The Good Place: The Ballad of Donkey Doug
October 25, 2018 11:38 PM - Season 3, Episode 5 - Subscribe

Michael and Tahani join Jason for a mission to Florida to help some people from Jason's past, while Janet creates a virtual reality simulation to help Chidi resolve a problem.
posted by fluffy battle kitten (68 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
A lot of funnies in this episode for me.

Loved the reveal of Donkey Doug (does anyone know when he has been referred the first time? Also, Mitch Narito looks about Jason's age - I wonder if he even is Jason's real dad, given Jason's particular upbringing), Janet doing her own 'bings' and the writers' smart way of re-introducing simulations, Eleanor's moment with Simone, and Tahani alternating between confused and disgusted looks throughout much of the episode...

Also, "Reach for the stars! As I said to my good friend, Elon Musk. And then he shot his car in space! What a weird creep."

It's so rare to see Tahani 'drag' one of her celeb friends, I'm so glad they did it with this one.
posted by bigendian at 12:13 AM on October 26, 2018 [47 favorites]


My first recollection of Donkey Doug is in season 1 when they discussed utilitarianism and Jason framed Doug’s girlfriend for boogie board theft to prevent the breakup of the 60 person dance crew.

I think Jason also slashed his tires during a proposed dance off session in season 2 “dance dance Resolution.”

I might have watched seasons 1 and 2 too many times.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 1:00 AM on October 26, 2018 [8 favorites]


Very funny episode. I almost cried laughing at that amazing scene between Eleanore and Simone. New ship!

Clearly that’s not really Australia with such efficient and overly cheerful service, though.
posted by liquorice at 1:57 AM on October 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


Well, that simulation ended WAY too soon
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:51 AM on October 26, 2018 [21 favorites]


Macho Man Randy Savage International Airport. Yup...altered timeline.

Also...Janet doing her own *bing* was endearing as heck.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:13 AM on October 26, 2018 [11 favorites]


Even better, it's:
Randy “Macho Man” Savage NON-International Airport


So, is Pillboi Jason's brother, or just his bro?
posted by cheshyre at 3:56 AM on October 26, 2018 [12 favorites]


Hans the server was YouTube star Flula.
posted by emjaybee at 5:20 AM on October 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


There is no place in Australia that I know of where you'd be asked if you wanted sugar in your iced tea.
posted by harriet vane at 5:59 AM on October 26, 2018 [6 favorites]


Podcast report:

Donkey Doug says "You know you're my boy, Jason" when he leaves the dance crew in the S3 premiere. Mitch Narito did not know that Donkey Doug was Jason's dad when he shot that, but Manny Jacinto did know.

Yet another brilliantly stupid background moment: When Donkey Doug hands Jason the bong and asks Michael whether he's a cop, Jason hides the bong from Michael.

Even better, it's:
Randy “Macho Man” Savage NON-International Airport

And the NON was very clearly, intentionally added later, as though the airport was demoted.

I am ashamed to say that I noticed the street signs outside the café at the corner of This Is A Street and That's Not A Street, but I didn't even realize that it's a Crocodile Dundee reference. All of the writers had pitched various "That's not a [x], this is a [x]" jokes, and Michael Schur shot them all down, but within the last week or so before this episode was finalized, Schur himself inserted the street signs.

Manny and Eugene Cordero (Jason and Pillboi) choreographed the handshake themselves -- the script just said "elaborate handshake". Marc Evan Jackson counted 23 distinct points in the handshake.
posted by Etrigan at 6:21 AM on October 26, 2018 [22 favorites]


So, is Pillboi Jason's brother, or just his bro?

I wondered the same thing! Also, the reveal that Pillboi is an ACTUAL Pillboi for the nursing home is just, wow.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:29 AM on October 26, 2018 [47 favorites]


I loved the look of sheer joy on Michael's face when their taxi showed up.

I wonder if that's how Pillboi got his name, or it's just one of those things where with a name like Pillboi he just sort of gravitated to it.
posted by ckape at 6:31 AM on October 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


I feel like Janet’s simulation was a big clue about what’s happening this season. At least, I hope it was a big clue.
posted by sleeping bear at 7:17 AM on October 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


Donkey Doug is displaying a lot of stolen hazard signs that never should have been stolen.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 7:18 AM on October 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


You *both* it.

