The Good Place: Dance Dance Resolution
September 28, 2017 5:52 PM - Season 2, Episode 3 - Subscribe

Michael continues working out the kinks in his plan and Eleanor discovers a secret.
posted by everybody had matching towels (113 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
They're burning entire seasons of plot between act breaks and it's goddamned incredible. I enjoyed season 1. I am loving season 2.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:04 PM on September 28 [45 favorites]


It didn't take long to get to the quartet/Michael team-up! I am here for this.
posted by minsies at 6:09 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Sushi and the Banshees
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:20 PM on September 28 [25 favorites]


Michael's Chekov tapes were never discovered! Michael isn't blackmailed by the humans! Chidi and Eleanor fell in love off screen! We never got to see Eleanor and Tahani as soul mates!

I have no idea what's going to happen in this show, and I love that. I would have watched every single attempt. Did we see what number Michael was on when he decided to join another dance squad?
posted by gladly at 7:00 PM on September 28 [9 favorites]


Lasagne Come Out Tomorrow
Ziti of Stars
You Do The Hokey Gnocchi and You Get Yourself Some Food
The Pesto's Yet To Come
Cake Canaveral
Knish From A Rose
Cruller Intentions
Biscotti Pippen
Beignet and the Jets
Steak on a Stick
Hot Dog on a Stick on a Stick
Caviar on a Stick
Bagel on a Stick
posted by Aznable at 7:10 PM on September 28 [46 favorites]


We never got to see Eleanor and Tahani as soul mates!

We will. We just have to live sufficiently good lives on this Earth, and part of Heaven is the Eleanor/Tahani ship.

EXTRA STICKS
posted by Etrigan at 7:25 PM on September 28 [18 favorites]


The opener is great. It's like getting the punchline out of serial iterations of the "game of life"/genetic algorithms.

Love Ted Danson's progressively thicker/longer beard.

Yay Jason!

Using the REalanor demon as Michael's foil is a nice touch.
posted by porpoise at 7:42 PM on September 28 [4 favorites]


Sushi and the Banshees
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:58 PM on September 28 [4 favorites]


Someone bring that poor woman some cocaine.
posted by rewil at 8:08 PM on September 28 [30 favorites]


Also, William Jackson Harper makes the best faces. Just A+ every time.
posted by rewil at 8:13 PM on September 28 [5 favorites]


From Schmear to Eternity
Ponzu Scheme
Chicken Soup for the Mouth
posted by rewil at 8:54 PM on September 28 [18 favorites]


I am excited to see what goes down.

Down unda
posted by ckape at 9:14 PM on September 28 [14 favorites]


Someone bring that poor woman some cocaine.

I will, if it'll keep her from walking in on me while she's masturbating.

Thanks to the Mefi post that got me to give this show another chance. I binged S1 just as S2 was starting. I like EleaNidi, but also want more Tahinor.

But mainly I just want this gang to not have to go to any other Bad Place. (Altho someone on twitter suggested maybe Michael's in his own personal Bad Place.)
posted by NorthernLite at 9:32 PM on September 28


That was amazing. Besides the restaurant names, I completely lost it at "and there's a rumor that Daveed Diggs is coming back."

I can't think of another TV show that has so consistently raised the stakes every couple episodes as this one.
posted by zachlipton at 9:35 PM on September 28 [9 favorites]


"It's an epistemological nightmare!" is going to be my new catchphrase.
posted by Superplin at 10:16 PM on September 28 [8 favorites]


Megan Amram, who wrote the episode, tweeted out an abridged version of the full list of food puns i turned in with my first draft of tonight's #TheGoodPlace episode. There are so many.

Linguine Manuel-Miranda!
posted by zachlipton at 11:07 PM on September 28 [30 favorites]


In case you were wondering about Vicki’s awesome turtle shirt, as I was, it’s from J Crew.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:38 AM on September 29 [5 favorites]


That was magnificent, and like many of you I genuinely don't know where it goes from here.

I wonder what happens when the real Good Place find out and ask for their Janet back.
posted by Grangousier at 6:26 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Watching last week's episodes and this week's episode last night, this show managed to trigger both of my two most confusing reactions to art:

1) I start tearing up, not because of sadness or joy from content, but because I like something so much it overwhelms me.
2) I get angry because somebody has created something so good.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 6:36 AM on September 29 [23 favorites]


Megan Amram, who wrote the episode, tweeted out an abridged version of the full list of food puns i turned in with my first draft of tonight's #TheGoodPlace episode.

WE CIABATTA ZOO

I can't breathe.

Send help.

posted by Etrigan at 6:56 AM on September 29 [14 favorites]


I’m glad they mentioned “convince Michael he’s actually in the bad place” as one of the group’s plans that didn’t work. I was legit worried Metafilter had figured out the big plot twist last week.
posted by Gary at 7:29 AM on September 29 [7 favorites]


So good.

Even JASON figured it out once!

Much as I'd love to see the Eleanor/Tahani soulmate version, I can only assume Eleanor figured it out after a few minutes in that one.

I love clam chowder, but "hot ocean milk" is gonna stick in my brain now.

Go Vicky!

