by Amy K. Bredemeyer
Although we will be looking at several pilot episodes before they technically premiere, Go On has actually already aired. Although the "official" debut of the Matthew Perry comedy isn't until September 11th, NBC went ahead and showed it in its entirety after their daily coverage of the Quadrennial Hot-Weather Events one night last week. You may remember that the show was near the top of my original picks for the fall, and, after seeing the first episode, I'm going to stick with it. I thought that the comedy was weak in areas and that I might have written a few things differently, but I thought that it was a good episode for drawing in viewers. I thought that there was a good balance of sports references, but I imagine going for three or so every episode will start to alienate some people... Also, I must disagree with the choice to name the main character, "Ryan." Not only does it seem to be a second choice (Terrell Owens calls Matthew Perry "Brad" in his radio interview), but, I've personally found that the vast majority of boys named Ryan are incredibly good-looking... an attribute which I would not give to Perry. Shallowness aside, I poked around the internet for ten or fifteen minutes to see if the character was originally "Brad" and they just didn't fix Owens' line, but I can't find anything to that effect. Can anyone explain what was going on there?
Go On "Pilot" (S01E0): Ryan King is unexpectedly back at work as a radio personality, though his boss suspects that he has not yet had enough time to grieve his wife's death (just a month ago). Corporate recommends group therapy and won't let him return until he's had ten hours of it, so Ryan heads to a community center to attend a "life change" group. [I thought it was funny that he walked in on some medieval cosplay first!] Because the group leader is late, Ryan takes charge and encourages everyone to share their stories in five seconds, building a bracket to see who wins "March Sadness." [I thought this was a shining scene in the pilot.] There's a blind guy who has suffered from many health scares in his life, a woman who can't get over her cat's passing, and the winner ends up being a Hispanic woman who talks of her husband and her son passing. [I loved that the pet death surpassed a human death because of a technicality in breaking the five-second rule!] When Lauren, the group leader, arrives, we start learning about how it's unfair to rank one another. [she seriously carries around a gong??] When everyone starts hugging themselves, Ryan is a bit uncomfortable and switches to listening to his earphones. [and somehow the leader didn't notice??] Later, he goes for a jog and we see what everyone else does at night. [I felt that was a very moving sequence, and I imagine that it'll happen again.]
The next session has everyone paired up and talking, and Ryan is matched with Owen, a guy who hasn't talked in the two months he's been attending. They chat about cool videos and pictures on their phones, and Owen shares what his favorite is two guys in Europe who followed around the Google car, so they got into a bunch of pictures on Google Maps Street View. The next day, Owen's brother had a skiing accident and has been in a coma. [awww!] When it comes to talking about the "three words" that they used in their conversation, Ryan breaks the rules and starts suggesting that everyone do less talking and more doing. [I understand why Ryan did that, but I still didn't think it was a great moment.] But, the therapist won't sign Ryan's paperwork if he doesn't actually show grief, so he follows her until he finds out that she's not a licensed therapist - she's just a Weight Watchers success story! [getting into the car with her was a bit much, don't you think?] Ryan gives up, but when he mentions that Owen actually opened up, Lauren goes after him, and asks him to share, too. He makes up a story about his wife dying from a sudden onset blood disease, but as soon as she signs off on all ten sessions, he admits it was a lie. [I don't understand why he came clean! Unless we were just supposed to take that as a sign that he really does want to talk about it?]
Now that Ryan can work again, he interviews Terrell Owens. [who calls him Brad. but I've already talked about that.] When Ryan goes to leave for the day, he starts throwing fruit from a gift basket at a car whose driver was texting. Because of this explosion, he realizes that he needs therapy and returns to the group. You see, Ryan's wife, Jeannie, was driving and texting when she ran a stop sign and was hit by another car. She died on the scene. [well, while this dates the show to present day (as opposed to fifteen years ago when it would have been a drunk driver), it's a sad story and almost a political statement, in my opinion.] Ryan stops his story to announce that he sees the Google car outside, so he grabs Owen and they grab some stuff from the cosplayers to go get in some shots. [how cute! rather unlikely unless the show is supposed to be set in the Silicon Valley area, but cute.]
|(Photo by: Jordin Althaus/NBC)|