The Good Place: Somewhere Else
February 1, 2018 6:12 PM - Season 2, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Michael and Judge Gen agree to a new plan to test Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace (198 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
 
What a good episode, what a good direction for the show to go in. The really great thing about this show is I honestly don't know whether this somewhere else will be five episodes or five minutes of the next season.

Can I have season 3 already?
posted by flatluigi at 6:20 PM on February 1 [30 favorites]


i love that between this show and the leftovers there are masterpiece level shows completely aping tricks from Lost’s playbook.
posted by JimBennett at 6:23 PM on February 1 [15 favorites]


Knowing the long wait for Good Place S3 was rapidly approaching, I added Cheers to my Netflix queue and have been watching an episode or two most evenings to get a Ted Danson fix, so, seeing Michael behind the bar was especially hilarious.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:31 PM on February 1 [40 favorites]


Sting's Desert Rosé.

💕💕💕
posted by minsies at 6:32 PM on February 1 [25 favorites]


Maybe season three will come early.
posted by jeather at 6:34 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


I like it. Neat twist. Now, off to google that phrase!
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:37 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Previous google searches on Elenor's computer:
wedding fall bride farts
wedding fall nip slip
wing place has liquor license phoenix
what is this gross thing on my foot
when is kylie due
which az diamondbacks are single
what's a good excuse to skip a baby shower

Also, google suggests "what do we say to the god of death" and "what do weasels eat."
posted by Rinku at 6:45 PM on February 1 [44 favorites]


Considering the show was renewed for a third season as recently as November, I bet this episode was written not knowing if they'd be able to continue. In a lot of ways it works as a series finale -- Elenor and Chidi together again in the physical world, with a happy Michael and Janet watching from another plane, would be an excellent final image for the show.

I'm over the moon that the show is continuing, of course, but I'm happy that we've left our characters in a good place (haha get it) for however long we have to wait to see what comes next.
posted by Rinku at 6:52 PM on February 1 [6 favorites]


Cute "in a sick Victorian boy way."

Why did they only have a 13-ep. season? Arent most traditional "broadcast" shows still around 20-eps a season?

I was so busy wondering how they were going to end the episode, I didnt even think of the "Sam" connection
at the bar.
posted by NorthernLite at 6:53 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


I feel like I've been hugged, and I feel like hugging this show.
posted by mixedmetaphors at 7:02 PM on February 1 [38 favorites]




what was the phrase? diagonal word belt?
posted by komara at 7:16 PM on February 1 [1 favorite]


Why did they only have a 13-ep. season? Arent most traditional "broadcast" shows still around 20-eps a season?

13-episode seasons are fairly common now. Season 1 was 13 episodes. Most of AMC's (e.g. Mad Men, Breaking Bad) and HBO's anchor shows (e.g. Veep, Game of Thrones) do 12-13 episode seasons.
posted by dry white toast at 7:36 PM on February 1


I'm glad its a 13-episode season (waiting the better part of the year for a new season, that displeases me). So many stories are better told in a shorter format. A 22-episode season of Good Place wouldn't be the same, and I fear it would be awful. These episodes are so tight, so well crafted, that you'd lose something if there had to be twice as many.
posted by zachlipton at 7:46 PM on February 1 [16 favorites]


I have to admit I'm not hugely excited by the idea of our peeps back in the real world, but I trust the writers so I'm rolling with it.

Really I'm just wondering if Season 2 was just an elaborate way for Michael Schur to get Ted Danson behind a bar again.

They packed a lot into that episode.

I appreciated the symmetry of Michael having a light bulb moment like he did at the end of Season 1, being cued off a word. In season 1 it was Eleanor talking about the gang "coming together". This time it was the word "push."

Also, the intensity with which Janet and Michael were watching what happened to Eleanor and Jason really resonated.
posted by dry white toast at 7:49 PM on February 1 [13 favorites]


I am SO EXCITED by the possibility of a Blake Bortles cameo in Season 3 now that they're back on earth.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:45 PM on February 1 [28 favorites]


I think it'll take awhile to digest everything that happened in this episode, because at a plot-level, things took such a big and interesting jump. But we should not overlook that Michael, a demon, just laid out his argument that the moral framework that underpins the afterlife is fatally flawed, and the arbiter of the universe did not disagree. While the afterlife as described in TGP doesn't quite correspond to any major religion (as they pointed out in episode one), it's close enough that Michael's arguments work pretty much the same for any afterlife which employs eternal punishment. This is really ambitious stuff for broadcast tv.

Anyway, it struck me how Eleanor's life on Earth was incredibly lonely. I was so glad to see her find Chidi at the end of the episode I teared up.

Holy crap, I just realized both seasons have ended for Eleanor the same way: she is alone and receives a suggestion that she must find Chidi.

In the real world, it looks like there is a very good chance that Blake Bortles will no longer be the Jags quarterback by the time season 3 starts. If poor Jason is sent back to Jacksonville and his hero has left town, I hate to think how he'll take it, although I relish the comic potential.
posted by skewed at 9:20 PM on February 1 [29 favorites]


seeing Michael behind the bar was especially hilarious.

I have a lot to say about this episode, and I need to organize my thoughts, but I watched every season of Cheers as it aired, and I need you all to understand, really really understand, understand on a bone-deep level, HOW MUCH FLAILING ABOUT AND DESPERATELY TRYING NOT TO HURT MYSELF BY NOT LAUGHING OUT LOUD WHEN THE BARTENDER WAS TED DANSON BECAUSE MY ROOMMATE IS ASLEEP

I. HURT. MYSELF. SO. MUCH.

Combine the hurting and the flailing and the silent squeaky non-laughing and the TEARS IN MY EYES and having to watch that reveal over and over and over and over and over just to get past it.

Oh my God that was possibly the greatest moment in a show of great moments. I would put it on par with The Evil Giggle.

(Also that was clearly Michael who pushed her out of the way of those shopping carts. I would recognize the back of that silver-fox head anywhere.)

BRING IT, SEASON THREE. DO YOUR WORST.
posted by tzikeh at 9:44 PM on February 1 [38 favorites]


ZeusHumms: Now, off to google that phrase!

If you mean "What We Owe to Each Other," it's the book Eleanor ripped the title page from at the end of season one to write "Eleanor - find Chidi" on. Chidi says that if it's true they'd met before, and they'd gotten as far as that book, they must really have been studying ethics to a significant degree, as it's in no way an intro book.
posted by tzikeh at 9:48 PM on February 1 [10 favorites]


It pleases me to know that Michael Shur probably got a huge kick out of getting Ted Danson behind a bar.

In the first episode, Chidi said he was speaking French and being automatically translated, which of course makes absolutely no sense now. But I'll forgive a pilot throw away line.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 9:54 PM on February 1 [27 favorites]


While the afterlife as described in TGP doesn't quite correspond to any major religion (as they pointed out in episode one), it's close enough that Michael's arguments work pretty much the same for any afterlife which employs eternal punishment. This is really ambitious stuff for broadcast tv.

Yes! The show is addressing my concerns! My metaphysical and philosophical concerns! This brings me feelings.

understand on a bone-deep level, HOW MUCH FLAILING ABOUT AND DESPERATELY TRYING NOT TO HURT MYSELF BY NOT LAUGHING OUT LOUD WHEN THE BARTENDER WAS TED DANSON

I will neither confirm nor deny that I paused the DVR while the camera was on Eleanor, closed my eyes as if in silent prayer, and though to myself "please, please, in the name of all that is good in the world, let it be Demon Sam Malone behind the bar." And lo, it was good.

This show is good and it should feel good.
posted by Justinian at 9:55 PM on February 1 [15 favorites]


Homeboy Trouble: Chidi said he was speaking French and being automatically translated, which of course makes absolutely no sense now. But I'll forgive a pilot throw away line.

I don't think it's necessarily contradictory -- if he's teaching at a university in Australia, he'd speak English. (Would it be perfectly unaccented English? These are the things we pooh-pooh in The Land of TeeVee.)

ALSO I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT ELEANOR AND CHIDI JUST MET IN ONE OF THE WAYS CHIDI THOUGHT NORMAL PEOPLE MET AND ELEANOR LAUGHED AT HIM FOR THINKING THAT NORMAL PEOPLE MET ONE ANOTHER THAT WAY

I need to go have a lie-down or something I'm loopy omg seriously this is the best show I want to kiss Michael Schur on his face
posted by tzikeh at 9:59 PM on February 1 [71 favorites]


ALSO I WOULD LIKE TO POINT OUT THAT ELEANOR AND CHIDI JUST MET IN ONE OF THE WAYS CHIDI THOUGHT NORMAL PEOPLE MET

omg, head hurts now
posted by skewed at 10:04 PM on February 1 [7 favorites]


I mean, if we're asking questions about things we ignore in TV-land, where did Eleanor, who quit her job as a telemarketing scammer to enter the lucrative field of handing out environmental pamphlets, get the money to pay her rent, let alone fly off to Australia?

I'm just going to assume Michael slipped a cashier's check in her pocket as he was saving her life.
posted by zachlipton at 10:17 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


where did Eleanor, who quit her job as a telemarketing scammer to enter the lucrative field of handing out environmental pamphlets, get the money to pay her rent, let alone fly off to Australia?

She probably hocked the dress she bought to spite her roommate. If I recall correctly, that was a fair chunk of change, and it would fit into her Don't Be That Eleanor narrative.
posted by tzikeh at 10:22 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I think they said she got paid for the environmental work, just poorly. Plus she got that new job halfway through the year selling courses to do her old job.
posted by ckape at 10:24 PM on February 1 [2 favorites]


Chidi said he was speaking French and being automatically translated, which of course makes absolutely no sense now. But I'll forgive a pilot throw away line.


Or, they're still in a pocket dimension, although the difference isn't meaningful.
posted by The Whelk at 10:33 PM on February 1 [16 favorites]




Chidi kissed Eleanor, Chidi kissed Eleanor! Hot diggity dog, that was so awesome.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 12:35 AM on February 2 [11 favorites]


I have to admit I'm not hugely excited by the idea of our peeps back in the real world

You think so? You think that's air they're breathing?
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 4:06 AM on February 2 [14 favorites]


I enjoyed this a bunch! Are we sure they are back on earth? It could be that they're all in a shared hallucination or simulation or something.

