Go On is an American sitcom that premiered on NBC in August 2012 after the Summer Olympics. It stars Matthew Perry as Ryan King, a Los Angeles radio sportscaster whose wife recently died in a car accident, so at the request of his coworkers he joins a support group for people who have experienced loss in life. This bunch of people is about as eccentric as they come, as are King's coworkers. Deftly combining deadpan snark and warm and fuzzy moments of deep insight, the series has achieved positive reviews from critics, like many NBC sitcoms.Unfortunately, the show ended up canceled after its first and only season.
Ambiguously Gay: Mr. K, increasingly so. Just check out how quickly he put on his navy outfit in "GOOOOAAAAALLLLL DOLL!"
And how much he enjoys the lap dance in "Fast Breakup."
Ashes to Crashes: Done hilariously at the end of "Videogame, Set, Match" - the ashes that Owen accidentally knocks off the shelf in Ryan's closet are those of his wife. And then the subversion: they weren't the ashes of Ryan's wife, it was just a prank.
Happened with the ashes of Ryan's wife in the season one finale "Urn-ed Run". After Ryan fakes an ash scattering ceremony for the group, Anne and Mr. K steal the real ashes to scatter them properly. Just as Ryan catches up with them at a gas station, Anne puts the urn on top of a car, which then drives off, the urn falling off before they could retrieve it.
As Himself: Happens a lot with the various sports world celebrities that appear, often in playful parodies of themselves.
Berserk Button: Ryan just can't stand seeing people texting while driving.
Sonia doesn't like being called a Crazy Cat Lady - she finds it offensive that just because she keeps cats and is in a support group, people think she's insane.
Betty and Veronica: In ""GOOOOAAAAALLLLL DOLL!" it's Carrie and Hannah, respectively, for Ryan. Carrie wants him to be her platonic "girlfriend," while Hannah teases and tempts him repeatedly.
Black Comedy: The show isn't afraid to make jokes out of the tragedies the group has faced, while still maintaining how sad they are.
Book Ends: Season 1 (and, by extension, the whole show, due to its cancellation) begins with Janie's death and ends with Ryan and Janie's wedding.
Breakup Song: The group comes up with a personalized one for Ryan after he loses Simone:
Mr. K.: "Simone, you left me all alone!" Yes, Ryan, jump in. Ryan: "You cut me to the bone!" Mr. K: Love it! Anne, build on it! Anne: "With your heart of stone!" Ryan: I wouldn't say she had a heart of stone. Mr. K: It doesn't matter. This is bigger than you. We've gotta serve the song! Fausta: "My name is Ryan and I can't find love!" Mr. K: Great! Why is Ryan unlovable? Sonia: Because... he's a racist! Mr. K: Yes! Ryan: WHAT?? Mr. K: "My name is Ryan, I'm a bigot and you know what I mean! I'm a racism machine!" Danny: "He's a racism machine!" Sonia: "And he likes to murder, and he hates children, and he kicks puppies, has a big carbon footprint, and he smells!" Mr. K: "I miss Simo-o-o-one!" Ryan: Perfect. I'm all better.
Brick Joke: Even after their use in one episode, various bits and pieces tend to show up in blink-and-you'll-miss-it references in later episodes.
Brutal Honesty: Anne and Ryan tend to dish out their opinions rather bluntly.
As do George, Owen and Mr. K.
Fausta on occasion.
The Cameo: Various real-life athletes and sports journalists are popping up as acquaintances of Ryan or guests on his show.
Cuckold: Extreme Doormat Danny was serving in Afganistan and so missed his wife giving birth—and also missed the conception. After he came back his wife made him accept her Bull living with them while they continue their affair. He finally files for divorce towards the end of the first season.
Cut Short: The show actually reached a resolution of sorts, for Ryan at least, when he scattered his wife's ashes in the finale. However, the budding romances between Ryan-Carrie and Steven-Lauren were never developed, and viewers never found out Mr. K's last name or why he was in the support group.
Dead Person Conversation: Ryan's wife Janie has made a couple of guest appearances (she specifically states in "Any Given Birthday" that she's not a ghost, but in his head). When this comes out to the group, they don't act particularly surprised. Instead, they describe it for what it is - Ryan trying to cope by imagining Janie.
Drives Like Crazy: Implied with Ryan. In "Videogame, Set, Match," Yolanda initially wants Ryan to handle the parking at her "graduation" party, but she soon changes her mind and has Fausta do it instead. Fausta and Lauren agree it was a good decision on Yolanda's part.
Very bizarre considering Ryan's hair is far poofier than Rachel's.
Comes in handy during "Any Given Birthday." Ryan pretends he is Rachel so the dry-cleaner will put his picture on his wall of celebrities.
Ryan: I don't know [what he/Rachel is talking about on TV]. I don't watch my own show.
Ear Worm: In-universe. Mr. K spontaneously makes up a song called Electric Night. Ryan subsequently starts hearing it everywhere... to the point that it becomes part of the episode's sound track!
...And now it's in my head. Again.
