Well, that was unexpected.
One week after expressing my disappointment in the overall progress of the show, Go On trotted out probably its best episode of its early run. It would appear that the show is indeed evolving. The show is clearly taking advantage of the malleability of the network television schedule. After playing with different combinations and stories throughout the fall season, it’s now possible to hope that they’ve figured something out. The episode wasn’t heavy on the laughs, but sitcoms don’t have to generate a ton of laughs to be doing their best work. Go On has always envisioned itself as a show with genuine heart to go with their kooky cast of characters. Those weightier moments didn’t always feel earned. This week, the entire episode felt heartwarming instead of it being shoehorned in at the end. It was well-conceived, well-executed, and wonderfully acted by both Matthew Perry and Julie White.
One of the major reasons that the episode really clicked is the decision to pair Ryan with Ann on a wine country adventure. Though I like Ryan with some of the other characters, the show is at its best when he and Ann are together. In addition, Ryan’s choice to help Ann with her grief came from a place of genuine kindness and affection instead of done for his own selfish purposes (or some strange desire to prove a point to the worst counselor in the world). Here, Ryan saw a friend in need of some companionship, and he delivered for her. Whether it was a shift in the show or a one week wonder, it was amazing to see how much better the show became when the show really zeroed in on those two people aiding each other in their grief.
If the show chooses to stick with the “grief first, then comedy” set up, then we could have the makings of a very good television show. It’s not time to crown them just yet. Between Lauren’s ongoing manic fits and the inconsistency of characters like Yolanda and Sonia, the show still has plenty of room for growth. That being said, this episode was the version of a television show that I would be really interested to watch. We’ll have to wait until January to see if it was only a blip on the radio dial.