(This story was published in the Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman on Oct. 26, 2012.)
If Chandler Bing of “Friends” were about 10 years older and had suffered through a tragedy, he’d probably be a lot like widower Ryan King of “Go On.”
That’s what Matthew Perry thought when he read the script for “Go On,” and the similar elements of both characters have made them appealing to portray for the actor.
“I think it’s sort of a wearing-his-heart-on-his-sleeve kind of people that I’ve played a lot, and I think people can sort of relate to that journey, maybe not that openness about it, but that journey.
“I like to play people that say things that normally people don’t say, that they’re sort of feeling or thinking but that they wouldn’t say. And I think both Chandler and Ryan King have that aspect.”
Perry, 43, shared his thoughts on his role and the new comedy “Go On” during a recent media conference call, including the challenge of making a comedy about people in grief therapy. “Go On” airs at 8 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC.
“That’s the very interesting tonal challenge of this show, and nobody knew whether it was going to work. Nobody knew really whether people were going to laugh at these sad situations. But, that’s Scott (Silveri, creator/executive producer) in the pilot … just did that tone thing perfectly, so there was a lot of funny things, but at the base of it, is a very sad story,” Perry said.
“And, then I think it was the third episode when … I had said that it’s hard to tell people that my wife has passed away. I should just get vanity plates that say it, and then everybody sort of starts pitching on what those vanity plates could say. You know, like ‘dead wife’ or ‘no mo wife’ and things like that. And, that was a really risky scene, and people loved it. So, then, we knew that people – that audiences – were going to laugh at this stuff,” the actor continued.
Perry looks for characters he can relate to when choosing an acting role, “… that you can sort of shake hands with and understand,” he said.
“I have a tendency to try to find characters that are sort of bent or broken and on a path to become better people, and Ryan King certainly has those traits,” Perry said. “He’s a guy who I think if this tragic thing had not happened to him, he would’ve lived his life as sort of a rather unexplored life. But, this thing did happen to him so he reluctantly gets on this path to be a better person.”
And familiar names are mentioned when the actor shares which characters have been his favorite to play throughout his career so far.
“I loved playing Chandler. … I grew up sort of playing that part. I would say probably in all honesty it’s Chandler and it’s this character that I’m playing now. The character of Ryan King is a very sort of deep, enriching character to play because he’s going through so much and he’s also being very funny about it. So, I guess I would say Chandler and Ryan King.”
– Melissa Hayer
Follow me on Twitter: @MelissaHayer