Elmer Fudd Syndrome: Apparently Simone used to have an impenetrable Boston accent before joining the support group. It slips out very hugely and comically during "Go Deep."
Ensemble Cast / Loads and Loads of Characters: Interestingly, the pilot episode seemed to suggest that the show would be a vehicle for Matthew Perry, the only well-known star in the cast. As Ryan King the character has become less narcissistic, so has the show, developing into the ensemble comedy in the later half of the first season. Ryan is still a central figure, but his role in any given episode may be vary from protagonist to supporting character for someone else.
Even the Guys Want Him: Ryan. Shaun White even does a subconscious hair-flip for him (which he previously did for Hannah.)
Expy: According to some, the show is essentially CommunityIN A THERAPY CLASS! Both shows share the basic premise of a high-powered, sarcastic jerk being forced to join a group of quirky misfits. Plus, both have a weird Asian guy who's not part of the group. Carrie, at least, doesn't have a Community counterpart, at least not an obvious one.
Alternatively, it's the spiritual successor / modern remake of Dear John in which the protagonist is left by his wife and ends up seeking support in a support group of zany characters.
Ryan is yet another snarky guy played by Matthew Perry. Compare hispreviousroles as you see fit.
Female Gaze: Fausta, Sonya, Yolanda, and Anne - yes, even Anne - check out Owen from behind. But they all want to point out that his body is a close enough match to Lauren's that he can try the wedding dresses in her place.
Five Stages of Grief: Ryan seems perpetually stuck in stage one, and often progresses through each stage within the course of a single episode not to confront his grief, but to confront whatever problem he's going through for that episode (for example, "Big League Chew" deals with Ryan's compulsive grief-eating.)
Each member of the group also tends to exemplify at least one stage as well.
Funny Background Event: After Bob Costas crushing handshake introduction to Ryan, he walks off to introduce himself to someone else. Subsequently, you can hear a squeal of agony.
The Gambling Addict: Ryan becomes one in "Double Down." It ultimately leads to him blowing all the money he got from Janie's life insurance check.
Gilligan Cut: Right at the end of "Ring and a Miss," Mr. K opens his umbrella and flies off the roof of Anne's house, Mary Poppins-style...then cut to him sprawled out on the ground where he fell, and Anne and the kids rushing to his aid.
Mr. K: Which one of you didn't believe?
Girl on Girl Is Hot: Everyone is very interested when Anne gets a sexy girlfriend in "Double Down".
Glove Slap: By Mr. K on Steven, in "Comeback Player of the Year".
Steven does this in "Any Given Birthday." He's been buying up all manner of expensive clothes, and agreed with Sonia that his boxers were too conspicuous underneath his fancy pants (so he removed them.)
"Ring and a Miss" has Ryan's friend Hughie (Bradley Whitford) do this, otherwise Ryan would never have noticed his Ms. Pac-Man tramp stamp.
Gratuitous Italian: The opening scene of "Ring and a Miss," which takes place in an Italian restaurant and has Ryan and Simone pretending to be in a foreign movie and fake arguing with each other by rattling off random menu items.
Heterosexual Life-Partners: Anne and Ryan, in dynamic if not actual practice (plus, she's not heterosexual). For instance, when Ryan takes a spontaneous road trip with Steven that they use to take with their wives, Ryan's first choice when pressed for someone to take is Anne. Likewise, when Anne needs a nanny for the night, Ryan is her first choice.
Hidden Depths: Ryan, though mostly towards his co-workers. He opens up a lot quicker when with the group. For instance, in "Dinner Takes All", the group pantomimes the opening credits sequence to The Brady Bunch. It takes all of 3 seconds and one snarky comment before Ryan admits it's actually kind of fun and joins in.
Hollywood Psych: Justified in how the group leader isn't an actual psychologist. The closest thing she has to experience is being a speaker for a social outreach program, Weight Watchers.
I Am Not Left-Handed: In "Win At All Costas" Bob Costas crushes Ryan's hand in a handshake and then reveals that he's a natural lefty.
It's hard to believe that so many people would mistake Ryan for Rachel Maddow.
Played for Laughs in "Pass Interference," where so many people consistently think Owen's body looks just like Lauren's - to the point where he's asked to model her wedding dress. Becomes a Running Gag in the episode and then turns into a Brick Joke at the very end of the episode when Wyatt surprises Lauren with a hug from behind. That is, he surprises Owen with a hug from behind.
Insult Backfire: When Steven calls Simone a "Yoko Ono," she responds that she admires Ono for her artistry.
May-December Romance: It's unclear exactly how big the age gap between Ryan and Carrie is, but it's clear the former is at least a bit older... but that doesn't stop Carrie from having at least a crush on him. "Fast Breakup" establishes it at around a 12 years difference. She also plants one on him and quits her job so that there wouldn't be the complications of boss-employee hovering over things.
Carrie:...that I started to think I had feelings for you! I mean, can you imagine? You're so old! [Laughs nervously]
Metrosexual: Ryan has some tendencies towards this. Blow-dry bar, anyone?
