The Good Place: Team Cockroach
October 5, 2017 6:58 PM - Season 2, Episode 4 - Subscribe

Michael looks at things from a different angle as Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason try to make a collective decision.
posted by everybody had matching towels (51 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
 
Janet has taken on a lot of human qualities in her many reboots.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 7:22 PM on October 5 [6 favorites]


I knew she could provide cocaine!
posted by rewil at 8:10 PM on October 5 [10 favorites]


Interview with Michael Schur and Alan Sepinwall about the new status quo. Apparently there’s a longer cut of this episode to track down.
posted by rewil at 8:21 PM on October 5 [4 favorites]


So, do we think Michael is telling the truth about any of this?

Favorite lines:

"Has the lazy river of chowder...uggggggh...how did we ever think this was the good place?"

"Every time a Janet is rebooted, she increases her social awareness and abilities. I might be the most advanced Janet in the universe" [pats head and rubs belly at the same time]
posted by zachlipton at 9:44 PM on October 5 [8 favorites]


Also, if you haven't seen the MetaTalk yet, Michael Schur is on to us.
posted by zachlipton at 10:45 PM on October 5 [13 favorites]


Considering the way the season had been going so far, I was half expecting them to have the whole conflict with the other demons sorted out by the end of this episode and move on to some whole other thing.
posted by ckape at 1:36 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


Continuing superlative. What's been striking me for a long time is that the Gang of Four are essentially decent people - their character flaws are blind spots that get in their way and obscure their character but don't destroy it. No doubt Michael's lessons in ethics will bring him to a similar point of realisation. Watching Vicky in the "Best Person" sash, I wondered whether her monstrous egotism might also be a gateway to humanisation - that the path to goodness isn't performing goodness like Tahani, or overthinking goodness like Chidi, or avoiding involvement like Eleanor or even being too stupid to understand the difference between good and bad like Jason, but that it leads through human frailty (and that that path is even available to demons).

Mmm. Morning coffee + The Good Place = philosophical overreach.
posted by Grangousier at 2:43 AM on October 6 [5 favorites]


Aww, you have to keep waiting for that cocaine, Mindy.
posted by Monochrome at 2:49 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


I had a pretty rough day yesterday, so when I sat on the couch in the evening to watch I said, "Ok, The Good Place. I need you to knock it out of the park tonight. Maybe you could give me some more food puns? That would help. Don't let me down."

And when they opened with the lines about the two competing chowder restaurants, "Little Bit Chowder Now" and "Pump Up The Clam", I knew I was in the right hands.
posted by Aznable at 3:01 AM on October 6 [22 favorites]


"A Little Bit Chowder Now" was still making me laugh this morning.

Was Ted Danson a little under the weather? His voice was quite a bit deeper this episode, and I wasn't sure if that was his evil Michael voice or not. Whether it was health or an acting choice, it was working for me: deep-voiced Ted Danson is pretty hot.
posted by gladly at 5:59 AM on October 6 [4 favorites]


This one didn't hold my attention as much as the previous season 2 episodes have, mainly because of the back and forth of will-she, won't-she Eleanor. At least she knows that Chidi always helps, now, and everyone knows that Janet is Janet++; everytime she's rebooted.

The restaurant puns are still A++++++, of course.
posted by minsies at 6:43 AM on October 6 [1 favorite]


This one didn't hold my attention as much as the previous season 2 episodes have, mainly because of the back and forth of will-she, won't-she Eleanor.

Same. It felt very uneven on first watch, but I understand why it had to play that way. There were clearly some choices made about how to cut the episode together and it didn't fully work for me.

What was really interesting was that I'm pretty sure this was the first time we saw the Gang of Four interacting with each other authentically, since no one was pulling their strings. It was telling how different the dynamic was. Tahani barely even cared about the other three because she assumed she was there as a mistake, even after Michael explained why she wasn't. Eleanor saw through Tahani right away and had no time for (which I loved because I know people like Tahani and fuck that), and was giving up any pretense of trying to improve, at least initially.

And even Chidi's decisiveness rang true. His flaw is really his ability to fully see all the options in front of him. Normally he's paralyzed because there are too many to make a rational assessment. But he clearly saw that working with Michael was the only viable option so it was easy to make the choice.
posted by dry white toast at 7:07 AM on October 6 [5 favorites]


This show is sooooooooooo gooooooooooooooooooood.

“Eleanor, your cocaine and escape train are ready.”
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:23 AM on October 6 [12 favorites]


This one didn't hold my attention as much as the previous season 2 episodes have, mainly because of the back and forth of will-she, won't-she Eleanor.

Yeah, I thought that went on way too long, too.

