Exclusive: Julie White Goes On About Her Dead Wife, Ellen the Super-ball, and the Uncouth Closet
On the phone, Julie White is lively, funny, and a good deal more optimistic than the acerbic widowed lesbian mother Anne she plays on NBC's new dramadey Go On. A self-aware dark sitcom, Go On focuses on a self-help group for those dealing with loss, moderated by an unlicensed therapist played by Laura Benanti. The show is anchored by Matthew Perry's Ryan King, a Los Angeles sportscaster trying to move forward after the death of his wife.
On the phone, Julie White is lively, funny, and a good deal more optimistic than the acerbic widowed lesbian mother Anne she plays on NBC's new dramadey Go On. A self-aware dark sitcom, Go On focuses on a self-help group for those dealing with loss, moderated by an unlicensed therapist played by Laura Benanti. The show is anchored by Matthew Perry's Ryan King, a Los Angeles sportscaster trying to move forward after the death of his wife. Like Ryan, White's Anne is reeling from the loss of her spouse of 17 years, Patti.
Anne and Ryan's situational similarity is obvious from the first episode, and White and Perry have excellent comedic chemistry, both balancing bitter, snarky coping mechanisms with real, genuine efforts to connect and heal together as friends and as members of the group.
"I think it's the beginning of a beautiful friendship," White says of Anne and Ryan's on-screen dynamic. "Based in deeply understanding what somebody's going through."
Anne's sexual orientation is a refreshing non-issue as the show gets under way, though audiences have yet to delve into Anne's life outside the group. But that's something that's due to change on tonight's episode, which airs at 9 p.m. EST, White tells SheWired. Anne has two teenage children, whom she has mentioned in group, but who audiences have yet to meet in the first eight episodes.
"On Tuesday, you meet my kids," said White, a real-life mother of one adult daughter. "And they're really cute, and naturally, they fall in love with Ryan King. They think he's fabulous, which just completely throws Anne for a loop."
While viewers will get a peek into Anne's family dynamic tonight, White told SheWired that she wishes viewers could meet Anne's late wife, Patti.
"In my mind, Patti is so fully realized, and we were so happy" said White. "She was very much the anti-Anne. She was kind of an earth-mother. She was very domestic, and I imagine that she had a beautiful garden, and made a beautiful home for us. And I was wildly happy with her."
White is cautiously optimistic about Anne's future in the group, and in carrying on without the love of her life — though her character isn't quite ready to jump back into the dating pool just yet.
"She's certainly working hard to try to get better, and keep going with life… but it's just such a great love," said White. "The truth of the matter is, if you're with somebody for a number of years, and Anne and Patti were together 17 years, you don't just pop out of it. You have to honor the process of it."
That's a poignant summary of the show's premise, and a powerful point of relatability for many viewers, gay, straight, or anything in between. "It's just the loss of a great love of your life," says White. "Regardless of how the genders work out, a great love is a great love."
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