Go On Season 1 Review “Double Down”

When we’ve watched someone on our television screens for a number of years, we begin to see old character traits not as certain tics relative to that particular actor, but manifestations of times gone by. In many ways, those old beats can be comforting and bring up certain feelings of nostalgia. However, if the actions are put in the wrong context, then those comforting character beats become the stale flailings of an actor who only knows one way to portray television characters.

Right or wrong, this thought is always prominent anytime I watch Matthew Perry on Go On. As you watch an episode unfold, it’s pretty easy to tell the difference between Ryan King and when Matthew Perry is “Chandlering” (Copyright, Adam Newland, 2013). While Chandler had his unnerving moments in the ten season run of Friends, it’s still an iconic character in one of the seminal television shows of recent memory. Now forced to carry NBC’s broader answer to the cult favorite Community, Perry alternates between strong lead in a comedy about the nature of grief and notable goofball who will do anything to get laughs.

His saving grace remains Julie White as Anne. She’s one of the few characters who is drawn with enough depth to allow for the kind of scenes the show wanted when it started out. This week’s episode proved yet another example of Julie White’s influence over the proceedings. At this point, their friendship seems easy and believable. Free from the burden of will they/won’t they, Anne and Ryan can become the closest of friends without the audience ever expecting more. It allows the characters to have a depth of intimacy that can’t be found in most platonic male/female relationships on television. It’s refreshing and endearing, and it allows for Ryan King to share the ups and downs of overcoming grief. The scene where they release the wedding rings was legitimately touching.

The problem remains that few characters in the ensemble are as well drawn as Anne. I thought Owen had the chance to be another one of those guys, but they seem to be using him for more comic relief now that he’s come out of his shell a bit. It’s too difficult to take Lauren seriously because she’s the worst grief counselor in the world. There’s still time (probably) to develop characters that can bring out the best in Matthew Perry. The man is a talented actor. He just needs someone to ground him.