Sadly, I don't think there's cocaine in the Fake Good Place for them to bring her.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:29 AM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I dunno, have they tried asking Busty Alexa?
posted by rewil at 7:42 AM on September 29 [15 favorites]


I love clam chowder, but "hot ocean milk" is gonna stick in my brain now.


"Basically a savory latte with bugs in it" and "hot ocean milk with dead animal croutons"

I mean, I too love clam chowder, but she's not wrong.

The time when Jason figured it out, I legit SQUEALED when I realized what was happening.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:48 AM on September 29 [14 favorites]


I'm so glad that Eleanor and Chidi are in love, but if somehow this doesn't end with Eleanor/Chidi/Tahani happiness, I will be in a Bad Place.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 8:56 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


Just rewatched and they're on attempt #802 now.

Plans:
Physically attack Michael
Stab with small knife
Find Michael's Boss, blackmail, drug him
Seduce Michael
Throw Tahani under the bus
Stab with large knife
Make Michael think he's the one in TBP
Indecent Proposal him
Shawshank our way out
Try to stuff Michael back in his magic lamp
Find Ray Donovan buy an angel
Catch that magic panda use her powers
Eleanor turn(?) self in (I'm guessing a little because the card is blocked by Eleanor's head)
Find Doug Forcett
posted by ckape at 10:45 AM on September 29 [15 favorites]


Find Doug Forcett

Maybe it's just that his picture was staring at us for half of this ep, but I have a feeling Doug Forcett is going to be A Thing at some point.

Also, they're leaning hard on Janet's multiple reboots being A Thing as well. Speaking slightly of which, did anyone notice any indications that Jason and Janet ever got together after attempt #1?
posted by Etrigan at 11:11 AM on September 29 [6 favorites]


Shawshank our way out

I'd love an entire episode of Chidi paralyzed by the immorality of various loopholes while calculating Michael's taxes.
posted by peeedro at 11:21 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


Catch that magic panda use her powers


I respect AskMetafilter too much as an institution to answer this to every question, but let me tell you, it's tempting.

And I did wonder about the multiple reboots of Janet too; like many things, I'm not sure if it's laying actual groundwork or it's just a comedic bit. It could be something plot-related or it could just be that it's so simultaneously horrifying and hilarious to watch her hit the sand like that that the people working on the show couldn't help but do it over and over again.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:24 AM on September 29 [6 favorites]


I would absolutely buy the Doug Forcett thing, but I've been wrong about so many things, it's probably the magic panda.
posted by gladly at 11:29 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I’m glad they mentioned “convince Michael he’s actually in the bad place” as one of the group’s plans that didn’t work. I was legit worried Metafilter had figured out the big plot twist last week.

I would like to record for posterity that I kinda, sorta called it. (W/r/t to the resets coming thick and fast and the quartet trying to protect the semi-OK thing they have happening.)
posted by minsies at 12:27 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


At this point I have nothing intelligent to add to this conversation, except if we get that far, I want Nick Offerman to guest star as God.
posted by kimberussell at 12:29 PM on September 29 [21 favorites]


This week we learned that Mindy St. Claire and the Medium Place were not part of Michael's similacrum. Where else can Janet take our heroes?
posted by whuppy at 12:37 PM on September 29 [9 favorites]


Love this season so far! Even though very little happened in this episode (it seems to me we just learn that the gang and Michael are finally going to team up) I'm so glad we got to see some of the attempts. I think it's also big that on this particular attempt we saw that Chidi and Eleanor in love. I wonder if it means anything that Eleanor brought the tape with her? Guess we'll have to wait and see!
posted by lucy.jakobs at 1:11 PM on September 29


Janet believes they're in The Good Place right? Or is programmed to believe that? If so, you would think she understands this isn't the entirety of it. So why not just ask her to take them to another part of TGP?

It makes sense that Tahani and Chidi wouldn't figure out where they are. Tahani is far too self-involved, and Chidi is so indecisive he can't see past the decision in front of him. Come to think of it, Chidi spent his whole life torturing himself. So I would imagine death doesn't feel much different than life for him.

This is just excellent. I really appreciate that Schur and his writers refused to make things easy for themselves. In fact, he said in an interview that the whole reason he created the concept of the show was because he was given carte blanche, because he has had enough successful shows, and he didn't want to waste it on another ensemble cast of lovable misfits in a work environment (though to be clear, given his track record, I would 100% watch that). Which echoes the character Michael's choice to create the Fake Good Place when he was given the opportunity. (Schur swears naming the architect Michael was intentionally self-referential.) So it makes sense that they would continue to up their difficulty level.

Mindy's delivery of "oh no, that's my only copy..." slayed me.
posted by dry white toast at 1:12 PM on September 29 [20 favorites]


Also, Michael is basically Phil Connors.
posted by dry white toast at 1:14 PM on September 29 [2 favorites]


The lesson I took away from the first season was to pay close attention to the stuff that doesn't seem to fit. Like "why are they so miserable all the time if this is supposed to be the Good Place?" and "why would heaven have froyo and not ice cream?" And the two main things that don't make sense right now are Janet and the Medium Place.

