Asians on TV 唐人做電視

John Cho and Suzy Nakamura in NBC’s Go On

My general policy regarding blogging about television shows with Asian/Asian-American actors is that I only blog about shows I watch, or tried to watch or watched once upon a time. For example, you won’t see me mention Ken Jeong in Community because I don’t watch that show. But I also don’t get around to blogging about everything I do see, like Ken Jeong in Hangover. Because hasn’t everyone talked about those movies already?

One actor I will tried to watch his work is John Cho so he’s led me to his new series, Go On. The main star is Matthew Perry (from Friends) who plays Ryan King, a brazen sports radio host who lost his wife a very short time ago and his idea of mourning is to return to work as soon as possible. Looking out for his interests, his work (including his boss played by John Cho) has mandated that he join a support group for people who have suffered a loss.

The support group, led by Lauren (played by Laura Benanti), consists of an eclectic group of misfits each with a quirky and/or touching tale of their loss. I don’t even have all of their backstories straight despite in the first episode, instead of listening to each member update on their sad stories, Ryan arranged a tournament of sorts where the group members vied to outdo each other’s pathos. The first episode sets the tone how Ryan is going to grieve in his own way, first by applying his jock-macho tactic, then accepting Lauren’s traditional methods but always in his own unique way. That is, Ryan and Lauren have a lot to learn from each other.

Thus John Cho’s character, Steven, is outside of the quirky “group” characters but he appears in each episode since he is Ryan’s best friend. Thus far, Steven is a cool character and cooler for not haven been written for any particular ethnicity. He is simply a generally well-adjusted guy who is trying hard to be supportive of his friend at a time of tremendous loss and he fumbles at times… a lot of the time. The character is just a typical guy: “less-than-evolved” is how the website describes him in terms of his emotional intelligence, but makes up for it in having some social savvy (including the ladies) and he is earnest in supporting his best friend. Cast as the best friend, Steven gets to be a normal character, not a caricature like some of the “group” characters are.


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Suzy Nakamura is not an actress I am familiar with although she’s appeared in many television shows as a recurring character and racked up hundreds of television episodes to her credit. They have just not been any series that I’ve watched. The 12 episodes of Go On she appears in would tie for her longest recurring/regular engagement. Suzy’s character’s name is Yolanda and she is attending group therapy because her parents are divorcing. Her character, like the other “group” characters is a bit of a caricature and so far (four episodes in) she’s hilariously repressed and Ryan is showing her a whole new world.

NPY teases me and I do have a track record of watching shows that don’t last but I really hope this series has a good run.

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