The thing that keeps rolling around in my head watching this show is that, at worst, these people are in the Bad Place due to what really boils down to basic human character flaws. If that's all it takes to put you in the Bad Place, how many people ever make it to the Good Place? 3? 4?
posted by Thorzdad at 7:39 AM on October 6 [3 favorites]


The concept that only one person in a million makes it to The Good Place seems to be one of the truths that Michael used to ground his fake Good Place.
posted by Diablevert at 8:51 AM on October 6 [7 favorites]


They have some extended versions of Season 1 on Hulu; but Season 2 episodes seem standard so far.

"Every time a Janet is rebooted, she increases her social awareness and abilities. I might be the most advanced Janet in the universe"

Checkov's Janet
posted by mikepop at 12:09 PM on October 6 [20 favorites]


Michael's experiment is doomed to failure by his inclusion of a genuine Good JanetTM.

Janet is great; I could totally see myself marry Janet. Bad Janet is pretty hot, too.

There's no Medium Janet is there, despite the existence of a one-off Medium Place?
posted by porpoise at 1:58 PM on October 6


I do hereby solemnly nominate Jason mentioning the gun range in the bus station in Jacksonville as this week's Best Random Detail.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:59 PM on October 6 [20 favorites]


From the introductory video, it seems like everything in The Medium Place was a hard-fought compromise, so I assume if they did a Medium Janet they'd still be in negotiations these decades later.

Although on some consideration, immediate post-reboot Janet with the cacti would probably make a decent approximation of a Medium Janet.
posted by ckape at 4:56 PM on October 6 [3 favorites]


Bobcats! Yeah!
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 5:26 PM on October 6 [3 favorites]


There's no Medium Place Janet. This is because Good Janet is awesome and Bad Janet is also awesome. So Medium Janet would have to be not awesome, which is not possible, therefore she cannot exist.
posted by mochapickle at 6:23 PM on October 6 [10 favorites]


I had a brief moment of feeling bad for Mindy. Eleanor finally remembered to bring the cocaine! So of course she didn't go. Will someone ever think of Mindy and how much she needs her cocaine? (It makes me wonder, if they'd decided she belonged in the actual Good Place, would they have cured her addiction or given her an endless supply?)
posted by Margalo Epps at 8:00 PM on October 6 [4 favorites]


I wonder if you can send Janet on a cocaine run on her own or if she has to have someone with her when she runs the train.

Also, I would just like everyone to take a moment to take in that we have a character on broadcast television who is all about cocaine and masturbation.
posted by ckape at 11:40 PM on October 6 [20 favorites]


Oh I love this show.

Love that they're all teaming up. I hope Michael actually does his best in the ethics lessons.

I think I have a crush on Eleanor, Chidi and Tahani, and want to be real life friends with Darcy Camden (Janet).

"Every time a Janet is rebooted, she increases her social awareness and abilities. I might be the most advanced Janet in the universe" [pats head and rubs belly at the same time]

I loved that scene!

My one disappointment: Vicky wasn't a terrible singer. She sounded okay to me.
posted by daybeforetheday at 1:33 AM on October 7


The concept that only one person in a million makes it to The Good Place seems to be one of the truths that Michael used to ground his fake Good Place.

Right, but if that turns out to be true and this isn't some sort of second-level deception where it's not really the Bad Place either the universe in which TGP is set is an unceasing and eternal horror for virtually everyone.

I'm hoping it's another level of deception because I don't want to have to overlook the fact that the fictional universe is Calvinist but with added Hellraiser.
posted by Justinian at 1:34 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


Calvin or Sartre, two barkers on this most miserable midway. You pays your money and you takes your choice, but it's always a mug's game, ain't it.
posted by Diablevert at 2:15 AM on October 7 [1 favorite]


i’m not sure how far mike schurr has things planned out, but given how the series has played out so far, the endgame of the whole thing being “upend the entire cosmic order to free generations upon generations of humanity from eternal torture” would not surprise me.
posted by JimBennett at 5:19 AM on October 7 [13 favorites]


A lack of Medium Janet means that Mindy doesn't get cocaine, which leaves her afterlife as...medium.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:42 AM on October 7 [4 favorites]


jenfullmoon- truly here is the canonical case where the medium is the message.
posted by mce at 10:31 AM on October 7 [11 favorites]


I'm with ckape; if Eleanor was truly good she would have sent Janet and that train-load of cocaine to Mindy without her (surely you can send a Janet on a round-trip mission).
posted by elsietheeel at 5:03 PM on October 7


I love this show, and it is amazing, but I am also so excited to see what else Manny Jacinto can do. (Jason is possibly my favourite character in this show.)
posted by jeather at 8:30 AM on October 9 [3 favorites]


They should just give all the Emmys to Manny now. Just, all of them.

