The Good Place: The Trolley Problem
October 19, 2017 6:28 PM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Chidi and Eleanor tackle a famous ethical dilemma, leading to a conflict with Michael; Tahani confides in Janet.
posted by everybody had matching towels (106 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
 
Uh-oh!
posted by Small Dollar at 6:37 PM on October 19 [32 favorites]


Ahhhhhhhhh Janet!!!!!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:46 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


I thought this was really good. I'm glad we short-circuited the whole "Michael is just torturing us another way" discussion, since we're all savvy enough about the show to have been thinking it, but the gifts aside, it does raise the question of how this relationship is supposed to work. The neighborhood collapsing as Janet develops emotions is an interesting twist on season 1's "the neighborhood collapses as Elanor does bad stuff" plot, and presumably increases the likelihood of Michael's entire scheme unraveling and him being found out for rebooting too many times.

We didn't see any of the other demons going through their plan in this episode. Presumably they're going to notice the neighborhood collapsing and will try to figure out why things aren't going to plan.

All in all, I feel like this really setup the next episode, which I'd really love to watch immediately thanks.

A few highlights:

Kristen Bell trying to be not hot by saying "gerp gerp gerp"

"What has one thumb and wants to keep going? This not lady."

"Well he's thoughtful. Picks flowers and brings them to me. Often they're ones I've just planted." "That's how I know they're fresh."

Never-ending shrimp dispensary
posted by zachlipton at 6:49 PM on October 19 [21 favorites]


Again, Chidi’s faces: simply the best.
posted by rewil at 7:46 PM on October 19 [11 favorites]


Janet's glitches are because of the Ride or Die Protocol, right? Because Janet jealously looks potent.
posted by MsMacbeth at 7:55 PM on October 19 [12 favorites]


White chocolate shrimp.
I lost it.
posted by Seamus at 7:56 PM on October 19 [5 favorites]


I forgot: the Jeremy Bentham easter egg!
posted by zachlipton at 8:02 PM on October 19 [23 favorites]


Interestingly, we now have an example of Janet's complete selflessness -- Janet helping Tahani even though Tahani loving Jason harms either Jason or harms Janet's relationship with him -- being destructive not only to Janet, but to everyone and everything she's supposed to help.

Or maybe it's that in helping Tahani, she's harming Jason, so that's impossible for her to reconcile.
posted by amtho at 8:27 PM on October 19 [1 favorite]


Honestly, paralyzed by indecision is how I always figured I'd actually respond to the Trolley Problem.

Don't give up on your Kierkegaard rap musical dreams, Chidi.
posted by ckape at 9:29 PM on October 19 [20 favorites]


My name is Kierkegaard! and my writing is impeccable. Check out my teleological suspension of the ethical.
No, right? Felt like a no when I was doing it.
posted by missmary6 at 9:43 PM on October 19 [26 favorites]


"Stealing a loaf of bread is -17 points. Unless it's a baguette, then it's -20 points because it's French."
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:47 PM on October 19 [13 favorites]


So I guess the point system is still on? Or is that just part of the tormenting Chidi thing?
posted by ckape at 12:00 AM on October 20 [2 favorites]


One small bit that really hit home for me was Eleanor warning everyone not to eat the nasty white chocolate dipping sauce shrimp... and then slowly bringing it back to her mouth and continuing to eat it. Kristen Bell really captured the helpless feeling of disgust and self-loathing I get as I continue to robotically shovel bad food into my face hole even when I don't like it. It's food.

Wait, what were we talking about?

Oh yes, this show is really good.
posted by Justinian at 1:45 AM on October 20 [46 favorites]


Metafilter: helpless feeling of disgust and self-loathing

Sorry, please go on.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:11 AM on October 20 [8 favorites]


Jason's balloon :(
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:13 AM on October 20 [19 favorites]


"STRANGERS UNDER A TRAIN" on the marquee.
posted by sonascope at 5:25 AM on October 20 [16 favorites]


and a storefront for T.J. Marx!
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:23 AM on October 20 [15 favorites]


Chidi shouting, "IN MY MOUTH"! How can a show that's weirdly abstract be this funny? I totally missed all the easter eggs, and I need to watch again.

