Today we’ll talk about another show where I’m a bit late to the party. I’ve seen so much content about The Good Place on tumblr, so I just had to check it out. Lucky me, by the time I got around the that the show was over already which means I could binge the entire thing!
The Plot (as found on RT):
The Good Place follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell, “House of Lies,” “Veronica Mars”), an ordinary woman who enters the afterlife, and thanks to some kind of error, is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place (which is definitely where she belongs). While hiding in plain sight from Good Place Architect Michael (Ted Danson — “Cheers,” “CSI” — in an Emmy Award-nominated performance), she’s determined to shed her old way of living and earn her spot.
So, there are four season to this show. Since I’ll be discussing all of them in this review, there will be spoilers! I’ll keep all the spoiler-free stuff above the read-more cut, so you can at least get an impression of the show.
Even though I had seen a lot of screenshots and gifs of The Good Place, I still didn’t actually know what it’s about. Instead of looking up any info, I decided to go in blind and was immideately surprised! What a concept!
To me, it’s always intriguing when a show or a movie presents a new concept for the afterlife. Sure, all of that’s just philosophical musings, but I’m still curious to see how people imagine this kind of thing.
I love the show design, which all the bright and whimsical colors and effects. The costumes are on point and the cast is brilliantly chosen. In short, I started watching, was hooked right away and had nothing to complain about!
The story is crafted nicely and we get so many surprises and plot twists! Some I had suspects but many really came out of the blue for me. And even those that I had suspected, I never was 100% about.
I had an inkling that something with the Good Place is wrong, so it didn’t come as a complete show to hear that it’s actually the Bad Place. But it’s such an ingenious way of fucking with people’s minds. Not just the audience but the people in the show that are getting tortured. I guess Michael read Sartre at some point and really liked the quote “Hell is other people”. He put so much effort into the whole thing, I was almost sad when his cover was blown!
Season 2 (or pretty much any episode that features a lot of Chidi) raises interesting philosophical questions. While that is often rather tedious here it actually works and provides the audience with food for thought. The show deals with e.g. the trolley problem in an engaging way that actually encourages you to ponder on those things as well!
I am also rather intrigued by the concept of good and bad Janets. Her story arc is great and her character development is both well-written and somewhat surprising. She goes through a lot over the season, and honestly I’d watch an entire show about her!
We need to talk about the judge real quick, because she is amazing. To be fair, I liked pretty much everything about season three, but her introduction was probably my favorite thing! The previously dead humans get send back to earth and are allowed to continue their lives. But not out of pure kindness of the judges heart. This is an experiment to see if anybody can become a better person. See, another philosophical question the show tackles! But once more, it isn’t in an in-your-face kind of way. The show isn’t yelling at the audience telling us that we need to change our lives or be better. It just plays with the idea and possibilites but at the same time shows where the difficulties lie.
Also, I just loved the guy next to the portal who was so excited about frogs. You have no idea how happy it made me when towards the end everybody had showered him in little frog goodies and he was delighted about it. Made my day!
Another interesting idea was the Medium Place. I was somewhat surprised that there was literelly only one person there. Life isn’t just black and white, good or bad. You’d assume that many people lived somewhat mediocre lives!
But then again, this ties in with a problem that is raised in the show: the system is inherently flawed. It’s not that simple to be good. Every action has so many unintended consequences you can’t possible forsee. Even if you try to be good, you can only do what lies within your means and apparently that is never good enough. I feel like it’s very important that the show highlights that even little things should count and are important, and should thus be reflected in the evaluation. The new system they come up with allows everybody a chance to improve and I think that’s quite cool!
Finally, the origial four make it to the real Good Place but it isn’t what it was hyped up to be. See, we get another philosophical dilemma right there. Perfect can become boring if it is for eternity. The end up allowing people a way out. A way to end their existence once they feel like the want to go.
I was very much surprised that a show this funny can be so deep at the same time. The Good Place will amuse you and at the same time provide you with a lot of food for thought. I binged all for season over the course of less than two weeks, so that sould give you an indication of how much I enjoyed it. By the way, the episodes are also pretty short (20-ish minutes), which makes a nice change from the almost 1-hour long stuff I usually watch. 😅
Did you watch the season? Let me know in the comments what you think!