Indoor Cat's Guide to Geekery

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Indoor Cat’s Guide to… Second Looks at Go On and The New Normal

With most new shows, I give them three episodes, excluding the pilot, to make an impression on me. Some shows start strong and quickly fizzle; others are a slow burn- I start off as lukewarm towards them and eventually come to love them. I like to keep an open mind- for the most part. I can usually tell when I’ll have zero interest in a show and don’t both giving it a shot (looking at you, Arrow, Beauty and the Beast and Malibu Country). It’s not to say that those shows are bad, necessarily, just not in my personal taste.

I’m giving you this background because last night the count started on two new NBC shows- The New Normal and Go On. As a refresher, I watched both pilots early and enjoyed them both for the most part.

I actually re-watched The New Normal pilot on Monday, since NBC aired it after the voice. I found it had the same issues I noticed the first time- it felt too rushed, Nana wasn’t funny at all, and NeNe Leakes character was wholly unnecessary. It had humorous moments and a good heart overall, though.

The second episode reinforced all of those initial thoughts. I think the second episode did a better job feeling a little less rushed and letting us get a better sense of the characters, though that also highlighted that NeNe Leakes is not necessary for this show. There was less Nana, thankfully, but when she was on screen she was still was annoying and horrible as in the pilot. Sure, occasionally a funny line will pop up, but only after about 100 completely un-funny ones. I also still feel like the relationship between the men and Goldie feels a little rushed and forced- they’re trying to take her in and create this mini-family, but it still feels like they’re strangers and that sense of connection is missing. Based on the second first impression, I’m probably moving The New Normal down to DVR status rather than Watch status.

Go On, on the other hand, was really, really good. Here I do get a feeling of connection between the characters and of a mini-family in the making. Ryan King (Matthew Perry), while clingy, was less abrasive than in the pilot, and I feel we got to know some of the support group members a little more. It did a good job establishing the sadness Ryan and his group members feel, while at the same time being an uplifting show for the most part.

In one scene, Ryan takes George, an elderly man who is blind (along with multiple other ailments), to a basketball game, to make up for George’s Wilt Chamberlain-signed basketball having been stolen from his nursing home. Ryan, as a sports announcer and generally helpful person, did a play-by-play throughout the game so George could know what was happening. George tells him to stop talking, close his eyes, and listen to the game- the sneakers squeaking, the fans reacting to shots, the ball bouncing off the rim. The awesome thing about this scene is that they really did have the screen go black, so were listening to the game along with them. It was a good way to draw viewers in, really give them the character’s experience.

At this point, I’d definitely say Go On is the stronger of the two Tuesday comedies. The New Normal is definitely going to be an acquired taste. I also think it would pair better with Up All Night, while Go On would fit well with The Office, Community, or even Parks and Recreation.
Check out The New Normal and Go On Tuesdays on NBC, starting at 8/7c, or on NBC.com or Hulu.

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