Go On “Bench-Clearing Bawl” Review

Go On (NBC) "Bench-Clearing Bawl" Episode 4 (3)

Given its subject matter, Go On has a real opportunity to position itself as a sitcom with a great deal of heart. However, when you watch episodes like “Bench-Clearing Bawl,” it appears that this show seems to have little interest in exploring these depths. It’s completely fine for a sitcom to be all about the jokes, but when you bill yourself as something more, you should attempt to deliver on that premise.

My issue with tonight’s episode was that everything was set up for Ryan King to have a truly cathartic moment involving his dead wife’s belongings sandwiched in with the show’s usual dose of oddball comedy, but the show didn’t take advantage of the opportunity. The small montage of Ryan making his collage just didn’t do enough for me. I know we have to make Lauren seem like a credible group leader, but I believe there was a more meaningful way for Ryan to deal with getting rid of Janie’s sewing machine. I don’t mind the final hockey game where Ryan announces that he’s ready to embrace the truth (and get decked by former hockey players in the process), but I didn’t feel like the proceeding 20 minutes earned that moment. I know we are watching a comedy, but plenty of comedies do a better job of earning those final comedic scenes that follow the heartfelt moment.

An interesting part of tonight’s episode was the use of the actors. More so than the previous three episodes, I felt that the show really zeroed in on Matthew Perry. He had some nice scenes in a B plot involving Ann trying to get back into the game (including his startling resemblance to Rachel Maddow), but other than that, the group got a little left behind this week. It’s not necessarily a complaint, but it’s something to note. Depending on if the show gets picked up for more episodes, I’ll be interested to see if the showrunners think the show works better as a Matthew Perry-star vehicle, or as an ensemble comedy starring Matthew Perry. If I got a vote, I would pick the ensemble version (similar to what we saw last week).

I still have yet to get a good feel for the type of show that Go On is going to be. As with a lot of freshman sitcoms, I believe that the show is still experimenting with some things as they try to find the right mixture. If you are on the fence, I would encourage you to stick around to see what the real final product is going to be. We’ll probably know in a few weeks.

What did you think of tonight’s Go On?