This episode had a lot of Eleanor's eyes opening which I think is also how the show and this season began, right?

I kept feeling like the woman at the bar whose face we never saw was going to be a reveal and then it wasn't, and I wonder if maybe we will see her later? Like maybe it turns out Tahani was also there and we'll get a Tahani story that overlaps with Eleanor for just a few minutes and they never even notice each other?

One of my main thoughts is that this is all about moral dessert and how maybe the four humans were only being good because they wanted to earn something, but in the previous episode Eleanor passed her test, already knew she was going to the bad place because of the terrible deal they'd made, and still lied about passing to make the others feel better even though there was no reward coming, so I think it's possible that even if you start becoming a good person for a reward, it can stick. Kurt Vonnegut says we are what we pretend to be (something I kept wondering if Chidi would say in the first season when he was deciding whether to teach Eleanor) and maybe Eleanor pretended to be good long enough, even if it was for selfish reasons, that it stuck.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 5:05 AM on February 2 [30 favorites]


I basically started crying when Chidi kissed Eleanor and did not stop till the Fremulon logo.

Go Jeanne! When the judge said you are supposed to do good things not for moral desert but because you are good, I literally shouted "virtue ethics!" because of your comment.

I spent like that whole Medium Place fakeout minute thinking about how we'd get to see all their different Medium Places and they'd scheme to see each other, and then when Michael and the Judge were arguing, I really thought they were going to go in a reincarnation direction and we'd see whether these new people still found their karass. And then, no explanation, snap, near-death experience.

And I can't remember who in a previous FanFare comment talked about how the fake Good Places were the first times Eleanor got to be around people who made her want to be better, but here we so see that. She doesn't seem to become friends with any of the better people who are available to her, e.g., the environmentalist. Will and conscience are not enough for Eleanor, although they're enough to get her started; she needs an intellectual framework and she needs a community of practice. And, unfortunately, she does need some immediate reward, like NOTICING that her conscience feels better, and humans in her life who respond positively to her better choices (becoming an sidewalk fundraiser for an environmental charity is an exercise in deferred and abstracted gratification since Eleanor will probably not see any direct improvements in the world, environmentally speaking, traceable from her actions).

Nice use of the Facebook Memories feature! And nice callback to Eleanor's sash from one of the experiment reboots. Oh how I cried when Michael started saying that he had a friend who talked about the little voice. He loves her, even if he might not phrase it that way.

When Chidi, in the video, says that he argues we have an innate desire to treat each other with dignity and that we are in this together, not alone, I just started bawling even harder and I'm crying right now writing this. Eleanor never learned, in her childhood, that it was normal to treat people with dignity and tie yourself to them with responsibility. To become emancipated from them was to free herself from their awfulness. To take on obligation (what we owe to each other) is so counterintuitive to her and it's so moving to see her try.

We've talked before in these threads about how subversive The Good Place is in emphasizing the material conditions of a person's life as a prerequisite to moral growth. But also an amazing implication here is: the afterlife judges individuals as individuals. That's the fundamental thing-getting-judged. What if that is wrong? I can't even conceive of how it would work to be judged as something other than an individual, but what if?

And what if Michael's meddling succeeds in getting these four people to improve but ruins the data for the larger question of whether hundreds of millions (not billions?) of people have been wrongly sentenced to the Bad Place?
posted by brainwane at 5:38 AM on February 2 [57 favorites]


Has anybody seen or read any critiques from the religious community?

On the one hand, I can see the evangelicals calling the show an insidious treatise on humanism, not to mention how dare anyone question the divine will.

On the other hand, I'll bet this is catnip to the Jesuits.
posted by whuppy at 5:45 AM on February 2 [14 favorites]


she needs an intellectual framework and she needs a community of practice.

My doctoral thesis was essentially about the necessity for churches to become communities of practice if they want moral formation to stick, and now I want to submit a revised edition where I cite The Good Place in a footnote just for kicks.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 5:50 AM on February 2 [63 favorites]


This show is starting to touch on a theme I had come up with a while back but never fleshed out:

What happens if a Demon develops a conscience, empathy? Can they just apply for a job transfer out of hell or are they now doomed to suffer for eternity as well?
posted by some loser at 6:19 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


I knew the show would continue to surprise me, I just didnt think I could love the show any more than I already did and yet.. ::sniff:: this episode was perfection
posted by Faintdreams at 6:27 AM on February 2


Metafilter: An Intellectual Framework and Community of Practice since MCMXCIX
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:12 AM on February 2 [22 favorites]


As soon as Eleanor showed up back on Earth, I expected her to run into one of the other characters. But...possibly because we'd just gotten that lovely scene between Tahani and Eleanor at the start of the episode (or possibly because I started taking this joke ship way too seriously), I thought she'd run into Tahani at some kind of Clean Energy Gala. With sashes!

(I'm glad they didn't, btw. Eleanor's self-improvement kick getting crushed by daily life was better. Also sashes are very outdated, who wears sashes anymore.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 7:18 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


What happens if a Demon develops a conscience, empathy?

I’m still sticking with my pet theory that Michael is a double agent from the Good Place or some ultimate place that lies beyond the Good and Bad Places, and he’s on a secret mission to upend the whole system of punishment and reward.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 7:49 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]


What happens if a Demon develops a conscience, empathy?

They hang out at the nearest Hellmouth, mooning over the latest vampire slayer.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:01 AM on February 2 [49 favorites]


I can't get over the romance of someone you torture and love in the afterlife for eons, and then go back to earth to find under the direction of a demon and a not-girl not-robot luggage celestial being ::heart eyes emojii::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:12 AM on February 2 [5 favorites]


It would be a wonderful little extra if Chidi's lecture were actually available on YouTube, but it isn't.

About those ticker tape machines: when Michael returns from the bar, there are two red lights on each one, except for Eleanor and Jason, and Janet has been glum in all these scenes. I guess that Jason is crashing hard like Eleanor did, but Chidi and Tahani are somehow passing the test so far. Maybe.
posted by maudlin at 8:23 AM on February 2 [6 favorites]


Turn that frizown upsidizity

Oh, Jean-Ralphio. You’re so headed to the Bad Place.
posted by rewil at 8:30 AM on February 2 [31 favorites]




I'm convinced they're all in a simulation/holodeck, which is why Chidi has an American accent (either that or the actor can't do an accent). This is a trial run to see if they can improve.

I am sad we don't get to see everyone else's version of this reset. I hope we do next season.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:25 AM on February 2 [9 favorites]


“Eat my farts, Benedict Cumberbatch.”

Ha!
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:51 AM on February 2


By my reckoning, Chidi should be speaking English with a hybrid accent drawing from wherever he was in Africa, French, Australia, and The Good Place knows what else.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:53 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Look who is on the truck that almost hits Eleanor

Technically that truck is innocently lurking in the background. The real culprit is a truck advertising "an erectile dysfunction pill called Engorgulate."
posted by rewil at 10:01 AM on February 2 [18 favorites]


if you enjoy The Good Place, you may also like the 1983 John Travolta/Olivia Newton-John vehicle Two of a Kind.

Just kidding, Two of a Kind is beyond terrible. But it deals with a somewhat similar scenario and has a few classic ONJ tracks, and taught 9-year-old me the concept of "edible underwear."
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:03 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


Tweets on the Good Place Finale (slbuzzfeed)

Also - i don't believe they're on earth. I think they are on their own little microcosm world where they are tallying points as IF they were still on earth to test Michael's theory. Because it's been 800 years of torture/reboots or so, the world as we know it is long gone. This also explains why Chidi is speaking English without an accent - because he's still just speaking French and everything gets translated in the afterlife (this is an artifact of being dead and not just of the fake Good Place microcosm in my canon).

I still stick to my theory that this process of incremental improvements is what the afterlife actually is and the series finale of the of show will be them realizing that every soul goes through this process until they are good enough for the real Good Place. The judge, the demons, the escaping through portals is all just a ruse on their path to goodness and self improvement.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 10:31 AM on February 2 [21 favorites]


I just rewatched it, and noticed that Schur wrote and directed this one.

Janet doesn't know what she is anymore?! That's pretty amazing.

komara, the phrase is "diagonal award belt" according to the captions.

On one of her backsliding-type mornings, when we see Eleanor wake up in a messy bedroom, her bedside table holds an open bag of ... Cheetos?

Can anyone make out the title of the book on Professor Anagonye's desk in the last scene?

Headcanon: Michael faked that text message to Brittany's phone, and she narrowly escaped being discovered by her boyfriend's wife.

And when Michael says that the question is "what do we owe to each other," is he also thinking about what he, personally, owes to Eleanor, who has taught him so much?
posted by brainwane at 10:47 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


Pater Aletheias, I'm surely not alone in thinking it would be great to get to read that doctoral thesis, and/or to see a FPP from you talking about that approach to pastoral work.
posted by brainwane at 10:57 AM on February 2 [12 favorites]


i love that between this show and the leftovers there are masterpiece level shows completely aping tricks from Lost’s playbook.

About 5 minutes into the "Real World" part, I found myself thinking "I would be delighted if there was a Lost call-back/easter egg." And then it turns out Chidi is living in Sydney! And it did delight me!

I also think the 13 episodes/22 episodes thing is relevant with the Lost comparisons. One of the things (not the only thing, but one of the things) that sort of ruined Lost was the traditional network model, where a successful show has to have 22 episodes, and it has to run for a long time, until it's canceled or (about 10 seasons in) the showrunner is allowed to negotiate an exit. This resulted in the writers spending Seasons 2 and 3 spinning longer and shaggier dog stories, and asking a lot of questions/opening up new mysteries that there would never be answers/solutions for.

