Pilot

Season 1
Episode 101
Air Date 08/08/12
TV-PG

Sports talk radio host Ryan King charges through the K-BAL studios to interrupt his show, already in progress - without him. Having cut his trip short, Ryan is back and better than ever, and he can't wait to get back on the air. Ryan's boss and best friend Steven isn't too sure about this plan, since Ryan's beloved wife Janie died less than a month ago. Apparently, corporate thinks Ryan could use some help, and they've enlisted Steven and Ryan's plucky assistant Carrie to send him off to group therapy. All he needs to do is return with proof (a sign-off sheet) indicating that he has attended 10 sessions, and he's back on the air.

Ryan asks Carrie to fill up his iPod with podcasts of his show, then heads off to the local community center, intending to sit and listen to himself during Transitions - a group for life change. Since group leader Lauren is late, Yolanda takes over. She's convinced she can handle the responsibility, until she spots Ryan, "the new person." Suddenly all eyes are on Ryan, who tells everyone to pretend he's not there. An older blind gentleman, George, turns to 20-year-old Owen, asking him to start, but everyone knows Owen's not a talker. Angry Anne butts in. Tomorrow will mark five months since her lover Pat died, and she can't sleep in their bed. Five months on the couch! Don tells her to be happy she has a couch, and the others chime in, each besting each other with their tales of woe. Sensing healthy, sports-like competitive spirit, Ryan proposes a contest to see who has the saddest story, regardless of the fact that Lauren has warned them not to compete over grief.

Owen proposes they call the game "March Sadness," a head-to-head tournament that Ryan officiates. In the final round, blind, diabetic George goes up against Fausta. Although Fausta speaks little English, Ryan thinks he hears the word "muerta" paired with "father," "brother" and "slippers," making her the winner. Ryan has crowned Fausta with a donut box, and everyone is laughing, dancing and clapping when Lauren finally arrives, stunned to find her brood has been comparing their experiences of grief - a big no-no. Lauren withdraws a gong from her bag, and tries to orient Ryan to the language and practice of the group, which includes self-hugging - the kind of thing that prompts Ryan to stick in his earphones and tune out. That night, Ryan tries but fails to sleep in his marital bed and winds up, like Anne, tossing and turning on the couch.

In the next therapy session, Lauren pairs Ryan with Owen for an exercise: finding three words to express their experience of grief. Ryan tells Owen that he's just there to get his sheet signed, so Owen tells Ryan about something he finds funny: two crazy Norwegian guys dress up in funny costumes and follow around the car that takes location photos for Google maps. His big brother sent him the link the day before the skiing accident that put him in a coma from which he's unlikely to recover. Stunned, Ryan has nothing to say. Afterwards, Lauren's upset to learn Ryan and Owen didn't come up with three words. Ryan admits he thinks therapy is just about wallowing in misery, when they should all be getting on with their lives. When was the last time Anne punched someone, or Danny slept with a woman? Once Ryan's diatribe subsides, Lauren ends the session.

Ryan runs after Lauren - she forgot to sign his sheet, and he needs to get back to work. Refusing to sign, Lauren says she sees his needs differently. In their ensuing discussion, it comes out that Lauren is not exactly a licensed therapist... but she has lead groups and helped thousands in a renowned outreach program... which just happens to be Weight Watchers! Ryan is incredulous, but Lauren is certain she has a gift - the gift of helping people. Ryan climbs out of the car with a parting shot: Lauren has done wonders with the kid whose brother is in a coma.

Lauren rushes out of the car, impressed that Ryan got Owen to talk, which hasn't happened in the last two months since he began attending therapy. When Ryan asks if Owen lost any weight, Lauren lays into him. She would have been happy to sign Ryan's sheet if he shared just a tidbit about his wife. While it may be easy to mock her, opening up is hard. Ryan tells Lauren that his wife, the only woman he ever loved, got a rare blood disease - there one day, gone the next. After Lauren signs his sheet and gives him a hug for his bravery, Ryan admits he just lied. He just did Lauren a favor - she doesn't want a guy like Ryan in his group. With a wave, Lauren storms to her car and drives off.

It's not long before Ryan is back behind the mic at K-Bal, interviewing Terrell Owens. The show goes off great, just like old times. Afterwards, Ryan is waiting for his car at the valet when Terrell drives by texting and not paying attention to what's in front of his car. Furious, Ryan empties the contents of a box of condolence gifts, pelting Terrell's Escalade with fruit. With a one-way fight imminent, Carrie steps in as Terrell's girlfriend starts beating Ryan with her purse.

Realizing that his emotions are making him dangerously explosive, Ryan returns to group therapy with a box of donuts, ready to talk. The truth is, Janie was driving - not fast - while texting, asking him to buy a bag of coffee. At least it was important. She ran a stop sign, and that was it. She was the only girl he ever loved... Even though he knows the group's rules dictate that he shouldn't interrupt anyone, let alone himself, Ryan spies something out a window. Grabbing Owen, Ryan runs outside - it's the Goggle car! Grabbing some costumes from the community center's medieval warriors combat group, Ryan and Owen run behind the Google car, just like the Swedes, with many members of the group joining in. Could this be therapy?

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