Sting, no last initial.

I'm consistently amazed how the writers pack so much into 22 minutes.

The Chidi/Simone break-up was great because it showed an example of Chidi working up his anxiety and being all in his head about a thing and then Simone dealing in the moment and not being all in her head about it.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:14 AM on October 26, 2018 [9 favorites]


"24 hour lemon musk extreme" that is also lube and "Call me Donkey Dad" have been flat out KILLING ME for hours.
posted by palomar at 8:35 AM on October 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


It's amazing how the show can feel like such a traditional sitcom sometimes considering the underlying premise and how much it constantly subverts the format. Janet wondering why humans use all new technology for porn and then programming in her own Jason virtual reality scene was great.

We leave Australia behind with one last Nemo reference ("French Pressing Nemo").

So Jason dealt with a parent this episode, and next episode we are teed up for Tahani and Eleanor to do the same. Will Chidi get a turn? I don't think he's given a lot of details on his family. Either way, I'd expect two more episodes max of "The Soul Squad" before they change things up entirely again. Gen is mighty pissed off and I am sure working on a way to get things back under control.
posted by mikepop at 8:42 AM on October 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


I *had* to rewind and savor Michael's reaction to the "...you've been hooking us up with the porno channels since I was in 3rd grade!..."
posted by ssmith at 8:58 AM on October 26, 2018 [3 favorites]


I loved the look of sheer joy on Michael's face when their taxi showed up.

There are only two options to reacting to anything in Florida. (shameless self-link, as I can't believe this kind of self-link breaks any MF rules)

This episode was great.

Chidi taking on Michael's role of resetting the simulation by snapping his fingers is... food for thought; Eleanor and Simone could have had it allllllllll; "You BOTH it!" had me pausing so I could get my breathing back from laughing; Tahani's "Why was I ever friends with him?" about Elon Musk is GROWTH.

I hope they don't play off Eleanor's mom faking her death for total comedy; Eleanor suffered terribly, even if she never admitted it (I was going to write "bottled it up" but she actually plungered it up). Characters mourning someone who faked their death and then reacting to finding out they're alive is most often taken too lightly (and well, that's a sentence I never thought I'd write, but there it is.)
posted by tzikeh at 9:06 AM on October 26, 2018 [8 favorites]


One question -- what's in Michael's suitcase?
posted by tzikeh at 9:08 AM on October 26, 2018


Do Michael and Janet have to eat? Sleep? Use the bathroom? I need one episode that's just a 24-hour log of what they're doing with all their time on earth.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:19 AM on October 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


Okay yeah two questions, then -- is Michael still a demon in a human suit?
posted by tzikeh at 9:43 AM on October 26, 2018


I was so sure that if we traveled to Jacksonville in this weird new timeline, we'd finally get footage of Jason at a Jags playoff game.

I loved Janet backing out of the room after her bing, then telling Eleanor and Chidi to stop looking at her. I actually miss Janet's bing! I'll have to get my fix of it from the podcast.

The entire conception of Double Trouble, from the scent-flavors to the fact that they were just going to steal components from three factories to make it, was perfect. Pillboi is pretty great and worth saving. If I'm ever in a home, I want someone to carefully and lovingly to handle my meds that way.
posted by gladly at 9:51 AM on October 26, 2018 [14 favorites]


I really wonder how much different things would be now if popular characters in the 1980s said things like "more men should be bi. It's [year] for god's sake."

I mean how many kids questioning things would love to have heard something like that?

I love this show.
posted by bondcliff at 10:57 AM on October 26, 2018 [21 favorites]


(I love Janet's bing so much it's my text notification sound)
posted by tipsyBumblebee at 11:01 AM on October 26, 2018 [7 favorites]


(I love Janet's bing so much it's my text notification sound)

Mine too!
posted by tzikeh at 11:09 AM on October 26, 2018 [2 favorites]


A big theme of the season so far seems to be responsibility. Previously, Michel and Janet had made the soul squad's afterlives their own responsibility; they had chosen that as their mission. Now, the current arc seems to be setting up other humans whose fates in the afterlife are personal responsibilities for each of the soul squad. Jason has his dad and pillboi, Chidi has Simone, and now Eleanor will have her mom and Tehani will have her sister; I bet the next episode will end up with Eleanor and Tehani being the better people and helping out their mom and sister respectively. I bet these connections with the fates of other, still living humans will help when/if our main characters return to the afterlife.

