Yeah, I'm thinking the same thing.
Throughout the Olympics, NBC has run promos for their new fall comedy Go On during just about every commercial break (along with fellow new series Animal Practice). On Wednesday night, NBC gave the Matthew Perry-starrer a once-every-four-years platform by airing the show's full pilot immediately following that night's Olympic coverage.
Yesterday it was posted on Hulu, which is where I viewed the episode.
I had my doubts about the show when NBC unveiled their fall schedule at its May upfront. But the premise of a recently widowed sports talk show host at a support group seemed more like a storyline than the basis of a comedy series.
In the pilot, Perry's Ryan King has been on leave for about a month in the wake of his wife's death. While he's anxious to come back to work, his higher-ups believe he needs more time to grieve and require him to join a support group. Naturally, he is uninterested in doing so.
The first scene with the support group, with Ryan using the bracket system to determine who has the group's saddest story, was rather funny. The subsequent montage providing glimpses into the lives of the other support group members following their own respective losses was also effective. And the support group pairings in the next scene was a great way for us to get to know the characters outside of the main circle.
Ryan eventually tells the group how pointless he thinks all the talking is and that he just wants to move on. After the session, he asks the counselor why she didn't sign off on his clearance to go back to work. She warns him that whatever is inside him is going to come out whether he likes it or not and that she would have signed his clearance if he had just shared one thing about his wife or what happened to her. Ryan tells her a story and she signs off on his return to work. Ryan then admits to making it all up and she frustratingly drives off.
This is where the episode falls apart because then the outcome is obvious due to the premise. He has to wind up back in the support group and something needs to send him back there.
And that is exactly what happens: he lashes out at a guest as they're leaving and "surprisingly" shows up at the next group therapy session. The guest was driving while texting, which is what his wife was doing when she caused the accident that killed her. This session would have been a much better time for him to admit to lying about his wife and her death earlier.
The episode ends on a sentimental, but silly note with the group running after a Google street view car dressed as Knights from the Round Table -- a callback to what one of the other group members uses to get through his own grief.
The limited potential of Go On's premise means that if it survives the season, an overhaul is imminent for any second season it may have.
First off, there's just too much cast representing Ryan's work life and his life with the support group. While it would be very Dear John..., the series would be better served with the support group as the main focus and Ryan's work life as a secondary focus. Unfortunately, most of the members of the support group are too quirky at this point for that to happen.
If NBC thinks this is going to help them rebuild and claw their way back up to something resembling the top, they're sadly mistaken. Perry is a fine comedic and dramatic actor. He deserves better.
The extensive supporting cast includes "Harold" himself John Cho, longtime character actor Bill Cobbs, Tyler James Williams (Everybody Hates Chris) and Julie White (Grace Under Fire). "Go On" returns on September 11 with it's second episode.