Go On: Matthew Perry Returns to NBC


Chief of Surgery
Aug 30, 2000
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Special Preview - Wednesday, August 8th 11et/pt 10ct/mt


Matthew Perry ("Friends," "Mr. Sunshine") stars as Ryan King, a recent widower and sports talk radio host ready to get back to work after the loss of his wife. Ryan's alpha-male boss, Stephen, played by John Cho ("Star Trek," "Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle"), has a different plan in store for Ryan, making him attend grief counseling before returning to the air. A reluctant Ryan finds himself in a support group for "life change," where he meets an oddball cast of characters, all with their own backstories filled with varying degrees of loss.

On his very first visit, Ryan convinces the group to deviate from their normal session and starts a tournament-style competition (March Sadness!) to find out whose story is the worst. Ryan's total lack of interest in "the healing process" proves distracting and he soon butts heads with the by-the-books group leader, Lauren, played by Tony Award-winner Laura Benanti ("The Playboy Club").
Back at work, Ryan is confronted with the fact that he hasn't really processed his grief and realizes Lauren and the other members of the group might be key in helping him move on. Also starring are Tony Award-Winner Julie White ("Transformers") as Anne, Bill Cobbs ("The Muppets," "Night at the Museum") as George and Suzy Nakamura ("Dodgeball") as Yolanda.

"Go On" is a touching new comedy created by Emmy Award-winning writer/executive producer Scott Silveri ("Perfect Couples," "Friends"). Todd Holland ("Malcolm in the Middle"), Karey Nixon ("Free Agents," "Miss/Guided") and Jon Pollack ("Up All Night," "30 Rock") also serve as executive producers. The pilot was directed by Holland.

"Go On" is a production of Universal Television, Dark Toy Entertainment and Silver & Gold Productions

It has the right people behind it and NBC is giving it one of the few Olympic preview slots (Animal Practice pilot airs Sunday, Revolution has a 6 minute preview tonight) so there must be some potential with it. It does have a Community vibe to it but minus the Dan Harmon. Which is fine because Community was a great show before they ever did paintball.

It will be in a tough time slot up against NCIS:LA, New Girl, Dancing with the Stars: All Stars Edition and then later Happy Endings/Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23. Thankfully my DVR can record 3 HD shows at once.
'Go On' Review And 'Animal Practice' Review: Can A Monkey And Matthew Perry Save NBC?
Posted: 08/07/2012 3:59 pm HuffPostTV

"Go On" and Animal Practice," both of which have sneak peeks this week during the Olympics, represent the two strands of NBC's halting efforts to reinvent itself.

"Go On" (11:04 p.m. ET Wednesday) is a moderately entertaining ensemble comedy built around a star, something that works well on a schedule that also features the likes of "Parks and Recreation" and "Community." With "Go On," the network doesn't resist its generally laudable comedy legacy and doubles down on the part of its DNA that has won it critical praise and cult audiences but iffy (if not career-ending) ratings.

"Animal Practice" (10:38 p.m. ET Sunday, after the Olympics' Closing Ceremonies), on the other hand, is fairly likely to feature the throwing of dog poop in the near future. It has a monkey. It shows that monkey riding a tiny ambulance.

You can't really blame NBC for going big and broad, or at least trying to. Last season, it offered smart fare like "Prime Suspect," an unsuccessful but at least different period piece like "The Playboy Club" and watched much of its quality programs weaken in the ratings (or nosedive in both ratings and quality, in the case of "Smash"). What executive, given the season NBC had and the decade the network has endured, wouldn't say, "Ah, screw it. Let's try the thing with the monkey!"

"Animal Practice," which stars Justin Kirk as the arrogant head of the country's top animal hospital, is not subtle. Its supporting characters are about as schticky and one-note as you might expect them to be. Having said all that, the monkey on staff is pretty great. Crystal, whom you may recognize for her work on "Community" and in "The Hangover," has killer comic timing as "Dr. Rizzo" and steals her share of scenes with some legitimately funny gags. I'm not made of stone; more often than not, the funny monkey made me laugh.

Yet monkeyshines are not enough to base a show on, nor are tigers in labor and/or dogs with intestinal troubles. To their credit, the producers of "Animal Practice" realized that the actress previously cast as the lead wasn't really working and revamped the show accordingly. JoAnna Garcia Swisher ("Privileged," "Better With You"), one of the most dependably likable and winning actresses in the TV trenches, is an able foil for Kirk in the new and improved pilot, which has been toned down and made much more tolerable (it wasn't a good sign that in the first pilot, the animals were less screechy than the people). If this show finds ways to consistently make good use of of Kirk, who's always been one of the best parts of "Weeds," and Garcia Swisher, who's deserved a high-profile success for a long time, it'll be worth keeping an eye on.

But don't look for the will-they-won't-they between Kirk's Dr. George Coleman and Garcia Swisher's Dorothy Crane to recall the deft early days of the Jim-Pam attraction on "The Office" or the sweetly endearing devotion of Leslie and Ben on "Parks and Rec." "Animal Practice" is starting out from a much brassier and more shameless place, but it's not completely unmindful of the characters' emotions, and it's worth noting that even the best NBC shows of the last decade needed some time to find their feet. The pilot doesn't allow the supporting characters to do more than play somewhat grating stereotypes, but I'll keep watching to see how they develop (and yes, OK, to see what the monkey does when the show returns with its "real" debut Sept. 26).

