Go On Season 1 Review “Matchup Problems”

Stunt casting has a long and storied history on television. Back when everyone with a television tuned into the same five networks in primetime, television shows could drum up a lot of interest in an episode if they touted a particular guest star. Once a staple of television viewing, stunt casting now barely moves the needle. If anything, it can do a lot more for the guest star than the show. It’s become something of a heat generator if the guest star is stepping out of his/her comfort zone (See Hamm, Jon, 30 Rock). This week, Go On took a shot at stunt casting by bringing out Monica Bing Jules Cobb Courtney Cox as a potential romantic interest for Ryan. Since Courtney Cox doesn’t need the heat (Have you watched Cougar Town recently?), her visit feels more like a desperation move for the flagging freshman comedy. I can’t imagine Cox’s visit produced much of a ratings increase, but a slight uptick may occur. Still, the question remains: How many of those people are likely to stick around?

To the show’s credit, it put it’s best foot forward tonight. As discussed many times in this space, Go On is at its best when it features the friendship of Ryan and Anne. Pitting them against each other was a different look, and one that I was surprised to enjoy. They are often funny together, and their emotional stuff always works, but watching them compete for the same woman was fairly amusing at times. In particular, Julie White stole a few scenes from her far more ballyhooed colleagues. Tonight’s episode proved that Ryan and Anne work in virtually any circumstance.

While it’s great to see Ryan and Anne work, taking the two best characters away from the group resulted in a very noticeable void. It was clear almost immediately how much the group needs either Ryan or Anne to get things going. Yolanda’s singles’ cruise storyline was doomed from the very beginning. They tried to keep it in the group by having her on Skype, but Yolanda isn’t a self-starter storyline wise, and the direction the story spun off in (Lauren’s flirting) wasn’t worth it. I understand Lauren’s story about her childhood, but she’s been a rather attractive woman for quite some time now. Chances are she’s had a few opportunities to enjoy being hit on. Without Ryan or Anne to ground them in something, the group drifts off aimlessly. They simply became placeholders until they could set up the next scene with Ryan and Anne.

Overall, the show did a lot of positive things. Ryan and Anne continue to be head and shoulders above all other characters. When they’re together, the show works on a lot of levels. It certainly did tonight.

What did everyone else think of tonight’s episode? What do you make of NBC moving it to Thursdays starting next week?