This episode model worked a lot better when shows were more, well, episodic. Or with shows that are pure soap operas, where you can just keep stories and dramas going forever, swapping out actors/characters when you need to (ie, Grey's Anatomy). It does not really work with shows that are trying to tell a singular story, or are really character-driven. I'm really glad the rise of cable dramas and streaming-first shows have allowed the industry to loosen up those requirements.

Back to Lost: The Good Place calls back to Lost a lot, but I also think it learned a lot from Lost. The writers get crazy and creative here too, but Mike Schur (and others, I assume) has done a really good job of always bringing things back to the core - the four main characters (plus Michael and Janet, of course) and their relationships with each other, and their collective striving to be better people. Everything is in service to that core, and so I'm never worried this show is going off on some wild tangent it won't be able to pay off.
posted by lunasol at 11:11 AM on February 2 [7 favorites]


On one of her backsliding-type mornings, when we see Eleanor wake up in a messy bedroom, her bedside table holds an open bag of ... Cheetos?

brainwane, there's also a slice of pizza in a toaster (some morning prior to the Cheetos).
posted by minsies at 11:26 AM on February 2 [8 favorites]


I thought it was interesting how much Chidi in his youtube talk seemed confident, easygoing, and ultimately committed to a single thesis in a way that’s fairly unlike the Chidi we’ve known. I’m looking forward to the inevitable flashbacks about his personal growth.
posted by Itaxpica at 11:36 AM on February 2 [39 favorites]


I am so in love with Eleanor/Chidi, despite it being just a bit too underdeveloped thanks to the limitations of the 20-some minute sitcom format. I absolutely love how the show has subverted and deepened the "soulmate" concept that first brought Eleanor and Chidi together. We know now that there's not really any such thing as "soulmates." These people were put together for their potential to torture each other, not "complete" each other or love each other. But again and again, Eleanor chooses Chidi. Soulmates aren't some destined-by-a-higher-power thing, there's nothing especially easy about Eleanor and Chidi's relationship. But every loop, every day after she's come to know him (again), Eleanor chooses to love Chidi. Love as a thing you do, not just feel.

I love me some destined romance and soulmates business, but I love this even more.
posted by yasaman at 11:47 AM on February 2 [40 favorites]


I thought it was interesting how much Chidi in his youtube talk seemed confident, easygoing, and ultimately committed to a single thesis in a way that’s fairly unlike the Chidi we’ve known. I’m looking forward to the inevitable flashbacks about his personal growth.

Plus his ticker had unspooled a lot of tape.
posted by Ragged Richard at 12:59 PM on February 2 [7 favorites]


Pater Aletheias, I'm surely not alone in thinking it would be great to get to read that doctoral thesis, and/or to see a FPP from you talking about that approach to pastoral work.

I'm happy to provide a link. Anything interesting is probably in chapter two. Four's not terrible, either.

Short version: a Doctor of Ministry thesis (at my alma mater, anyway) involves a pastoral intervention to improve ministry practice in some area where there is an identified need in a congregation. My intervention was to replace traditional Sunday School at the tiny congregation I was attending with a holistic, intergenerational model of formation. It was built around three principles pulled from spiritual/moral formation literature:

Principle 1: The best learning happens in communities of practice.
Principle 2: Different generations learn from each other as they engage in collaborative ministry and reflect on shared experiences
Principle 3: Genuine Christian formation results in affective and behavioral change as well as cognitive learning

Chapter two is an overview of the theological and theoretical literature as well as integrated insights from the micro-denomination I grew up in, which had rejected the Sunday School model.

Honestly, I picked our Sunday School program as the place to work because a full-on educational program was hard to pull off in a church with 35 people in it. But in the time since I completed the thesis I have only become increasingly convinced that age-divided classes focused on dispensing cognitive Bible knowledge is an almost completely wrong-headed approach and that churches of all sizes should make a hard shift into experiential ministry and reflection if they want to deeply shape the lives of their members.

Anyway, anytime some writes "communities of practice" I get all warm inside. The Good Place seems pretty committed to the idea that moral formation happens in communities of close-knit relationships experiencing life together and reflecting on their choices, and that delights this one particular practical theologian endlessly.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 1:33 PM on February 2 [55 favorites]


I'm also reminded of Community, another comedy where a bunch of misfits and fuckups became (somewhat) better people together, both because of and for each other. As a show, Community also often asked "what do we owe to each other?" of the study group, and over and over again, the answer was, "To see and know each other, to care for each other, to at least try to make right choices with and for each other."
posted by yasaman at 1:46 PM on February 2 [23 favorites]


I’m looking forward to the inevitable flashbacks about his personal growth.

Plus his ticker had unspooled a lot of tape.

I'm not saying Chidi hasn't experienced personal growth a la Eleanor, but Eleanor's ticker kept ticking even as she spiraled back downward, so that's not an iron-clad indicator.
posted by tzikeh at 1:56 PM on February 2


The caption calls it a diagonal award belt, but diagonal word belt is a much better line, plus the captions also keeps talking about moral desert.

I wonder how hard Chidi had to work to get one of his talks down to a mere 3 hours.
posted by ckape at 2:13 PM on February 2 [5 favorites]


before i go and read all your comments i just wanna say

AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
posted by numaner at 2:32 PM on February 2 [4 favorites]


I'm not saying Chidi hasn't experienced personal growth a la Eleanor, but Eleanor's ticker kept ticking even as she spiraled back downward, so that's not an iron-clad indicator.

True, but it appeared that Chidi's had a ton of tape coming out if it in comparison to the others, which I imagine means something (although not necessarily something good).
posted by Ragged Richard at 3:00 PM on February 2


ckape: plus the captions also keeps talking about moral desert.

Not sure if serious? The word is "desert" in this context, not "dessert." When we say someone got their just deserts, we mean they got what they deserved, not that they got pie.
posted by tzikeh at 3:35 PM on February 2 [14 favorites]


Well, if each action is assigned a good/bad number, changing your mind a lot will probably make it add up.
posted by Hermeowne Grangepurr at 3:39 PM on February 2 [8 favorites]


But the judge is talking about dessert - the reward at the end of a meal. ie. Heaven is "moral dessert"

She's not talking about them getting their "just deserts"
posted by crossoverman at 3:46 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


I guess that is a result of teachers being very clear on the spelling of arid wastelands and end-of meal sweets neglecting other similar terms (much like how teachers were big on disambiguating capitol buildings and capital letters ignoring economics), and a history of having conditions attached to desserts.
posted by ckape at 4:08 PM on February 2 [3 favorites]


crossoverman: No, she was, indeed, talking about their "moral desert" with one "s", which is what my link was for in the previous comment. Wikipedia's page on "moral desert."
posted by tzikeh at 4:25 PM on February 2 [9 favorites]


Also, I am not saying that I've got thist, because I would never do that, but it is possible that something may have been called, and it may have been called by me.
posted by tzikeh at 4:35 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I loved this episode but I also hate it because now I have to wait months (MONTHS!) to find out how Michael saved the other three's lives and what they've been doing for the past year. I can understand how the "push" impetuous works for Eleanor (pushed out of the way of the carts and therefore not squashed by a truck), Chidi (presumably pushed out of the way of a falling AC), and Tahani (presumably pushed out of the way of her sister's falling statue), but how would Michael prevent Jason from getting into the safe that suffocated him? Where's the "push?" I NEED TO KNOW.
posted by paisley sheep at 5:07 PM on February 2 [6 favorites]


I'm rooting for Team Cockroach to overthrow the whole Good Place/Bad Place system and install Janet as God. With Michael's speech at the beginning we got one step closer to that!
posted by speicus at 5:09 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing they're in a simulation, since Michael's argument is that they are becoming better people after death, so if they're still alive it doesn't really test that. Although, it could still show that being good or bad is a matter of circumstance, which would also throw a wrench into the current system though maybe not to the extent that Michael's argument would.
posted by ckape at 5:27 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I think they're in a simulation because their next deaths in the real world may be decades down the line and decades apart so you'd have the cast in different stages of older age makeup up to and after they regroup in the afterlife and that would be just awkward. Although... there is the possibility that they're all in the real world and they somehow all die again together and soon, and that would be nuts.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:54 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


My initial, unfiltered reaction:

SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
*breathes*
EEEEEEEE!!!

I loved this.

Getting into some specifics:

Anyway, anytime some writes "communities of practice" I get all warm inside. The Good Place seems pretty committed to the idea that moral formation happens in communities of close-knit relationships experiencing life together and reflecting on their choices, and that delights this one particular practical theologian endlessly.

Speaking as someone who left the Catholic Church due to non-theism, this is why I didn't leave bitter. I was fortunate enough to see how a good community could be a help to people whether or not I agreed with the theological particulars, and continued to believe in that long after I left. I still think my time in that place and with those people was critical to my own moral development.

Basically, The Good Place reminds me of my old Jesuit-run school in the best possible way.

I think they're in a simulation because their next deaths in the real world may be decades down the line and decades apart so you'd have the cast in different stages of older age makeup up to and after they regroup in the afterlife and that would be just awkward.

I actually think their deaths probably happened in the same few seconds - I bet people are queued up into neighborhoods pretty close together temporally.

However, I am also convinced it's a simulation for a few reasons:
- Chidi's accent, as mentioned.
- The constant wake up scenes focusing on Eleanor's eyes in the morning, same as the very first moment of the show. I feel like they're literally winking at us about what's going on with that.

Anyway:
squeeeeee!
posted by mordax at 6:38 PM on February 2 [6 favorites]


I actually think their deaths probably happened in the same few seconds - I bet people are queued up into neighborhoods pretty close together temporally.

That would indicate far more interference made by the... whatever we're calling them--in the living world than we have seen. Michael found the four perfect people to torture one another, and they all died on (or near) the same day? He would have had to orchestrate that somehow.

Oh, man, we've now seen him interfere on a minor scale by appearing as a human on Earth... what more might he (or others) have done?

Wow, okay, there's a lot of story available if we're talking about ongoing, direct interference....
posted by tzikeh at 6:51 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I think they're in a simulation because their next deaths in the real world may be decades down the line and decades apart so you'd have the cast in different stages of older age makeup up to and after they regroup in the afterlife and that would be just awkward.