Ryan and Mr. K are a light-hearted/black comedy sort of Vitriolic Best Buds / Stalker with a Crush dynamic. It also helps that Ryan is somewhat of a narcissist and Mr. K willingly feeds that aspect of Ryan's personality. Conversely, Ryan fulfills K's need for some form of attention and idol figure. Pleasantly enough, as we find out more about Mr. K's backstory, it actually makes a ton of sense!
Ryan and Steven even seem to have this, with one being a cynical Snark Knight and Steven being a constantly smiling Camp Straight
One-Letter Name: Mr. K. His first name, revealed in "Comeback Player of the Year," is Benjamin.
Pixellation: To hide Owen's genitals in Fausta's drawing of him.
And Simone's, in the same episode. Not in a drawing this time, though.
The Other Marty: In-universe. "Go for the Gold Watch" establishes that Mr. K was the original choice to play Wesley on Mr. Belvedere, but he was fired after he couldn't say his punch line in the pilot.
Practical Joke: Owen pulls one on Ryan in "Videogame, Set, Match" - he tells Ryan to go into his comatose brother's hospital room and talk to him - only for Ryan to learn, too late, that it's just a guy who had an appendectomy, and Owen was pranking him. Ryan then gets back at him successfully - see Ashes to Crashes above.
Precision F-Strike: Wyatt identifies all the group members by name at the start of episode 6, but still makes a mistake:
Ship Sinking: In the first episodes, it seemed like Ryan and Lauren would form the Official Couple... until it's revealed she has a boyfriend, Wyatt. And after "The World Ain't Over 'Till It's Over", he is now her fiancé.
Followed up by... some chemistry between Steven and Lauren, which may be the start of a leak in the Wyatt/Lauren ship.
The end of "Fast Breakup" actually is the breakup of Wyatt and Lauren.
Ship Tease: Ryan/Lauren, Ryan/Carrie, Steven/Carrie, and Danny/Sonia.
Shout-Out: The girl Ryan and Anne meet in the cemetery is telling the plot of season 2 of Suits to her dead husband. The scene continues with much of the commentary on Suits itself such as being described as Mad Men in the modern age (or in this case, Mad Men being Suits in the 60s).
Side Effects Include...: The male enhancement cream Ryan is forced to shill in "Go Deep." It's actually Danny (who has used said product) who reveals that it causes itching and burning instead of the intended effects.
Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Mr. K has a strong dislike for Yolanda for some reason and shoots her down every chance he has.
Mr. K: Wow, Yolanda. Way to take a bulletproof joke and shoot it in the face.
Rich Eisen and Ryan King.
Sixth Ranger: Steven for the group. In "Ring and a Miss", the Shadow Group gathers at the radio station. Steven initially complains until he finds out it's the group meeting at which point he gleefully joins in.
Sommelier Speak: Ryan enjoys going to wine country and trolling the wine connoisseurs by picking a theme with which to discuss the wine. In the one episode we see it, he describes wine using the names of seven dwarfs.
Spit Take: Ryan in "Win At All Costas" when Bob Costas calls him up.
Split-Screen Phone Call: Ryan and Owen in "Videogame, Set, Match", when playing Halo in their respective living rooms.
Stalker with a Crush: Sasha, a lesbian woman introduced in episode 4, to Anne. When she complains about it to the group, Hilarity Ensues as Fausta mistakenly asks why she rejected the affectionate "Mr. Sasha."
The other joke is that she wasn't actually stalking, just casually pursuing Anne, who in turn was freaking out because she isn't ready to move on from her wife's death.
Mr. K is shaping up to be one as well for Ryan. Turned Up to Eleven in "Win At All Costas," where he starts following Ryan around and trying to be a surrogate Janie. The show keeps it light by having Ryan get more upset with K over his bumbling rather than K pretending to be his wife. Nevertheless, as Anne so delicately puts it, "What thef**kis this?!?"
Stepford Smiler: Although not outright shown, it would appear that Danny is this. Guy is the most cheerful of the group. But he's in a support group because his wife had a child with another man while he was in the army.
In episode 6, Ryan convinces him to go and vandalize the other man's car. (If by "convinces", you mean "goes along with.")
Stepford Snarker: Ryan, obviously, and Anne is right up there with him, but they're hardly the only ones.
Wrong Name Outburst: Ryan calls Simone "Janie" during converation in "Ring and a Miss". Not surprisingly, by the end of the episode they've broken up.
Yoko Oh No: Interestingly invoked in "Go Deep," when Ryan refuses to do a live ad for male enhancement because he wants Simone to think he's smarter and more cultured than he really is. Steven openly refers to Simone as "Yoko Ono," but it has no effect other than propelling Ryan out the door that much faster.
Your Cheating Heart: Danny's wife had a child when he was away at Afghanistan. So he ended up missing the birth, and the conception.
You're Drinking Breast Milk: In "Comeback Player of the Year" Fausta says this was the secret ingredient in the cake everyone's eating.