Episodes: 22 (half-hour)
TV show dates: August 8, 2012 – April 11, 2013
Series status: Cancelled
Performers include: Matthew Perry, John Cho, Laura Benanti, Suzy Nakamura, Julie White, Brett Gelman, and Tyler James Williams.
TV show description:
This comedy follows Ryan King (Matthew Perry), a recent widower and sports talk radio host who’s eager to get back to work after the loss of his wife.
Ryan’s alpha-male boss and best friend, Steven (John Cho), is an ill-equipped and less-than-evolved male. He mandates that Ryan attend grief counseling before returning to the air. Stephen then struggles to provide support as Ryan learns to cope with his grief.
A reluctant Ryan finds himself in a support group for “life change,” where he meets an oddball cast of characters, all with their own backstories that are filled with varying degrees of loss.
On his very first visit, Ryan convinces the group to deviate from their normal session and starts a tournament-style competition (March Sadness!) to find out whose story is the worst. Ryan’s total lack of interest in “the healing process” proves distracting and he soon butts heads with the type-A, by-the-books group leader, Lauren (Laura Benanti).
Yolanda (Suzy Nakamura) is a sycophant to support group leader, Lauren. With her tightly wound demeanor, Yolanda is a stellar doctor and an easy target within the group.
Anne (Julie White), a tough-as-nails lawyer and also a recent widow. She and Ryan are the two alphas of the group. They jockey for top position but soon realize they’re more similar than they would like to admit.
It’s not quite clear what Mr. K (Brett Gelman) is grieving. But as badly as his fellow group members would like to know, no one is willing to get close enough to ask. Owen (Tyler James Williams) reluctantly joins the support group after a family tragedy. He doesn’t participate until Ryan joins the group and draws him out of his shell.
Once Ryan returns to work, he begins to realize that he hasn’t really processed his grief and concludes that Lauren and the other members of the group might actually be key in helping him move on from his grief.
Episode 22 — Urn-ed Run
It’s Lauren’s first week without Wyatt and she’s doing fantastic – she’s used the opportunity to rededicate herself to her craft: healing people. She’s bought new scented candles and an affirmation ball and has created personalized healing portfolios for every member of the group. It’s been almost a year since Janie passed and Ryan still hasn’t found a place to spread her ashes. Lauren fears his attempts to hold onto the past are inhibiting him from forming meaningful relationships. Ryan accepts the challenge – it’s time for him to be a man and confront the things he’s holding on to.
Ryan wakes up in the middle of the night after having a vivid dream about his wedding day. It won’t be easy moving on, but it’s an important progression. The next day, Ryan takes the therapy group to a small a campsite he once visited with Janie, where she said she’d like to “look up at the stars forever.” He spreads her ashes in a picturesque lily pond, so her passing wish can become a reality, at least in a way. Afterwards, Steven gives a stunningly bad performance of a spiritual song, which Janie would have loved for its badness.
Ryan’s courageous act inspires the group to tackle their own issues. But when Mr. K’s private investigation reveals Ryan spread Bisquick in the pond instead of his wife’s ashes, the group is shocked and disappointed. Ryan comes clean, saying he feels so much pressure to be better but just… isn’t. He’s still haunted by the memories of his wedding day and lost his nerve. Now the rest of the group back off their commitments of personal furtherance and quickly assume a new posture: relapse! Which means Lauren is failing at her craft…
When Sonia and Yolanda see how depressed Lauren’s taking her perceived failure, they set out to conjure up a fake “problem” for her to solve. Maybe if Lauren can see herself fixing a new tragedy, it will reignite her confidence! Sonia and Yolanda haphazardly come up with a “meaty” story about a coworker, named Zander, dying in the hospital, and Lauren jumps at the opportunity to help them get through their pain. She just read about therapeutic pottery and is eager to try it out on her “grieving” friends. Sonia and Yolanda praise Lauren for assisting them in overcoming the loss of their imaginary friend.
Anne and Mr. K also decide to help out a friend in need. When Ryan comes home to a ransacked house, he worries a robber is still inside. Calling from his newly purchased Winnebago, Mr. K offers an ultimatum – he and Anne abducted Janie’s ashes and plan to spread them in the lake at 6 p.m., whether Ryan’s there or not. Ryan’s healing needs a bit of a push, and Anne’s determined to propel him through this mental blockade. Ryan’s frustrated, but his options are limited.
Sonia and Yolanda are mortified when Lauren shows up unannounced at the hospital where they work with a plan to help their other coworkers cope with the loss of their imaginary friend Zander. Sonia tries to dissuade her, saying Zander was kind of a jerk anyway and everyone’s kind of over it, but Lauren insists. She’ll be back at the same time tomorrow to continue testing her new therapeutic pottery. Yolanda doubles down on the lie by Photoshopping a collage of Zander and hiring people to play her bereaved coworkers. But when Lauren shows up for therapy and praises her friends’ openness and honesty, Sonia caves. She can’t continue the lie and spills the beans on the whole scheme.
Ryan and Steven set out to stop Anne and Mr. K before they spread Janie’s ashes without them. On the road, Ryan spots Mr. K’s Winnebago in a gas station parking lot and rolls in to confront his friends. Ryan still needs to find the perfect place to spread his wife’s ashes and doesn’t like that his friends stole her urn! But Anne insists they’ve been very careful with the remains, never letting them out of their sight… until she realizes she set them on the roof of a random car, which is now driving away. The urn topples to the pavement and shatters. As the ashes waft across the gas station lot, Steven launches into the spiritual song he sang by the lake.
At the next group meeting, Ryan announces the group doesn’t actually help anyone – it just makes things worse. Thanks to Mr. K and Anne, Janie’s ashes will spend an eternity at a gas station on the highway. Lauren asks about Ryan’s wedding – why is it haunting him? He admits he made the “Big Day” too big, when all Janie wanted was something intimate and memorable. Lauren sees the connection – Ryan’s doing the same thing with her ashes that he did with their wedding; he’s trying to make it big and perfect, when Janie would’ve just wanted him to spread her ashes in a way that was special to the two of them. Lauren’s back! And Ryan’s got an idea.
While driving on the highway, Ryan remembers his wedding day, when he took Janie away from their massive, overly planned nuptials and sought shelter at a local batting cage. It’s where they went on their third date, and though they’re way overdressed, Janie loves the gesture. It’s all she wants and she doesn’t need anything else. Ryan decides to spread Janie’s few remaining ashes over home plate at the batting cage — all by himself, no fanfare.
For the first time in a long time, Ryan sleeps through the night. At a group bonfire, Lauren let’s everyone know it’s important to honor the past, but there comes a time when you must move on. Ryan started off with the ashes, and the group follows his lead. One by one they toss the symbols of their grief into the bonfire as a means of letting go. Ryan lets everyone know this group is the most important thing in the world to him – they’ve taught him how to heal.
First aired: April 11, 2013
What do you think? Did you like the Go On TV series? Are you sorry that the show has been cancelled?
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