I'm going back and forth on the "sent them back to the moment(s) of their death(s) because all-powerful, immortal beings can tamper with spacetime" and "complete simulation," but I don't think Michael is going to wait for their real deaths--once his point is proven (or disproven), the Core Four would instantly be recalled to his realm.
posted by tzikeh at 6:56 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


What a lovely thing.

It does resonate with something that I'm beginning to suspect, which is that compassion is something that sort of seeps into us. Because we're sponges for it.

But how lovely.

(A comment that was probably more appropriate with an earlier episode - but Tahani's development as a person is tracking that of Jamila Jamil as an actress, who hadn't done anything before this series. Which is fine. Authentic, actually. I mean, all of these people are fabulous.)
posted by Grangousier at 7:05 PM on February 2 [4 favorites]


I'm going back and forth on the "sent them back to the moment(s) of their death(s) because all-powerful, immortal beings can tamper with spacetime" and "complete simulation," but I don't think Michael is going to wait for their real deaths--once his point is proven (or disproven), the Core Four would instantly be recalled to his realm.

Which would be a great ethical dilemma for Michael - should he do that, or let their second lives play out?
posted by jason_steakums at 7:07 PM on February 2




There's another ethical dilemma lurking further down the rabbit hole of big cosmological questions - if we come to the point where it's acknowledged that humans can improve in the afterlife and there should be no Bad Place, should life and afterlife even be separate things in the first place?
posted by jason_steakums at 7:12 PM on February 2 [6 favorites]


I've read all of your comments and you are all so clever and wonderful and I agree with almost everything.

The only reason I don't think it's a simulation was because of the judge's reluctance to do this stunt. Her attitude was one of "i know we can do it but wtf we've never done that!"
posted by numaner at 8:01 PM on February 2 [4 favorites]


That would indicate far more interference made by the... whatever we're calling them--in the living world than we have seen. Michael found the four perfect people to torture one another, and they all died on (or near) the same day? He would have had to orchestrate that somehow.

Nah. I mean, you could be right about that, but it's by no means guaranteed.

- I sincerely believe Michael is as surprised by this as anybody.

I don't think he's a ringer sent to cause change because that would make a higher power the catalyst for change in this scenario, and that seems contrary to the moral philosophy of the show: good is not really imposed from above, but brought out by each other. If Michael really meant to make Team Cockroach good, it undercuts the idea that they gave redemption to themselves.

Ergo... Michael didn't find the four perfect people to torture each other, he just found some people who looked like they'd bother each other on paper, and he was wrong in the end. No massive intervention needed, he'd just need to sift through whatever bin of damned souls he was allowed to work with.

(This is the idea I have that I'm most certain of, because the only way for the system to change is if there's nothing really special about these four people. If they're an unusual case, Gen's system can continue with the odd litigation. For real change to happen, most people have to be like Eleanor, and have the capacity to change given half a chance.)

- Judging people is easy, which implies it is fast.

Everything about the afterlife here is driven by an efficient, complacent bureaucracy. Mindy St. Clair's situation confirms this: them actually talking over what happens to someone is unusual. It's possible they sort people based on the nature and severity of their sins, but even just waiting for criteria like 'we need 100 tax cheats who hated clowns,' their various neighborhoods would still fill up pretty quickly. (150K+ people die per day, based on a cursory googling. I don't think anybody needs to wait too long to be sorted into a close enough cohort for shared ironic punishment.)

I'd bet a shiny nickel they died the same day.

- There's no way they're on Earth.

I could be wrong about this one, but I'll do the Metafilter 'eat my hat' gag. Demonic powers are fairly limited even in the afterlife - they rely on Janets for most of their big feats. I doubt they could do much even if they are able to go to the mortal plane.

Given my starting assumptions, what I'm saying is fairly reasonable. If I'm wrong about any part of it, you could be right instead though. :)
posted by mordax at 8:02 PM on February 2 [6 favorites]


- I sincerely believe Michael is as surprised by this as anybody.

I'd bet a shiny nickel they died the same day.


But Michael pitched his "Good Place" neighborhood pilot program to Shawn and Co as starting out with just four specific humans perfectly suited to torture each other. He even made a little chart of how those specific four people would interact! So if they did die on the same day, some entity in the know must have had a hand in that.
posted by tzikeh at 8:10 PM on February 2 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna vote for simulation - the accent seems to me to be the giveaway, but also, it'd just break the cosmology in a way that they'd have to do a lot of justifying if they can bring people back to life. (Also, you think demons wouldn't be able to play Eleanor's "friends" to perfection?)

My theory, which was either wrong or just ahead of its time, was that they were gonna put Team Cockroach in charge of another "Good Place" setup to prove the replicability of the concept - I'm not sad they didn't go there yet, but I am still willing to bet they'll go there.
posted by restless_nomad at 8:35 PM on February 2 [4 favorites]


A writer for Vox ran a poll on her twitter as to whether the ending is "back to the moment of death on Earth" or "yet another simulation," and the results were split. She wrote an article listing the main the reasons, as she sees them, that each of these is or isn't the case (this part of the article starts after her thoughts on the finale itself).
posted by tzikeh at 10:13 PM on February 2 [2 favorites]


I think the best evidence against simulation is numaner's point about the way the judge phrases her resistance; I think the best evidence for simulation is actually the pun-based bar name. Dramatically, I'm not sure if matters either way - if it's a simulation, we're supposed believe it's a totally realistic one from the POV of our characters, and we don't have much investment in the actual narrative arc of any other earthly characters (ok, maybe Pillboi), so it's not clear why we need to care whether the stuff on earth is "really" happening. (Were those "really" Tahani's parents during the test?)

I enjoy this debate though, because this is what this show has set up: little glitches like Chidi's accent could either be normal sitcom handwavey stuff, or they could be tiny deliberate clues, and we just won't know until we know.
posted by yarrow at 6:17 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Just a thought but I don't think time works the way we think it works in relation to team Cockroaches deaths and also how long reboots take.

Elenor doesn't seem to have known of Tahani before meetig her in 'The Good Place' (my memory is fuzzy I might be wrong), but considering Eleanor's interests in life, Tahani seems like exactly the kind of person who would be in the 'celebrity gossip' part of Elanor's interests.

During Elenors 'improvement phase montage' we do see her reading a Celrbrity Baby magazine which I think is a send up of National Enquirer / US Weekly style magazines.
posted by Faintdreams at 7:16 AM on February 3


normal sitcom handwavey stuff

If there's one thing I'm sure about with this show, normal sitcom handwavey stuff is always a signal that something more is going on.
posted by nonasuch at 7:42 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


I don't 100% agree with her, but Lili Loofbourow at The Week has some interesting thoughts.
posted by gudrun at 8:36 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Once people die, their souls could easily float unaware until the time of judgement...in a bureaucracy you would expect that kind of delay, in fact! So the exact time of everyone's death doesn't matter. The afterlife is eternal.
posted by emjaybee at 8:46 AM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Eleanor, Tahani and Chidi all have these big sudden deaths that, when narrowly averted, would look like a sign from the universe that life is too short and they need to change their ways. Jason, though, has probably had dozens of stupid misadventures turn almost deadly without the near misses sticking and causing introspection. Out of all of them he seems like he's had the most selfless change in the afterlife, because he just seems to want to go along with the people around him because he cares about them, so he's there for the journey of self improvement 100% but he wouldn't have taken the first step unprompted if the people around him were all various shades of Pillboi instead of Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi and Janet. I fear there won't be a catalyst for change for him in his second life unless the other earthbound humans enter his life serendipitously, or unless Janet does some heavy manipulating beyond what Michael did for Eleanor.
posted by jason_steakums at 9:29 AM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Also - i don't believe they're on earth. I think they are on their own little microcosm world where they are tallying points as IF they were still on earth to test Michael's theory.

There’s a lot of merit in that theory. For me, it comes down to whether demons (like Michael) can actually cross over into the real world, as he apparently did to be in the bar.
posted by Thorzdad at 10:28 AM on February 3


I wonder if there's some reason offices seem trapped in the design and technology of the 1930s?
posted by drezdn at 10:35 AM on February 3


But Michael pitched his "Good Place" neighborhood pilot program to Shawn and Co as starting out with just four specific humans perfectly suited to torture each other. He even made a little chart of how those specific four people would interact!

Right, except the entire premise of the show is that he was wrong about that. They're not perfectly suited to torture each other - they became family. Michael's understanding of the situation was only superficially correct.

Anyway, don't mean to argue or anything. I just don't think it'd be that hard to find:
- A smart but indecisive person.
- An egomaniac.
- A dumbass.
- A selfish jerkass.

All in the same bin of, say, 150K dead people. For what it's worth, my SO and her crowd are mostly Chidi-rific. I used to skew Tahani-ward, (though I certainly always sounded more like Chidi). Half my high school buddies were and remain Jasons, some very nearly as dumb, which is how we're not in touch anymore. All my worst dating experiences were with Eleanors, one of whom even turned good later in a manner I suspect the show would approve of. (We remain friends now.)

Basically, each member of Team Cockroach is a particularly over-the-top specimen of types of people I have known many times over. I could get you a similarly 'perfect' mix of human foibles just killing off any given high school reunion I've been invited to.

And again, don't mean to be difficult - I'm just pressing the idea that these guys are basically just normal people. I don't think there's anything special about them, beyond 'Michael chose to grab up some people with opposing but commonly extant personality traits.'
posted by mordax at 11:47 AM on February 3 [7 favorites]


How Mike Schur and Damon Lindelof’s Unlikely Bromance Shaped The Good Place
- By Josef Adalian, Vulture

tl;dr - They've been in touch during the development of the show.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:46 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


[Warning: Political Content]

The Very Good Memes Of ‘The Good Place’ - Claire Fallon, Huffington Post
The sitcom’s endlessly quotable catchphrases give us a language to talk about our political reality. We’re literally in hell, but at least we can say it with a smile.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:49 PM on February 3


Elenor doesn't seem to have known of Tahani before meetig her in 'The Good Place' (my memory is fuzzy I might be wrong), but considering Eleanor's interests in life, Tahani seems like exactly the kind of person who would be in the 'celebrity gossip' part of Elanor's interests.