Last season, I would have said that Tahani and Jason couldn't make a believable couple, but the actors are doing it. When Jason insisted on public ass grabbing, it was adorable and so was Tahani's response.

Ted Danson too. His apologies to Chidi were actually, genuinely moving.
posted by gladly at 6:38 AM on October 20 [14 favorites]


Michael's gifts were _also_ forms of torture. Tahani's big diamond was great until someone might get a bigger one, and it also makes her look ridiculous and isn't easy to have/use/display. Eleanor's shrimp dispenser was mentioned above: the chocolate sauce one? And she eats it anyway? Then, of course, Jason's balloon popped immediately.
posted by amtho at 7:05 AM on October 20 [22 favorites]


Ted Danson too. His apologies to Chidi were actually, genuinely moving.

BUT WERE THEY SINCERE? I truly don't know.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:19 AM on October 20 [21 favorites]


I love the idea that Janet and Jason's ride or die pledge is now resulting in imminent doom.

This episode was one my favorites. Poor Chidi! (But I enjoyed watching the trolley problems, because I also belong in the bad place.)
posted by minsies at 7:25 AM on October 20 [3 favorites]


There's a novel called The Philosopher's Apprentice that also has a character tutored in moral philosophy (including acting out the classic dilemmas in person, though not with simulation) to address their innate ethical deficit (which is biological rather than demonic). I doubt the consequences in The Good Place will be the same in that book, where the character severely changes her moral valence, to the point of being a Knight Templar type. (Warning: TVtropes link.) But with this show, who knows?
posted by InTheYear2017 at 7:44 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


Would human ethics make more sense to Michael if the entities involved were other Dark Place torturers?
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:09 AM on October 20 [1 favorite]


"Who has one thumb and wants to keep going? THIS not-lady!"

I NEED a supercut of every time Janet has to explain she's not-a-something.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:32 AM on October 20 [13 favorites]


David Canfield, Entertainment Weekly: Why The Good Place is NBC's meta successor to Community

posted by ZeusHumms at 8:42 AM on October 20 [3 favorites]


BUT WERE THEY SINCERE? I truly don't know.

Me neither! That might be what I like best about this show. It's fucking with its audience at all times but in a supremely fun way.
posted by gladly at 9:03 AM on October 20 [7 favorites]


I actually gasped when Chidi told Michael to "get the fork out." I think this is the first time we've seen Chidi really angry. He's been frustrated (or at least vexed), but that raw anger felt new and terrifying, even in the buttoned-up Chidi way. Which, honestly, could probably be a good thing for Chidi because he needs to learn to stand by some convictions and not just continue to question the ethical dilemma.
posted by paisley sheep at 3:27 PM on October 20 [15 favorites]


Yes! Also, zero indecision when he tosses the apology present. Yay, Chidi.
posted by rewil at 3:32 PM on October 20 [15 favorites]


when Chidi told Michael to "get the fork out."

I interpreted it as Eleanor's influence too.
posted by NorthernLite at 4:14 PM on October 20


dr janet phd could probably cure me of my therapy phobia
posted by poffin boffin at 4:44 PM on October 20 [5 favorites]


Question: Would poffin boffin's dr janet phd wear Suffocating Kitty's Umm, damn Janet dress from "Existential Crisis" in sessions?
posted by cgc373 at 5:02 PM on October 20 [3 favorites]


This show is so great. I am happy it is in my life.
posted by curious nu at 5:32 PM on October 20 [10 favorites]


People = Good
People = Good
People = Good
People = Good
People = Good
People = Good
People = Good
People = Good
People = Good
People = Good

When Michael went "oh, I did it again didn't I?" and Chidi made him add to the list already on the board 10 more times, I haven't laughed like that in a while.
posted by numaner at 9:34 PM on October 20 [2 favorites]


HOW DOES THIS SHOW TOP ITSELF EVERY EPISODE??? This was honestly one of the best half hours of television I’ve ever watched. Up there with Remedial Chaos Theory from Community.

