This week’s Thanksgiving-themed offering from Go On, “Dinner Takes All,” served up a great theme, but still relied on the standard format for a holiday episode. The show did involve a likable story involving Parenthood’s Lauren Graham guest-starring as Ryan and Steven’s old college buddy as well as some other nice moments throughout.
If there is one thing I love about Thanksgiving episodes, it is the “rag-tag group of friends get together to celebrate the holiday” plot. Cheers did it. Felicity did it. Countless others did it. Heck, even Up All Night did it last Thursday. I felt Up All Night’s effort was a little lackluster, but Go On’s attempt wasn’t necessarily the aspect of the episode that didn’t work for me. I enjoyed seeing the group come together at Ryan’s office for Thanksgiving. We met Anne’s adoptive children, got to see more of Owen’s mother and Ryan’s assistant Carrie was even thrown into the mix to give more texture to the family holiday. But it never went anywhere. If this were the focused plot of the episode, it could have been a modern take on the classic story. However, instead it highlighted Ryan and Amy’s (Graham’s loveable character) relationship.
In reality, this could have taken place in any episode, but it was worked in front and center on Thanksgiving. The strong performances from Graham, Perry and even Cho made this part of the episode more memorable than the holiday aspect. What made it work so well is that it not only progresses Ryan as a character, but it also gives a nice amount of insight into his past as well. The three characters worked at their college radio station where Ryan and Amy were the sports fanatics they are now and Steven was the behind-the-scenes guy. Now that Amy is in town for a job interview (which we can assume is in radio, but is never mentioned; the same goes for whether or not she gets the job) the three rekindle their friendship. Ryan insists that one electrifying kiss in college meant nothing, but starts to have feelings for his friend. The only problem is Steven also has feelings for her now as well.
So, instead of getting a nice sit-down Thanksgiving meal, the story turns to focus on their competitive nature to see who gets to pursue the girl. Of course it has to be Ryan, and in the end he tells Amy how he feels. It’s a sweet moment when Amy reveals she has had feelings forever, but she can’t follow the Michael Jordan or John Elway of his love life.
Even though the show used a familiar formula for a holiday episode, it didn’t feel like one. But that doesn’t mean it still wasn’t a solid episode. Aside from Ryan’s development, we got more of Owen’s as well. I’ve been waiting for weeks for the character to take more of the spotlight and last week he stepped into it. Here he subtly gets a good amount of attention without taking the episode away from the Ryan/Amy story.
My only complaint about this week’s Go On is that it seemed disjointed. Once again the show had too much on its plate. Trying to find stories for all of the characters isn’t necessary, and some weeks the show understands that, but other weeks the show forgets and jams all of the characters into too many plots. Don’t be surprised it by the end of the season some recurring characters are dropped off so that this show can finally stay on target.