Yeah, but there's a class element to one's choice of celebrity gossip poison. Eleanor is shown engaging with the drink-throwing, body-shaming TMZ/Bravo/tabloid sources of gossip. Tahani is more of a Vanity Fair/Town & Country/GOOP person. (A previous flashback of Eleanor's death featured Tahani as the cover girl for "International Sophisticate" magazine, which did not appear to tempt Eleanor a bit.)
posted by grandiloquiet at 1:46 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


The magazine Eleanor was reading was IDed in an earlier episode as Celebrity Baby Plastic Surgery Disasters, which probably isn’t really Tahani’s scene, yeah.
posted by Itaxpica at 3:26 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Oh how I cried when Michael started saying that he had a friend who talked about the little voice. He loves her, even if he might not phrase it that way.

Something I realized when seeing this comment: Chidi wasn't Michael's teacher for how to be good; Eleanor was. When he saw how she had changed, and how she had committed to being better, knowing who she had been, he actually believed it was possible for him to do it.

It's just so brilliant that we've watched Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani basically train for 2 seasons (not as continuous characters, but just with the arc of the show) and then reveal Gen as a moral Boss Monster.

This show!
posted by dry white toast at 3:49 PM on February 3 [11 favorites]


“...a bunch of misfits and fuckups became (somewhat) better people together...”
I find it especially Good Place appropriate that I first mis-read this as “fismits and muckups”.
posted by D.Billy at 4:12 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


Heaven is "moral dessert"

If that's the premise of the show mostly steers clear of talking about specific religions, but the idea that it's not enough to do good things because you think there's a reward at the end seems like an subtle smackdown of christianity or any other religion that is built around the premise of heaven as a reward.

By the same token, though, on the surface that seems to be the show's entire premise: rewarding people who do good things, and punishing people who do bad things. So is the show now telling us that it's about what type of person you are? In that case, is the premise that "you are what you do"?

This all reminds me of the This American Life episode "Heretics", which is about a pastor in Texas who abandoned the concept of Hell, and what happened as a result. The story has been made into a Netflix move
posted by dry white toast at 4:43 PM on February 3 [3 favorites]


I find it especially Good Place appropriate that I first mis-read this as “fismits and muckups”.

Pobody's Nerfect?
posted by mochapickle at 4:48 PM on February 3 [23 favorites]


I also heard "diagonal word belt," and feel it is a more authentic drunk Eleanor explanation of "sash" than "diagonal award belt."

I love that being good is a drag for Eleanor and Michael came down to give her an extra shove.

I am dying to see how everyone else is doing, so I hope we stick with this experiment long enough to see at least a little of that. Similarly, I am a little sad we don't get to see their individual medium places. Jason gets football, but only non-Jaguars games. Chidi gets a bunch of self help books instead of actual philosophy. I will have to think more on how Tahani and Eleanor's places are medium.
posted by the primroses were over at 4:50 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]


I feel like this show is inevitably barreling towards a scene where our heroes have to tell whatever passes for God that Their whole system is hot garbage that needs to be torn down, and not in a controversy-seeking sneering crass way but in a very emotionally and logically real and well earned natural story progression, and it is so crazy that I'm expecting this from a network sitcom.
posted by jason_steakums at 5:48 PM on February 3 [23 favorites]


I just realized that shopping carts can also be called shopping trollies.
posted by thedward at 6:57 PM on February 3 [52 favorites]


I can't even conceive of how it would work to be judged as something other than an individual?

conceive of it? suffering for the sins of others, and being rewarded for the sacrifices of others, on a group-membership basis, is _the_ foundational principle of standard morality inasmuch as any such thing exists in nominally secular but heavily Christian-dominated American society. and grace, right? whose whole deal is it can't be earned by individual effort or by faith or anything at all, it's a gift and to think that you earned it through individual merit is to demonstrate that you don't deserve it, whether or not you have it.

anyway the bible is just packed full of examples of individual fates depending on the will or the performance or the average virtue of the group. the flood; sodom and gomorrah. once a city or a society reaches a certain point of vileness, god is not bothered to judge individual by individual; he has to be bargained down to conceding that one righteous man should not be killed just because he lives in a town where everyone else deserves to die. but it's not his first instinct to think that way, it's humans who have to argue that individuals deserve individual inspection and consideration regardless of the fact they all fade into an indeterminate mass viewed from far enough above. bette midler sang a scary song about this, for heck's sake!

and are you not your brother's keeper? the reason that is the standout line from that portion of the bible is that even if he hadn't killed his brother, it would still not be acceptable to God to say, I don't know what HIS deal is or where he has gotten to or gotten himself into, but I, personally, did nothing wrong, and therefore cannot be at fault. because even if true, you are responsible for your brother as well as yourself. same deal with the prodigal son, whose brother did not see why doing everything right on his own shouldn't be enough to make him both good and rewarded. but their father was not happy until everyone was good, and nothing one individual good child could do on his own would improve his standing in the eyes of his judges, because he was not judged as an individual.

an unyielding devotion to this morality is behind is the entire concept and theory of mandatory team sports with winning and losing teams, rather than individuals, in elementary school. there are adult-imposed kid games where everyone turns on the weaker players in agonized rage at being held back through no failure of their own, and there are ones where everyone joins together to "teach" the weaker players something they may or may not want to know or to do, but have to struggle through anyway for the good of the group.

these are all pretty terrible. being judged as an individual instead of on your friends, your family, your luck, or your likeability is not the traditional assumption; it is the dream. The human dream: the place where human dreams traditionally diverge from god's(s') ideas about what's right, because it is being mortal and powerless that gives rise to hopeless dreams.

and since The Good Place is a godless universe so far, I suppose it is fair to put god's ideas in human heads since where else are they going to go. but this is not an exciting new idea and it's not a good idea either. it is traditional as hell. it's just fine for these four idiots since they like each other and they thought of it, but it is not a fine system for the universe overall.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:55 PM on February 3 [10 favorites]


the prodigal son, whose brother did not see why doing everything right on his own shouldn't be enough to make him both good and rewarded. but their father was not happy until everyone was good, and nothing one individual good child could do on his own would improve his standing in the eyes of his judges, because he was not judged as an individual.

The dutiful brother is good in the eyes of his father, and he is rewarded. "You were always with me, and everything I have is yours." The father was never displeased with the dutiful son, and his standing never falters. The dutiful son is upset because his prodigal brother is also rewarded, instead of being punished.

Which actually does go to an interesting point, to play Michael's advocate. I think we viewers are in agreement that the +/-, heaven/hell system they've got going is obviously flawed.

But it's not clear to me that blowing up the system and replacing it with an endless do-over, the-rules-are-made-up-and-the-points-don't-matter system is an improvement. Think all the way back to the beginning, Michael's little TED-talk intro the neighborhood. "We were watching." Everything you did, mattered. That is, your life had meaning, because of the effect of your actions on the rest of the universe.

If all life is your first go at the videogame, and you then spend eternity rerunning the same level over an over an over again till you get it right, then nothing you do matters. Crash the MarioKart, run a motherfucker off Rainbow Road, fire blue shells till your fingers bleed, you get to do it all over again. You'll get your speedrun in one of these days, it's inevitable, given enough attempts.

And that's exactly the frustration of the dutiful son: Does it really in the end not matter that I followed the rules, sacrificed my own desires to help others, did my best? This lazy mofo can half ass it the whole time and then roll up like "sorry bruh, my bad" and get the exact same thing that's coming to me? If whether you choose good over evil in this world does not affect your fate in the next, then what is the difference between them?

An afterlife with no medium place has no mercy, one with no bad place no justice...
posted by Diablevert at 9:53 PM on February 3 [4 favorites]



The dutiful brother is good in the eyes of his father, and he is rewarded. "You were always with me, and everything I have is yours." The father was never displeased with the dutiful son, and his standing never falters. The dutiful son is upset because his prodigal brother is also rewarded, instead of being punished.


no -- or yes, that's what he feels able to say for the record. but to the extent that it's a parable or an illustration of the larger human family and the father is God, or even if it's not, it doesn't matter if the dutiful son is good and his goodness is recognized if he still has to live in an unhappy house in an unhappy family all the time until his brother comes home in his own good time. which he does have to do, because even if he feels pretty good about himself and is not displeasing, his dad is always moping in his heart about his missing boy. there is no completeness until all are saved. all his goodness and effort can't make his dumb dad happy on its own, and that feels like a failure, and that feels unfair. that is itself a punishment: that you can be good every day of the week and twice on sundays but you can't make your parents/God happy if they are sighing to themselves about your fuckup siblings in a tiny corner of their hearts, all the time. and they always are.

they can say he has done well and will be rewarded, but all the while he is being punished, and his father is being punished, until the brother comes home. and there is absolutely nothing he can do about that except maybe go hunt down his brother and drag him back home, and that wouldn't work anyway. his happiness depends on the happiness of his judge, when love is involved, and no one individual can make fully happy a judge who loves more than one child/creature/minion.

which is why Eleanor wouldn't take the fake deal and go to heaven without the other two idiots, even if it was a real deal, which it could even have been, because heaven isn't heaven without your idiot friends. everybody is hostage to everybody else, love is a prison, etc.

I am an atheist generally opposed to christian morality and always have been, and I see in TGP an insistent and continual push towards it, which I can't believe is intentional or they would concede is there. I think they think they're not doing that. but the characters are striving against a rules-based universe that doesn't want to make exceptions just because some people have charisma and make you soft-hearted. and the one thing that does appeal to me very much about Christian morality and the parts of Judaism that it stole and copied, is the extreme personality of God. much less so with Jesus than with Original God, but even he's still got a little bit of person in there. and people play favorites and they make special exceptions just because. all gods who are persons have pet humans and double standards and jacob have I loved, I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and so on.

and that is what michael is evolving towards and trying to encourage in other Powers. all these arguments about how these humans prove things about all humans, but the truth is mainly he likes these particular ones. even within the group of four he likes Eleanor best by a mile.
posted by queenofbithynia at 10:21 PM on February 3 [2 favorites]


But it's not clear to me that blowing up the system and replacing it with an endless do-over, the-rules-are-made-up-and-the-points-don't-matter system is an improvement. Think all the way back to the beginning, Michael's little TED-talk intro the neighborhood . "We were watching." Everything you did, mattered. That is, your life had meaning, because of the effect of your actions on the rest of the universe.

