Friday, April 12, 2013

The enigma that is "Go On"

"Go On" ended its first season Thursday. I watched every episode. I'm still not sure why.

In case you missed it, which I think many of you did, "Go On" is an NBC comedy that stars Matthew Perry as Ryan King, a recent widower who joins a grief support group. It's really not as much of a bummer as it sounds. The group is filled with eccentrics, like a woman obsessed with cats and a guy who basically exists to do all kinds of weird stuff (in the season finale alone, for instance, he randomly carried pennies in his hands and ate candles). There's some workplace comedy too, at the sports radio station where Ryan is a host. Most of the show focuses on Ryan's journey of accepting the death of the love of his life, and the group coming together to help him and each other. Lots of warm fuzzies, with the requisite shenanigans.

The thing about "Go On" is that it didn't make me laugh all that much -- the jokes came fast, but often forced and predictable. But something kept bringing me back. More than that, it's a show I tended to watch right away, as opposed to letting the episodes pile up on my DVR like so many others. Why? Is Matthew Perry really that charming? Am I using it to work through some of my own (unknown) issues? Was I just looking for a brain dump at the end of a long Tuesday?

There were aspects of the show I liked: Ryan's friendship with kindred spirit Anne (Julie White), who's adjusting to the death of her own wife; the goofy earnestness of his boss, played by John Cho; even that aforementioned weirdo, Mr. K (Brett Gelman), who started to grow on me. In fact, many of the group members started to grow on me. But again, the laughter...

If you were to ask me if "Go On" is a good show, I would probably hesitate but end up saying yes. It's likely to be renewed, and I'm likely to keep watching. Am I crazy? Can a comedy be good if it's not funny?

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