Go On Season 1 Review “Any Given Birthday”

Trying to be a comedy while dealing with tragic material is a dangerous game. Yes, humor is a great tool people use to blunt horrible feelings of loss or provide themselves with a small semblance of comfort from their grief. However, if you plan to slip in emotional moments within comedy moments, you better make them feel earned. If they aren’t earned, then the best you can hope for is that they come with a large sampling of cheese. However, it can also go horribly wrong. Nobody wants to see the grief of a dead loved one be made into a trivial thing used solely for comedic purposes. Go On seems to skirt that line on occasion. Much like in previous weeks, the show still seems to be searching for the right dichotomy between its serious and its humorous side.

This week’s episode featuring Ryan’s birthday is a good example. Given that it was his first birthday since his wife’s passing, Ryan had the opportunity to delve a little deeper this week, and it didn’t happen. His touching moment with Janie feels like just a throw in instead of an opportunity. If the goal is to be a comedy with real heart, then those scenes have to be built, and earned, from everything that came before it. A Janie visit this week seemed perfectly natural, but the set up didn’t earn it.

Another slowly building problem is the fact that the supporting characters remain relative unknowns. We may know their reasons for being in the grief counseling group, but we have yet to see them deal with their pain. Anne has come the closest, but the rest of the characters continue to play the goofy sidekicks to the mercurial Ryan King. While it was charming in the beginning, if this is all we are getting of some of these characters, then their continued crazy behavior could become tiresome or cartoonish as we move forward.

Go On has many encouraging parts to it. Unfortunately, the show can’t get past the line of scrimmage. If this is the show that the creative team wants to make, then they’ll probably have a rather healthy run on NBC. However, more was expected. It’s still early, but some forward progress needs to be made.