If all life is your first go at the videogame, and you then spend eternity rerunning the same level over an over an over again till you get it right, then nothing you do matters.


Buuut, it's such a privilege to even be able to think of life in terms of mattering when so many people get nothing but suffering and death through no fault of their own on Earth. It's crazy that a whole lot of people will have to endure a horror show in life to then find out that eternal life in this other level of reality where there is no suffering is an option that could be available to everyone but is withheld. I'm on Team Tear Down the Walls of Heaven, if the option to make a just universe is there, people should be born into The Good Place on the first go round and Michael and Janet and Team Cockroach can help people get better if they screw up in Heaven as they would on Earth, with Mindy arguing their cases in front of Gen.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:21 PM on February 3 [1 favorite]


Also thinking about tearing down the walls of heaven in a Michael Schur show with Kristen Bell makes me dread that The Good Place may turn out to be goddamn Eagleton.
posted by jason_steakums at 10:30 PM on February 3 [8 favorites]


... And it just dawned on me that Bell’s Eagleton councilwoman character was kind of a proto-Tahani. Full circle!
posted by mochapickle at 10:38 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


I just want to say that just cause Chidi is working in Australia doesn't mean he's Australian.
posted by bleep at 10:41 PM on February 3


I just want to say that just cause Chidi is working in Australia doesn't mean he's Australian.

We... know that? Not sure if serious -- Chidi tells us he was born in Nigeria, raised in Senegal, and taught at the Sorbonne in France and at St. John's in Australia in S1E1.
posted by tzikeh at 11:10 PM on February 3 [5 favorites]


Mordax: However, I am also convinced it's a simulation for a few reasons:
...
- The constant wake up scenes focusing on Eleanor's eyes in the morning, same as the very first moment of the show. I feel like they're literally winking at us about what's going on with that.


And - let's not forget that the episode was broadcast on February 2nd (Groundhog day).
posted by rongorongo at 12:20 AM on February 4 [11 favorites]


The Good Place is a Masterclass in Meta-Storytelling
I loved this. Also - in the context of talking about "just 13 episodes per series" - noted for its animated GIF of Tahani talking about a (bizarrely un-funny) TV show "This is great, it ran for 16 years on the BBC, it did nearly 16 episodes". This fictional example is only slightly worse than, say Fawlty Towers: 5 years, 12 episodes.
posted by rongorongo at 12:50 AM on February 4 [2 favorites]


queenofbithynia, I should have explicitly asked my question as -- what if there's a better unit-to-be-judged-for-afterlife-assessment-purposes than the individual while still being fair as we understand it? I appreciate you laying out a bunch of precedent for how incredibly unfair it's been, historically, to be judged in groups.

(I find myself thinking weakly "um some kind of magical affirmative action that judges your actions & motivations but gives you different scores based on the conditions under which you are operating???" with a lot of handwaving.)

(Also the Bette Midler song is "From A Distance", right?)

I brought this up with my spouse who said maybe the issue is having a static one-time decision rather than something dynamic. Huh. In educational theory they talk about summative assessments versus formative assessments. The point of a formative assessment is diagnostic, to help the learner course-correct and help the teacher figure out which approaches are working and which aren't. The point of a summative assessment is to see whether a course has worked, evaluate whether a student has learned (measure mastery), and evaluate whether a teacher has effectively taught. I'm rolling this around in my head and thinking: what if they decide to restructure the relationship between Earth and the afterlife to include a lot more formative assessment (and associated interventions) along the way to the ultimate summative assessment?
posted by brainwane at 5:09 AM on February 4 [1 favorite]


And - let's not forget that the episode was broadcast on February 2nd (Groundhog day).

While I like this idea, it was actually broadcast Thursday, February 1st, although it was available on streaming platforms (Hulu and NBC.com in the US, Netflix internationally) on the 2nd.
posted by paisley sheep at 8:49 AM on February 4 [5 favorites]


And that's exactly the frustration of the dutiful son: Does it really in the end not matter that I followed the rules, sacrificed my own desires to help others, did my best? This lazy mofo can half ass it the whole time and then roll up like "sorry bruh, my bad" and get the exact same thing that's coming to me? If whether you choose good over evil in this world does not affect your fate in the next, then what is the difference between them?

Because truly becoming good means seeing and knowing that doing good is genuinely worth doing for it's own sake. Being good means being the sort of person who wants to do good things.

It's not about fair and unfair. It's about what you are.
posted by straight at 9:19 PM on February 4 [4 favorites]


One of the things I've loved about this show is that all throughout the writers seem to be catching so many of the "but, what about...?" questions and heading them off at the pass. For instance listing "Convince Michael that he's the one being tortured" as just one of their crazy failed previous plans.

But the big one that seems unaddressed so far is that the Judge seems totally uninterested in the fact that a demon is there advocating for humans to not be sent to The Bad Place. The Judge seems to still be operating under the rules of weighing Good Deeds vs. Bad Deeds. But converting a demon into a compassionate person seems like it would be off the charts in the good points scale.
posted by straight at 9:24 PM on February 4 [16 favorites]


I feel as though it's a simulation, but if so unlike the fake good place simulation where the entire world is a set and everyone is played by demons. More like, whenever we get back from whatever this is, everyone will have been sitting in the judges's chamber the entire time (for whatever time means there), where they were running the simulations in their minds.

This complicates things when Eleanor and Chidi meet - is Eleanor meeting an imagined, simulated Chidi? Or can Gen somehow mix their mental simulations together? Will Jason and Tahini somehow be brought together to get them on their respective right tracks?
posted by mikepop at 5:31 AM on February 5 [1 favorite]


I think Tahani's Medium Place is a party where no one has ever heard of Kamilah - but they've never heard of Tahani either, or any of the names she drops.
posted by tomboko at 6:46 AM on February 5 [23 favorites]


such_heights on Dreamwidth writes about this episode and briefly explains deontological, consequentialist, and virtue ethics, then uses the Aristotelian model of virtue ethics to briefly discuss how the different humans balance and complement each other.
posted by brainwane at 7:09 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


I fear there won't be a catalyst for change for him in his second life unless the other earthbound humans enter his life serendipitously, or unless Janet does some heavy manipulating beyond what Michael did for Eleanor.

I think Janet will be waiting inside his suffocation safe to secretly push him in the right direction (and then probably in the next five safe-like things he almost suffocates himself in, too).
posted by nobody at 8:35 AM on February 5 [2 favorites]


Jason very clearly called shotgun, so I'm guessing he'll try to rob the store with a shotgun instead of climbing into a safe to begin with. But before he even robs the store, there's a flash of silver hair and...
posted by mochapickle at 9:45 AM on February 5


“My fear of having gas in front of Kristen Bell is my overriding fear of the entire series,” Jamil confessed on our Uber ride over. “Seriously, there’s something wrong with the food in this country. I now avoid food on set because otherwise it’s just like I’m a walking grenade.”

Jamil’s whole deal — the self-deprecating potty-mouth beauty who talks liberally about farting and sex — has shades of the J.Law–style Cool Girl model of Hollywood relatability. But for Jamil, it seems less like an effort to appear down-to-earth than a well-worn suit of armor, one forged long before she could expect to be cast as the “hot girl” on TV. “I think it’s better to establish yourself early, especially as a woman, as someone who has an opinion, because I think they’re less likely to fuck with you if you’re the kind of person who blurts things out. In England I was kind of a live wire, so people knew not to fuck with me.”


- from Jameela Jamil Has Found Her Good Place: The British TV presenter turned American sitcom star embraces life as a loose cannon
posted by roger ackroyd at 2:13 PM on February 5 [10 favorites]


YOU GUYS OMG
posted by cooker girl at 10:58 AM on February 6


I made a post on the front page re: The Good Place
posted by the man of twists and turns at 10:59 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


I know this is an oversimplification, but take a look at our Core Four at the start:

Jason lacking a brain
Tahani lacking a heart
Chidi lacking courage
and Eleanor lacking a home (even though she'd never admit to it in most of S1, and then again wouldn't for most of S2)

Plus, The Wizard turns out to be a fraud, and he doesn't actually know how to grant their wishes after all.

(This moment in "Somewhere Else" was what made me think of it.)
posted by tzikeh at 12:25 PM on February 6 [26 favorites]


wait this was the last episode until wHEN?
posted by poffin boffin at 12:43 PM on February 6


September or October, we're told, though I can't find a hard confirmation.