I literally almost fell off my chair I laughed so hard. Michael imitating Victor Hugo was high fucking art.

Watching Eleanor reflect on who she was is terrific. And Jason is actually more zen than most legit bhuddist monks.
posted by dry white toast at 9:47 PM on October 20 [7 favorites]


Him kissing Tahani's fingers was exquisitely sweet.
posted by amtho at 9:50 PM on October 20 [4 favorites]


Tahani declaring Duke the "minimum acceptable university" for men she dates had me rolling.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:53 PM on October 20 [8 favorites]


First year philosophy students and professors have been casually shooting the shit about whether I should live or die for decades. So 22 minutes of appropriate comeuppance for anyone who unironically proposes the trolley problem is orgasmically cosmically appropriate. Torturing utilitarian philosophers is incredibly satisfying.
posted by Space Coyote at 1:05 AM on October 21 [9 favorites]


I didn't know I wanted a rap musical about Kierkegaard until it came out of Chidi's mouth and now it's all I can think about.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:49 AM on October 21 [12 favorites]


Recall from season 1 that Chidi is actually speaking French while the neighborhood translates everything seamlessly for each listener. This function is apparently powerful enough to handle intricately rhymed and metered verses packed with abstruse philosophical terms.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:25 AM on October 21 [13 favorites]


Oh, crap. Does the system of extra negative scoring for the French extend to francophones like Chidi?
posted by maudlin at 8:33 AM on October 21 [7 favorites]


My prediction: The four "human" characters are actually demons tormenting Michael, who is in hell. In a final twist, it turns out that Jason/Jianyu is actually god and orchestrating the whole thing.
posted by stet at 9:37 AM on October 21 [13 favorites]


i am still sad about jason's balloon
posted by poffin boffin at 10:21 AM on October 21 [18 favorites]


Has the show ever addressed Michael's name? I mean, in the realm of "Good Place" vs "Bad Place", the name Michael is really, really important. It's the archangel Michael who leads the army of God against Satan's forces and defeats Satan. When it comes to angels, Michael is the big kahuna.

It would seem odd to me that the show's creators (or, at least one writer) weren't aware of this.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:22 PM on October 21 [3 favorites]


Has the show ever addressed Michael's name?

You mean, has the show's creator (or "architect"), Michael, ever given any thought to why the character Michael is named Michael, and whether that could be related to the archangel Michael who decides which souls go to heaven and which souls go to hell?

Yes.
posted by tzikeh at 3:33 PM on October 21 [16 favorites]


one thing I love about this show is that they cast POC everywhere. Like that shouldn’t still be exceptional, but it is, so...

I love Eleanor and Michael’s bromance.

Ride or die Janet might give us our best shot at Eleanor/Tahani.

I kinda want to see Chidi and Jason hang out more.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:30 PM on October 21 [4 favorites]


I love Eleanor and Michael’s bromance.

Bell and Danson are great friends in real life and somehow they lucked into also having brilliant on-screen chemistry. It's a joy. I'm glad we're getting more of them together. I'm also really loving the show, specifically Eleanor herself, drawing Michael --> Live!Eleanor parallels. Not sure where it's going just yet, but loving it all the same.
posted by tzikeh at 4:36 PM on October 21 [10 favorites]


I really liked how Eleanor could call Michael on all of his shirt, because he was just like her. The occasional moments of being stunned at how awful she is/was herself were beautiful.
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:07 PM on October 21 [7 favorites]


The organic excellence of this show just makes me giddy. I know it didn't all fall into place perfectly, but it certainly seems that way.

(Also in last week's episode, Quinston reminded me of Harris Wittels...and no offense to Marques Ray, but now I can't help but imagine Harris in the role and think about how amazing he would have been...)
posted by elsietheeel at 8:24 PM on October 21 [3 favorites]


By the way if you want to see some fucking exceptional face acting, go back to the pilot and watch Michael explain to Eleanor that there's a Good Place, and a Bad Place. And watch his face during the, like, half-second of silence between that line and him telling Eleanor that she's in the Good Place. It's at almost exactly 3min on Netflix.