Vicky is seriously growing on me, too. Besides Eleanor's "and later, according to his therapist, not helping him" line, the one that always gets me is the close up of Vicky threatening Michael: "Down undah!"
posted by schadenfrau at 10:42 AM on October 9 [2 favorites]


Eleanor slapping the lolly out of Jason's mouth will never not be funny.
posted by Faintdreams at 12:54 PM on October 9 [8 favorites]


I am intensely happy that this show continues to be a surprise. It is such an insane premise, and appears to be designed to get insaner with each episode, just to see what the network and viewers can stand. It reminds me a lot of the Bill Lawrence pilot "Nobody's Watching" which is worth a google.

The rapid fire Q&A about Janet and how she works was really satisfying, and so was the repeat of my favorite joke where someone calls Janet a [blank] and she cheerily replies she isn't.
posted by obtuser at 1:39 PM on October 9 [2 favorites]


I miss end of Season One Eleanor, because right now we're stuck with "only one week into The Good/Bad Place Eleanor" when she's still really shitty.
posted by liquorice at 10:03 PM on October 9 [4 favorites]


The thing that keeps rolling around in my head watching this show is that, at worst, these people are in the Bad Place due to what really boils down to basic human character flaws.

I would say that only applies to Chidhi in any meaningful way. Eleanor and Jason acted hideously in their life. Tehani too, since her abiding attributes seem to be vanity and a deep-seated jealousy of her sister, though the characterization is so over the top it's tough to calibrate. They are all charismatic and funny but at time of their death not really just "averagely" flawed humans.

Not to say I'd want to be judged by those standards and it completely sucks that Eleanor's growth is being wiped out every reboot, messing with both her and Chidhi's balance sheet. It's like the Powers That Be are conspiring to make sure Eleanor and Chidhi can't win.

I'm not sure how seriously they are taking this, but I did catch that last episode Chidhi was described as an expert in deontology. Since this universe is utilitarian Chidhi is like objectively wrong about ethic. I mean, not really, because utiltiarians are monsters, but the people keeping score are utlitarians . . . .
posted by mark k at 11:38 PM on October 9


I caught up after watching a lot of this over the past few days.

A few things that I've been thinking:

> I've been suspicious of how clued in Michael actually is. What if he is actually being punished himself? This has been a hellish experience for him, and what if retirement isn't actually sun-torture, but is instead being stuck with a bunch of smelly humans and having his super natural agency stripped from him? One thing to note, is that in this episode he mentions (on the topic of getting back into heaven) that he would say that he's "changed", which fits with a sort of Milton Eschatology, where the demons are rebel angels who were pissed at God's love for mankind.

> I've also been suspicious of the good/bad place framing. A lot of it only makes sense with a really brutal, Calvinistic understanding of human personality. For example, Eleanor did a lot of bad stuff in her life, but she also had a miserable childhood. She deserves to have ass-spiders for eternity because of that - something that sort of doomed her before she even got out the door? That makes sense in a different story, but in this one it's not exactly internally consistent with the point system that we've been lead to believe guides the cosmology, and ESPECIALLY inconsistent with the moral ideas that the show seems to be hinting at. Instead, what if most people (who are a mixture of good and bad) go to a sort of purgatory, where they grow to understand their lives over time? That makes the 1% of good-placers a bit easier to stomach... for that matter, it also fits with the narrative frame of an episodic character-based TV show.

> I've also always been suspicious of Janet. I don't think that she's as naive as she lets on, and I think that the button is much more significant than we assume. What if that button is something that all of these realities necessarily come down to, and the choice to push it to kill an unknown Other of a creature (she is adamant that she is not a robot) even as that creature insists that you do, is some sort of test? So far Michael fails, obviously (although note that he has hesitancy sometimes), but so does Eleanor / Michael / Jason. If we operate from the idea that Michael is also being tested / tortured, and that this isn't so much heaven nor hell, then Janet might actually be the one in charge. Janet might even be God.

Apart from that, I've been impressed with the way that the show brings in actual ethical and philosophical positions into the show through characterization and plot.

I'm very happy that I started watching!
posted by codacorolla at 9:39 PM on October 10 [2 favorites]


Oh- another one off thought is that Family is completely absent from these things. That could be a practical matter of shooting, but it could also be a detail of the plot. We know that Tahani and Eleanor both have strained relations with their parents, and Tahani actively hates her sister. Chidi (I don't believe) has been mentioned, and neither has Jason, but I can see cases for the same being true. It's interesting that none of them have even brought it up on screen, though. That could be an interesting wrinkle in the story.
posted by codacorolla at 10:03 PM on October 10


> I would say that only applies to Chidhi in any meaningful way. Eleanor and Jason acted hideously in their life. Tehani too, since her abiding attributes seem to be vanity and a deep-seated jealousy of her sister, though the characterization is so over the top it's tough to calibrate. They are all charismatic and funny but at time of their death not really just "averagely" flawed humans.

