“Responsibly Irresponsible” – Awkward.

1That sense of satisfaction that Awkward. hasn’t suddenly started sucking remains throughout this episode. The show ably deals with the aftermath of the death of Ricky Schwartz – a storyline that is far darker than anything featured on the MTV vehicle thus far, and which could easily have overwhelmed the usually light-hearted nature of the show, but didn’t. Awkward. retained its inherent humor throughout, but didn’t shrink from exhibiting grief. It struck the perfect balance without ever, as Go On would have it, ‘going for the cry’.

The episode explored different approaches to the grieving process with humor – Matty ‘YOLOing’, Jenna reassessing her life, and Tamara completely flipping out each brought their fair share of laughs. But it was also touching and offered closure to the characters and to the viewers. The show hasn’t lost its honesty even slightly, and the speeches at Ricky’s vigil illustrated that perfectly. The episode also went a long way toward drawing the main characters back together. Tamara and Jake have DTRd and seem like the perfect couple (a relief after their overly affectionate PDA in the first episode back), the girls are the best of friends again (banishing all worries that they were drifting apart), and Jenna has overcome her pregnancy scare shock and has stopped avoiding Matty.

As the episode draws to a close Continue reading

Advertisements

“Matchup Problems” – Go On

This is a tough one. You all know I love Go On. I’ve never been subtle about that love. I forgive Go On’s glaring inconsistencies, I forgive its awkward plots, and its occasionally bad writing. And I’m probably going to forgive it for “Matchup Problems”, too. But I haven’t forgiven it yet and, if I’m being honest, this episode’s problems can’t be confined to its titular Matchup. It was a nothing episode. I know it was as long as every other Go On episode but, in hindsight, reading my notes, I find that hard to believe. It had a thoroughly flimsy plot, and all felt engineered simply to get Matt Perry and Courteney Cox back on screen together. And that part of the episode is undeniably great. They still have amazing chemistry, and this was quite a funny turn from the former F.R.I.E.N.D. but didn’t really fulfill any purpose. All it really showed us was how close the friendship between Ryan and Anne, however reluctantly, is becoming.

The far more interesting aspect of the episode – and a continuing plot arc throughout the season – was Lauren’s dissatisfaction with her life. This week saw her Skype-flirting with someone from Yolanda’s single Christian Asians cruise. This is an arc that we feel needs to be explored more. It’s constantly swept under the rug, but it’s a highly important part of the series. The most telling moment this week came in a bite-size scene. It’s after she puts a stop to the flirtations with Russ. She’s sitting in bed, awake, while Wyatt sleeps beside her. She watches him, and a look crosses her face. An ‘am I happy here’ look. It was the most poignant moment in the episode. It made me wish we were focusing more on her than on Ryan, just for a little while. Maybe, soon, we will be. – K

Quoteworthy: “In person, King, this all works. But when I’m forced to describe you, honestly? It sounds like I’m insulting you.” – Anne 

“Go for the Gold Watch” – Go On

       image

This episode was probably one of the better ones we’ve seen from Go On in recent weeks.

The central therapy-related story – Ryan’s dissatisfaction with his life and level of happiness, even after becoming the Number 1 show on local radio – failed to inspire. Nor was I particularly interested in the Danny and Sonia saga. The real storyline winner this week was the quest to uncover the truth about Mr K. That really brought the laughs. While we’re none the wiser about who he is, or why he is the way he is, the hilarity throughout the episode made us not care about that one whit. It was sweet, and ridiculous. 

In other Go On news, the potential romance between Lauren and Steven came way out of left field, but we sort of like it. Only sort of. Anyone would be better for her than Wyatt, who she clearly doesn’t love or want to marry. But we’ve been rooting for her and Ryan ever since they met in the pilot episode. And we’re not quite ready to give up on that yet. With this new Steven-related tension we have an opportunity, oddly enough, to take her relationship with Ryan to another level. She might realize that if she has even a modicum of interest in Steven it means there’s something wrong in her relationship with Wyatt. Then there’s single Lauren, and Steven refusing to date her because he doesn’t want to get in between what she has with Ryan. This would force both of them to assess and come to the conclusion that they do have feelings for each other. In the words of Mr K, “Blammo!”.

Did I just write my first fan fic? – K

Quoteworthy: “I don’t have any more male friends since I lost them all that horrible night in Kandahar… Yeah, we were all pretty drunk when I mentioned I do a great Nicole Kidman impression. Somewhere between getting naked and tucking my junk between my legs, it went wrong. … War…” – Danny 

“Pass Interference” – Go On

I don’t know where to start with “Pass Interference”. It just… meh. I think ‘meh.’ is the only way I can describe it. The right ingredients were there – sweet, sad, amusing – but the way they were put together was all wrong. It only skimmed the barest surface of emotional honesty (a key component of the many successful Go On episodes) where it could have delved deeper. It relied all too heavily on the central Ryan and Simone story when that’s not a romance the viewers can really believe in or care about. It criminally underused Janie and didn’t really allow Ryan to fully comprehend why she was there, instead wrapping it all up far too easily in a neat, Mr K-delivered package. And it brushed all of Lauren’s issues with Wyatt under the rug, completely ignoring the real reason she’s reluctant to advance to full-on wedding planning (she’s just not that into him), and making it seem as though everyone believes that she’s avoiding it merely because she doesn’t want the stress and the inevitable fights. The previous episode finally brought everyone’s (Fausta’s) realization of Lauren’s feelings for Ryan to the fore, so why are we back to ignoring them now? Go On could do better and I hope, for its sake, that it goes back to doing just that. – K