Just watch his face.
posted by tzikeh at 9:15 PM on October 21 [12 favorites]


Our DVR cut off Janet's line at the end of the how. What did she say?
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 9:52 PM on October 21


Janet: Hi there.
Michael: What's happening? What's wrong?
Janet: I am wrong. I can't stop glitching. I don't know why, and it's getting worse. I fear this neighborhood is in danger of total collapse. So that's the main thing. How are you?
posted by zachlipton at 10:14 PM on October 21 [7 favorites]


Okay, I did what tzikeh said and took a screenshot of it. Shades of "Lie To Me."

I am taking an acting class right now and the teacher said the other night, if you're ever being filmed for a closeup, don't act--just think.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:11 PM on October 21 [12 favorites]


The Season 1 gag reel is now online [via @nocontexttgp, which brings Good Place stills to bless your timeline]
posted by zachlipton at 12:09 AM on October 22 [20 favorites]


*hestitantly reaches out to pat zachlipton’s hair*
posted by rewil at 12:26 AM on October 22 [6 favorites]


Wait so Manny Jacinto improvised all of those lines? And never broke character?

All the Emmys.
posted by schadenfrau at 5:17 AM on October 22 [10 favorites]


Manny and D’Arcy both did a substantial amount of improv, which I admire the hell out of. It’s a real high wire act in a show like this one as compared to Parks and Recreation, plus they had no idea what show they’d were even *in* for most of the season. There must have been times they wanted to improv during a moment when Schur knew they had to stick to the script for the reveal to work in the finale, but they didn’t know — the set seems like a super happy place, so I’m sure as long as he got a take he needed, he could let them play around. After all, this is the guy who said the funniest line ever said on Parks & Rec was improvised.

Looking at that interview again, though, listening to Amy Poehler, makes me think that the actors on The Good Place have the room to improvise, but that what we see in the finished product is probably 90% scripted words.
posted by tzikeh at 8:15 AM on October 22 [1 favorite]


D'Arcy Carden continues to be fantastic in that gag reel.

"Look Michael, a witch!"
"Thank you, Janet."
"burn her"
posted by JDHarper at 10:01 AM on October 22 [20 favorites]


There was the clip - taken by Kristen? - of 4 of the actors hearing the S1 reveal. That was near S1 end of filming, yes? Do we know that Ted (and KB) knew the twist early on?
posted by NorthernLite at 12:46 PM on October 22


Yes, Schur said he told KB and TD about the twist to get them to sign on.
posted by jeather at 12:55 PM on October 22 [1 favorite]


me before watching: ugh 10 minutes is a really long time
me after watching: wHY ISN'T THERE MORE
posted by poffin boffin at 2:16 PM on October 22 [12 favorites]


(But I enjoyed watching the trolley problems, because I also belong in the bad place.)
posted by minsies at 7:25 AM on October 20 [3 favorites −] Favorite added! [!]


Inspired by this show, I have deduced the ironic plot twist would be that you were in fact born in the bad place already! you don't have to go! we're already here!
posted by some loser at 8:50 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


Any MBMBAM fans think a certain three word phrase when Eleanor got the shrimp fountain? Also, beyond the mystery white chocolate flavor, I noticed there was a Mountain Blast as well, because every dispenser has to have a Mountain Dew equivalent.
posted by kmz at 9:08 PM on October 22 [2 favorites]


Dang it every time the show makes us think about goodness as a convex optimization problem for which Michael already knows all of the relevant coefficients and could thus allow everyone to intuit the optimal philosophy for living by simply explaining the math I get annoyed. Which is to say: Michael already knows the correct solution to any given trolley problem situation because he knows how the math works. So, really, he should be teaching the course. He has limited motivation to do so, but he’d still be able to give everyone the answers. Blarg.