I can kind of justify Janet, if we accept that the real Good Place has Janets to help people and they've borrowed one of those for this project. But it's hard for me to see why Michael would construct an entire reality for the four of them, one in which he controls everything, and then introduce an agent that, supposedly, doesn't report to him.

But the Medium Place is just weird to me. If the system is that your life is assessed and you get sent to your appropriate place after death, why are they allowed to take a train to the Medium Place and hide out there?
posted by zachlipton at 1:33 PM on September 29 [5 favorites]


I actually just watched it a second time immediately afterwards. This episode was so good. Drew Goddard directed it.

Maribeth Monroe as Mindy is amazingly good. Though I suppose it's possible that the character could be overused and thus is better shown sparingly, I love every minute she's on the screen and I want more. Monroe delivered so many lines perfectly.

We've seen much evidence that Eleanor is attracted to Tahini, as well as her saying so herself, so I'm curious about how they as "soulmates" worked as torture. I guess, unlike with Chidi, the bicker-but-attracted thing ends up leaning toward unhappiness.

William Jackson Harper as Chidi does some great work with his responsive facial expressions -- the one I noticed most was his response to Mindy's "walk in on you while I was masturbating" line.

And Ted Danson is a genius comedic actor. Really. He does a lot of great work with body language. I'd really like to see some Emmy nominations next year for this show, at the very least him.

"...why are they allowed to take a train to the Medium Place and hide out there?"

I had the impression last season that The Medium Place was an ad hoc, improvised accommodation for Mindy. Because there wasn't a Medium Place before, and TGP and TBP staff had to work out a joint accommodation, maybe they by necessity had to build it somewhere that isn't precisely in their two realms, but not elsewhere (because they don't have access to the rest of the universe). So it's accessible, via Janet's summoning of the train.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:39 PM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Michael said at some point that Tahani was so tall, beautiful, and cultured, that she would trigger all of Eleanor's insecurities. I guess no matter how much attraction she might feel for Tahani, the insecurity will still win out, especially with Tahani's oneupsmanship. Eleanor always wants to tell her soulmate that she doesn't belong in the Good Place, but I can't picture her telling Tahani that after just meeting her. p.s. I love that Tahani is Taylor Swift's best friend, but Taylor isn't hers.

I think Eleanor is predatory enough, especially in the beginning, that she sees Chidi as a mark rather than a threat.
posted by gladly at 2:02 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Interview with Amram: “It’s great that you write stuff and then Ted Danson has to do it.”
“I cannot tell you how much of our time was spent just trying to think of torture devices, which is a very fun game to play. But also, I feel like we keep coming back to penis things. It’s always like penis cores, penis peelers, penis flatteners, and they’re all funny, if I do say so myself,” Amram said. “Butthole spiders, too, is in sort of the same world. Bees with teeth is a good example of something that’s very scary and doesn’t necessarily have to do with your penis, though I imagine they will go after your penis.”
posted by rewil at 4:55 PM on September 29 [6 favorites]


So, I haven't seen season one. Would it make sense to come in to the show now, or just wait for the dvds?
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 4:55 PM on September 29


You can't start anywhere but the beginning. But the first season is on Netflix, and even if you're not a subscriber it's worth using your free trial on.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 5:25 PM on September 29 [10 favorites]


But the Medium Place is just weird to me. If the system is that your life is assessed and you get sent to your appropriate place after death, why are they allowed to take a train to the Medium Place and hide out there?

Mindy is in her purgatory and once she's helped someone out of The Bad Place she gets to go to The Good Place?

WhIch Janet knows hence why she always helps Eleanor find Mindy?
posted by asteria at 7:37 PM on September 29 [3 favorites]


"The End. By Jason Mendoza."
posted by redfoxtail at 8:09 PM on September 29 [14 favorites]


I’m glad they mentioned “convince Michael he’s actually in the bad place” as one of the group’s plans that didn’t work. I was legit worried Metafilter had figured out the big plot twist last week.

I mean...he sort of is? Set aside for a moment the fact that his predicament is of his own creation. He has a puzzle he can't seem to solve, nobody is on his side, and he faces grave consequences if he fails.

Not so different from the quartet, perhaps the cause of the (proposed) team-up.
posted by jcreigh at 10:25 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]


I'm wondering how much time has passed. We're told there's been nearly 900 attempts, ranging from no time at all to over 180 days. If we assume a linear distribution between six months and one minute, that's about 220 years.

For that matter, how long did the first attempt last?
posted by Etrigan at 10:41 PM on September 29 [1 favorite]




This season is just so delightful, and such an impressive evolution of the world they built in season one. I love occasionally seeing things from the perspective of the demons.

Also, mean giraffes!
posted by simonw at 8:06 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


I would have loved a couple of visual gags of malicious giraffery -- maybe a nose slowly and deliberately tipping over someone's latte. A scowling giraffe. A giraffe cutting in line.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 8:14 AM on September 30 [7 favorites]


It just clicked with me that the breakneck pace of the past two episodes is probably a deliberate subversion of Michael's comment at the end of season one that the next go-round would be a "slow burn."
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 8:16 AM on September 30 [10 favorites]


I wonder if the price of Michael’s failure is having to repeat the scenario over and over.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:48 AM on September 30


Last night I spent a good amount of time telling a friend how she had to watch this show. When we were leaving, she said she was going to go home and watch the first episode. I warned her not to look up anything about the show before finishing the first season.

