The new Matthew Perry series Go On aired right after The New Normal, and it showed some key factor that makes a real difference in a sitcom, because even though it was rarely actually funny, I didn’t hate watching it. It had characters that even though they were down, I didn’t hate spending time with, because they had some charm rather than merely being obnoxious. I could watch it because there were characters with abnormalities on the surface but had some real humanity beneath, rather than the other way ’round. It made me feel that even though the series has a downbeat theme, if I spent more time with the characters I’d want to spend even more with them, rather than run screaming.
This is at base a “therapy group” series, which puts it in a tradition with Dear John and, ummm, I guess Anger Management. Okay, perhaps that’s not so long a tradition. Perry’s character is a sportscaster recovering from the loss of his wife. He’s acting like a man on the edge (and looking, for some reason, like a man who stood up in a Popemobile that was running at high speed and missing its windshield.) He’s thrown into a group for those suffering from loss, some big and some small, and immediately with the force of his personality shows that he can have an impact on the group… and, with a little more digging, shows that the group may be needed to have an impact on him, no matter how much he resists.
Perry does a good job playing a man with inner stress… which, let’s face it, is what he played on Friends and Mr. Sunshine as well. The supporting casts has some faces I like, such as John Cho (Harold of and Kumar fame) and Tyler James Williams (the Chris whom Everybody Hates). There are some characters who are supposed to be a mite annoying, somewhat nasty or loserlike in their dealing with loss, and I hope the writers keep the balance from leaning too much toward them.
And in twenty minutes, I get to watch another episode, because last night’s premiere was not the premiere, it was a “preview”, with a blantantly first episode that will not be rerun tonight for the premiere.