Go On finally did it. They produced a well-written and greatly acted episode that was perfectly sentimental and acceptably funny with very few kinks. It was the first time that I saw what I wanted to see and everything felt right.
“Videogame, Set, Match” started off in a new way: a new opening credit sequence. This may not be a big deal to 99 percent of the population, but there are still some of us who care about opening credits. The show itself also took on a new perspective. It focused on Ryan and Owen’s relationship, something I thought the series should be about from the beginning.
The two bond over Halo and have a brotherly relationship and while Owen’s mom thinks it is creepy, she understands it might be what the boy needs. They stay up all night to play the game. Ryan gets Owen an “internship” at the station so they can play. They joke around and everything is going swimmingly. The buddy aspect of the show is something that can withstand the test of time after the group therapy sessions will start to fade. I think the show finally found the perfect balance between Ryan (and Owen) and the rest of the group.
Other group members are celebrating Yolanda’s graduation from therapy, but the show didn’t focus on it. It made it a subplot that was there to tie in thematic elements and pace the story. We’ve gotten so used to multiple plots with equal weight over recent years, but sometimes a show just needs to be about one character, with a slew of supporting ones helping round the show out. The entire series has provided Ryan-centric episodes before, but this is the first time I felt like this was a Matthew Perry show, not just a show he happened to be on to try to get viewers.
While the balance between Ryan and the group was finally worked out, we also got to see Ryan in his natural setting, which is something the show has struggled to portray since the pilot. His work as a sports radio host could make for great television by itself, but the show really has two different shows in one. They’ve struggled to blend the two aspects, but again, this episode they finally found a way to make it work.
Seeing Ryan and Owen together in the office was great. Add in Steven’s humor and they’ve really got something cooking. However, I know it won’t last. The show won’t keep Owen in the office and this was a one-off plot; even so, if the show continues to find this balance, Go On might finally find its place in television. After all, it takes a freshman show some time before it has a truly great first episode. This one is definitely on the ballot, but hopefully will be surpassed by the end of the first season.