Good ep otherwise, though.
posted by Going To Maine at 10:34 PM on October 22 [4 favorites]


But that really just supports the idea that Michael is playing them for his own end purposes. And that's what I'm thinking now. What if he's actually a good angel, or maybe even god, and all of these exercises are just intended to round out the souls of these four into something good?

They're all better people now, as demonstrated by this episode. Eleanor is learning empathy and recognizing bad behavior in herself and trying to be helpful. Chidi, who studied ethics his whole life, is learning ethics beyond just the theoretical. Tahani, in considering a relationship with Jason, is starting to love and accept other people and not rely totally on appearances and status. And Jason's getting all wise and thoughtful and is practically a monk himself now.

I like the idea of a god or of angels so
good that they're willing to spend eternity getting small batches of humans, in perhaps billions of neighborhoods just like this, to embrace their inherently better natures.
posted by mochapickle at 4:01 AM on October 23 [6 favorites]


"I am still sad about jason's balloon
posted by poffin boffin at 5:21 PM on October 21 "

I am so not.

I laughed so hard I hyperventilated, and then cried.!
posted by Faintdreams at 5:28 AM on October 23


I don’t think Michael knows the answer to the Trolley Problem at all precisely because he and his kind have a points system — a binary concept of morality, ethics, and value of personal actions — and the Trolley Problem is, by design, unsolvable in the sense that no choice is morally clean. It’s meant to be a discussion generator rather than a proof of “correct” ethics.

Michael et al function in binary good/bad, but humans don’t. We can’t. I think it’s the real reason that his experiment is doomed to fail, not because humans are not good at torturing one another, but because their (the... demons? Angels? Those guys) system is incompatible with humanity knowing about it.

If we take as read that there really is a Good Place and a Bad Place (or places), and they really are based on this points scale that allows almost nobody in human history into the Good Place, then there is no reason to live a good life at all, because it’s nigh-impossible to be good enough.

I have no idea where we’re going, but I trust that the writers have thought at least as much about this as we have. Certainly they read a whole lot of books/essays about human ethics (see Kristen’s +50,000 for making fun of Michael on the gag reel) and likely continue to do so.
posted by tzikeh at 7:45 AM on October 23 [9 favorites]


I've got a sinking feeling that this whole setup isn't Michael's grand plan, but it is Vicki's. We never did get to see what was in that binder of hers.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:10 AM on October 23


I made my cousin, an EDM fan from Jacksonville, FL, watch the show, and he was totally into it...until the real Jason was revealed. Now he's pissed :X
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:27 AM on October 23 [25 favorites]


Or maybe it's that in helping Tahani, she's harming Jason, so that's impossible for her to reconcile.

It took me way, way too long to recognize that Janet basically has her own Trolley Problem going on.
posted by bcwinters at 10:23 AM on October 23 [10 favorites]


I made my cousin, an EDM fan from Jacksonville, FL, watch the show, and he was totally into it...until the real Jason was revealed. Now he's pissed :X

I'm not an EDM fan but am from Jacksonville...And for me that reveal suddenly made the show 1000 times funnier.
posted by doctornecessiter at 11:38 AM on October 23 [6 favorites]


I'm not from Jacksonville and don't like EDM, but I do like a good Blake Bortles joke* and so far this show has had at least two.

*Joke here is any time you mention Blake Bortles in any context at all.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 11:52 AM on October 23 [5 favorites]


I had a bad dream last night that they added a TBBT-style laugh track to this show, and all the actors hammily paused at the end of each even slightly amusing exchange so that the laugh track could play uninterrupted.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:06 PM on October 23 [2 favorites]


jesus christ that's the worst kind of nightmare
posted by numaner at 5:46 PM on October 23 [1 favorite]


-20 points for even making us think about it
posted by phearlez at 6:59 PM on October 23 [19 favorites]


The thing is, given the cosmology of the show, that is merely resoundingly medium. Your favorite beer ...warm. Every song ever sung ...by the Eagles, live. The Good Place ...with a distracting laugh track.
posted by ckape at 7:30 PM on October 23 [9 favorites]


Am I weird for wanting to watch Kristen Bell burp on her cast mates over and over and over?
posted by Seamus at 8:28 AM on October 24 [3 favorites]


I can’t find a promo for tomorrow’s episode anywhere. Does NBC not market the show online? I looked at the NBC site, the “Good Place” YouTube channel, and all over elsewhere, and can’t find anything. The only promo labeled “Episode 2x07 ‘Janet and Michael’” is here, but it’s just very fast clips of previous episodes - a generic bumper—just like all the other promos for the series on that particular YouTube channel.

