Review of Go On: Win at All Costas

Overall rating: 3.5/5 stars

Summary for GOWs, WOWs, and Widow(er)s: Ryan’s widowerhood wasn’t really an issue in this episode. Mr. K tries to “replace” Janie but to little effect. Instead the grief/loss focus is on Anne who is still bitter and self-centered over the loss of her partner. However, she learns that she isn’t the only one that suffered loss and learns to realize that others are hurting just as much, if not more, than she.

Recommended episode for widow(er)s and their significant others: Yes

Favorite quotes from the show:

Anne: Do you experience me as a wet blanket . . . a bummer?

Ryan: Anne, you’re kind of catching me off guard here, but, yeah.

Anne: Fausta didn’t invite me to her niece’s think. I mean I’m not all sunshine and rainbows but my life is hell. I’m basically drowning in a sea of sorrow.

Ryan: Hard to imagine why she wouldn’t want that at a 15-year-old’s party.

Anne: I can be as difficult as I want, but my stuff is bigger than hers.

Ryan: I don’t think she sees it that way.


Anne: Look out girls, widow coming through. Yeah, that’s right, life ain’t all Justin Beiber and Second Face.


Anne: Look at her having so much fun with her family and her friends while I sit at the table with my partner: Lonliness.

Watch clip.


Anne: How do you do it? How do you smile with so much pain?

Fausta: “You can smile or you can cry. And I choose to smile.”

Watch clip.


You can watch the episode below.

Widower Wednesday: Why You Should Watch Go On

I promised myself I wasn't going to write anything else about Go On until the season was over. But after watching two recent episodes I feel compelled to recommend this show again to widowers and those who are in relationship with them.

The show is billed as a comedy and, yes, it has some very funny moments. But it also treats the issues of losing a spouse and starting a new life very seriously.  In fact Go On does a better job of addressing the issues of loss and rebuilding a life better than any other TV show I’ve seen. Some of the scenes hit so close to home and echo the feelings of countless emails I’ve received over the years that I swear one of the writers or producers of the show has to be a widower or good friends with one because they nail the issues and feelings that the widower experience perfectly.

(Warning: Spoilers follow.)

For example, in one recent episode, a female college friend of Ryan (Matthew Perry) comes to town for a visit. Ryan finds that romantic feelings for his friend are rekindled once they spend some time together. (How many widowers have experienced something similar?) His friend finds that she has feelings for him too but at the end of the episode tells him it’s too soon for them to get together because she doesn’t want to be the rebound relationship—the first one who has to follow in the steps of Ryan’s late wife. She leaves the possibly of something happening in the future but says that Ryan needs some time and to date around a bit before they give it a shot.

It would have been really easy for the writers to put widower Ryan in a relationship with his old college flame and have him screw it up. In some ways, watching him bumble up a date with would have made for some funny scenes. But the writers aren’t going for cheap humor. They’re building a believable character with real feelings who’s surrounded by people who care for him and are trying to help him move on. That, my friends, takes real talent.

In the following episode, Ryan decides he’s finally ready to start dating again. The show starts with him watching an attractive woman jog by his house day after day. He realizes his feelings of wanting to date again and we’re given the following scene at his office the next day.

Ryan: Carrie, I’m ready to put myself back on the market. I’m down to my sexiest weight, my tan is strong, and my gift for saucy banter has come back.

Carrie (Ryan’s assistant): I've never seen you single before.

R: Yeah, it’s going to be bad. I’m bad at it. Look, I don’t know if I’m ready but I’m definitely lonely so I’m going to take some shots even if I make some terrible mistakes. (Pauses and looks at Carrie.) What about you? Should we hook up?

C: I don’t really feel like being a terrible mistake.

R: Yeah, I read you. Got to get the word out though. Let’s update my Facebook page!

Between that witty dialogue is a deep admission of how most widowers feel when they enter the dating game again: they’re lonely and willing to take a chance, even if they screw up big time.

Later in the episode Ryan gets invited to a beach volleyball game with several tall, beautiful, and athletic women. He clumsily tries to hit on them and fails miserably each time. At the end of the scene Ryan confesses to Carrie that he “doesn’t want to be doing this. I want to be married.”

Truer words were never spoken.

I’m not going to tell you how the episode ends other than to say it has a very good and very realistic message for widowers and those who are dating them.

If you want an episode that does a good job of showing what goes through a widower’s mind when they’re first dating and how easy it is for them to get attached to someone, this show does an excellent job.

You can watch the episode where Ryan starts dating below. Miss it at your own widower-relationship peril.

What Do Widows and Widowers Think of Go On?

I've done a couple of reviews for the TV show Go On. I’m not going to add any more to those right now because, as of now, the show is still going strong. But if you want to know what other widows and widowers think of the show, you can read their reviews below. There’s a wide variety of opinions out there.