We do know that the writers only very recently started breaking S3.
posted by tzikeh at 12:54 PM on February 6


re: Chidi's accent -- hey, give us multilingual thirdworlders some credit. it's not totally unheard of to have us speak our various languages with 'native' 'standard' accents. i used to grow up with british-accented english speakers, now with satellite tv i've got cousins etc speaking with pitch perfect disney american accents.
posted by cendawanita at 12:55 PM on February 6 [10 favorites]


ANGRY HISS
posted by poffin boffin at 12:56 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


I think it's possible that even if you start becoming a good person for a reward, it can stick

I feel like I vaguely remember something about Aristotelian virtue ethics where it's not considered "as good" to do good things for the wrong motivations -- the really virtuous person does good things because they want to -- but that a more transactional do-goodism does serve a purpose in moral education and can eventually lead to the cultivation of the correct motivation. Am I mangling this?
posted by en forme de poire at 1:46 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Nice season 2 review from Michael Walsh at The Nerdist: The Good Place Offers Hope for Good People In A Terrible World.
posted by ZeusHumms at 5:04 PM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I just realized that the first line and the last line of this season are the same: Michael saying "OK. Here we go."
posted by JDHarper at 5:58 PM on February 7 [12 favorites]


I know this is an oversimplification, but take a look at our Core Four at the start:

Jason lacking a brain
Tahani lacking a heart
Chidi lacking courage
and Eleanor lacking a home (even though she'd never admit to it in most of S1, and then again wouldn't for most of S2)

Plus, The Wizard turns out to be a fraud, and he doesn't actually know how to grant their wishes after all.

tzikeh: I thought the same thing after ep.12 when they were going to get to the good place via hot air balloon. Which people might remember was how Ben said he arrived on the island in Lost, even using Dorothy's last name. I don't think that was an accident; for some time now I've been convinced this is a retelling of The Wizard of Oz.
posted by nushustu at 8:28 AM on February 8 [10 favorites]


Buuut, it's such a privilege to even be able to think of life in terms of mattering when so many people get nothing but suffering and death through no fault of their own on Earth

Well -- and to be clear, this is description, not advocacy --- under the point system every life matters. Every choice matters. Having a fucking sandwich is literally making a difference. Suffering in life does not obliterate mattering, suffering is orthogonal. A life lived in the most privileged circumstances and in the most deprived matter equally, because what gets you points is the choices you make and why you make them. How much you suffered during that life is irrelevant. If there's one thing that's definitive about the TGP world, it's that it believes in free will.

At least, so far; it may be that in Season 3 we'll get more reflection on how our circumstances constrain our choices.
posted by Diablevert at 4:18 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]


I assume they will throw out this premise within the first 3 episodes -- so what will come next? Or will Schur fuck with our expectations and not toss out plot as if it's going out of style this time?
posted by jeather at 4:33 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]


It's entirely possible that the first two seasons were just a set-up for season three. Imagine watching our heroes dealing with their ordinary lives given what we know about them (with remarkable intimacy, for a situation comedy). The big question is how we get them all together in the same place.
posted by Grangousier at 5:59 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]


I was unable to watch the season finale until just now and AAAARRGGGHHHHH. So much to mull over. So many great comments and observations here. I loved the episode, but I do have one, minor complaint. One of the things I have enjoyed most about the show is the stellar production design. Whether we were in the Good Place or Bad Place the sets, costumes, props -- all of it was so inspired! Truly the Land of Oz vs Boring B/W Kansas. And now that we're in "Kansas" the show isn't as visually exciting. Though they have thrown us a few scraps, the Baby Plastic Surgery Magazine for example. But anyway, who am I kidding! I FORKING LOVE THIS SHOW and I would follow Michael Shur into hell and back without pause.
posted by pjsky at 5:27 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I assume they will throw out this premise within the first 3 episodes

Yeah, I won't be surprised if S3E1 has our cast in old-age makeup, dying of old age, having lived their entire lives between seasons.

It's entirely possible that the first two seasons were just a set-up for season three.


Right now this actually sounds like the even crazier option, and therefore, maybe more likely.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 8:11 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I wonder if Michael has a counterpart in The Good Place that has grown equally close with a group of humans, and is feeling equally disillusioned about the fairness of the whole heaven vs. hell thing.

Michael's character is starting to remind me a bit of Crowley from Good Omens. I wouldn't complain at all if the show started to go in that direction.
posted by schmod at 5:07 PM on February 11 [3 favorites]


I just began re-watching the series, and in "The Good Place Day 1 Orientation" scene, where there are plus and minus point values for different actions?

"Overstate personal connection to tragedy that has nothing to do with you."

And then her friends in the season two finale, with the dentist on the same block as a place that burned down or something, not that she had an appointment that day?

Who sat down and thought "let's follow up on this joke we made 25 episodes ago"??? I love this show!
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 6:36 PM on February 15 [25 favorites]


I don't think it's spoiling anything (beyond what trailers have already spoiled) to say that it would 100% make sense to have a TV interview about, like, authority, violence, and legitimate succession with Professor Chidi Anagonye as a scene in Black Panther.
posted by brainwane at 1:07 PM on February 16 [4 favorites]


The official twitter of The Good Place says diagonal word belt.
posted by ckape at 9:04 AM on February 17 [2 favorites]


Yeah, I won't be surprised if S3E1 has our cast in old-age makeup, dying of old age, having lived their entire lives between seasons.

I... I just don't see Jason Mendoza surviving to old age.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:22 PM on February 19 [21 favorites]


I just saw an article about Mike Schur producing a new sitcom set in a bar (starring Natalie Morales, whose work I will always check out because The Middleman was taken away too soon, damn it), and of course he is, because how do you not want to do that after you get the chance to put Ted Danson behind the bar again?
posted by jason_steakums at 6:24 PM on February 23 [9 favorites]


I just saw an article about Mike Schur producing a new sitcom set in a bar

I was just wondering how Mike Schur has the time to create yet another show, and worrying this would lead to a decline in quality of The Good Place, and then I thought about his oeuvre (which is all about workplaces) - and the fact that a friend in the comedy world told me he has a reputation for running nice, healthy writers' rooms - and I realized he probably is really great at cultivating talented people to replace him and that makes me really happy.
posted by lunasol at 5:19 PM on February 24 [3 favorites]


I was re-watching Season 1, Episode 10. Near the end of the episode, after Janet and Jason got married, Eleanor tells "Real" Eleanor, "Oh man, you are a good person. I swear if I had known you and Tahani and Chidi on Earth I might have for real gotten into the Good Place."

This show!
posted by JDHarper at 1:03 PM on February 25 [15 favorites]




An 18 minute audio interview with Manny Jacinto on Canadian radio. It's pretty good, focuses largely on the portrayal of Asian men in the media.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 7:58 AM on March 13 [2 favorites]


On the NPR game show Ask Me Another, "William Jackson Harper: Getting To The Good Place" - a bit of an interview, and an ethics quiz.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:36 PM on March 18 [2 favorites]


Also, I wonder if they'll have a musical episode some day.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:37 PM on March 18


omg, just recognized D'Arcy Carden (Janet) in 'Broad City' in a recurring role - she looks totally different but another awesome character by her.
posted by porpoise at 10:53 PM on April 22 [1 favorite]


according to the stars' instagrams, they started filming season 3 last week!
posted by numaner at 10:22 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


I want it now!
</veruca>
posted by Tabitha Someday at 11:24 AM on April 23 [3 favorites]


D'Arcy Carden also had a totally charming interview with Sam Sanders last week on It's Been a Minute.
posted by ChuraChura at 12:47 PM on April 23 [3 favorites]




An interesting note from the Official Podcast (this week, with Kristen Bell): Her contract stipulates that the network can only order up to 16 episodes of the series each season.
posted by Etrigan at 6:41 AM on June 29 [6 favorites]


that's an odd clause, but it probably has to do with her wanting to spend more time with family.
posted by numaner at 10:34 AM on June 29


Just finished watching the season on Hulu. Love this show because it can go anywhere... I was thinking they’d expand on the Jean Paul Sartre “hell is other people” concept and make hell filled with versions of themselves.

Other thoughts
- Ted Danson is sublime
- re: cursing: since Eleanor loves to curse, of course “the good place” (hell) wouldn’t let her swear... therefore the real bad place shouldn’t let her swear either!
- this whole thing is a karmic allegory... surprisingly the only religion they refer regularly to is Buddhism (jyaniu). Life after life they don’t remember (Eleanor waking up every morning) and yet are slowly making better decisions.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 9:54 AM on June 30


that's an odd clause, but it probably has to do with her wanting to spend more time with family.

It was part of a discussion about why each season is only 13 episodes, and her feeling is that the last several episodes of a "regular" 22-episode season are pretty much always coasting until the finale. She seems really invested in Schur's vision for the show and will stab any forker who tries to make it into a standard-issue sitcom.
posted by Etrigan at 11:21 AM on June 30 [8 favorites]


An interesting note from the Official Podcast (this week, with Kristen Bell)

I haven't listened to this episode yet, but the podcast is really good. Marc Evan Jackson hosts and the guests are a nice mix of actors, writers, and other departments (casting, set design). It also feels like real people having a conversation instead of celebrities plugging a show or an over-produced NPR show.
posted by Gary at 3:26 PM on June 30 [2 favorites]


Went to a local sci-fi/genre convention this weekend, attended a panel on The Good Place. One highlight was the panelists taking serious questions from "Good Janet" and "Bad Janet", who were cosplaying together.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:48 AM on July 10 [10 favorites]


Two Emmy nominations. One for Ted Danson, one for Maya Rudolph.

What. In the actual. Fork.
posted by Etrigan at 11:57 AM on July 12 [7 favorites]


Yeah it’s the emmys, completely orthogonal to quality. If the show were to make it five seasons and then precipitously drop in quality, then it would start to rake in the nominations.
posted by skewed at 12:23 PM on July 12 [2 favorites]


they need to get down to BBT level of quality to be nominated as a sitcom
posted by numaner at 2:31 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Or NBC needs to devote resources to nominating The Good Place and its people.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:16 AM on July 13


Today's episode of the Good Place Podcast (Chapter 7) featured Megan Amram, but host Marc Evan Jackson did not talk about her food puns at all. So disappointing! (I mean, it's a fine episode otherwise, she and D'Arcy Carden have plenty of other things to talk about, but, I listened to the whole episode eagerly waiting for them to get around to discussing her incredible niche talent for naming Good Place eateries, and no joy. Hopefully they'll have her back for their S2 E3 "Dance Dance Resolution" episode, to discuss some of these puns.)
posted by oh yeah! at 3:39 PM on July 13 [2 favorites]


The Good Place has a presence at San Diego Comic-Con, and there's some news, and some gag reels. There's a post on the blue with more details.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:50 PM on July 21 [3 favorites]


Good Place Season 2 will be up on Netflix on August 28th
posted by oh yeah! at 6:36 PM on July 25 [5 favorites]


Wired did an article about the podcast, and they unveil the new plan to go live with episodes the day after the show for the next season.

