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Go On’ awkwardly mixes snark and sentiment

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As usual, Matthew Perry is surrounded by crazy people.

The Details

Go On
Two and a half stars
Premieres August 8, following Olympics coverage, NBC.

NBC is getting a head start on the fall season by previewing a couple of its new shows during the Olympics, starting with Go On, a new sitcom starring Friends alum Matthew Perry. Like Perry’s last show, ABC’s underrated Mr. Sunshine, Go On stars Perry as a snarky curmudgeon who looks down on everyone around him, but in an amusing, endearing way. Or at least a way that should be amusing and endearing. Part of the problem with Go On is that Perry’s radio sports-show host Ryan King is so self-centered and insensitive that it’s hard to build sympathy for the other major aspect of his character, his grief over his recently deceased wife.

Go On bounces between Ryan’s radio-station job and his sessions in a “life changes” support group full of eccentric misfits. At first, Ryan scoffs at the idea of dealing with his grief, but by the end of the first episode, he realizes he has a lot of healing to do, and, hey, these eccentric misfits just might be exactly what he needs to come to terms with his loss. The episode shifts awkwardly from sarcastic humor to soft sentiment, and Ryan’s two environments often feel like they belong in two different shows. It’s possible for those inconsistencies to be worked out in later episodes, and Go On is probably worth keeping an eye on for Perry’s entertaining performance, as well as some solid supporting players. But as a preview meant to entice viewers into watching the show when its regular season premieres in September, the first episode of Go On falls short.

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