Quoteworthy: “You’re seeing Janie because part of you worries that you’re hurting her, and you invented this boyfriend to punish yourself. To make yourself feel how you imagine Janie feels.” – Mr K

“Comeback Player of the Year” – Go On

This was a slightly below average episode. I’m not sure what made it that, exactly. It was just a general feeling. Maybe the laughs weren’t as frequent, or maybe the emotional punch just wasn’t there. Maybe I just don’t like the introduction of Simone (Piper Perabo, Covert Affairs, Coyote Ugly) – I feel as though she’s unnecessary. She throws off the group’s balance in a way that’s solely intended to ‘mix things up’. Sometimes I hate when writers ‘mix things up’. Yes, often it’s necessary. Often a show has become stale or boring, and it’s important that new blood is brought in to change things and shake things up. But in this case, when Go On is only 14 episodes in and has barely decided what it is, shaking things up is needless.

Despite that, however, there were some comedic flourishes that I enjoyed – Mr K was, as always, a joy, and the return of Tyrell Owens, while not laugh-out-loud funny, did provide some smirk-worthy moments – and Ryan taking the big step of sleeping with someone, even if that someone is Simone, was noteworthy.

The aspect of the story I most enjoyed was Anne’s involvement in Danny’s divorce proceedings, and the resulting meltdown as she finally admits that she’s still angry at Patty for dying. That’s the side of Go On we like, and the sooner we go back to that the better. – K

Quoteworthy: “He’s naked. Doesn’t need to be. Is.” – Ryan, on Fausta’s drawing of Owen

PS George is back for this episode, which is a relief – I was beginning to wonder if he’d died and I just hadn’t noticed.

“Gooooaaaallll Doll!” – Go On

Dammit, Go On writers, you’ve made me want Carrie and Ryan to get together! I mean, I’m probably still team Lauren, but I would not be averse to a Carryan relationship. They’re just so cute when they’re together. I’d sort of been seeing the possibility before this episode – their chemistry on screen is just so good – but didn’t think the writers would ever play into it. Now they have, though, and I find myself totally wanting it to happen…

That’s not to say that I’ve moved on from Lauren and Ryan, and neither have the writers. This episode marked the first instance of the show’s creators explicitly acknowledging the tension between the leads. But they blow past it relatively quickly. Not that that’s bad, necessarily. It’s enough to give recognition to it without having to explore it too far. As viewers, I think we can all be pretty confident that that’s not the last time we’re going to be confronted with the idea of Ryan and Lauren together.

The rest of “Gooooaaaallll Doll!” revolved around Ryan’s desire to date again and Yolanda’s desire to be the cool girl at her new job. Both endeavors lead to significant laughs. Yet, somehow, the episode was slightly disappointing. Maybe because nothing really changed. At the end of the episode, everyone was sort of back where they had been at the start of it, except Ryan had been on a date. It felt a little static when compared with previous episodes. But it was hilarious. I guess you can’t have everything. – K

Quoteworthy:

“Is this where we’re setting his bar? The prettiest movie star in the world, but funnier and stacked? I just feel like we should be discussing some more realistic options.”

“You have someone in mind? Maybe yourself? You all think it, I say it. Boom. No leave hanging.”

– Lauren, Fausta

PS Shaun White (pro snowboarder, hilarious!) and Nazanin Boniadi (How I Met Your Mother) guest.

“Win at All Costas” – Go On

This wasn’t an horrifically bad episode. It just wasn’t anything spectacular, either. It was still funny. Go On always is. But it was missing something that other episodes have had. It’s beginning to feel like the group, although most of the action takes place in and around meetings, isn’t the point of the show anymore. That might not even make sense, I don’t know. It’s just that the focus seems to ever so slightly be shifting to whatever’s happening in Ryan’s life, even when that has nothing to do with grief or loss. And it was that dual-focus – the fact that everything happening in Ryan’s personal life was related to moving on from the death of his wife, and that episodes weren’t just about him anyway – that made early episodes a runaway success and thoroughly enjoyable.

This episode centered on Ryan’s disastrous TV appearances, effectively shoving the show’s potentially touching moment to the side and burying it under a mound of Fibonacci sequences and shell-shocked stares. A stronger focus on Anne’s anger at not being invited to Fausta’s neice’s Quinceañera and her ultimate realization that she’s not the only person grieving, or on Mr K’s sudden loss of self in the wake of his success with the Curiosity Rover (yes, that one), could have made all the difference to this tepid episode.

I find myself hoping that this was a temporary glitch and not indicative of the direction the show is turning. – K

Quoteworthy: “You can smile or you can cry. And I choose to smile.” – Fausta, on how she copes with the loss of her family