Usually on_Go On_, it feels like Matthew Perry is the entire show. His character controls the pace and comedy of each episode with a few well-written subplots for other characters that feel like afterthoughts. But balance is important for a series to be successful, and this week actually had three perfectly balanced plots interwoven with one another that finally took pressure off of Ryan.
“Comeback Player of the Year” not only featured this near-perfect balance, but it also offered up three nice stories that will have an impact on the show in the upcoming weeks. It all starts when Simone (Piper Perabo), a gorgeous exaggerator, returns to the group after painting in Europe for an extended period of time. Everyone loves her and wants her to stay at their place. Anne offers her own bed and is chosen as the lucky one. Ryan’s jealousy boils over when he makes the group choose between them.
Simone doesn’t understand why he’s so upset and tries to make a connection with him. Eventually, she succeeds by taking him to a sports bar where they play Truth or Dare, which results in both of them being honest about their pasts. It’s great to see that Perry, one of the great comedic television actors in terms of timing and delivery, can still present a romantic spark with a pretty, young actress. Perabo’s character starts out annoying and transforms into a likeable love interest by the end, as they kiss looking at the L.A. skyline as it begins to rain.
Meanwhile, Mr. K plots revenge on Steven after Ryan complains his producer cut his radio show by 15 minutes. He flips Steven’s car, which infuriates the radio producer, but after venting that Ryan doesn’t understand the pressures of producing, Mr. K decides to team with Steven and Terrell Owens—who returns from the first episode—to teach Ryan a similar lesson. It’s clearly the least important storyline of the episode, but it offers a break from the other two. It was the perfect way to balance this episode and was given just the right amount of time.
The rest of the episode focused on Anne representing Danny in his divorce. She steps in while Danny gets steamrolled by a lawyer who his cheating ex-wife picked out for him and turns the tables. Her cut-throat style works, but she goes overboard and starts demanding everything. Eventually Anne goes on a tirade while at a therapy session, and she slips that she’s upset with her dead lover and can’t even sleep in her bed anymore.
Anne slowly has become one of the best characters on the show and has shared some warm moments with Ryan, but it’s nice for the rest of the group to see a vulnerable side of the character. They all go over to Anne’s house to help her sleep in her bed. Yeah, it’s weird, but the show going for that over-the-top quirkiness like Community and 30 Rock. They open her bedroom door for her only to find Ryan naked with Simone.
It was a fun way to end such a monumental moment for each of the characters. Both Ryan and Anne reach a new point in the grieving process, which is what the show is all about. I enjoy watching the characters’ journeys slowly unfold. Some weeks it is obvious what the show’s agenda is, but other weeks it is more subtle. Either way, Go On is definitely in the running for the Feel-Good Comedy of the Year award.