Go On's given the spotlight to every character except Mr. K and Fausta. "The World Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" was a great episode to develop the Mr. K character through the one dimensional personality of his that's been his definition since the "Pilot." Mr. K is bearded and weird, has a crush on Ryan, and says inappropriate things. What's he grieving for, though? Mr. K attends group therapy for no discernible reason. Go On's a sitcom about sad people who unite in a wacky group. The comedy stems from the group's odd behavior, such as their affinity for chants, obsessions with cats, imaginary worlds, or doing something they weren't asked to do. Mr. K's the one genuine comic figure on the show, the one who gets actual jokes instead of being placed in absurd situations that get laughs. There's nothing funny about Mr. K's idea of the End of the World, though, which make his story more engaging and rewarding.
Go On's take on the political correctness of the holiday season is stale by ten years. Lauren advises Fausta to take down her nativity scene because it's in a public space. Fausta, amusingly so, tells Lauren the baby has a human father and brought a book that should be read. The group won't celebrate Christmas during a party because beliefs and cultures differ. Snow and the inevitable end of the world is what the group celebrates days before Christmas. Ryan and Anne go to wine country with Steve and his lady friend, Becca. Ryan wants to help Anne feel less guilty about missing a day at her deceased partner's grave, while hoping they 'laugh, think, and cry,' as Jimmy Valvano preached during his infamous 1993 ESPYs speech. Lauren feels like her world's ending when she suspects Wyatt'll propose to her, and Wyatt must want the world end to end when it dawns on him asking Yolanda and Sonia for proposal advice.
The theme of "The World Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" is love. Love's a prominent theme in any fiction revolving around the end of the world. Buffy saves the world because love is her gift, in season five. Angel, of ANGEL, believes the world's worth saving because of the people in it. Love, Bloom said, is the opposite of hatred. Love heals. Love saves. Mr. K's End of the World party is poignant. The group is important to Mr. K. The crazy bearded dude thinks the world will end on December 21, at the stroke of midnight. The party's supposed to bring together the people he loves the most, his group, so that they can leave and move on together (wait, is that a shout out to LOST?). Owen learns a song to play during the last minute on earth. The group gathers and hold hands because Mr. K thinks being physically linked is important. The group gathers and hold hands because Mr. K thinks it's important. The group's evolved from a therapy group into a family where they needn't suppress their grief because their other family and friends don't know how to respond to it.
The group's really an idealized idea of human relations, of being yourself regardless of sadness or quirks or issues or whatever people need to hide so that others aren't uncomfortable. Go On's holiday episode drew to mind David Foster Wallace's O.Henry award winning short story "Good Old Neon," as well as the other aspects of his fiction concerning human authenticity and the difficulty of accepting one's own subjective centrality against the truth of one's objective insignificance. Nothing about the group is insignificant no matter if the outside world would perceive it as insignificant.
Lauren calls Ryan about her anxieties regarding Wyatt's proposal, and Ryan responds to her sincerely. Upon remembrance of his actual entry into marriage, he races to the party to tell Lauren to ignore him. Ryan was full of doubts until Janie told him to marry her, to realize what he'll lose if he doesn't act, and her assertiveness changed his life. Janie gave him the best years of his life. Ryan wishes not to rob Lauren of that potential happiness. Likewise, Anne's free to fret about missing a day at Patty's grave. Ryan soothes her worries and encourages her to let herself off the hook, to live in the world, because it's the end of the world. Yolanda and Sonia, because they're jealous single women, try to sabotage Wyatt; however, they reverse face and help Wyatt propose holy matrimony to Lauren. They like her and want her to find happiness.
The pursuit of love, peace and happiness is the purpose of their group therapy. The characters came together because each of them suffered a painful, personal loss. "The World Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" was a 'here's how far these characters have come in 12 episodes' episode. Go On's rounded into form in the last month. The humor isn't so forced. Now that the characters have been defined, the humor's natural, part of the character and not forced into dialogue because it's a sitcom and folk can't be sad every week. Of course, the show excels in the grief therapy parts. Anne and Ryan share the sweetest scene of the episode as she thanks him for keeping her together on a tough day, alleviating her sadness, and she commends his late wife for pushing him into a life he didn't know he wanted. Anne hugs him and kisses him on the cheek as Ryan wells up, and he understands the importance and necessity of these people in his life. It's among the best scenes of the series and well worth the many scenes that didn't work.
Go On's on the right track.
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