Go On made it through an entire season. That’s really saying something for an NBC show. There were times when it struggled, and of course there were times when no one was watching, but in the end the first season of this feel-good comedy got it right.
The season finale provided some closure to Ryan’s journey as he finally dispersed Janie’s ashes. He was convinced to do so because it had been nearly a year since her tragic accident, and Lauren, along with the group, felt it was holding him back from making new relationships. He brought the group to a lake for support as he spread her ashes underneath the stars that she once said she wish she could count forever.
It was a touching moment that, in true Ryan fashion, was faked. He spread Bisquick because it was too painful to let go of his late wife. The episode did a great job of paralleling this story with a flashback to his wedding night, which Janie hated because Ryan went overboard trying to make everything perfect. Through some frustrating moments culminating in Mr. K and Anne knocking Janie’s ashes over onto a gas station floor, Ryan realizes he needs to make his goodbye to Janie simple.
He takes her remaining ashes to a batting cage where they spent their third date where he gave her “that look” for the first time and their wedding night as she blew off steam. After spreading them, he simply bats the night away and later sleeps full through the night instead of waking with a jolt at 1:23 in the morning as he always does.
This would be a great ending note if Go On doesn’t get picked up, but all accounts point to it getting some sort of renewal for next year. As much as the show developed this year, there still needs to be some growth. It can start with narrowing the amount of characters in the main cast. Focusing on Stephen and Carrie at work is a great combination already, but the therapy group needs some working. Throughout the season the writers played with different combinations that made the relationships seem choppy and at times underdeveloped. Next season, the writers should think about subtracting certain roles from the equation to make stories more streamlined.
Regardless of how the show is tweaked, one thing is for certain: Matthew Perry still has it. He’s proven to bring honesty into a role that relies on being funny in even the darkest of times.