Have promos changed since I cut the cord? Are they no longer little teases of bits from the upcoming episode?
posted by tzikeh at 8:35 AM on October 24


tzikeh, the show airs on Thursdays.

(That doesn't answer your question about promos, of course.)
posted by minsies at 8:48 AM on October 24


Ah - huh - totally have no idea when things air anymore. It’s a weird transition.

Still wondering about the promos.
posted by tzikeh at 12:08 PM on October 24


since I've cut the cord I just watch things when they pop up on Hulu. The only thing I can reliably remember is that this show and Supernatural are on Thursdays. So every weekend I have to try and fit all those CW shows in somehow through their site.
posted by numaner at 2:57 PM on October 24


I didn't think I'd be a fan of Tahani and Jason after seeing him with Janet, and yet the actors make it work.

The best part of this show for me is how I enjoy and am engaged in ALL of the character's stories and arcs. They're all funny, interesting, flawed and bring something unique to the show. That's an excellent feat.
posted by liquorice at 5:01 PM on October 24 [5 favorites]


To answer tzikeh's question, no, I don't believe NBC specifically promotes the show beyond being part of some generic "Thursday Night Line-up" spots. I don't think they do singular promos for any of their comedies.
posted by Thorzdad at 6:58 AM on October 25


Article about food in The Good Place:
Showrunner Michael Schur has long held a gripe against any fruit that is served hot, waging war on everything from cobbler to pie. Schur once appeared on The Great Debates podcast and spent 15 minutes arguing the case against hot fruit.
posted by rewil at 1:54 PM on October 25 [8 favorites]


Having re-watched the episode, the glitches are absolutely a manifestation of Janet's jealousy of Jason and Tahani. Each glitch happens as she says some variation of "I'm happy for you" to them.

The slow build to Janet being a full character is just another excellent thing about this excellent show.
posted by dry white toast at 2:03 PM on October 25 [4 favorites]


I am so thankful that Megan Amram is there to mitigate Schur's worst food obsessions. (He enjoys Clam Chowder!)
posted by gladly at 2:20 PM on October 25 [3 favorites]




I generally do concur that cooked fruit (or vegetables) most of the time just makes them mushy, stewy, and sad. People give me such crap. *gasp* YOU DON'T LIKE YOUR VEGETABLES?!?!?! No, I just don't want them all mushy and hot, dammit. Most cooked fruit and veg just turns into semi-mush and why is that supposed to be good?
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:06 PM on October 25


I'm rewatching the first season (again). Michael has related that he has watched all ten seasons of Friends and that he and Eleanor are like Ross and Phoebe...

Considering the Star Trek & Friends "re-rail" of the recent Mel Gibson thread, I couldn't help but consider this statement a bit more...

1. Michael is not Ross, he is Chandler.
2. Eleanor is not Phoebe, she is Monica.
3. Chidi is Ross.
4. Janet is Phoebe.
5. Jason is Joey.
6. Tahani is Rachel.
posted by elsietheeel at 4:38 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


Chidi is Ross

Take it back. Take it back right now, I am not even kidding. I will go Code Duello on yo' ass.
posted by Diablevert at 5:08 PM on October 26 [8 favorites]


Okay it was super hard to type that and I don't know if I can get behind it...but...Chidi isn't snarky enough to be Chandler...and that's his jam. Ross is a smug know-it-all, Chandler is a snarky butthead, and Joey is the dimwit with a heart of gold.
posted by elsietheeel at 5:13 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


i'm not sure there is a single person on this show about being tortured in hell who is terrible enough to be ross
posted by poffin boffin at 5:23 PM on October 26 [14 favorites]


Trevor! Trevor is Ross!
posted by elsietheeel at 6:09 PM on October 26 [1 favorite]


EVERYONE IT'S GOOD THURSDAY WE GET A NEW EPISODE IN A LITTLE BIT

I'M EXCITED
posted by curious nu at 6:29 PM on October 26 [2 favorites]


I’m about to watch the new episode, but I will say that Chidi, while lovely, does make his anxieties other people’s problem, just...like...