She gasped. "Oh, it turns out they're really in hell, right?" Motherforker! I'm sure the look on my face gave it away.

But no matter, she texted me two hours later to tell me she was hooked.
posted by lunasol at 10:05 AM on September 30 [4 favorites]


And OMG the sheer bravado of burning so much potential plot in one episode, so many throw away sight gags: bravo, writers! Bravo.
posted by lunasol at 10:06 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


’m glad they mentioned “convince Michael he’s actually in the bad place” as one of the group’s plans that didn’t work. I was legit worried Metafilter had figured out the big plot twist last week.

I mean...he sort of is?


Michael's main torture of Eleanor is built on imposter syndrome, and now Michael is basically pretending to everyone, including his boss, that his work is better than it actually is. Turnabout indeed.
posted by amtho at 10:06 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


I warned her not to look up anything about the show before finishing the first season.

I didn't find the "twist" that surprising, and I still enjoyed the show a lot.
posted by amtho at 10:08 AM on September 30


I was really disappointed that the first episode of the season didn't start with a Groundhog Day-style montage of restarts. This episode really delivered, and it was worth waiting for.

Michael says that he has to kill and reboot Janet "every time" (800 times so far). What was it she said in Season 1 about gaining new capabilities each time she's rebooted?

The boldest thing they could do in the next episode: Wipe and reboot them again right at the start.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:30 AM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Ah, it was in S1E7:
Uh, Janet, how many "Janets" have there been?

There have been 25 generations of Janet. Each new update of Janet gains more wisdom and social abilities. Fun fact: The first Janet had a click wheel.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:37 AM on September 30 [16 favorites]


I noticed that Janet was really having fun in the train ride this time, and was taking a moment to just enjoy herself.
posted by amtho at 10:57 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


There's a private little hell in figuring out how to tell people to watch this show because there's such a fine line between telling the premise and revealing the real premise. Like, I usually say it's Kristen Bell and she's a terrible person sent to the good place and has to make the best of it. And it's technically true, but doesn't begin to touch how funny and smart and twisty it is.
posted by mochapickle at 11:00 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Looks like the show is doing unusually well for a second season in 2017.

I have a feeling that a bunch of people binged the first season on Netflix and are now on board. The threads here and the sub Reddit for it seem to be getting about double the comments on the episodes.
posted by Diablevert at 11:14 AM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Honestly I'm only watching because I ignored spoiler warnings for the season one twist on the assumption I wasn't going to be watching the show.
posted by ckape at 11:22 AM on September 30 [3 favorites]


"Each new update of Janet gains more wisdom and social abilities."

Hmm. That's interesting.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:09 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


Ah, it was in S1E7:
Uh, Janet, how many "Janets" have there been?

There have been 25 generations of Janet. Each new update of Janet gains more wisdom and social abilities. Fun fact: The first Janet had a click wheel.


Yes, this has been on my mind the entire time. If they're setting up a potentially beneficial status quo between Michael and the gang, then an evolved Janet has limitless potential to affect that in hilarous ways.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:41 PM on September 30 [2 favorites]


Oh, and Michael's tapes will be coming back in a big way. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But when you least expect it...

There was a Hot Wheels commercial when we watched it on our cable company's On Demand. I couldn't quite tell if the mom was Maribeth Monroe - she looked enough like her that I thought it was her, but then I wasn't so sure. If it was, casting people from this show in ads during the show (like the ones with Ted Danson and Marc Evan Jackson previously) is one of the most brilliant advertising ideas I've seen. For one thing, if you're skipping past ads on your dvr and happen to see one of the show's actors you might drop back in because you think you're past the ads, but also because they're little bonus nuggets of actors who are bringing you so much pleasure.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 12:48 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


It's been days but I am still completely helpless over Chicken Soup for the Mouth. I had to stop cleaning and sit down.
posted by mochapickle at 3:35 PM on September 30 [17 favorites]


The moment that always gets me is when Eleanor has promised to help Michael find whoever is responsible for messing up the neighborhood, and she's asking Chidi what she should do.

Eleanor: "ok, so I've got help him, and at the same time, I have to not help him."
Chidi: "that is literally not possible."
Eleanor: "oh really? I once posed as a hot prom date for my cousin, both helping him, and later, according to his therapist, not helping him."

That's a cold open.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:54 PM on September 30 [16 favorites]


I am legit upset that every new Episode is only 22 perfect minutes long.
posted by Faintdreams at 4:35 PM on September 30 [5 favorites]


My current personal theory is that Janet is God. The kind of God where you get out of the universe what you put in, plus a little bit extra good. And where everyone in the cosmos has free will, so if Michael decides to put himself in a situation in which he is tortured for a long period of time, that is a thing he can do-- but it won't be forever, because, as we see through Michael himself, free will means that eventually even the demons are going to get sick of the whole thing, and change, however creepingly slow, will happen.

