Emmys 2013: A Day on the Set of Matthew Perry's 'Go On'
NBC's departed comedy about grievers in group therapy is like being at "a three-ring circus" — which, during THR's visit, involves a dozen actors, a whistle and a shirtless NFL pro.
On a summery January day on the Universal lot, an exasperated voice bellows across Stage 20. "F--! I'm screwing everything up, and The Hollywood Reporter is here!"
Matthew Perry, slightly frazzled, has just flubbed a line on Go On's last day of filming before a scheduled hiatus, which was planned to allow him a reappearance on New York-based The Good Wife. Naturally, he can't help dropping a joke at his expense as crewmembers try to stifle their laughter. The scene in question for the March 19 episode is a complicated -- and surprisingly technical -- one for the ensemble comedy, which features one of the biggest casts on television. (On this day, a dozen actors are milling around on set.)
As sportscaster and grieving widower Ryan King, Perry is tasked with giving fellow group therapy member Danny (Seth Morris) an impromptu makeover to help him win over Sonia (Sarah Baker) -- with the assistance of Ryan's friends, including former NFL star Terrell Owens. Intricate choreography involving a whistle, a red Sgt. Pepper-style military jacket and two strip-downs -- not to mention a flurry of zingers -- all have to fit into a scene that lasts mere moments. Yet somehow, Perry and his motley crew accomplish their goal in fine fashion.
Perry admits his comfort level with single-camera comedy gradually has grown. "It's a slight adjustment," the Friends vet says during one of the afternoon's longer setups. "I did a four-camera sitcom for so long that I like the one-camera sitcom a little better now. It breeds a more realistic style of acting because you're not playing to the last seat in the house." For show creator and Friends alum Scott Silveri, the key to Go On -- which was canceled May 10 by NBC after one season -- is the unlikely family created through loss. "If there's a love affair we've been tracking, it's Ryan and this therapy group," says Silveri. "They're a bunch of maniacs, and they still have a far way to go."