  1. Abel Keogh (me), first review, and second review
  2. Kim Go, Alive and Mortal
  3. Julia from Glow in the Woods
  4. Fresh Widow
  5. Widdared
  6. JoanneF
  7. Marsha
  8. Jacuser
  9. Honeyspuddin
  10. Sandy, FlyingWG
  11. Janine, One Breath at a Time
  12. EverydayMorning (Sam)
  13. Choosing Grace Today
  14. Missing Bobby


Go On is Still Worth Watching

Back in August, I reviewed the pilot episode of the Matthew Perry comedy Go On. I said the show had lots of potential and hoped that the subsequent episodes would be as funny as the pilot episode. Since then the show’s aired three other episodes—all of which have been just as funny, smart, and heartwarming as the pilot. For those who aren't familiar with the show, Go On is about a sports talk radio host Ryan King (Matthew Perry) who has recently lost his wife and is trying to move forward. As a condition of employment he has to attend a support group. Since the pilot episode we’ve learned more about the different people in the support group and that moving on isn’t as cut and dry and the King character wants it to be.

Trying to make people laugh about grief and loss isn't easy yet somehow the writers continue find a way to humorously address issues about loss without going over the top. (And for those who think you shouldn't make light of loss, grief, or moving on, please grow up.)

Hilarious highlights of recent episodes include:

Go On is a comedy that just about anyone can enjoy. The only people that may have a hard time with it are the recently widowed. If the loss is too recent the humor of a widower trying to move on will probably fall flat. But for anyone else, the show’s worth at least one episode of your time.

4.5 stars (out of 5) for the first four episodes of Go On.

You can watch the most recent episode below.

Cutting the Cord

One of the changes we’ve made since moving into the new home is that we no opted not to get cable or satellite TV. We can’t even get over the air TV because the digital TV signals are too weak in our neck of the woods.

Much to my surprise, I haven’t noticed much of a difference in my TV viewing habits. To be honest, writing takes up a big bulk of my free time so I don’t watch much TV anyway. Aside from live sporting events I really only have time for maybe one show a week. But when I do want to watch something, it’s usually content from Hulu, Netflix, or one of the websites or apps for the TV networks. If I want news, there’s hundreds of news sites where I can read what I want in about 10 minutes. And if I want live sports, well, there are places where one can watch those events too.

The only show I’m watching with any regularity is Go On and I’m fine curling up with Marathon Girl after a long day and watching that the day or two after it airs. Even the kids, who limited TV watching consists mostly of shows on the Disney Channel can watch the latest shows on the iPad.

Back when I was a kid, if you went without TV in a way you were cut off from the world. Today, you’re not. If anything it frees you to watch things on your own schedule. I love it. And right now I see no reason why I’d ever go back.

Widower Wednesday: Go On

I don’t watch a lot of TV. With five young kids and four books in various stages of completion, I don’t have the time or energy to commit to the boob tube. But with Marathon Girl glued to the Olympics for two weeks (about the only time she watches TV) I kept seeing the promos for the new Mathew Perry show Go On. The subject matter of a recent widower trying to move on was enough to entice me to put down the pen for 30 minutes and see if the show was worth watching.

Much to my surprise, the pilot episode was entertaining, funny, and heartwarming. If done right, the show has lots of potential.

For those who haven’t seen it, Matthew Perry plays Ryan King, a recent widower who’s required to attend grief therapy before he can return to work. He ends up in a support group for “life change” filled with a bunch of eccentric characters who are dealing with the loss of their cat to a brother who’s in a coma. He brings cheerfulness and humor to a group that run by a strict Kubler-Ross type named Lauren (played by Laura Benanti) who wants to help people but whose “qualifications” for running the group is motivating people to lose weight through Weight Watchers.

It’s hard to find humor in loss and grief but the writers find the perfect mix of humor and heartfelt moments while doing a good job poking at the general absurdity of so some of the grief techniques and practices that “help” people move on.

As a former widower, Perry’s character felt real. He wants to move on with his life but is in denial about the need to get his life in order. Instead of dealing with his emotions, he turns to humor to deflect his feelings about loss. And the moments in the support group when he starts a March Sadness tournament in order to give someone sob-story bragging rights flat out hilarious. And even though his character is egotistical and self-absorbed (his favorite activity is listening to past sports shows he’s done), we see a hint of warmth as he goes out of his way to help certain members of the group come out of their shell.

Whether or not future episodes of Go On will be just as entertaining will depend a lot whether or not the writers let all of the characters in the show evolve. In real life we don’t like people who can’t move on with their life after a tragic event and it’s the same for characters in TV show. It would be easy to let those in the support group become standing punch lines for whatever situation Perry finds himself in. But since they showed some of the people taking baby steps at moving forward in the pilot, I’m hoping that they’ll move on from the group and be replaced by others.

The Perry character will have to evolve as well. Currently he’s kind of a sad jerk who we end up rooting for only because we see his genuine sadness at different times during the show. However, in order for us to root for him week after week, he can’t be a sullen jerk forever. At some point he’s going to have to come to terms with his loss and do what it takes to move on and either leave the group or become someone who leads. As part of his evolution, I’d like to see him start flirting with and dating the support group leader, Lauren, as there is plenty of funny and heartfelt dating a widower situations that could fill up an entire season or two.

I highly recommend watching the pilot. (You can watch it below). For the first time in years, I have a show to watch on regular basis. Hopefully future episodes are just as good.