My main evidence for this is the way Janet calmly and politely explains to Michael that no, she is going to die with exactly this much protest every single time-- with the obvious unspoken moral that if you continue to do the same stupid thing over and over, you will get the same stupid results. This is also the moral of the episode, and Michael eventually figures it out when Jason explains it, but Janet got there first.

Janet also consistently introduces the human characters to each other, even in the first iteration of S2 when it's in Michael's best interest to try to keep them apart. And she still appears to have a soft spot for Jason, and if she's God, of course she married him: he loved her for herself, which is what most religions claim you ought to do with God (who will love you anyway, but Really Appreciates being loved).

The great thing and the sad thing about this theory is that it... could take a really long time for it to be proved or disproved, because so far, at any rate, it doesn't seem to have much relevance to what appears to be the season arc of Michael Teams Up With Humans. Like, there is no reason this theory could not turn out to suddenly be true after six seasons and a movie. Or it could be disproved next episode. I figured out the Season One twist from Michael's opening-scene bowtie, so I feel like I have some grasp of how the writers think, but I have never managed to correctly predict anything about how they get to where they wind up going, let alone what is going to happen directly next, so I could also be one thousand percent wrong.
posted by Rush-That-Speaks at 6:33 PM on September 30 [7 favorites]


There's a private little hell in figuring out how to tell people to watch this show because there's such a fine line between telling the premise and revealing the real premise. Like, I usually say it's Kristen Bell and she's a terrible person sent to the good place and has to make the best of it. And it's technically true, but doesn't begin to touch how funny and smart and twisty it is.

"It's about people in the afterlife...." At this point I'd have to be that vague about it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:16 PM on September 30 [1 favorite]


I think Michael's going to perfect his implementation of his concept only to discover he's recreated real life.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 8:42 PM on September 30 [4 favorites]


There have been 25 generations of Janet. Each new update of Janet gains more wisdom and social abilities. Fun fact: The first Janet had a click wheel.

Rebooting and updating aren't the same thing though. How many times do you reboot your computer vs. updating it? Restarting your machine doesn't have the same effect as installing OS updates...

(Although I'm not ready to dismiss the concept, simply based on the fact that not everyone seems to be making the distinction?)
posted by elsietheeel at 9:03 PM on September 30 [7 favorites]


I’ve watched this episode a few times now and I honestly think it’s the best 22 minute sitcom episode I’ve ever seen. It’s just so creatively ambitious. The writing is so tight, the background puns are endlessly delightful, the performances of every character are so good. I can’t stop thinking about it. I think I’m going to watch it again.
posted by simonw at 12:15 AM on October 1 [4 favorites]


OK, new theory. After finding Eleanor's note in her mouth at the end of season 1, Janet has been saving her memories external to her main RAM memory -- maybe created a tiny HDD or inscribed messages somewhere in her boundless void -- and actually remembers everything that's happened since.
posted by amtho at 2:49 AM on October 1


My current personal theory is that Janet is God.

OK, new theory. After finding Eleanor's note in her mouth at the end of season 1, Janet has been saving her memories external to her main RAM memory

So, basically, Janet is the Machine from Person of Interest. I'm on board.

(I would also be on board for an Amy Acker cameo on TGP)
posted by Roommate at 4:31 AM on October 1 [1 favorite]


so I'm rewatching season 1 now to look for clues.

I'm at episode 3, and there's not a whole lot, but there was that same general feeling of something's off.
posted by numaner at 2:43 PM on October 1


Wait wait, I'm noticing things! I think I'm going to do a rewatch post for the season and put my thoughts there.
posted by numaner at 2:50 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


Rebooting and updating aren't the same thing though. How many times do you reboot your computer vs. updating it? Restarting your machine doesn't have the same effect as installing OS updates...

My recollection of how the show presented it is that the current instance of Janet is destroyed every time someone pushes the big red button on the beach, with updates automatically applied when she is newly instantiated.

"Rebooting" is a misnomer, strictly speaking.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 3:20 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


I've been rewatching some of season 1 as part of the process of getting others to watch the show (while trying extremely hard to keep my mouth shut), and it's been interesting. I mean, the first episode gives it away if you know what to look for:
They were both crummy people, so they're probably in the Bad Place.

Maybe they're being used
to torture each other.

It would work.
Episode 5 gets interesting about Janet, because she seems to be acting like Michael's helper, checking into the sinkhole. Janet knows about the Medium Place, but she doesn't let on that she knows she's not in the real Good Place or that she knows what Michael is up to. Whether this is explained by her rebooting/updating/whatever is something I don't think we fully know yet, but Janet's overall level of knowledge of the situation seems relevant.
posted by zachlipton at 3:23 PM on October 1


This episode is the biggest gift to fanfic writers ever. "Here, fanfic writers! A playground of 400+ different alternate universes you can write, some of which we've given you prompts for! Go nuts!" And it appears fandom is already stepping up.
posted by rednikki at 4:40 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


Janet is destroyed every time someone pushes the big red button on the beach, with updates automatically applied when she is newly instantiated.

