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Matthew Perry’s career will ‘Go On’ with new show

Sarah Chayer, 4Play Writer
April 24, 2013
Filed under 4Play

“Friends” was one of the most important TV series of this generation, and it’s an understatement to say there was grieving when it ended.

With the NBC show “Go On,” Matthew Perry joins the ranks of “Friends” cast members Jennifer Anniston and Matt LeBlanc to find success away from that show.

Perry’s character, Ryan King, is a radio talk show host whose wife just died in a car accident. He is in denial about the hollow feeling left after her death.

Ryan is anxious to return to work and ignore his pain, but his company insists that he attend 10 group therapy sessions before he can come back. He attends, but is reluctant to participate, share his feelings or even listen.

At the support group, Ryan meets Lauren, played by Laura Benanti, who is a former Weight Watchers speaker. She uses this experience to guide others through their problems, wanting to help people.

Lauren identifies that Ryan uses humor as a defense to deflect his pain and sadness. She wishes to help him take off his metaphorical armor, but he is still in denial.

Ryan pushes through the sessions without making any personal effort or growth, but is allowed to return as radio host. Unfortunately, he has a mild breakdown at work, which causes him to realize he does need the group therapy.

Matters are made worse when Ryan’s assistant, played by Allison Miller, confesses to having feelings for him, and he realizes that he might have feelings for her as well.

Bonding over both their issues, Lauren and Ryan develop a friendship.

This show definitely got a lot of hype as it was Matthew Perry’s big return to TV since “Friends” ended in 2004. “Go On” also stars “Everybody Hates Chris” actor Tyler James Williams as support group member Owen. But the show should be getting attention for being a great story, no matter who stars in it.

“Go On” features some very touching stories shared between the members of the support group that reflect many problems people have today. Including Ryan’s loss of his wife and Lauren breaking off her engagement, there is also a character whose brother is in a coma after a skiing accident. There is a man wrestling with many health issues, including blindness, and a woman who is having trouble coping with being left at the altar.

Seeing all these problems on television offers real-world application of letting go of the past and working through grief. Despite being a cliche topic, it’s important to see that pain isn’t resolved quickly. It took Ryan an entire season to fully commit to the therapy and begin mending his sadness, so it is a breath of relief to viewers who are still struggling with continuous problems of their own.

However, through the sad reality the characters live in, there is a message of hope that emotional baggage can be fixed.

The scripts for “Go On” are outstanding. The comical aspect is balanced with the seriousness, and the jokes are relevant to the situations. They lift the mood when things get too serious and give the audience a good chuckle.

Most importantly, the comedy isn’t focused on Perry. All the actors bring their own humor to the show, and they feed off Perry’s energy and sarcastic humor.

Just like his character Chandler in “Friends,” Ryan uses humor for everything, especially to hide his grief. I think this is what Perry is like in real life, and I know there are many other people like him out in the world.