Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Go On "Videogame, Set, Match" Review

Go On tries to marry the world of support groups and sports on a weekly basis. Ryan's narration was more overt about the crossover in "Videogame, Set, Match." A forgettable game involving forgettable teams had a wild play that kept Ryan up all night; he wondered why he cared so much about a trivial thing, in the grand scheme of the world, with its problems of war and hunger. The crossover of sports into support systems isn't seamless. Go On puts a button on the story with a neat narrative resolution in which Ryan emphasizes the value of distraction in sports. Distraction is important in the support group. Members might tell themselves they've gotten better and are ready to move on, or they might focus on cats or photographs of feet or videogames to distract them from their sad reality in which they're without someone they care deeply about.

Owen is the man of the episode in "Videogame, Set, Match." Ryan's spent time with one group member a week. He helps them, they help him. Ryan stumbles upon a truth when he acts stupidly (usually Lauren lets him know about it). Rinse; repeat. Ryan randomly develops an obsession with the video game Halo. The obsession might not be random. Ryan's loneliness at night has been established. Video games are the ultimate distraction; they're like books or movies or TV show. A whole world awaits a gamer to transport him or herself into, and their real world falls away for a couple hours as they absorb themselves in the fictitous world of their game. Owen obsessively played Halo since his brother's been comatose. He quit school, didn't work, and spent his days in front of the television with his system and controller.

Ryan and Owen bond over video games. Their bond deepens after Owen's mother lectures Ryan for hanging out with her son but not helping him. Owen doesn't need a video game buddy; he needs a buddy who'll push him to be more, do more, and live more. Owen's been in a rut for four months. Now, four months isn't a long time to be in a rut after a loved one's been in a coma or passed away. TV writers think differently. Four months is a lifetime for TV writers. Owen will make progress by episode's end, because he's a television character with an arc.

Ryan hires him as an intern at the radio station where Owen soon falls for the K-Ball girl. Owen's progress is stunted. The internship is an illusion of progress. The dudes just play Halo. The illusion idea is present in Yolanda's story with the group. Lauren's excited about Yolanda's graduation. The group is a temporary thing, a means to a peaceful end to grief and loneliness from loss. The takeaway from Yolanda's story is the importance of support. The inherent question about Go On is about the longevity of the group. What happens when everyone heals and moves on? The characters WON'T heal or move on, at least not for awhile. There are murmurs about NOT getting better, getting worse, and how Lauren's not really very good at her job. After all, it's usually the responsibility of a self-centered talk show host to help the group members. It was fun to see Go On address the issues people pointed out.

Owen and Yolanda make progress differently. Yolanda admits her need for the support group. Damn Lauren's ego, Yolanda isn't better and doesn't want to be! Owen breaks out of his rut by messing with Ryan and, eventually, visiting his brother's bedside for the first time since the accident. Ryan learned about what it means to care deeply for other people, and why people need to lean on each other in support. Go On's written that revelation for Ryan already, but oh well. The Owen/Ryan stuff was well-written and well-acted. The scenes in the radio station were great; even Chris Bosh's cameo didn't detract from the strength of Owen and Ryan's friendship.

"Videogame, Set, Match" is similar to previous Go On episodes, but it's still early and there are characters that need to be fleshed out. This episode had a better balance of comedy and heartfelt emotion. Go On tends to be goofy to a fault, which renders the quality content about loss and grief weaker by association with the goofy nonsense.

Other Thoughts:

-John Cho was great once again. I loved how he consoled the K-Ball girl.

-I thought Carrie would be involved in a substantial cute subplot with Owen, but Owen wanted to give flowers to the K-Ball girl. Personally, I'd try to woo Carrie over the K-Ball girl.

-The timeline was confusing. Yolanda and the group had a series of scenes, with each scene representing a day; so nearly a week passed; however, Owen and Ryan’s story didn’t seem like a week-long. Of course, they might’ve been playing video games for nearly a week before Owen’s mother whipped the two into shape. It’s probably not worth thinking about.


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About The Foot

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Originally, I titled the blog Jacob's Foot after the giant foot that Jacob inhabited in LOST. That ended. It became TV With The Foot in 2010. I wrote about a lot of TV.