If that were substantially true, then the note wouldn't have stayed in her mouth.

...she doesn't let on that she knows she's not in the real Good Place or that she knows what Michael is up to.

Nobody asks. If she ever gets to the point of volunteering information at the beginning of a sequence, it's all over.
posted by amtho at 4:44 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


I noticed that Janet was really having fun in the train ride this time, and was taking a moment to just enjoy herself.

I just said this in the rewatch thread but I meant to reply here: when Janet first gives details about the train in season 1 episode 7, she also did the choo-choo gesture and sound. I think she gets a kick out of the train in general.
posted by numaner at 5:28 PM on October 1 [4 favorites]


If that were substantially true, then the note wouldn't have stayed in her mouth.

Well, she doesn't necessarily get new hardware every time.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 6:42 PM on October 1


I like the Janet is God theory a lot. Or the embodiment of God in each Good Place neighbourhood. If people can end up in either the Good Place or Bad Place, then they have free will. So Janet/God might be trying to save them, but can only help them in very limited ways, by answering questions or responding to requests.
posted by dry white toast at 6:59 PM on October 1 [1 favorite]


..Or the daughter of God, killed by evil -- not out of hate, but because it's expedient -- and rising again and again from the dead.
posted by amtho at 7:43 PM on October 1 [2 favorites]


so many things are even more hilarious or insightful when you've binged season one and watch this episode right after.

- Mindy might have only that one outfit
- Jason's story about framing Donkey Doug's girlfriend to save their 60-person dance crew as a ethical utilitarianism example had a negative ending of Donkey Doug splitting off and starting his own dance crew.
- Eleanor technically have said "I love you" to Chidi more than once, because she said it in season 1, but Mindy didn't witness it. I'm sure in all of the previous attempts she's said it too, but without Mindy knowing.
posted by numaner at 8:33 PM on October 1 [6 favorites]


she also did the choo-choo gesture and sound. I think she gets a kick out of the train in general

You and me both, Janet.
posted by elsietheeel at 8:40 PM on October 1 [7 favorites]


I'm guessing the naught but screams response Janet gives to being asked about The Bad Place is a modification Michael did to keep her from giving away the whole game. Of course, who knows if that would be persistent across resets.
posted by ckape at 9:42 PM on October 1


If we're going to go there; the first Janet decommissioning she had black ballerina flats on. All subsequent decommissionings, she was barefooted.
posted by porpoise at 11:36 PM on October 1


Ok, I don't believe Janet is currently God, since when she was murdered, she lost all her knowledge and needed to be retaught what jalepeno poppers were as well as presenting cacti for all things. I think Janet will become God as she begins to assimilate and learn all of the variations of human behavior between the multiple resets. Right now we're at 220 years post murder. How many years did they say it took Bill Murray to become God in Groundhog Day?

Unless this is like Chuck in Supernatural turning off the glowing man-ulet so Dean wouldn't know he's God and Janet is just pretending? But i gotta say - I would be pretty disappointed if God ended up with a drug dealing amateur DJ from Florida.

Side note - i binged season 1 and the season 2 episodes in one day. This show is amazing.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 7:24 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


Maybe interesting only to me, but this is the ad that's been all over the NYC subway system recently, and the tag line for it doesn't actually make any sense until we get to this point in the story, where clearly Vicky is our Big Bad, and Michael needs to team up with the Gang of Four to pretend that the scenario is working, to save Michael from the eternal shriek and the Gang of Four from being transferred to Trevor's authority, presumably.

And the thing is, even if they can pull that off, what's stopping Vicky from betraying Michael to Shawn anyway? Just that Michael seems more pliable?

This is going to get interesting now.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:45 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


I love season 2 Michael as a frustrated writer in some hellish immersive theater production, trying to craft these perfect storylines designed to torture his characters, only to be stymied by incompetent actors ("I told her I was going to the gym." "Why would you say that at a party?") and mutinous Eves.

And of course, his characters don't play along, either.

I see you, Michael Schur. I see you.
posted by schadenfrau at 8:39 AM on October 3 [7 favorites]


A fun little thing that I don't recall them calling attention to is that Mindy describes the post-sex-tape "I love you" as like anti-porn to her, making the whole thing perfectly medium.

That seems like a clue to me, but to what ends, I do not know.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:35 AM on October 3 [2 favorites]


I keep seeing people say that Chidi was sent to The Bad Place for having an anxiety disorder (here and elsewhere), which I disagree with completely (as a person with an anxiety disorder, btw). There’s something that gets brought up in AskMe quite a lot when people ask about their depressed partners— if a partner is struggling with mental illness, that is not their fault. But if they are refusing to treat their mental illness, and are letting their symptoms repeatedly harm other people, then that is not appropriate and not fair to the people around them.

I don’t see Chidi’s central failing as being his anxiety in and of itself, but the way that he usually made his anxiety into someone else’s problem when he was alive. When people give him good advice, he ignores it. When people ask him to let them help him, he says no. When people try to set boundaries, he disregards them.

