By Lynette Rice
July 24, 2012 at 11:22 PM EDT

NBC’s new comedy Go On decided to represent on society’s “new normal,” too: One of the female characters in the Matthew Perry comedy was later changed to a lesbian.

Actress Julie White told TV reporters on Tuesday that when she first joined the single-camera comedy about a quirky support group, her character Annie was a heterosexual widow. “She was a lady whose husband died and she was suddenly left at home with teenagers and she was freaking out. Then a few weeks later, [Creator] Scott Silveri called me at home, hemming and hawing and saying, ‘I thought I might ask you…’ without saying it out loud and then I realized, oh she’s gay. I thought how smart and how fresh.”

“It’s a different perspective,’ added Silveri (Friends, Perfect Couples). “The idea of losing a spouse…it’s the same kind of grief for everyone. It’s important to represent all kinds of people in the show, all genders.” Continued Director Todd Holland, “A straight woman who lost her husband is so familiar. This was so exciting.”

As for the new comedy that also stars John Cho and Brett Gelman, Perry said he’s gravitated to broken characters who “try to be better people. That set up is so much better for me.” (He plays a sports radio talk show host whose wife dies). He also took a swipe at Mr. Sunshine, his failed comedy for ABC. “The good and bad news is that Scott created a TV show that’s better for me and better than the one I created for myself. Scott is just a better writer than I am.”

Go On premieres Sept. 11.