"But you'll never know Jason's real score until we tabulate Pillboi's score."
"But that won't happen until he dies!"
"Exactly! So you can't send us to the bad place!"
posted by Rinku at 11:32 AM on October 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


I know that in the text Donkey Doug was unsaveable and they helped Pillboi instead, but the last thing we see Donkey Doug doing is sacrificing himself for his son, which seems like it should be a positive-points thing, especially considering it's not really Jason's factory robbery, and also since the very first thing we see Donkey Doug do in this episode is frame his son for possession by handing him the Hulk-hand-bong when he thinks Michael might be a cop.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 11:51 AM on October 26, 2018 [18 favorites]


They're becoming ANGELS and I absolutely love it
posted by litleozy at 12:22 PM on October 26, 2018 [12 favorites]


YA DUMPED. Honestly this is probably better than a thousand other ways to break up.
posted by wellred at 12:23 PM on October 26, 2018 [13 favorites]


... Jason confused the NSA for NASA when he talked to Pillboi, didn't he. That's why Tahani has to tell Pillboi that they are Astronaut Spies.

omg this show
posted by tzikeh at 12:46 PM on October 26, 2018 [52 favorites]


... Jason confused the NSA for NASA when he talked to Pillboi, didn't he. That's why Tahani has to tell Pillboi that they are Astronaut Spies.

Maybe, but I interpreted Tahani's line to mean that he literally just said "we're astronaut spies."
posted by Ragged Richard at 1:08 PM on October 26, 2018 [9 favorites]


... Jason confused the NSA for NASA when he talked to Pillboi, didn't he. That's why Tahani has to tell Pillboi that they are Astronaut Spies.

Maybe, but I interpreted Tahani's line to mean that he literally just said "we're astronaut spies."


I recall it being something like, "Yes, as Jason said, we were sent by... NASA," with a pause and emphasis to indicate that they'd said "NSA". It could have been Pillboi or Jason who turned "NSA" into "NASA", but I definitely agree with tzikeh's read.
posted by Etrigan at 1:11 PM on October 26, 2018 [5 favorites]


Manny and Eugene Cordero (Jason and Pillboi) choreographed the handshake themselves

I now want this handshake to be my sole form of social greeting.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 3:02 PM on October 26, 2018 [4 favorites]


I'm just so glad we finally got to visit Florida.

So, the thing about Pillboi is, they didn't have to lie to him to get him to do good, but they did have to lie to him to get him to stop doing crimes. We know that tainted motivations are a thing the accounting department keeps track of, so I'm wondering how the math actually works out for him.

Also, Eleanor is going back to The Bad Place no matter what she does, so really it's fine if she murders her mom. Double indemnity or something!
posted by tobascodagama at 4:13 PM on October 26, 2018 [6 favorites]


tipsyBumblebee: (I love Janet's bing so much it's my text notification sound)

Me: Mine too!

... now I'm thinking I should make a ringtone of her saying "Bing!" for my email alert.
posted by tzikeh at 6:54 PM on October 26, 2018 [14 favorites]


The simulator was so wasted. Why not simulate Donkey Doug, have Jason give advice, and tally Donkey’s Good Place points?
posted by Monochrome at 7:09 PM on October 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I haven't been to JAX, but Gainsville's airport has two gates, flies to three other cities, and my flight was delayed 36 hours once. Small florida airports are a little weird.
posted by gryftir at 9:36 PM on October 26, 2018 [1 favorite]


I really really want to get behind the Janet is God idea but the writers are not making it happen. The Jason crush / jealousy etc. I wish they weren't compelled to giving every character a development arc. I want her as open and mixed with non judgmental love as she was since the beginning. Her becoming more human, missing her Bing sound is just not working for me.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:47 PM on October 26, 2018


Also felt like they got rid of Simone and Larry Hemsworth way too easily, so they could go globe trotting. Will they show up again? They've got to.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 2:07 AM on October 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Is the "2018" reference the first actual date we've had in this show?
posted by Pronoiac at 2:37 AM on October 27, 2018 [4 favorites]


Theory: The judge planned all along for Michael and Janet to end up stuck on Earth with the humans, so she can judge all six of them. Everything is still going according to her plan.