What the main four had in common on Earth, more than anything else, is that their lives were lived in almost total pathological self-absorption, where the hurts that they caused other people were viewed as incidental, or nonexistent, or funny, or irrelevant. Chidi offhandedly mentions that his mentor left tenure at his university to get away from him— funny at the time, but telling in the context of the show. One of the central conceits of worldview within the show seems to be: did you view people as people, or did you view them as pawns/points/prizes/goads/inconveniences/mirrors for examining yourself in?

What is interesting is that Michael’s scenarios for torturing them seem to rest on that self-centered perspective continuing after death, and all of his frustrations are based on incidents when they learn to care more about others than themselves, contrary to their lived experiences. (Plus Janet, the wildcard.) Those moments when an initial instinct of “what do I want?” is outweighed by “what is best for this person?” is when Michael really gets stymied.
posted by a fiendish thingy at 1:28 PM on October 3 [24 favorites]


"I don’t see Chidi’s central failing as being his anxiety in and of itself, but the way that he usually made his anxiety into someone else’s problem when he was alive. When people give him good advice, he ignores it. When people ask him to let them help him, he says no. When people try to set boundaries, he disregards them."

Right, exactly. I'm surprised that anyone would think it's his anxiety disorder itself that is his vice -- it's how he is oblivious to the ways in which he responds to it affects the people close to him.

To my mind, it's most revealing that a moral philosopher would be so lacking in self-awareness of this. He seems incapable of even having a clue why he'd be in The Bad Place. And, yeah, it's his self-important self-absorption.

Basically all four of them fail to see other people; their gazes are inwardly directed. In different ways, though. And the people around them were hurt by it. Eleanor knew she was hurting people, but didn't care. The other three refused to see how they hurt others.

Tahani is both more and less subtle. She didn't seem ever to manage any big damage, but she pretty much was incessantly inflicting minor damage even as she congratulated herself for her virtue.

Eleanor seems as if she's written inconsistently because while she's the most blatantly villainous in her life, she's not really that way in the afterlife. But I think that the flashback to her parents partly reconciles this -- her parents were such extreme models of toxic narcissism, that she just became a nihilistic hedonist in response. But she wants something better, and the afterlife -- and being (apparently) thought a good person -- provides her with an opportunity to be someone different.

None of the other three had that inner-conflict in life, so the new context of the afterlife doesn't change anything. Eleanor knew she was a bad person. None of the other three did . . . quite the opposite in Tahani and Chidi's cases.

It's really pretty remarkable that a professor of moral philosophy wouldn't deeply question himself, and recognize his fault, when finding himself in The Bad Place.

I don't quite know what to think of this. On the one hand, it seems like a typical anti-intellectual, anti-academic argument that book learnin' don't mean much. That's annoying, if so. On the other hand, my own experience studying moral philosophy with other people is that many or most really do just intellectualize it and make it into a puzzle without really challenging themselves in terms of how they actually live their lives. Chidi may have looked at his behavior more than others, but he very conveniently focused his attention on things like his consumption of almond milk (which he drank, anyway) rather than, say, how he's actually affecting the people close to him.

It's frustrating to me, though, because these philosophers all deal with this kind of issue. For example, Chidi seems to think that he's doing okay if all his most explicit choices are deliberate moral decisions. But he's not recognizing all the small choices he's making unthinkingly. This is his ethical habitus, and it's precisely what what Aristotle focuses on in the Ethics..

But a common theme among all four -- and this is why I think they're in the Bad Place -- is that they all seem to have worked pretty hard to avoid recognizing how they could actually be better people. Chidi and Tahani avoided the issue while telling themselves that they were doing the opposite. Jason threw himself into a fog of obliviousness, where the very idea of any kind of responsibility was obscured. And Eleanor just said, "fuck it".

Eleanor and Jason have, in the afterlife, been put into a situation that disrupts their habits. Eleanor has responded to that with some change. Jason hasn't. And Tahani and Chidi are just continuing as they have before.

It seems to me that if the other three have any chance of becoming better people, it will be through Eleanor's influence. Which is very ironic, but it makes sense. Eleanor is the only one who wasn't self-deluded about her own virtue in her life.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:16 PM on October 3 [11 favorites]


I also recall a flashback to Eleanor saying something to the effect of "why try to be good? there's no afterlife."

So when she realized she's in one and it's the "Good" Place, her past moral reasons are invalid and she changes as a result.
posted by numaner at 2:59 PM on October 3 [1 favorite]


Eleanor's change / moral arc makes more sense to me in the context of her having to admit she needs people because of the way Michael sets her up in all of his iterations. He wants to let her know she doesn't belong and is in constant jeopardy, but Eleanor is a survivor (albeit one with an attachment disorder), and so she does what she has to do to survive. And what she has to do is depend on someone else to help her.

Michael fucks up most times by teaching Eleanor to need, and grow attached, to others. No more "I don't owe you anything, you don't owe me anything" -- she becomes a full fledged member of humanity precisely because of the position Michael puts her in.

And so she keeps torturing Michael.

