Arts & Reviews

A Look At “The Good Place.”

By: Aidan LaChac

Everything is bonzer! With season 3 of “The Good Place” having premiered a few short weeks ago, let’s look back on what made this half-hour of American comedy television so sensational.

[No spoilers] The basic premise of “The Good Place revolves around Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell). She wakes up one day to find herself dead – and in the Good Place, the show’s equivalent of heaven. She follows Michael (Ted Danson), the Architect who designed their residences in the Good Place, and meets Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), a professor of ethics and moral philosophy, and Eleanor’s soul mate. The couple meet Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and her soul mate, a Buddhist monk named Jianyu (Manny Jacinto), who also happens to be the dumbest person ever. When alone with Chidi, Eleanor makes a confession: she doesn’t belong in the Good Place. From this point on, Chidi tries to teach Eleanor, an Arizona dirtbag, how to become a better person so that she does not end up in the Bad Place.

Michael Schur is best known as the creator of “Parks and Recreation,” “Brooklyn 99,” and, of course, “The Good Place.” According to Schur, three years ago, NBC approached him with the statement that he could create “whatever he wanted.” This sort of creative freedom is often unheard of in network television, so Schur got to work creating what he envisioned as one of the wackiest shows possible.

“The Good Place prides itself on being, according to Marc Evan Jackson, an actor on the show, “The Smartest Dumbest Show.” This mentality truly reflects itself in each and every episode. While the show is a hilarious comedy, it also is educational. For instance, whenever Chidi teaches Eleanor how to be a good person in the show, he simultaneously teaches the audience as well. In fact, to write the show, Michael Schur hired an actual ethics professor to talk to the writers. It is amazing how the show can keep a lighthearted and comedic mood while also covering topics such as death, ethics, and what it means to be “good.”

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However, “The Good Place” did not become a sensation from that alone. The show is very fast-paced and goes through what other shows would use as season finales two or three times a season. The show also has what is arguably one of the biggest and best plot twists in television. In fact, to prevent leaks, Shur told only two actors and the writers the twist; the other actors, the crew, and even the guest directors were all left in the dark. This resulted in the twist being completely unexpected; in fact, a video was taken of the main actors being told for the first time about the twist, and they all are completely gobsmacked.

Additionally, Marc Evan Jackson has created a podcast, fittingly named “The Good Place: The Podcast.” In it, he talks with actors, writers, and other people involved with the show. He goes over episodes, and talks about the inspiration for them and provides insight on things such as deleted scenes. To any fans of the show, I would highly recommend this supplement.

All in all, I would positively recommend “The Good Place” for anyone. Words cannot describe how brilliant and original the show is. It has a creative plot, complex characters, a diverse cast, and is available on Netflix, Hulu, and the NBC App. And remember: go do something good.

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