Possible evidence:
  • In The Brainy Bunch when Janet complains about her missing powers, Michael complains too: "I'm really bad at lying now, and that used to be my whole thing!" But Trevor doesn't seem to be affected; he's still weaving perfect deceptions.
  • Later, when they return, the judge dispatches Trevor instantly, but flails ridiculously at Michael and Janet, giving them every chance to escape.

posted by mbrubeck at 5:58 AM on October 27, 2018 [16 favorites]


Michael: OK, Jason, just tell Pillboi that we're spies with the NSA.

Jason: Oh dope, astronaut spies!

Michael: No, that would be NASA, not the NSA.

Jason: Gotcha.
posted by ckape at 6:17 AM on October 27, 2018 [9 favorites]


Later, when they return, the judge dispatches Trevor instantly, but flails ridiculously at Michael and Janet, giving them every chance to escape.

Counterpoint: In the afterlife, “He has an extremely punchable face” is literal, and the Judge got a +3 to-hit.
posted by Etrigan at 6:29 AM on October 27, 2018 [7 favorites]






Do we know who's playing Eleanor's mom?
Shall we start fantasy casting? For some reason, the first name that came to my mind was Michelle Pfeiffer.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 9:57 AM on October 27, 2018 [1 favorite]


Eleanor's mother appeared in flashbacks in Chapter 12 and Chapter 18, played by Leslie Grossman.
posted by mbrubeck at 10:16 AM on October 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


Do we know who's playing Eleanor's mom?
Shall we start fantasy casting? For some reason, the first name that came to my mind was Michelle Pfeiffer.


Leslie Grossman played Eleanor's mom in season 1 episode 12, and she was awesome/terrible (she slipped her hotel key to Eleanor's boyfriend at Eleanor's dad's funeral).
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 10:18 AM on October 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Kristen Bell on 'The IMDB show' (video), deciding which of her characters would go to The Good Place, or to The Bad Place.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:18 PM on October 27, 2018 [2 favorites]


mbrubeck: In The Brainy Bunch when Janet complains about her missing powers, Michael complains too: "I'm really bad at lying now, and that used to be my whole thing!" But Trevor doesn't seem to be affected; he's still weaving perfect deceptions.

I think Michael was talking about his own character development, not that lying was a demonic power he'd lost the way Janet lost her abilities.

I do think the possibility that Gen is intentionally letting them off easy, for testing or similar purposes, has something going for it.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 6:41 PM on October 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Hans the server was YouTube star Flula

The character's name is Helmut. He's also better known as Pieter Kramer in Pitch Perfect 2. After that movie he's gotten more recognition and gotten other parts in quite a few things.
posted by numaner at 8:55 PM on October 27, 2018


There are only two options to reacting to anything in Florida.

where did you get this still? I've rewatched that scene like 5 times and I don't see it.
posted by numaner at 8:58 PM on October 27, 2018


his name is Martin I need my keys back and he's a puppyyyyyyy

the shopping cart in the pool!

the towel on the pool's fence is slightly covering the sign that no doubt says no food or beverage in the pool, which the couple we see are definitely violating. i do want that alligator floating container though.