Maybe he’s he-who’s-name-we-do-not-speak minus the belief that his entitlement is good.

He’s Ross from the best possible timeline. He’s redeemable Ross.

I’m so sorry.
posted by schadenfrau at 4:58 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


Making his anxieties other people's problems was the least bad thing about Ross, though.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:34 AM on October 27 [1 favorite]


Friends-paralleling is a virus, and now this thread must be quarantined.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:09 AM on October 27 [2 favorites]


I didn't start it though, Michael did!
posted by elsietheeel at 10:11 AM on October 27 [3 favorites]


And it is tormenting us quite effectively.
posted by ckape at 10:49 AM on October 27 [4 favorites]


is this thread the bad place
posted by poffin boffin at 11:28 AM on October 27 [6 favorites]


i'm not entirely convinced you're not Vicky, elizardbits
posted by numaner at 12:00 PM on October 27 [1 favorite]


no i'm the automated program that makes janet freak the fuck out when you approach the murder button
posted by poffin boffin at 12:22 PM on October 27 [3 favorites]


His apologies to Chidi were actually, genuinely moving.

BUT WERE THEY SINCERE? I truly don't know.


I took it as insincere, given that he used the exact same words he had spoken sarcastically a moment before, only now with a thin veneer of sincerity. I was surprised at first that Chidi accepted the apology — and then not surprised, since Chidi wants to believe that everyone is ultimately capable of being good, so tends to be a bit gullible in that regard.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 11:17 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


There’s also the possibility that this is more Chidi being practical. One, the continuation of his earlier “what choice do we have” with regards to Michael. Two, this could be straight up Pascal’s wager and a belief that if Michael will simply choose to ape all the components of morality he may come to internalize it. And if he doesn’t, does it matter if he’s all Chinese Room in simply simulating it without being detectable?
posted by phearlez at 11:53 AM on October 28 [1 favorite]


And if he doesn’t, does it matter if he’s all Chinese Room in simply simulating it without being detectable?

Or, as Vonnegut put it, "pretend to be good always, and even God will be fooled."

Except that seems like a consequentialist paradigm, which doesn't fit with Tahani being in the bad place. I tend to lean consequentialist myself, and if I were in charge Tahani would absolutely end up in the (real) good place. I'm the one who wants to point out that Tahani's philanthropy probably improved the lives of thousands of people, and why don't you ask any one of those people if they mind that she was only doing it to upstage her sister and gain her parents' approval?
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 12:39 PM on October 28


Tahani's philanthropy probably improved the lives of thousands of people

Given what we know about how some real-world 'charities' function, and what we know about some very high-profile orgs that don't spend nearly as much money as we expect them to on their actual missions (Red Cross, Susan G Komen), that might actually not be the case. Especially since a lot of her fundraising seemed to be conducted via lavish galas.

I actually trust the show to explain its reasoning here, eventually, since we've also got the example of Mindy-- whose charity really did do enough good in the world to earn her the Medium Place just for thinking it up.
posted by nonasuch at 7:16 AM on November 2


I actually trust the show to explain its reasoning here, eventually, since we've also got the example of Mindy-- whose charity really did do enough good in the world to earn her the Medium Place just for thinking it up.

When I rewatched the first Mindy episode, it seemed clear that one big difference was her motivation - she decided to start the charity for genuinely selfless reasons and was prepared to put her whole life savings into it.
posted by showbiz_liz at 10:38 AM on November 2 [1 favorite]


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