It's really kind of elegant.
posted by schadenfrau at 3:51 PM on October 3 [9 favorites]


Between "Find Ray Donovan buy an angel," "Chicken Soup for the Mouth," and the discussion last season of the damnation that follows anybody creating social media content based on The Bachelor, I'm more and more certain that, if not Michael Schur himself, somebody there is trying to get McElroy references in wherever they can.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:22 PM on October 3


all of his frustrations are based on incidents when they learn to care more about others than themselves, contrary to their lived experiences. (Plus Janet, the wildcard.)

Here's the thing. If Janet is the wildcard, you would think at some point in the 800+ attempts, Michael would leave Janet out. If Michael needed to steal her, then she's not an integral part of the simulation. It's not like the Gang of Four know that every Good Place neighbourhood has a Janet.

So either he tried a run without Janet and it went just as badly as before (but the writers didn't think it expository to show us that), or the afterlife doesn't work without her.
posted by dry white toast at 11:07 AM on October 4 [2 favorites]


This is probably too rules-lawyery, but even assuming Janet is a fundamental part of the afterlife (which I think is a safe assumption) there's no reason for Michael to tell them about her. Just let her do whatever it is she does to keep the neighborhood operational and extant, but none of the four would ever interact with her (unless they somehow managed to say "Janet?" to empty air).
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:16 AM on October 4


Anyone else think that Jason's "Panda" plan is the biggest brick joke this season has left hanging in the air?
posted by Navelgazer at 9:53 PM on October 4


> This is probably too rules-lawyery, but even assuming Janet is a fundamental part of the afterlife (which I think is a safe assumption) there's no reason for Michael to tell them about her.

I don't think that's too rules-lawyery, I am assuming that the fact that Michael always introduces her is intentional by the writers and that there is a reason for it.
posted by desuetude at 9:21 AM on October 5


Right, I forgot about Janet saying that after her "last reboot" she learned something that allowed her to love Jason. So I'm now on board with SuperJanet.

Also I had forgotten about Bad Place Janet.
posted by elsietheeel at 7:48 AM on October 6


> Also I had forgotten about Bad Place Janet.

I wonder now whether S1 Bad Place Janet was totally fake.
posted by desuetude at 12:40 PM on October 6


Remember when Judge (Boss?) Shawn used the Bad Place Janet to send a systemwide (eternitywide?) (????) message via Janet in the Medium Place?

I'm so confused.

And also I don't feel like this is a safe place to discuss anymore because Michael Schur is watching and maybe laughing at me!
posted by elsietheeel at 1:19 PM on October 6 [1 favorite]


This is all secretly the bad place. There is an amazing show, but you're scrutinized by its creator on all of your internet comments. Who are also in the pocket of big dairy. And big jalepeno poppers.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 6:22 PM on October 6 [6 favorites]


> Also I had forgotten about Bad Place Janet.

I wonder now whether S1 Bad Place Janet was totally fake.


I don't think so. We know Trevor's real (from Mindy's Medium-Place intro video) and Michael says something after Eleanor calls him out in the finale about "getting one of the good Janets" or something to that effect. I'm pretty sure Bad Janet exists (though for what purpose, as Tahani points out, I have no idea.)
posted by Navelgazer at 7:46 AM on October 7 [3 favorites]


I figured out the Season One twist from Michael's opening-scene bowtie.

Wait, what? I don't remember that--can you elaborate? Nice catch, whatever it was!
posted by jjwiseman at 10:35 AM on October 7


Michael says something after Eleanor calls him out in the finale about "getting one of the good Janets" or something to that effect.

In the conference room meeting with Shawn and the other Bad Place folks, he mentions stealing a Good Janet, which implies the existence/difference of Bad Janets.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:52 AM on October 7


jjwiseman: I figured out the Season One twist from Michael's opening-scene bowtie.

Wait, what? I don't remember that--can you elaborate? Nice catch, whatever it was!


The Kurdish Religion of Yezidi
"As a branch of the Cult of Angels, Yezidism places a special emphasis on the angels. The name Yezidi is derived from the Old and Middle Iranic term yazata or yezad, for 1 angel, rendering it to mean "angelicans." Among these angels, the Yezidis include also Lucifer, who is referred to as Malak Tâwus ("Peacock Angel").
posted by tzikeh at 8:08 PM on October 7 [3 favorites]


Uh - missing from the above comment is the fact that Michael is wearing a peacock-feather bowtie in the pilot. That would probably help clarify why I pasted something about Yezidi into this conversation.
posted by tzikeh at 8:15 PM on October 7 [4 favorites]


re: everyone saying how do i recommend this show to friends

i personally did not find "they're already in the bad place" to be show-ruining information, actually. i watched the entire first season knowing already that they were in the bad place, and their journey towards discovery was fucking glorious. i did NOT know that it was only the 4 of them though, i think that would've felt somewhat ruiny.
posted by poffin boffin at 12:26 PM on October 14 [1 favorite]


but obviously yfmmv
posted by poffin boffin at 12:28 PM on October 14


This episode is way up there with the first episodes of Lost and Battlestar Galactica (reboot), some early Simpsons episodes and "A Rickle in Time" as sufficient justification as to why it was worthwhile to invent TV in the first place.
Holy motherforking shirt, that was amazing.
posted by signal at 7:31 PM on October 15 [1 favorite]


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