Article: TV Review – GO ON – Season 1 – “He Got Game, She Got Cats”

 

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