Go On Season 1 Review “Dinner Takes All”

Since the premiere of the season, Go On has largely kept its world fairly insular. People flew around Ryan King’s orbit in the studio, but nobody (save for a trip from a Lauren suitor) has fully penetrated the world of the study therapy group. This week, we had two such characters from the outside make their way in: Owen’s mom and an old college friend of Steven and Ryan’s stopped by for Thanksgiving dinner. The result was exactly what you would expect if someone was drawing up a plot from Sitcom Story Telling 101: The outsiders find the group to be crazy people. However, what followed soon after was something that you don’t often see: Owen explaining to his mom that he knows these people are crazy, but it “works” for him. It’s an important lesson to learn. You may not understand everything a loved one does, but if it works for them, you shouldn’t stand in their way. That one moment between Owen (played by a surging Tyler James Williams) and his mother tell us a lot about why he attends therapy with these weirdos and how difficult it is for him to articulate to others what he’s feeling. In truth, the group is probably the best place for him. Every once in a while, it’s important that the show allows us to see the benefit in attending this particular therapy group. Owen has found an outlet for his grief. That makes it a worthwhile endeavor for him.

While I continue to appreciate the work of Tyler James Williams, I would be remiss if I didn’t discuss tonight’s central plot line. Fans of Parenthood were no doubt thrilled to see Lauren Graham on the screen, but it felt like stunt casting for a show that really doesn’t need it. I think it’s too soon to take on this story line. Obviously, Ryan is not ready to date anyone. Therefore, why do it? A man who visualizes his dead wife doesn’t seem like he’s made his way through his grief. If the writers like Lauren Graham and wanted her on the show for something, then I support it. However, bringing her in as a potential love interest now doesn’t tell us anything about Ryan that we didn’t already know. If nothing else, it gave him the opportunity to engage in some rather appalling behavior towards his assistant. Assuming she’s not been sentenced to work for him as a judge, no sane person would continue to work for Ryan King after tonight. He doesn’t have to be the greatest guy in the world, but things would probably go a lot better if she didn’t treat her beyond horribly. I imagine the writers think it’s funny. Unfortunately, it’s just annoying.

All of the ingredients remain on the table for a delicious Thanksgiving meal. I’m not sure the writers know how to cook it right just yet.