"Animal Practice" might devolve into a lot of jokes about mammalian reproduction and/or defecation, or it might evolve into a goofy workplace drama with reasonably sparky leads and occasionally frisky pythons. Given the quality of the core cast and the mildly pleasing (if broad) nature of the pilot, I've got my paws crossed and I'm hoping for the latter.

"Go On," which stars Matthew Perry as a recently widowed sports-talk radio host, seems like the much riskier bet, but Perry ably carries the first episode; all that remains is to see how the show develops its premise, which (as many have others pointed out) resembles a low-rated ensemble cult-comedy about a group of oddballs. Yep, it's more or less "Community" set at a "life transitions" class.

If there's one thing that grates about "Go On," it's that the first episode sets up an all-too-familiar TV dynamic: Perry's character, Ryan, is allowed to be a rogue-ish rule-breaker, while Laura Benanti's group-leader character, Lauren, is often a killjoy who gets little comedic material as she tries to get Ryan to follow the rules. Charming man, uptight lady -- where have we seen that dynamic before on TV, aside from almost everywhere?

I get that the first episode needs to give Ryan someone to argue with, but there are other potential obstacles. Despite the title, it's not quite clear where the show goes on from the pilot; Ryan tries to get the group to lighten up a bit, and once he's done that, presumably he still has his share of grieving to do, but it's questionable how much NBC executives want the show to delve into that. You can almost feel their ghostly presences hovering around the margins, asking the "Go On" team to make the characters' personal losses a little more hilarious.

The premise has more promise than the uneven "Mr. Sunshine," Perry's weirdly sodden previous vehicle, and the supporting cast seems especially solid (especially Julie White as another angry widower and Brett Gelman as a creepy dude), but you have to wonder how much NBC will let the show embrace the sadness that these characters are contending with. The truth of the matter is, the pilot is well-paced and the first half is especially fun; Perry in enthusiastic mode is enjoyable to watch. He can do snarky, cynical Chandler Bing wisecracks in his sleep, but let's hope the "Go On" producers know better than to rely too much on that.

The biggest question about this comedy doesn't even pertain to its current cast. Here's the real test: If "Go On's" debut is low-rated, when the show returns Sept. 11, will Perry be joined by a monkey?
Looking forward to this.

I'm a Matthew Perry fan, I enjoyed Mr Sunshine and was bummed it got cancelled. He needs a hit badly
Pilot was pretty good. Hope it finds a good groove to slide into.
Loved the pilot. I almost teared up.
Was it good? The trailers had me a little meh. It hasn't aired yet on the west coast. I'm definitely checking it out now.

I just hope NBC didn't under-promote it.
Enjoyed the pilot. There were some hilarious moments.
That pilot was really good. I definitely enjoyed it.

I thought the comedy would be dried, but I laughed many times. Perry's character pulling a Keyser Soze was great.
Saw the pilot and was pleasantly surprised.

Its funny and has heart. All the characters are interesting to me.
It was a good pilot. I look forward to watching the full season.
"When was the last time you had sex with a woman?"
"And was she, by any chance, black?"
"Don't help me."


Also, Everybody Hates Chris kid's voice sounds twice as old as he looks.
I really enjoyed the pilot. Snappy dialogue, good acting, & if the other characters are fleshed out more it has a lot of potential of being pretty good.

The pacing seemed somewhat all over the place but even then it was still quite good and pulled the heart strings in a good way.

Looking forward to seeing more. Oh and the therapist chick is really hot.
Laura Benanti kinda looks like Courteney Cox. Pre-botox, of course. :o
Enjoyed it, lots of potential and it offers something new and should find a decent size audience.
Liked it a lot,show had a small charm to it that reminded me of Community.
The Go On preview, which aired commercial free from 11:06-11:30PM, averaged a 5.6 adults 18-49 rating, and garnered 16.1 million total viewers.

Now NBC hasn't had much luck with using the Olympics to launch shows, mainly because the shows they've been launching since 1996 have been bad. However, getting 16 million is still great to check out the show.
I'm a little surprised this was so well received by you guys. The preview (I've now seen the same preview over 100 times) is not funny IN THE LEAST. Not only that, but we see all the match ups of the March Sadness, plus the eventual winner, so I feel I've already seen the entire season. Granted the last couple with Olympics tie-ins actually had some funny moments.
I'm a little surprised this was so well received by you guys. The preview (I've now seen the same preview over 100 times) is not funny IN THE LEAST. Not only that, but we see all the match ups of the March Sadness, plus the eventual winner, so I feel I've already seen the entire season. Granted the last couple with Olympics tie-ins actually had some funny moments.

Wait. Huh? Wasn't March Sadness only for the first episode? Did you watch the actual episode?
Yes, because clearly the entire season is going to be a big game of March Sadness. Nothing else. Just a big game of "Who has it the worst?" :whatever:
I'm a little surprised this was so well received by you guys. The preview (I've now seen the same preview over 100 times) is not funny IN THE LEAST. Not only that, but we see all the match ups of the March Sadness, plus the eventual winner, so I feel I've already seen the entire season. Granted the last couple with Olympics tie-ins actually had some funny moments.

We saw the 24 minute pilot. Even with seeing the March Sadness scene and some other jokes it was still decent. The pilot may be on NBC.com, its on Global.ca in Canada where I watched it.
March Sadness was the entire season? It started five minutes into the pilot and ended seven minutes into the pilot. Short season. Season 2 aka the last 15 minutes were really good.
No, I didn't watch it. Like I said, the preview didn't make it look very funny. I was just checking in here to see what kind of reaction it got.
Just saw the 24 minute pilot. Laura Benanti is some nice eye candy but other than that, meh.

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