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'Go On' Review: 'Pass Interference'

Christopher Monigle Christopher Monigle
January 30th, 2013 9:36am EST

Go On

So, last week, Piper Perabo's trying to be Parker Posey in those two Louie episodes. This week, Perabo's surprisingly grounded. The scene that shows the change in Simone is the cockroach scene. Simone tells Ryan about the greatest meal of her life. In North India, a shaman and his wife gave her a cockroach to eat. She thought, "Why not?" and had her eating habits significantly altered. Ryan's given his own cockroach and he eats it. Simone busts out laughing because the story was a load of bull; she can't believe Ryan listened to her. Simone's character was introduced through a series of stories Ryan sniffed out, so I suppose it is narratively consistent for the character to continue the nonsense until she laughs because the man who called her on it no longer thinks twice about her stories. They're just part of her.

"Pass Interference" spends a decent amount of time with the new couple of the therapy group. Ryan insists he and Simone remain casual in their relationship. Their one night of uninhibited fun doesn't mean they need to be a serious item. Of course, they feel closer after a night of intimacy. Feelings happen. Janie appears during a tender moment on Ryan's couch as Simone leans in for a kiss. The ghost of Ryan's deceased wife shows up whenever Ryan feels guilty about something, or when he really misses her. Meeting someone new, and being with that new someone, is fun in the initial stages, but then relations get complicated. Traits, quirks, bad habits, etc., emerge as the days and the weeks pass. One night, Simone's in the shower waiting for Ryan to join her. They're in a hotel for a night, but Ryan continues seeing Janie when he's about to get naked with Simone. In the hotel, ghost Janie has a ghost boyfriend. Ryan hurts to see her with someone new--it's a projection of his feelings, of what he thinks Janie would feel if she hadn't died.

Ryan keeps the ghost of Janie to himself, thinking Simone will run screaming if she learns what's causing him to act so strangely. Lauren warned against in-group relationships. Group relationships are amplified. The drama spills into the group, the rest of the group casts a spotlight on the couple, and everyone gets angry eventually. Ryan interrupts Lauren's other group therapy session to discuss his problem, but four Yolandas kick him out before he overwhelms the group and becomes its default leader. Janie's in his head and he feels like he's hurting her--it's a common thing after someone dies, whether it's a parent, sibling, friend, or family member, where you're apologizing for reasons that aren't quite clear but yet it feels necessary to apologize. That's what's going on with Ryan. It's a mix of guilt for being with a new woman, but, I think, it's also an instance of Ryan feeling guilty that he's alive and Janie's not. The only reason Simone is happening to him is because Janie's not on earth anymore. The complicated emotion is somewhat undermined by Ryan's reaction to Simone's own bit of truth: she called her ex-love of her life when Ryan acted peculiar.

Indeed, the broadness of Go On undercuts a complicated part of grieving. Ryan and Simone air out their grievances in front of the group. Lauren puts her head in her hand, which is the universal sign for disapproval/dismissal/what-have-you. Neither Ryan nor Simone seems to understand the other entirely. The truth is dealt with but quickly. Ryan and Simone want to be with each other. Ryan talks to Janie about it at a party for the Goddesses (Yolanda, Anne, Sonia, Fausta). Janie wishes her man happiness in his life without her, that she isn't made at him for finding someone new, because she'd hate to see him sad on account of her. Simone asks if he'll let her be crazy in front of him. She's just a crazy girl and it has nothing to do with stories of North Indian adventures or Yeats quotes. She's needy and lonely. Ryan says he can. Okay then.

The wedding dress storyline that transitions into the four ladies of the group throwing themselves a party to make themselves feel worthwhile and valuable is one of my least favorite subplots in a TV show this season. Lauren's not excited to get married. The women want her to feel excitement. Weddings allow them to feel good about themselves. They crave weddings. Evidently, ordinary day-to-day routines do not make them feel good about themselves. Owen's used as Lauren's body for awhile. Owen as Lauren's body double is an amusing joke. At least Owen attracts a girl with his tremendous confidence and sense of self. I think Go On needed a party to end the episode because the writers didn't think of any other way for the episode to end. The Goddesses planning gets nasty, too. What I like least about Go On is when the characters try to top one another's grief. Yolanda thinks being left at the altar is worse than Fausta's entire family dying and Anne's partner dying and, uh, whatever Sonia's going through. Why does that have to be the fall back for the show when it needs conflict? It is lazy and a sign the writers will just pitch, "Hm, well, let's see, the audience will not like folk topping one another's grief or using that grief to get to someone else negatively so let's do that again." I guess it works, then, in that imaginary pitch. But, no, it's lazy if it happens continuously.

I missed the presence of Carrie and Steve. I did not miss a celebrity cameo, though I would've enjoyed Dunta Robinson showing up to compare the life of a NFL cornerback to Ryan's dating situation. Whenever Go On is close to genuine emotions, they pull back. Oh well.

Other Thoughts:

-Mr. K had a ring pop on each one of his fingers. Amazing.

-Ghost boyfriend of ghost Janie wanted to watch The Avengers. Damn fine movie. Damn fine.

-A day passed since last week's episode. George was nowhere to be seen and not even mentioned. The show's going to explain George's prolonged absences, right? I understand why Bill Cobbs isn't a regular.

Photo Credits: NBCUniversal, Inc.