Donkey Doug and Pillboi offered their guests hot pockets is just *chef's kiss*

for a split second I thought that might be Michael pretending to be cops (with fake siren lights somehow)
posted by numaner at 9:16 PM on October 27, 2018 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile in the real world... the first time a sports headline on the BBC has ever caught my eye:

Jacksonville Jaguars: Four players arrested at London nightclub for 'unpaid bar bill'
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 4:27 AM on October 28, 2018 [4 favorites]


I was wrong about Eleanor only wearing clothes with stars on - I was looking at gifs from this season and she also wears a lot of tops with cute stripes and one with lightning bolts too.
posted by harriet vane at 6:46 AM on October 28, 2018


If the next episode doesn't have Tahani's sister promoting "Lemon Musk Supreme" as the sponsor of her latest tour with her new back up band "The Astronaut Spies," I'm going to be so disappointed.*




*No I'm not. I love this show. They can do no wrong.
posted by pjsky at 8:33 AM on October 28, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm trying to figure out if Lemon Musk ties in with Elon Musk and Astronaut Spies, but I'm not getting anywhere.

The stripes on Eleanor's sweater matched the art on the wall in the café. I've noticed a lot of costume color keying in the last few episodes. It must be intentional, I just don't know if it means something major or if it's a designer "merely" reinforcing themes and relationships.
posted by under_petticoat_rule at 11:33 AM on October 28, 2018


Either through personal refinement or boredom I've been noticing costume keying a lot in recent years (probably BCS-driven). I think it's a production design kind of thing.
posted by rhizome at 11:55 AM on October 28, 2018


BCS driven?
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 5:35 PM on October 28, 2018


where did you get this still? I've rewatched that scene like 5 times and I don't see it.

Somewhere On the Internet. Likely a publicity still. My guess is that it's from an extended cut that we'll get down the road.
posted by tzikeh at 5:37 PM on October 28, 2018 [2 favorites]


BCS driven?

Better Call Saul, but it also might have been Mad Men now that I think about it.
posted by rhizome at 5:45 PM on October 28, 2018


And Breaking Bad, of course. The costuming of characters was a huge topic while it was running, although not in the massive depth that Mad Men's was.
posted by tracicle at 12:59 AM on October 29, 2018


Yeah, BB wasn't nearly as "does the carpet tie match the drapes?" as these shows, or it was unnoticeable (which is nice).
posted by rhizome at 1:41 AM on October 29, 2018


Someone said upthread that they don't like Janet's attachment to Jason because it means she/they are less likely to be God.. buuuuuuuuut ... There is that saying about God looking out for idiots and children the most and Jason is nothing if not childlike in his idiocy.
posted by Faintdreams at 3:48 AM on October 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I haven't looked this up yet, but I'm pretty sure the violin player on the street was show's writer Megan Amram, who is also responsible for most of the horrible, beautiful pun names of things.

Looked it up. I was right! I wanna be friends with her.
posted by lauranesson at 6:29 AM on October 29, 2018 [2 favorites]


I hadn’t listened to any of The Good Place Podcast before this episode, but I listened to this chapter’s episode to give it a try and now I’m starting from the podcast’s beginning.
posted by Swisstine at 1:41 PM on October 30, 2018 [1 favorite]


I'm still trying to figure out whether Pillboi's name badge at work really implies that "Pillboi" is his given name and not just a street name / nickname. Or since it's his job, too, maybe that's a job title?

I'm gonna be the meanie, I guess, and say that while there are still individual moments of charm I thought this was a particularly weak episode. The Chidi-breaks-up-with-Simone B-story wasn't very good, I thought (even detaching consideration of it from my disappointment at the prospect of less Simone in the future.) So far I'm not encouraged by this season. Janet's characterization is all over the map and seems to come down to "whatever the episode requires", Michael's characterization seems to be headed in the direction of "fumbling idiot sitcom dad" with no signs of turnaround, and as the framework of rules under which they are all operating gets fuzzier and fuzzier the conflicts and challenges facing the characters seem to have less and less meaning.

Previous seasons have earned the writers a pretty substantial amount of suspended judgement so I'll be happy if they turn things around and prove me wrong but so far, at least, I feel like season 3 is headed for some major shark jumping.

On edit: the podcast is still quite worthwhile, though. If you like the show, you should check out at least a bit of the podcast.
posted by Nerd of the North at 3:06 PM on November 2, 2018 [1 favorite]


No love for the Lenny Kravits line, huh? That had me pausing the the show so I could continue laughing.
posted by snwod at 1:12 PM on November 13, 2018


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