I would consider both Chidi and Tahani rather ordinary flawed humans who overall meant no harm. (Unlike Eleanor and Jason who show serious intentional moral deficiencies).

Tahani is shallow and mollifies her insecurities in childish ways that make her easy to mock, but her sister is an insufferable wretch of a meangirl and is most assuredly in The Bad Place as well, by the logic as presented. The parents are no prizes either for encouraging their daughters to be dueling narcissists.
posted by desuetude at 11:28 PM on October 10


Eleanor tried house her parents' divorce as a mitigating factor twice. With limited success. She doesn't mention their brutalising apathy and self-centredness because, I suspect, she doesn't see it.

(For the same reason someone standing in Trafalgar Square can't see London.)
posted by Grangousier at 1:53 AM on October 11


That makes sense in a different story, but in this one it's not exactly internally consistent with the point system that we've been lead to believe guides the cosmology,

I find myself wondering whether a real points system even exists, or if it's just another part of Michael's torture. Even if it does exist, we know Michael is willing to lie about it for his own ends (e.g., Eleanor getting "Best Person" at the start of the season vs. Vicki getting it this time around) so I don't think we can take anything he says about it as reliable.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 7:01 AM on October 11 [2 favorites]


Chidi (I don't believe) has been mentioned

We know he had fond memories of his grandmother, at least, from the favorite meal restaurant midway through the first season.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:01 AM on October 11




The stunt video won't load for me in either the Slate article linked, nor the original one in Vulture, but that's a delightful interview with D'Arcy. Thanks ZeusHumms!
posted by porpoise at 11:10 AM on October 11


The stunt video won't load for me in either the Slate article linked, nor the original one in Vulture, but that's a delightful interview with D'Arcy. Thanks ZeusHumms!

That's such a great article; particularly the end, where she reveals (spoiler alert) she added the apostrophe to D'Arcy herself! I think Janet would be such a fun character to play -- odd and positive and off-center -- but with a lot of interesting diversions; bad Janet, the episode where she had various personalities, her begging to not reset.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:22 AM on October 11


that's such a neat bit of info! I'm totally adding apostrophe to my names!

n'umaner

no? yeah, maybe not.
posted by numaner at 1:35 PM on October 11


numan'r, surely
posted by mochapickle at 2:35 PM on October 11 [3 favorites]


Alan Sepinwall, Uproxx: ‘The Good Place’ Creator Michael Schur Explains The Show’s New Twist
About how much time passed in season one before Michael wiped everyone’s memories? And given that only a week had passed in Version 802, how different are these versions of the characters from the ones we got to know last season? Should we assume that there is no Eleanor/Chidi/Tahani love triangle at the moment, for instance?

We figured that the events of S1 took somewhere around four months of “time.” (Michael then reboots them 801 more times, the longest lasting 11 months and the shortest being 8 seconds…we calculated that the median length was probably in that 4-month range, so the total length of all of the reboots is somewhere around 250-300 years.) The important thing is that the humans completely refresh with every reboot, so there is no residual feeling of “I know you from somewhere…” In this latest version, #802, they’ve only known each other for a week, so they’re around maybe where they were in episode four of last year. You can assume that their relationships and dynamics are roughly where they were in the episode where Eleanor first spent a day with Tahani, and stole her diary. (Of course, now Eleanor also has some very advanced information about how things have played out with her and Chidi in other reboots, as well.)
So, while our favorite four has been reset over 800 times, Michael and the demons have been taking the long way around, spending over two centuries in the same confusing, annoying place, seeing and remembering everything.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:06 AM on October 12 [3 favorites]


not a robot
posted by ellieBOA at 3:52 AM on October 15 [2 favorites]


YOU GUYS I finally caught up, AND IT'S SO GOOD. After the first couple episodes in S1 I was like, I don't know ... but I have faith in Michael Schur and everything he does so I was like I'm sticking with this (I forgot how iffy P&R was first season, and it is my favorite show ever. so...).
posted by littlesq at 4:33 PM on October 15 [6 favorites]


So I was really enjoying that the Netflix episodes had a described video audio track, and was really disappointed that the iTunes version didn't. I am losing a lot by missing out on the visual jokes I can't see fast enough. I wish Apple would take as much of an initiative with this as Netflix does. It was a totally wonderful surprise when I bought Logan that the description narrator was my old friend from Daredevil, JJ, et. al.
posted by Space Coyote at 11:03 PM on October 20


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