Great article, Marc Evan Jackson's warmth for the show and delight at getting to be part of it is such a highlight of my commute. Still waiting on that Gagliardi appearance on the show, though. (And also Josh Malina and Paget Brewster and Paul F Tompkins and and and...)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 11:52 PM on July 27 [3 favorites]


The podcast pun discussion omission has been rectified! - AV Club - clip of Jameela Jamil confronting The Good Place's Megan Amram about her food-pun addiction
posted by oh yeah! at 3:07 PM on August 17 [3 favorites]










Watch the first three minutes of Season Three.

NBC has been billing that as a "sneak peek," but honestly, it doesn't seem tight enough to be the first three minutes of an actual Good Place episode. I wonder if it is stuff that got cut from 2x13? (As we learned from the podcast, each TGP episode has a first cut of 28-30 minutes, which then gets cut down to 21:30 for broadcast.)
posted by jcreigh at 7:14 PM on September 15 [2 favorites]


It definitely seems like something they put together specifically as a teaser, rather than something from the narrative.
posted by Etrigan at 7:48 PM on September 15


For others like me who are late to the party and just now finishing up on streaming, who have also been avoiding spoilers like the plague.... an index of The Good Place front page posts you may have missed:
The GREAT Place
On the eve of The Good Place's season 2 premiere, Kristen Bell has released the video of the rest of the gang responding to finding out about the finale. Spoilers in the link/video.

"Who died and left Aristotle in charge of ethics?"
"The Good Place" [spoilers for Season 2] (which has the best acting ensemble on TV), one of the best shows on TV right now and " something uncomfortably appropriate for our apocalyptic era"

Welcome, everything is fine. We’re going to talk about The Good Place.
The Good Posts: Chapter One -Andrew Hickey kicks off a series of posts about the The Good Place, possibly the best show currently on Television, with a discussion of premise and format.

It is 27.41% important.
From the origins of Jake Jortles to the mystery of Chidi's American accent, Mike Schur answers every lingering question about season 2 of “The Good Place.” (Spoilers, yes.)

Very medium. Just straight-up meh.
"The Good Place" season 2 gag reel has been released.
posted by slipthought at 1:58 PM on September 18 [8 favorites]


If you aren't listening to the podcast, you are seriously missing out. Marc Evan Jackson ("I play... Shawn") is killing it as a host -- he has a perfect (ex-NPR as it turns out) voice, and is a legit really good interviewer, asking lots of good questions. He's also clearly a straight-up superfan of the show; in the episode where he's interviewing the guy who wrote the theme, MEJ mentions the key and time signature of the theme, which he knows because he taught himself how to play it on piano.

And the interviews are very interesting -- it's a really good behind-the-scenes look at how TV works since they seem to be going through every single department. It's also a real testament to Mike Schur that every single person seems very nice (there's one episode with an editor and Ted Danson which briefly devolves into a series of questions that are all basically "how are you so awesome?"), everyone talks about how nice everyone else is, and everyone has basically the same description of how they got on the show "My agent said Mike Schur wanted to see if I was interested in doing something and I immediately said yes before I knew anything more".

One of my favourites is the one with Jason Mantzoukas, since I listen to How Did This Get Made and am used to him in a podcast, but he's a little less slimeball riffing and a bit more talking about actorly process, which is just great.

Also, particularly during the second season, they've started taking advantage of having a writing/acting staff hanging around and started adding in fake ads.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 5:08 PM on September 18 [4 favorites]


So I know it's way too early to be speculating about the series finale, but since we've had it confirmed that the Core Four are on Real Earth, and were Really Saved at the moment of what would have been their Real Deaths....

It's conceivable that the last moments of the final episode ever would be Michael - a voice-over? - looking directly into the camera? - I don't know, but somehow whatever Michael says is implying that those of us watching the show who can see/hear him right at that moment, we have just been returned to Earth at the moment of our "first-time" deaths. We've been given a second chance to do it right this time -- be better people than we have been.

Clock is ticking.
posted by tzikeh at 10:55 PM on September 23


Marc Evan Jackson ("I play... Shawn") is killing it as a host

Schur: "So we've been really careful not to say that so-and-so is 'God'."
Jackson: "Except that Shawn is God."
Schur: "No, Marc, we've been over this."
Jackson: "Yes, we've been over how Shawn is God."
Schur: "MARC. NO."
[much later]
Schur: "And of course, then Shawn--"
Jackson: "--who is God."
Schur: [audibly rubs his temples]
posted by Etrigan at 5:42 AM on September 24 [6 favorites]


I'm not saying I'm obsessing over the show's return, but I was in Manhattan this weekend and saw a restaurant named "Rice to Riches" which served only fancy-flavored tapioca puddings and I immediately pictured a whole neighborhood of tapioca restaurants (Rice, Rice Baby, Wouldn't it be Rice, Rice to Meet You, I'd Tapioca That, Starchetype, etc.)
posted by mikepop at 8:51 AM on September 26 [13 favorites]


But the neighborhood foods are supposed to be unappealing!
posted by mosst at 9:47 AM on September 26


I'm not saying I'm obsessing over the show's return, but I was in Manhattan this weekend and saw a restaurant named "Rice to Riches" which served only fancy-flavored tapioca puddings and I immediately pictured a whole neighborhood of tapioca restaurants (Rice, Rice Baby, Wouldn't it be Rice, Rice to Meet You, I'd Tapioca That, Starchetype, etc.)

Arroz by Any Other Name
posted by skewed at 10:04 AM on September 26 [7 favorites]


Paddy's Pub
posted by paper chromatographologist at 10:34 AM on September 26 [1 favorite]


Taaaaaapioca Where the Rice Comes Puddin' Down the Plain
posted by Etrigan at 12:06 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


If you aren't listening to the podcast, you are seriously missing out. Marc Evan Jackson ("I play... Shawn") is killing it as a host -- he has a perfect (ex-NPR as it turns out) voice, and is a legit really good interviewer, asking lots of good questions.

The main effect of me listening to the podcast is that I want more Marc Evan Jackson and now I love Shawn. I am very excited to listen to the podcast when the show is freshly aired.
posted by gladly at 12:32 PM on September 26 [3 favorites]


Anyone wanting more Marc Evan Jackson - if you were not a listener of The Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast previously, go subscribe and download the back catalog. Jackson is the voice of ‘Sparks Nevada, Marshal On Mars’, and is a delight. (I developed such a crush on his voice from that podcast.)
posted by oh yeah! at 2:19 PM on September 26 [4 favorites]


(It cannot be stressed enough how good The Thrilling Adventure Hour can be, particularly "Sparks Nevada" and "Beyond Belief." Still waiting on the Paul F. Tompkins guest casting....)
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 4:43 PM on September 26 [2 favorites]


I'm freaking out homie! Season Three TONIGHT. Don your best bowtie; model tonight's event on the 2008 benefit for the Red Cross in Zurich...No! 2007!; smash a piece of cake where your mouth is; and pour yourself a giant Lonely Gal Margarita. It's TIME. MAXIMUM DERICK.

As an avowed avoider of rewatching TV, I have re-watched seasons 1 & 2 three times this summer.

Anyone got some good predictions? Maybe the team finally catches that magic panda and uses her powers. BORTLES!
posted by missmary6 at 7:09 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Should someone call dibs on starting the S3 premiere thread so we don’t end up with multiples and mod intervention for thread deletions? (Though, we should probably break with tradition and have the thread open pre/at broadcast, seems like it’ll be a live-blog-worthy event.)
posted by oh yeah! at 7:48 AM on September 27


“At broadcast” in which time zone? Unlike a real live event it’s not going to be shown simultaneously across time zones, so it doesn’t lend itself to live-blogging. I’d prefer to have the episode posted after it’s aired.
posted by expialidocious at 8:16 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I really enjoyed the podcast for this episode when they made use of the editing for swearing.

I miss The Thrilling Adventure Hour! I got to see it in person a few times with some mefites, and we try to catch Workjuice events when they come to San Francisco Sketchfest.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:00 PM on September 29


I appreciated the symmetry of Michael having a light bulb moment like he did at the end of Season 1, being cued off a word. In season 1 it was Eleanor talking about the gang "coming together". This time it was the word "push."

Also of note: it was the exact same revelation both times.
posted by tobascodagama at 11:18 AM on October 1 [1 favorite]


Serendipitously - the Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast just announced they’re coming back starting October 20th! They’ll be putting out one episode a month of previously-unreleased old content, and one new episode anthology-style by new writers other than the original creators Acker & Blacker. They’re going to a Patreon model to fund the new shows, and while it sounds like they’re going to offer some decent perks (like all the Sparks Nevada episodes in one collection separate from the other segments), they are going to be putting all but 50 episodes of the show behind the paywall, so, if you were thinking of listening someday to get your Marc Evan Jackson fix, you should get everything downloaded ASAP so you can catch up at your leisure.
posted by oh yeah! at 11:38 AM on October 1 [1 favorite]


the only religion they refer regularly to is Buddhism

Mostly off-topic but one of the things that occurred to me back in season one was that for a committed Buddhist monk, finding yourself in an afterlife of this type really wouldn't change anything. Buddhist cosmology, as I understand it, is pretty clear: there are a variety of lives and places you can be reincarnated in, of varying quality, but in any of them you will eventually die and be re-born again. Life on Earth as a human just happens to be the right balance of not so much misery that you can't spend time on working on enlightenment and not so little misery that you don't notice that existence is terrible and realize that you *should* be working on enlightenment.

Finding yourself in the good place (or the "good" place) seems like actually quite the opportunity - assume you will eventually die and pass from this life, as with all possible lives, but in the meantime lifetimes here appear to be quite long here, *and* you've retained your knowledge of suffering and the importance of gaining enlightenment to break the cycle. That combination puts you in a pretty good position to work on that. So of course, the real Jian-yu, had he existed, would have continued to commit to his beliefs and practices in the afterlife. This particular form of existence is not one of the ones described in Buddhist cosmology, but the same principles seem pretty applicable.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 5:03 PM on November 12 [2 favorites]


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