Trying to get a jump on its competition and using the Olympics to do it, NBC is giving sneak previews of its fall lineup, and so Go On, starring Matthew Perry as Ryan King aired on Tuesday night. Ryan is a sportscaster who is ordered by his boss, Steven (John Cho) to attend ten sessions of a support group after his wife dies.
Ryan King is a guy with a sports radio show. He has been out for a month, following the death of his wife. He returns to work, only to be turned away by boss. Steven tells him that he needs to deal with his loss, that he must attend at least ten sessions of group therapy before he can return. Ryan is less than thrilled. He really does not think he needs it, and goes under protest. First, he makes his assistant Carrie (Allison Miller) download a bunch of his old programs so that he can listen to them while in therapy. He’s clearly taking this very seriously.
When he gets to the community center, he walks into a room, but realizes that he is in the wrong room when everyone starts pulling on medieval costumes and sparring. When he finally finds the right room, he overhears a woman telling everyone that Lauren is running late, but she’ll start. Yolanda (Suzy Nakamura) is completely thrown when she realizes that someone new is in the room. Ryan tells everyone that he’s just going to sit in. George (Bill Cobbs) turns to his right to get things started, but as it’s Owen (Tyler James Williams), someone who never talks, they move on. As Ryan sits there, everyone starts explaining their issues and why they are in a state of transition.
Ryan jumps up and says that since everyone thinks their sad sack story is the worst, they’ll set up brackets. Yolanda seems a little reluctant to do this since Lauren says they aren’t supposed to compare their issues, but gets swept up anyway. Owen offers the title of March Sadness.
Don (Khary Payton) explains that he gave up his life to pursue music and then failed. George simply offers that he is blind. George moves on. Anne (Julie White) starts to tell her story, but doesn’t manage to get out her story about her lover and how she died. Anne is still kind of stuck in the anger stage of grief. She is horrified to realize that she lost out to a woman whose cat died. Danny explains that he served in Iraq and come home to find that his wife had had a baby. Not his. This goes on until the final of George and his various ailments and Fausta who seems to have lost her entire family. Ryan crowns her with an empty pink pastry box. They celebrate, until Lauren (Laura Benanti) walks in.
Lauren explains that they don’t compare their problems. Yolanda offers that this is because it implies that someone’s problems might be somehow more than another person’s. All this as she pulls out a miniature gong. She asks everyone to embrace themselves and that’s about when Ryan starts to tune out.
At the next session, Lauren pairs everyone up. Mr. K (Brett Gelman) holds hands with the cat lady. She is deeply uncomfortable. Mr. K is a little odd. Anne and Danny are paired up and when he offers that he thinks if his wife hadn’t cheated on him, then he wouldn’t have met everyone in the group. Anne calls him a %$#! idiot.
Ryan tells Owen that he doesn’t really need to get deep into this and suggests that they just look at funny videos. Owen shows photos of the Google photo bombers, and then tells Ryan that his older brother sent them to him before he got into a skiing accident. He’s brain dead. Ryan is stunned for a bit and then shows Owen another video.
Lauren asks Ryan what three things he and Owen have in common. Ryan tries to get around it, but Lauren calls him on it. Ryan tells her that this really isn’t his thing. He doesn’t think talking does anything. He tells Danny he should be out meeting women. He tells Anne that she should go find something that allows her to hit things. Anne seems to take this into consideration. Lauren ends the session.
Ryan chases after Lauren to get her signature. He tells her he really just doesn’t believe in this stuff. He doesn’t think it’s helping Owen with his brother. She says that Owen has talked about it to anyone before. During all this, it comes out that she is not a therapist and that her prior counseling experience was with Weight Watchers. He’s now even less impressed. She doesn’t sign the form, but tells him that if he would just share one thing about his wife, she would. He tells her that she got a blood disease and one day she was here, the next she was gone. Lauren tells him he’s brave and signs the sheet. He feels bad and admits that he Keyser Soze‘d her. She gives up.
Ryan goes to work the next day. He talks to Terrell Owens. Things seem fine-ish, until after the show, he sees Owen in the parking lot, texting as he drives. Ryan starts throwing fruit at the car and yells at him that he could kill someone. Carrie tells him that he exploded.
Ryan goes back to group. He tells everyone that Janie was driving. She texted him to buy a bag of coffee and ran a stop sign. A guy hit her and she died. She was the only girl he ever loved. And with that, Ryan starts his healing process.
So that’s it until September 11th when the show starts for real. Are you going to watch?
Photo credit: Go On Facebook page