'Go On': Matthew Perry scores with new sitcomby jmaloni
Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni
On "Go On," Matthew Perry's character, Ryan King, can't understand why he's sent to group therapy. He just wants to work - he doesn't want to talk about his wife's unexpected passing, and he doesn't want to share his feelings.
But when he meets those dealing with loss, as he is, the results are unexpected - funny, touching and encouraging.
In real life, Perry didn't wasn't looking for another sitcom. As one of the stars of "Friends," he was blessed with the highest levels of television success, but cursed in that every subsequent comedic turn would be compared to his role as Chandler Bing. Perry just wanted to work; he didn't want to rehash the past.
"I was looking to do a drama and had met all the networks and studios about - in the development season - about finding a drama and was sent this ('Go On' script)," he said. "And it's obviously a comedy and I could tell by, like, the amount of pages that it was a comedy and I called my manager and said. 'Why did you send me this?' and he said just read it."
When Perry went over the script, he realized "Go On" "was just written really well."
"I realized that it had all of the elements that I was looking for," he said. "It had, you know, it was definitely funny; it had a lot of funny characters in it. And also it posed a big dramatic challenge, too. So - plus I had known (creator) Scott Silveri for - he was on 'Friends 'for eight years and he'd written a really great script, so I was in."
Like his character, Perry has gained from working with a group. Thanks to an assortment of different personalities, each with a big heart and a wry sense of humor, "Go On" is one of the more entertaining sitcoms of the new fall season.
"Scott Silveri, like, panicked about a month before we started the show, and was like 'This is a show about a guy who lost his wife. We have to have, like, as many funny people surrounding him as possible," Perry said. "And sort of that panic led to the casting of Sarah Baker (cat lover Sonia), who's hilarious, and Brett Gelman (the oddball Mr. K), who's just really, really funny. Laura Benanti (therapy leader Lauren) is hilarious and so it's sort of my job if I'm looking to do a TV show to try to surround myself with the funniest people possible, and it was Scott's job to make that happen as well. So, John Cho (Steven) playing my boss, Alison Miller (Carrie) playing my assistant. I mean, it a really great - everywhere you look is just a funny, smart, talented, driven person, which makes the show even better."
"Go On" airs Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC.