The Good Place: Pandemonium
January 24, 2019 7:12 PM - Season 3, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Various events occur in a specific order.

Eleanor helps Michael introduce the first new human to the Neighborhood; Chidi discovers a complication. Various events occur in a certain specific order.
posted by fluffy battle kitten (178 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
Foot Lager is still making me laugh.

The Eleanor/Chidi montage made me cry.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:14 PM on January 24 [22 favorites]


**best approximation of a human crying**
posted by yeahlikethat at 7:26 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]


I loved that Janet's response to Eleanor's "tell me the answer" started with "I know how you feel."

Also, Chidi seeing anxious Michael and saying "You look like me. What's wrong?"

The most intricate cork blork of all time!
posted by the primroses were over at 7:28 PM on January 24 [16 favorites]


“I’m a legit snack.” (cries)
posted by inevitability at 7:30 PM on January 24 [54 favorites]


I'm not crying, you're crying.

(And Jason's concern whether Chidi will forget what pizza is was the hardest I ever identified with him.)
posted by bigendian at 7:54 PM on January 24 [21 favorites]


Had to pause when they did the second newbie reveal because I TOTALLY FUCKING CALLED IT LAST THREAD OH NOOOOOOO
posted by palomar at 7:57 PM on January 24 [21 favorites]


whewwwww lord I cried the rest of the way through that episode
posted by palomar at 8:21 PM on January 24 [2 favorites]


Thank gods this show got renewed.
posted by ZeusHumms at 8:30 PM on January 24 [9 favorites]


So am I the only one for whom this twist is not sitting well?

If I understand correctly, Chidi thinks it will be too hard for him to interact with Simone because of their past. So his solution is Eternal Sunshine himself and leave his current love IN THE EXACT SAME POSITION that he couldn't deal with???

There's a lot I like about Schur's shows: he acknowledges privilege, he casts people of colour, he makes space for non-white cishet male voices and perspectives (or at least he has in B99 and TGP). But having a man dumping all the emotional labour of a situation on his female partner and bailing (and her having no problem with it outside of the heartbreak of losing what they've built) feels lazy and retrograde. It honestly spoils Eleanor and Chidi for me. I kinda hope she falls for one of the Janet Babies in the neighbourhood next season.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, Janet, Eleanor, and Tahani were all excellent in this episode. Each of them got payoffs of 3 seasons worth of growth.
posted by dry white toast at 9:12 PM on January 24 [24 favorites]


I'm not crying, you're crying, except I lied and I am crying!

Chidi thinks it will be too hard for him to interact with Simone because of their past. So his solution is Eternal Sunshine himself and leave his current love IN THE EXACT SAME POSITION that he couldn't deal with??? .... having a man dumping all the emotional labour of a situation on his female partner and bailing (and her having no problem with it outside of the heartbreak of losing what they've built) feels lazy and retrograde.

I didn't read it that way. Chidi was terrified that he'd give the game away to Simone, but he knew Eleanor could handle the situation. Based on what we know about Our Heroes, I'd say Chidi made the right choice.
posted by tzikeh at 9:54 PM on January 24 [54 favorites]


That did not feel as cliff hanger like as I had expected.
posted by k8t at 10:35 PM on January 24 [6 favorites]


That did not feel as cliff hanger like as I had expected.

I agree. In a good way, I thought. This was a nice way to go into a break. It left the characters in comfortable places, promised fun amnesia drama, and was so warm and smart of an episode that you felt that even this huge challenge the characters are going to face might just be doable. Loved this episode.
posted by Rinku at 12:27 AM on January 25 [5 favorites]


I also think it's totally brilliant that the very first time Eleanor met Chidi all those many times he was the one with power in the situation: she was a dirtbag in the wrong place, in a precarious situation, with him ostensibly there legitimately, and holding the knowledge she needed to succeed. Now, Chidi will be meeting Eleanor for the first time and she has all the power in the situation as it's ostensibly taking place with her as the architect. It's going to be an interesting reversal in their relationship and I'm excited to see how it will all play out next season.
posted by Rinku at 12:51 AM on January 25 [38 favorites]


All I know is that there’s at least a 50/50 shot that Chidi gets his memory back by, what, the third episode? This show murders premises.
posted by Etrigan at 1:28 AM on January 25 [44 favorites]


::opens face and just cries and cries and cries and cries::
posted by Faintdreams at 2:29 AM on January 25 [15 favorites]


Feels.

So Chidi + Simone will totally get together.

I don't know if I am up to tackling deciphering that page of text yet, but will give it a try.
posted by Marticus at 2:48 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


All I know is that there’s at least a 50/50 shot that Chidi gets his memory back by, what, the third episode? This show murders premises.

This is my greatest hope. As with season 2 and then 3, I now feel like "oh ok, so this is what the next season is going to be" - meaning in this case, that the season will be spent with our four humans are trying to help the four other humans improve - which can be interesting and fun BUT I can't wait for the show to completely switch it up again.
posted by bigendian at 3:18 AM on January 25 [1 favorite]


That did not feel as cliff hanger like as I had expected.

It definitely felt like a finale that had to be shot before they knew whether the show was renewed or not.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:56 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


This is a COMEDY. Why am I SOBBING.

Like seriously, that episode was 22 minutes long and I cried through at least 10 of them. Forkers.
posted by merriment at 5:29 AM on January 25 [9 favorites]


I was surprised (but pleased) when the emotions I experienced during the Chidi/Eleanor montage came out of my eyes and not my butt.
posted by emkelley at 5:30 AM on January 25 [49 favorites]


It’s also not just that Chidi thought he’d give away the game to Simone, it’s also that the fear of/fixation on it would prevent him from giving ethics lessons to all of the experiment subjects. In some way this is almost a better experiment because they are repeating the original process more exactly—the ethics teacher also has to evolve. Not that I want that, I want Chidi and Eleanor to be happy together for all of eternity but I think there’s a greater than 50% chance we get there at some point in the show. Although maybe not now that Simone is there? Arrrggggggg

Also congrats on the self-awareness, Tahani, you really have come a long way.
posted by emkelley at 5:35 AM on January 25 [17 favorites]


There are for sure good reasons why Chidi in particular wouldn't be able to handle doing this experiment with people he knew on Earth, so that's fine with me. Even if he has a slightly better chance of helping with a blank slate, it's worth trying, when the potential reward is so huge not just for themselves but a large chunk of humanity.

Strictly speaking from within the world of the show, I think it would be wisest to wait to reset Chidi until they've gotten all the information, AKA once they know who the other two new humans are. They could keep Chidi sequestered from Simone in the short time in between, and confer with him about strategy before he's reset.

Obviously I see why narratively, it makes sense for events to occur in this certain specific order.
posted by lampoil at 6:28 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


I have faith that Chidi and Eleanor will get back together again....after he gets back together with Simone for a while first. I like Simone too so I am not super broken up here.

What I'm more intrigued about is who they will get for the other two. Pillboi or Donkey Doug sound like the only two options for Jason really and clearly TBP isn't against probably killing someone downbelow just for funsies, and either of them will tempt Jason into shenanigans. Eleanor is probably an ex or her dad, but they'll have to do something memory-wipey again if it's her dad.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:31 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Chidi knows that Eleanor is stronger than him in all kinds of ways. She is not immune to heartache and emotional burdens but she sure as shit can handle it better than Chidi and they both know that.

We know that because it's been the backbone of the last 3 seasons!

Which is not to say that Chidi is weak or that Eleanor doesn't deserve a break now and then. But I've always been of the opinion that the best matches are between people who are able to pick up the burdens that their partners can't cope with, in a fair and reciprocal way of course.

I think these crazy kids can do it!
posted by h00py at 6:37 AM on January 25 [13 favorites]


Chidi knows that Eleanor is stronger than him in all kinds of ways. She is not immune to heartache and emotional burdens but she sure as shit can handle it better than Chidi and they both know that.

Also, to quote Eleanor, she's a "world-class liar, baby!"
posted by Pendragon at 6:44 AM on January 25 [18 favorites]


I didn't read it that way. Chidi was terrified that he'd give the game away to Simone, but he knew Eleanor could handle the situation. Based on what we know about Our Heroes, I'd say Chidi made the right choice.

I read it this same way. Chidi is the lynchpin of the rescue: he has to teach the new humans about ethics and show them how to become better people. If he blows it, not only does he damn himself and his friends to eternal torture, but he could be damning the rest of humanity to the Bad Place. Chidi can't lie, and there's no way he could lie to Simone smoothly enough not to endanger the plan.

Again, I love that the Bad Place came up with such a good plan to counter the Soul Squad. I mean, it's not going to work, but I do love that the Bad Place is always evil enough to cause real sacrifice from the heroes.

I cried a little bit at the Eleanor and Chidi memories, but Janet's monologue to Eleanor really undid me. Whew. What a lovely scene for both of them.

And, boy, do I love that the finale was written by two women.
posted by gladly at 7:02 AM on January 25 [38 favorites]


I got $1 that says the Bad Place sends Blake Bortles and Stone Cold Steve Austin as the last two.
posted by Etrigan at 8:06 AM on January 25 [35 favorites]


"Scared is the best way to be horny. Now who's doing the teaching?"

Stupid season breaks. Going to miss all these dinks.
posted by rewil at 8:52 AM on January 25 [8 favorites]


If Tahani's nemesis recognized her from her death in Canada, isn't there a decent chance he should recognize some of the others as well?
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:01 AM on January 25


If Tahani's nemesis recognized her from her death in Canada, isn't there a decent chance he should recognize some of the others as well?

Nah, she's the only famous one.
posted by Ragged Richard at 9:18 AM on January 25 [16 favorites]


I think Simone will wind up being helpful again.

I'm more interested in who shows up for Eleanor. The last we saw her mom that was kind of on the way to being resolved or at least had reached a place of understanding in Eleanor's mind. One of her horrible friends who will cause Eleanor to backslide?

I really want it to be Pillboi who shows up for Jason because of the hijinks but feel like Donkey Doug could be more interesting. Writers could just drop a dance rival in, though.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:27 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Didn't the Judge rule that the first two new humans could stay but that the next two the Bad Place provides couldn't be connected to the original four?
posted by wabbittwax at 9:31 AM on January 25 [6 favorites]


Didn't the Judge rule that the first two new humans could stay but that the next two the Bad Place provides couldn't be connected to the original four?
Okay, here's my ruling. It's not against the rules for the four new humans to have connections to the original four. Simone and John can stay. ... But it was kind of a dirty trick, so Michael can erase Simone's memory to the point before she met any of you.
(from Springfield! Springfield!, which I believe scrapes captions)
posted by Etrigan at 10:18 AM on January 25 [7 favorites]


OMG, the podcast does an ad for University of Arizona that I hope that school never hears because they will DIE.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:49 AM on January 25 [4 favorites]


I'm more interested in who shows up for Eleanor. The last we saw her mom that was kind of on the way to being resolved or at least had reached a place of understanding in Eleanor's mind.

Eleanor's dad is in the Bad Place, right? I'm not sure how the memory wipe would work in that case, but I don't see why they couldn't send him up (after wiping his memories of the penis flatteners).

Also it's very frustrating that after 2 seasons of mostly wanting Eleanor/Tahani, I've finally come around to this Chidi/Eleanor stuff right when it's been torpedoed. On the other hand, I feel like Chekhov's time knife was just introduced, so it's not all bad news...
posted by grandiloquiet at 10:50 AM on January 25


I'm sure they can do some Eleanor/Tahani while both of them are alone and watching Janet/Jason and Chidi/Simone together in the fourth season. I dunno how much Tahani would be into it, but it could happen.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:03 AM on January 25


That was a tight, excellent end to an amazing season.

"We can hang out, chilling in the dot of the i forever" might be the most romantic thing I've ever heard.
posted by annathea at 11:46 AM on January 25 [46 favorites]


Jeremy Bearimy baby
posted by numaner at 11:47 AM on January 25 [40 favorites]


OMG, the podcast does an ad for University of Arizona that I hope that school never hears because they will DIE.

Arizona State. That's the one in Phoenix (not the University of Phoenix), while the University of Arizona is in Tucson. The two are so often confused that even their Wikipedia pages each say "Not to be confused with [the other one]."
posted by Etrigan at 11:56 AM on January 25 [3 favorites]


jenfullmoon: OMG, the podcast does an ad for University of Arizona that I hope that school never hears because they will DIE.

Actually, it's for Arizona State University, which happens to be my employer.
It's the first of these I didn't find amusing. It reinforces shitty stereotypes from fifteen years ago. #PartyPooper

Anyway, I'm not letting it cast a pall on my love of this episode, the show as a whole, or even the podcast. I just don't think it's up to their usual standard of cleverness.
posted by Superplin at 11:58 AM on January 25 [2 favorites]


oh em gee though William Jackson Harper‘s delivery of the line “jeremy bearimy, baby.” so perfect so touching.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 12:00 PM on January 25 [26 favorites]


Oooph Superplin, good thing you don't live in Alberta or Australia then.

Or Jacksonville ... or anywhere in shrimp-horny-Arizona... oh wait.
posted by mce at 1:03 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


So am I the only one for whom this twist is not sitting well?

Me either. We've seen a totally different Chidi in the last couple episodes. He's been decisive and confident. But now we're throwing away all his character development this season because his ex showed up.

The whole thing hinges on Chidi not being able to give his ethics classes to Simone. But does Simone really need his help? By any measure, she was a far better person than any of the ding-dongs who are there to save her soul. Without the complexities of Earth, she would definitely earn enough points without their help.
posted by Gary at 1:37 PM on January 25 [10 favorites]


I think it's different to construct a fantasy version of a place vs an organization. I don't think anyone takes the Jacksonville stuff seriously, but since a lot of people still believe ASU is a party school for dumb people who don't want a real education, it rings differently.

I love the Arizona trashbag jokes in general. They're hilarious.
posted by Superplin at 1:38 PM on January 25


I apologize to both illustrious Arizona universities. I posted that at some point while not actually listening to it at that moment in time to recheck which one it was.

I am surprised they didn't make up a college name (or use, I dunno, Greendale) for that one, actually. I read this link about use of real names/places vs. where to make one up and this definitely falls into defaming category.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:43 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


But now we're throwing away all his character development this season because his ex showed up.
I read this a little differently. I saw Chidi recognizing that the stakes in this little enterprise are the highest of all possible stakes - literally the eternal torment of all people for all time going forward. And he's, well, he's Chidi. He doesn't do choices well, he can't lie, there's 4 humans who will presumably need to show real actual personal growth which is a lot easier when you have the tools to identify the metrics in use. Oh and Simone is a more fully realized person than he is and is totally going to see through him and to do that is to doom herself as Team Cockroach was doomed the moment they learned about the points system.

So.... If the Team is to counter balance whatever The Bad Place has cooked up they're going to have to have some pretty decent value add, I assume. They're best guess is that Chidi's skill set is going to be pretty important. Presumably they will all need to add something (60 person dance crews maybe?) and Chidi has recognized his limitations.

What's unresolved is the difference between Chidi, Chidi with memories of a relationship with Simone and some personal resolution on the matter of his definition of self as touched on in the Janets episode. As noted above I don't think this is at all a season long tent-pole story arc.
posted by mce at 2:01 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


Yeah, I was really surprised they didn't make one up the way they usually do for those ads.

Gary: We've seen a totally different Chidi in the last couple episodes. He's been decisive and confident. But now we're throwing away all his character development this season because his ex showed up.

I don't think he's throwing anything away. Old Chidi would've been completely paralyzed with indecision and fear. He would've been like Michael in the last episode. This is a Chidi who knows himself and his weaknesses, and can make a huge decision like this with unwavering confidence and determination. He appreciates the stakes and is making the best choice for the circumstances. He trusts Eleanor to do what needs to be done, and most of all, he trusts himself. He is acting from a position of strength, not weakness. That's real development.
posted by Superplin at 2:02 PM on January 25 [40 favorites]


I think one of the remaining unrevealed humans is going to be Doug Forcett.
posted by wabbittwax at 2:22 PM on January 25 [21 favorites]


I don't think he's throwing anything away. Old Chidi would've been completely paralyzed with indecision and fear. He would've been like Michael in the last episode.

You and mce both make good points. It had to be a confident Chidi who could make this sacrifice. I'm just not sold on if the sacrifice needed to be made or the rush to do it. As lampoil points out, they still have two more people to show up and they should see what they're dealing with before doing anything drastic.

But my complaints on the internet are coming across too strongly. This is easily the most interesting show I'm watching right now and I trust the writers to do something good with this premise next season.
posted by Gary at 3:11 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]




I just watched and the utter tenderness with which they all talk to each other in this episode is too much to bearimy.
posted by wellred at 4:52 PM on January 25 [13 favorites]


"Jeremy Bearimy, baby" is the deepest, most romantic line in the history of filmed entertainment.
posted by signal at 4:58 PM on January 25 [31 favorites]


signal: "Jeremy Bearimy, baby" is the deepest, most romantic line in the history of filmed entertainment.

Agreed 100%.
I am, no lie, considering getting a Jeremy Bearimy tattoo.
posted by Superplin at 5:08 PM on January 25 [21 favorites]


But does Simone really need his help? By any measure, she was a far better person than any of the ding-dongs who are there to save her soul. Without the complexities of Earth, she would definitely earn enough points without their help.

So, um, I had to wrestle an Aeron chair into a Prius this evening, and while I was trying to do it, I vegged out to my memories of this episode, and had one of those "Say that again..." moments.

Specifically, Shawn said, "And Simone just happened to die on Earth, which was really, really cool...".

Not "Simone died". Not "I sent Bambadjan to kill Simone". No, he said, "Simone just happened to die." That is a very odd way to put it. She didn't "happen" to die. She's there for a reason, one that not even Shawn realizes. He's getting conned.

Remember when we were all convinced that the Good Place would be empty, because truly good people would rebel at the idea of sitting on their asses for eternity while people suffered, and they'd all go back down to Earth to help people? And we were all convinced that Simone in particular was one of those returnees?

We were right. And she knew what was happening with the new experiment, and she took one for the team, either to put a good thumb on the scale or to make sure that the bad guys don't put their thumb on the scale.
posted by Etrigan at 6:01 PM on January 25 [32 favorites]


Doug Forcett as one of the remaining two could be really interesting, in part because there are so many directions that could go. Would Doug be stuck in his ridiculous habits after so many years, still measuring out every lentil? Or would he shout YES I'VE MADE IT, no more miserable points system, time for an afterlife of hedonism and selfishness!
posted by duffell at 6:22 PM on January 25 [21 favorites]


I think one of the remaining unrevealed humans is going to be Doug Forcett.

I like this because I think it sets Michael up for some (additional) torture. Simone is a Bad Place 2fer, targeting both Chidi and Eleanor. Adding somebody with as much batshit-crazy-in-the-afterlife potential as Doug Forcett is sure to make Michael (more) nervous.
posted by snerson at 6:29 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


I am, no lie, considering getting a Jeremy Bearimy tattoo.

I'm definitely getting the dot over the "i" in Bearimy (I made this decision before this episode) lol.
posted by littlesq at 6:29 PM on January 25 [7 favorites]


I want at one of the new experiment group people to be Vicky in a skin suit.
posted by mochapickle at 6:46 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


...Which would render the experiment void. Possibly within twelve minutes of starting S4E1.
posted by mochapickle at 6:48 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


TBP definitely aren't above sending Vicky in a Simone suit, actually. Good call.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:09 PM on January 25 [5 favorites]


So presumably the other two subjects will be chosen to torture Eleanor and Jason, respectively?

(And put me down as a little meh on the Chidi reboot. I am just a little tired of reboots! It feels kind of cheap and lazy at this point. Especially when the judge said NO REBOOTS!)
posted by jcreigh at 7:17 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


it just struck me that (given Janet's previously demonstrated ability to store and otherwise manipulate memory) this whole plot point would be rendered moot if the afterlife had version control for people. I mean they keep wiping people, Michael can apparently choose how far back and the Jeremy Bearimy suggests things may eventually cycle back... some tooling seems to make sense.

Bazaar & mercurial I know, but it'd be one way to get 'er done. The time-knife certainly hints at some concurrent versioning system - perhaps administrated by monotone neutral Janets? Bah - I'm sure some branching plot point in the first episode will push the main trunk of the plot into some new subversion of reality (keeping some bits, keeping the core source safe) and this worry will be some forgotten fossil.

I'm sorry. I promise not to do that again. But still? There are so many Chidis....Right?
posted by mce at 7:21 PM on January 25 [9 favorites]


V. interesting postulate, Etrigan! The question would be how Simone knew and how Shawn wouldn't. Could returnees ever die/ age while returned?

duffell - excellent point! Do people's still get/ lose points in the afterlife? Can one be kicked out of The Good Place for being jerks?

Arguably, Doug's sacrifices aren't necessarily about others, it's all about himself - in the end (he's doing it just for the points, not for the betterment of the welfare of others). If I was an arbiter of afterlife ethics* I'd disqualify Doug from the good place and he'd be more suited in the medium place or maybe even bad place. That kid he's placating - I'm pretty sure Doug's behaviour is skilling up a psychopath every time Doug placates him. Burying those snails robs birds and other scavengers of precious low-risk protein.

Depending on how many degrees of consequences count, that could potentially be a damning number of negative points.

What if one dies, goes to the good place, and the consequences of one's actions after one's died ends up being very very very negative? Does it expel one from the Good Place or is the afterlife so omnipotent that it can see into the future (evidence suggests not) and presciently assign points accordingly?

*which brings up a point, is Good/ Bad place awarding points for morality or ethics? That could be a twist that what's ethical may not be moral. <shudder> I'm pretty sure the show's not going to go there. But I'm still a little annoyed with "societal complexity increasingly creates ethically opaque consequences to actions"/ "end stage capitalism dooms us all."
posted by porpoise at 7:36 PM on January 25


Oooh, if points still fluctuate based on one's behaviour in the afterlife - Team Cockroach's untruths to the new experimental subjects is definitely worth a(n ongoing) shirtton of negative points, especially in light of not getting an IRB approval before beginning.

Which reinforces that it'd probably take centuries (if not millennia) for it to be approved because apparently the afterlife is bureaucracy Hell.

... Hasn't hundreds of years passed on Living Earth already? Or is (paraphrased) hundreds of iterations of Michael's experiments completely out of time - that no time in Living Earth has passed while Team Cockroach has been running/ wiped/ run-again?


I only keep watching this show because it allows me ask these questions and the cast is amazing and if I turn my brain off, it's a fun show. I will cut it out if FanFare objects.
posted by porpoise at 7:47 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


Oooh, if points still fluctuate based on one's behaviour in the afterlife

They haven't previously. That's the whole point of this experiment -- the Soul Squad became better people after dying, so it must be possible, and "The Good Place" 2.0 is to see whether they can replicate the results.

Hasn't hundreds of years passed on Living Earth already?

Jeremy Bearimy.
posted by Etrigan at 7:54 PM on January 25 [6 favorites]


In that vein - would this be the first time accounting had to pay attention to dead people? Might this result in every action the 4 new people make having to be assessed as a unique-to-human-existence-event? The weird-sex-thing dept already seems rather over worked.
posted by mce at 7:55 PM on January 25


Someone on Reddit managed to decode John Wheaton's file. (The afterlife-ese on the team cockroach wanted poster is the key. )
posted by nathan_teske at 8:14 PM on January 25 [11 favorites]


I thought for sure that after the Memories you may have forgotten screening, while Chidi and Eleanor were saying their goodbyes, Chidi would say something innocuous and Eleanor would point at him and say “Say that again!” this solving their dilemma. I’m glad I was wrong.

The biggest surprise for me was that apparently the plan for the experiment was that the four new people would learn to improve themselves by interacting with the original four? That the plan involved Chidi teaching everyone ethics? I thought it was supposed to be that four “bad” people consigned to a fake Good Place would inevitably come together and improve each other despite themselves. For the plan to require a Tahani party, when the original Tahani party was part of the reason Tahani was chosen to help torture Eleanor, just seems weird.

But that’s just a minor complaint about an excellent episode of a transcendent TV show that caused tears to roll down my face in sync with the ones rolling down Kristen Bell’s face. (I am also a legit snack.)
posted by ejs at 8:22 PM on January 25 [3 favorites]


Is there going to be a FanFare post for the whole season? As in past seasons? Because I have thoughts but want to share them in the right place.
posted by argybarg at 8:59 PM on January 25


Finally, thanks to the day in the life clip, it is confirmed that Ted Danson cannot pronounce Eleanor.
posted by k8t at 9:00 PM on January 25 [4 favorites]


Technical thing info from podcast: Kristen Bell and William Jackson Harper were looking at nothing when they shot the montage scene. (Michael Schur was quietly telling them what would be showingon the screen.)

Which is obvious if you think about it from a technical fx standpoint but mindblowing from a an acting is magic standpoint.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:09 PM on January 25 [14 favorites]


Oh, also: Janet’s last line was such a stealth tear-jerker grenade. Eleanor says, “For a robot you’re a great girlfriend,” and Janet responds, “I’m only one of those three things.” It’s a hilarious call back to all the previous “Not a girl,” “Not a robot” jokes, but it’s also a wonderfully oblique way for her to say “I’m a friend.” Oh Janet, you may be the most human of us all.
posted by ejs at 9:10 PM on January 25 [58 favorites]


Based on a vague connection to an anecdote on the podcast, I suspect all our four test subjects, in addition to being connected to our protagonists in an awkward way for them, will also represent more extreme versions of pre-improvent Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason.

So, on the podcast, Megan Amran told a story about the "ya basic" slam, which was something she and D'Arcy were actually told at a Beyonce concert after shushing a man who was making exasperated, disappointed noises at Beyonce throughout her performance, or something along those lines. Doesn't that dude basically seem like our first test subject?

Given that tenuous thread of spiritual connection between Eleanor and our new character, I wildly and irresponsibly speculate that in addition to being an intended stumbling block for Tehani, in the dynamic between the new tour he's basically going to be a souped up version of early Eleanor, petty and gossipy and self-defensively awful.

(In this theory, I'm not sure who Simone is meant to be similar to of the original four -perhaps Chidi, though I'm also very amused by the good place agent theory, and Chidi's worse version seems like a Doug Forcett simultaneously cocky about being precisely right about 94% of the afterlife and completely unable to handle having gotten the other 6% wrong.)

So we're going into this new premise setting up pairs who conflict (Tehani and our new douchebag, Chidi and Simone) but I think we'll also see a separately set of mentorship bonds where our main four pass along some of their growth. Anyway, I don't have all the details ironed out, but I like thinking about all the directions this show could go because so few of them seem to be off the table. And I haven't listened to the podcast on the finale yet, maybe they contradict all this.
posted by Rinku at 10:16 PM on January 25 [2 favorites]


>So Chidi + Simone will totally get together.

>>That did not feel as cliff hanger like as I had expected.

>>>>It definitely felt like a finale that had to be shot before they knew whether the show was renewed or not.


Oh my goodness yes I see it now, the original series finale is Chidi and Simone finding love and their perfect soul mate in the afterlife for eternity while Eleanor, who has finally learned love and selflessness, looks on.

Waaaaaaahhhh!!!
posted by St. Peepsburg at 11:48 PM on January 25 [1 favorite]


It's clear that the John Wheaton character is a Perez-Hilton-alike, but oh Baby PuppyGod in Heaven please let his name be a drag on über-scumbot Joss Whedon. I really deserve something nice after the year I just had.
posted by tzikeh at 1:59 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]


Honestly, we were hoping Michael was going to wipe both Chidi and Eleanor, out of some newfound sense of compassion.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:41 AM on January 26 [1 favorite]


OK, so I was 75% right.
posted by ckape at 3:58 AM on January 26


SUSHI AND THE BANSHEES
posted by ckape at 4:47 AM on January 26 [18 favorites]


Had to pause when they did the second newbie reveal because I TOTALLY FUCKING CALLED IT LAST THREAD OH NOOOOOOO
I thought of you!
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:44 AM on January 26 [5 favorites]


It's clear that the John Wheaton character is a Perez-Hilton-alike, but oh Baby PuppyGod in Heaven please let his name be a drag on über-scumbot Joss Whedon. I really deserve something nice after the year I just had.

Podcast spoiler--there was a not-convincing denial that he was named that for any particular reason; Marc Evan Jackson made a joke about it being after Wheaton College.
posted by damayanti at 7:06 AM on January 26


> mce:
"Bazaar & mercurial I know, but it'd be one way to get 'er done. The time-knife certainly hints at some concurrent versioning system"

If you want a VCS based afterlife, our very own cstross has got you covered.
posted by signal at 7:15 AM on January 26


Unpopular opinion, which is why I've waited.

Seasons 1 and 2 were perfection. This season has been an effort. The quality of writing and performing, line-to-line, has been peerless as ever. But the continuity and magic that gave that writing context has flown.

The Good Place itself was the centripetal force that bound the main characters together and made the show's love of absurdity and puns so natural. The whole thing was Michael's slightly off notion of what humans would want to like, and they were trapped there. Of course they would have to bind together -- they're stuck there, and it's delightful and awful.

Away from the afterlife, there was no real reason for the gang to be together and so a lot of energy was spent explaining why they were. There was also no real reason why Australia is full of puns and pictures of koalas, except that silliness and puns are good? Or it's a Mike Schur thing? But that's a different show, and one that yields far less for me.

In the break between episodes, I had to do a lot of recapping in my head to remember why they were doing ... what, again? What am I waiting to see in the next episode? Some other stuff? It just lost its juju for me, and I felt sad. I love these characters and the actors who play them, but that doesn't mean I love everything they do automatically.

Believe me, no one has rooted for a show harder than I rooted for The Good Place this season. But the delicious tingle, for me, is gone.
posted by argybarg at 7:40 AM on January 26 [8 favorites]


Signal: It’s on my list! I’m currently working my way through The Laundry Files but it’ll probably be next.

That being said I have to admit that the comment in question had a lot more to do with being tired, wanting to see the show play more with the Time Knife idea..... and, yes, shoehorning references to at least 9 VCS packages in 3 sentences.
posted by mce at 9:30 AM on January 26


[A few deleted; no reason to kick up some weird accusation over whether other people are commenting sincerely. Just go ahead and discuss the show.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 10:36 AM on January 26 [4 favorites]


Something I noticed was that each of the Soul Squad ended up showing their gradual improvement without any sort of prompting or reward, just as a natural response:

> Chidi formulates a risky plan, and then commits to it without back down (even after Eleanor presents him with alternatives),
> Jason manages to lay low and not let his impulsiveness torpedo anything (although that could just be a lack of screen time for him in an episode that focuses on other characters),
> Tehani swallows her pride and also turns the other cheek against someone who's insulting her class and taste,
> Eleanor puts aside her own self interest (especially now that she has a stable, loving relationship).

I'm wondering if the team doesn't end up failing the test as written because of Bad Place trickery, but altogether impressing the judge with their improvement beyond their mortal selves.
posted by codacorolla at 11:36 AM on January 26 [13 favorites]


I am, no lie, considering getting a Jeremy Bearimy tattoo.

same, tbh
posted by palomar at 2:09 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


Eleanor puts aside her own self interest
And trusts & relies on everybody else.
posted by cheshyre at 3:36 PM on January 26 [10 favorites]


So... Is Chidi now one of the new four? And thus, Eleanor’s tormentor?
posted by amro at 6:46 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


If Chidi is now one of the four, I'm guessing Jason's tormentor will end up being Derek, and as someone said earlier, the last person would be Doug Forcett.
posted by littlesq at 7:15 PM on January 26


I'm fairly certain that Chidi is not one of the new four.

He's just a re-set piece on Team Cockroach. There should be two more "bad" humans entering the experiment.
posted by porpoise at 7:39 PM on January 26 [4 favorites]


Beignet and the Jets!!
posted by chowflap at 8:53 PM on January 26 [10 favorites]


I'm guessing Jason's tormentor will end up being Derek

Unlikely, since Derek is a construct like Janet.
posted by suelac at 9:48 PM on January 26 [2 favorites]


I was thinking about how being in the Good Place we see this wonderful version of Chidi who has been freed from the fear that was crushing him on earth & in the bad place. All of his wonderful intelligence and care was stuck underneath all that fear. Reminds me of the Tin Man in the wizard of oz. Full of love and care but frozen, held back until given what he needed. When you give people what they need, they succeed. When you don’t, their fear and uncertainty consume them. Similarly freed from the limits and bullshit and fear in their lives were now seeing the best versions of all of the characters. Except Michael, who is out of his element in the good place. That’s why I think this is about the danger of austerity.
posted by bleep at 1:47 AM on January 27 [11 favorites]


Hey, here's a thought.

We know the people who got into the Good Place all have thoroughly pre-modern (and pre-Enlightenment!) ideas about what constitutes right and wrong. The case of Mindy suggests that there's a decent chance that they all got in not because they were exceptionally moral people, but because they unwittingly gamed the system in some way, or were lucky enough to avoid the pitfalls that have doomed everyone else. Odds are, they're not all that much better than anyone else we've met. And they've all had upwards of 500 years in the Good Place with no consequences for their actions, and a Good Janet who gives them whatever they want.

We know people can get better after they die. Can they also get worse?
posted by nonasuch at 6:53 AM on January 27 [36 favorites]


Odds are, they're not all that much better than anyone else we've met. And they've all had upwards of 500 years in the Good Place with no consequences for their actions, and a Good Janet who gives them whatever they want.

We know people can get better after they die. Can they also get worse?


mindblown.gif

I never even thought about the people actually in TGP!
posted by Emmy Rae at 6:57 AM on January 27 [2 favorites]


I was really expecting them to wipe Chidi's memories from when he met Simone, but then restore his memories from all of the other afterlife reboots in which he fell in love with Eleanor. In that way, he's sacrificing his current self- since we are our experiences, but he's not sacrificing the relationship or a lot of the personal growth. Showing them all of those memories on the screen really seemed like the set up for somebody to realize that.
posted by willnot at 11:07 AM on January 27


I think it's really important that Chidi actually put himself up for the sacrifice and then followed through. We get to see how safe he felt and how confident and brave he was. Also there is a lot in Buddhism about the highest thing you can do being putting aside your own Enlightenment to stay behind and help everyone else get through. I think finding a way to wriggle out of having to make the sacrifice narratively would have been disappointing.
posted by bleep at 11:14 AM on January 27 [13 favorites]


"Jeremy Bearimy, baby" is the deepest, most romantic line in the history of filmed entertainment.

Also god yes this line really got me.
posted by bleep at 2:13 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


In the shower today I came to the conclusion that Chidi is the Anti-Sheldon of TV. Someone I identify with and support as a nerd struggling with The Social, instead of wanting to punch them despite them being a nerd struggling with The Social (which is Lorre/Prady's stock in trade). I know Chidi is more than that, but Sheldon isn't, so the analogy has to end there.
posted by rhizome at 2:36 PM on January 27 [11 favorites]


We know the people who got into the Good Place all have thoroughly pre-modern (and pre-Enlightenment!) ideas about what constitutes right and wrong.

This is making me wonder all kinds of things, like whether many neighborhoods in the Good Place are segregated because people who lived in various places and times might just not have had the chance to act on their ingrained prejudices. And what are gender relations like in the various neighborhoods? What happens when some people or some neighborhood cultures change over time, and people outside of that movement deal with it about as well as they do with change over here?

Also, what about the true believer of various religions. I could see how someone who truly believed in some version of the afterlife would be unable to accept that their beliefs were only 5% true, and that the entire framework around which they had built their lives - and which they might have loved deeply - was basically false. For some people, that would be torture. Some might actually believe they were in their religion's version of the Bad Place because of that.

Plus the usual question of how happy someone could be knowing that they'll never see their loved ones again, and that most people, and most loved ones, are being tortured for eternity. And there's the absence of kids in the Good/Bad Places (is a toddler held responsible for the climate change implications of wasting food?) and older people (do we still lose points in the midst of dementia?) and so many more questions...

I've never been able to make the idea of heaven add up for me on any practical level, and the Good Place version isn't helping.
posted by trig at 2:42 PM on January 27 [6 favorites]


The characters that we know were sent to the bad place. We don't know if folks were actually separated from their friends & family in the real good place, and it was a lot easier to get in so if someone didn't make it you probably understood why. Also the concept of neighborhoods allow them to welcome people who all had the same beliefs in the same place and tell them the same thing.
posted by bleep at 3:11 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


Are we allowed to guess the 3rd and 4th?

My money's on Kamilah & Blake Bortles

Kamilah is obvious, but how about a gay Bortles that crushes hard on Jason that causes Janet to blow the entire Good Place into oblivion some other place.
posted by sammyo at 4:08 PM on January 27 [1 favorite]


The gossip blog dude is already there to torment Tahani, so Kamilah isn't required for that. Simone was sent to neutralise Chidi.

Shawn will decide that Jason is useless and doesn't need to be neutralised. So the next two will probably both be targeting Eleanor. Like her two ex-roommates? Or one person who looks like Tahani's head on Stone Cold Steve Austin's body and another person who looks like Stone Cold Steve Austin's head on Tahani's body.
posted by tobascodagama at 6:06 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


Chidi and Eleanor's relationship has become so central to the show that I feel like one of the new neighbors will be someone Eleanor (bad, selfish Eleanor??) would fall for, complicating matters further.

I was really ruined by the Eternal Sunshine ending. I watched this at like 7:00 am and I probably looked hungover at work, with my bloodshot eyes.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:13 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


Even though I do NOT want Pillboi to have died, I think Pillboi would be the perfect tormenter for Jason because Jason would have to try to be good instead of aid and abet Pillboi's hijinks. I can't see someone besides Doug or Pillboi because they can only introduce so many new characters at a time, right?
posted by rogerroger at 7:29 PM on January 27 [3 favorites]


I can't see someone besides Doug or Pillboi because they can only introduce so many new characters at a time, right?

How dare you doubt The Good Place!

No, seriously, the creators of this show have a knack for introducing characters and having them stick right away. For instance, Simone, Mindy St. Clair, Derek and Judge Gen were all minor characters who were born into the show fully formed and seemed indispensable by the end of their first episode. John Wheaton came in this episode and was immediately entirely insufferable in a very specific way. I don’t doubt that the last two new residents could be brand new characters who slot into the mythos of the show immediately and effortlessly.

But I could also see Doug Forcett being one of the four. This episode had his portrait in the background a LOT. And if he discovers he’s actually in the Bad Place after devoting his life to racking up points, he’s not going to be in the mood to self-improve.
posted by ejs at 8:13 PM on January 27 [5 favorites]


Oh and Blake Bortles would be a good choice not because he’d torment Jason, but because Jason wouldn’t be able to keep a secret from his hero, thus blowing the whole experiment.
posted by ejs at 8:21 PM on January 27 [2 favorites]


OMG, Doug Forcett finding himself in the Bad Place after decades of futile lentils and filtered pee... I'm imagining Michael McKean fueling an experiment-wrecking spiral of bad behavior that no one, even Eleanor, could possibly pry him out of. I'm so in.
posted by mochapickle at 8:25 PM on January 27 [12 favorites]


I still think Mindy is going to pop back in as a continuing part.
posted by rhizome at 9:58 PM on January 27


OMG, Doug Forcett finding himself in the Bad Place after decades of futile lentils and filtered pee... I'm imagining Michael McKean fueling an experiment-wrecking spiral of bad behavior that no one, even Eleanor, could possibly pry him out of. I'm so in.

And don't even try and mention his brother Jimmy to him ;)
posted by littlesq at 10:22 PM on January 27 [8 favorites]


Doug being one of the four would mean he made it into the good place. They are now in the good place. Right?

Also Jason already had a whole arc about how how he's already grown and changed and how that makes him different from Pillboi and Donkey Doug and negotiating that. I'd be surprised and disappointed if they just ran through that again.
posted by bleep at 11:34 PM on January 27


They’re not in the good place, though. They’re in some sort of experiment bubble.
posted by mochapickle at 12:00 AM on January 28


Oh I thought it was a good place neighborhood ..instance.. they were giving to the team to use for the experiment. I guess I need to watch it again.
posted by bleep at 12:06 AM on January 28


They're in Mindy St. Clair's backyard, hence, The Medium Place.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 3:13 AM on January 28 [5 favorites]


They’ve constructed a fake Good Place in the Medium Place — which they’re going to make four people think is the Bad Place — to see whether they get better enough to go to the Good Place.
posted by Etrigan at 3:57 AM on January 28 [10 favorites]


Doug would believe he's in the Good Place. I suspect his behaviour would change, since he no longer needs to earn the points.

I still think the whole thing is a training programme for Michaels or, as will be the case by the end, Eleanors. I'm also aware that this is just me projecting my aspirations for the universe onto the show.

Having seen the circuitous route she's taken to her current state of mind, Eleanor strikes me as the most mature person on television.
posted by Grangousier at 5:15 AM on January 28


Also, the New Four are chosen for their abilities to interact with the Classic Four, not each other.
posted by Grangousier at 5:16 AM on January 28 [1 favorite]


> "Chidi and Eleanor's relationship has become so central to the show that I feel like one of the new neighbors will be someone Eleanor (bad, selfish Eleanor??) would fall for"

Like ... Simone? :)
posted by kyrademon at 7:26 AM on January 28 [4 favorites]


Kamilah is obvious, but how about a gay Bortles that crushes hard on Jason that causes Janet to blow the entire Good Place into oblivion some other place.

Do non-sports fans who watch TGP know that Blake Bortles is a real person and not just a funny comedy quarterback name?
posted by Rock Steady at 8:42 AM on January 28 [16 favorites]


The new character designed to torture Jason just needs to be a die-hard Tennessee Titans fan.
posted by rocket88 at 8:51 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


The new character designed to torture Jason just needs to be a die-hard Tennessee Titans fan.

Wouldn't that be torture for everyone?
posted by Thorzdad at 10:35 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


Donkey Doug seems like the most obvious choice for Jason, but Tehani's pick was someone she didn't know (when her sister would've been a better personal choice), so who can say. I suspect the show will only stick with that premise for a few episodes anyway, given the velocity of previous season arcs.
posted by codacorolla at 11:43 AM on January 28 [2 favorites]


Oh man. Do not listen to the podcast while you are in public, otherwise you may find yourself sobbing at the laundromat. It was a beautiful podcast episode and also helped explain some of the Mike Schur-worship that felt grating to me in the past. He appears to be a wonderful human.
posted by rogerroger at 11:44 AM on January 28 [4 favorites]


Blake Bottles is a real person. I'd find it oddly disturbing if they had him die.

Put me in the Mixed-Feelings-About-This-Season camp. The Aussie episodes and the visit to Doug bored me a bit. Even though I originally thought it'd be interesting to see them back on Earth. The wipes and reboots are also tiring (YMMV).

I also dont always find the romantic entanglements of greatest interest either. The friendships are the best.

Speaking of which, that little speech Janet gave to Eleanor at the end? If this Janet is not actually a god, she should be.
posted by NorthernLite at 2:43 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I don't get why Jason was back in Buddhist monk robes. Are they trying to recreate their original "Good Place", down to each revelation or something? Cause Jason was not good at being someone else. And why on earth would you want him to be?
posted by Margalo Epps at 4:28 PM on January 28


The original fake Good Place needed the fiction that Eleanor was there by mistake, because otherwise she would know something was wrong.

It needed the fiction that Jason was there by mistake, because otherwise everyone else would know something was wrong.
posted by ckape at 4:45 PM on January 28 [5 favorites]


I wondered about the robes too and decided: they were dressed formally in preparation for Tahani's party. Jason was given the robes to wear after letting him wear what counted as formal clothes in Jacksonville was vetoed.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 5:56 PM on January 28 [10 favorites]


Man why people always gotta be hating on white jorts?
posted by phearlez at 8:25 PM on January 28 [1 favorite]


I figure that during planning, they realized that the only way Jason doesn’t give away the whole thing in the first couple of hours is if he is not allowed to speak at all.
posted by Etrigan at 9:17 PM on January 28 [22 favorites]


That's been sticking in my craw for a while now: Jason was the only one who acted different than normally at first. What was the process there, did Michael have him change into the wrong person for some reason in the initial meeting? Or did Jason decide all by himself? Does he have superpowers? Is that why Janet is into him?

I hope I'm not forgetting the explanation for that, because right now they're unanswered questions to me. I've rewatched the first and second seasons in the past year or so and I don't think it's explained.
posted by rhizome at 9:23 PM on January 28


I hope I'm not forgetting the explanation for that, because right now they're unanswered questions to me.

You are forgetting the explanation for that. Michael preys on the fact that Jason would be 100% confused by what's going on, and cleverly offers him an "out" when he first brings him into his office by making him (Jason) believe that Michael thinks he is a Tibetan monk named Jianyu who took a vow of silence while on Earth. Michael asks him if he'd like to continue that vow of silence now that he's dead, and Jason nods his head vigorously because he has *no fucking idea of what is happening* and so he plays along with whatever the old in-charge-looking dude says because he's *freaked out*.
posted by tzikeh at 11:11 PM on January 28 [11 favorites]


I don't get why Jason was back in Buddhist monk robes.

He probably thought it was the best way to perform the task assigned to him:
Eleanor: Okay, okay. Focus, team. Michael and I will prep for Simone. Tahani, keep an eye on John. Jason, talk to no one. Go nowhere. Do nothing.
Jason: I won't let you down.
posted by solotoro at 4:53 AM on January 29 [10 favorites]


So his solution is Eternal Sunshine himself and leave his current love IN THE EXACT SAME POSITION that he couldn't deal with???

My take is that this is all a clever ruse and they are still being punished/tortured with the "carrot of hope", which then continuously is taken away. And, you hit the nail on the head - he gets to escape, she gets to be put in the same position as he was... such torment...
posted by jkaczor at 6:07 AM on January 29 [1 favorite]


A part of the episode I'll never forget - how gentle Chidi's voice is when he's explaining to Jason that he won't remember having pizza with him.
posted by Mogur at 6:12 AM on January 29 [13 favorites]


I hope I'm not forgetting...

Here we go: S01E04, Michael doesn't know Jason isn't Jian-Yu and asks him if, as a monk in the living world, if he'd like to remain silent here. I think what confused me was Fake Eleanor, which was actually just a ruse that Shellstrop wasn't given a choice to continue.

So then...Jason is the only one who is/was actually there by mistake? sorry to relitigate all of this, but I really feel like there's a glitch here that is going to have meaning!
posted by rhizome at 2:49 PM on January 29


Jason is not there by mistake, the Jianyu mix-up is also a ruse.
posted by ckape at 3:05 PM on January 29 [8 favorites]


You people are killing me.
posted by rhizome at 4:22 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Nobody is there by mistake. The Eleanor/Eleanor & Jason/Jianyu "mistakes" were bullshirt.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:30 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


No, he said, "Simone just happened to die." That is a very odd way to put it. She didn't "happen" to die. She's there for a reason, one that not even Shawn realizes. He's getting conned.

Remember when we were all convinced that the Good Place would be empty, because truly good people would rebel at the idea of sitting on their asses for eternity while people suffered, and they'd all go back down to Earth to help people? And we were all convinced that Simone in particular was one of those returnees?
I have an even crazier theory, and keep in mind that my theories are always wrong.

In the previous episode Judge Gen goes to Earth for an indeterminate amount of time to learn what it's like there. She comes back saying she spent time in lots of different places.

So, since the Judge can probably appear any way she wants to on Earth, suppose she appeared on earth as Simone, and spent part of her time in Australia at the same time the Soul Squad was there.

(As a godlike being in a Jeremy Bearimy universe, she could have appeared on Earth at any time/times, and it makes sense that she would have chosen some times and places where she could interact with our characters to learn more about them.)

So when they start their new "experiment", Simone has "just happened to die" on Earth because Judge Gen just left Earth, and she reappears as Simone to get a closer look at the experiment, or to meddle with it because she's become fond of our characters. Maybe she was neutral before, but after spending time with the Squad she's now on their side.

(Note: one of the first things Judge Gen says when she returns from earth is "you are nobody's problem, sweetheart", flirting with Chidi.)

Come to think of it it would also explain why the Judge decides that Simone can stay...

My favorite thing about this show is that when I have crazy theories they always come up with something crazier than mine, but it's fun to think about.
posted by mmoncur at 5:32 PM on January 29 [7 favorites]


I feel like the idea that Gen killed Simone -- even to help out our heroes! -- is kinda grim. (Although it isn't as grim as the idea that Simone killed herself, either because she somehow knows what's going on or was in despair over Chidi.)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:39 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


I'm not saying Gen killed Simone, I'm saying she *was* Simone the entire time, and who knows how much Earth-time she continued to be Simone before finally "dying" and leaving Earth. She could have died of old age...
posted by mmoncur at 5:42 PM on January 29 [2 favorites]


mmoncur, many of the theories posited by people in these FanFare threads have actually come to pass, so you could very well be correct!
posted by rogerroger at 6:36 PM on January 29 [1 favorite]


Has anyone else gotten a strong modern Buddhist vibe from all this? (I want to call this Mahayana-ish but its been awhile since I've taken those classes and I forget how things attribute to which schools of Buddhist thought)

1) Some people recognize the cycle of the world, and how we are trapped by our actions
2) You could once reliably hope to break samsara and reach nirvana, but life has gotten too hard/complicated, and you need help
3) The bodhisattva have reached enlightenment but hold back from reaching nirvana themselves in order to help the rest of us get along (Soul Squad actions, and then the end of season 3)

Michael's reboots - and especially the endless Janet cycles - are an easy stand in for reincarnation. The new Middle Place Neighborhood could certainly wind up being a kind of Purgatory analog, which would fit with the general Good Place / Bad Place J-C dichotomy, but I dunno.
posted by curious nu at 8:18 PM on January 29 [13 favorites]


Also I wept like a child at the montage.
posted by curious nu at 8:18 PM on January 29 [3 favorites]


Has anyone else gotten a strong modern Buddhist vibe from all this?

Yes, like in every scene I'm like YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT BUDDHISM, JUST SAY IT.

I know they won't, since it's an extremely complicated topic and obviously they don't want anything that sounds like "This religion is correct" of course, but still. I think what I think!

Also I started watching this from the beginning and it just makes Chidi's sacrifice all the more poignant watching from the beginning how the entire time he's TRYING to put himself out there in front of everyone in trouble at every opportunity, and the only reason he doesn't take action is when he's not absolutely sure it's the right thing to do. Chidi not being in the good place from day 1 is such very good evidence that the system is broken.
posted by bleep at 2:10 PM on January 30 [6 favorites]


I think Eleanor’s person will be the Dress Bench.
posted by Fish, fish, are you doing your duty? at 5:19 PM on January 30 [4 favorites]


Not "Simone died". Not "I sent Bambadjan to kill Simone". No, he said, "Simone just happened to die." That is a very odd way to put it. She didn't "happen" to die. She's there for a reason, one that not even Shawn realizes. He's getting conned.

I just read that particular phrasing in the simpler (albeit grimmer) sense of "Shawn had Simone killed", and can't keep himself from being all hinty about it, because demon. I can't remember if it's been spelled out explicitly or not, but my impression is that beings from the afterlife are pretty much forbidden from interfering with humans on Earth during their normal lives. So if Shawn specifically caused Simone's death, especially as a plot to fuck with The Experiment, that would be a major cheat, with serious consequences if (when) it comes out.
posted by soundguy99 at 12:27 PM on January 31 [3 favorites]


Chidi's sacrifice is the trolley problem in action.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 12:35 PM on January 31 [8 favorites]




The name “Eleanor” is Greek for “bright, shining one” and the name “Chidi” means “God exists” in Igbo.

You see where I’m going with this, right?

Eleanor is the Devil, Lucifer, Morningstar, Bringer of Light, the most beautiful angel of all, and certainly a legit snack? Chidi is in fact God, so desperate always to do the morally correct thing because of the unimaginable weight of being the one who got us all into this mess called life?

So is it possible that The Good Place has taken a page from countless avatars, messiahs, fantasy novels, William Blake’s poetry, Kevin Smith’s Dogma, and even Neil Gaiman’s version of Death? Have God and the Devil chosen to take mortal bodies, to live and die countless times, always, inexorably drawn back to one another, over and over again, to work out their shirt?


This is the most Extremely My Shit series of paragraphs I've ever read about anything ever.
posted by bleep at 3:31 PM on January 31 [14 favorites]


I will bet a plate of beans that Simone figures out she's not in the good place by the end of the next episode.
posted by benzenedream at 12:29 AM on February 1 [14 favorites]


what is the location of this place?
posted by vapeman at 9:25 PM on February 1


Mindy's backyard.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 10:03 PM on February 1


Ok, so here is my prediction:

The experiment fails because the other 3 new humans are shitheels. Simone, being a scientist, will suss out quickly that she is in an experiment. The moral philosophy lessons won't happen, and Michael will declare it a failure.

But Simone will actually prove the scoring system is wrong because she is already a good person. In trying to sabotage Chidi, the Bad Place will have cork blorked themselves, because they sent an already reasonably good person into the test. Gen will be shown chewing out the Accountant at some point using Simone as an example of how a good, moral person should never have been sent to hell. It does beg the question of how she died and whether that is significant - if the Bad place didn't kill her, who did? It seems out of character for her to have committed suicide.
posted by benzenedream at 11:16 PM on February 1 [3 favorites]


I think we're back to the definition of a good person. What Michael and Team Cockroach proved was that living in the modern world is inherently incompatible with the scoring system for "goodness" as it currently stands. So, by that measure, regardless of how wonderful we might know Simone to be, she would not qualify as "good" by their standards.

I'm assuming her death was some kind of freak accident, like Eleanor's but with less vodka and shame.
posted by Superplin at 11:27 PM on February 1


I'm not saying Gen killed Simone, I'm saying she *was* Simone the entire time, and who knows how much Earth-time she continued to be Simone before finally "dying" and leaving Earth. She could have died of old age...

Gen seems to enjoy humans but not to especially care what happens to them; she's quite cheerful as she tells them they're damned. This would be a level of giving a damn about producing a better outcome that I don't think she'd engage in.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:12 AM on February 2 [3 favorites]


After rewatching the whole series over the last week or so I highly recommend it. The plot moves so fast and there are so many little details I missed. Like when I was watching it for the first time Tahani’s whole arc of moving to a Buddhist monestary and finding peace only to throw it away and re-make her whole fortune went totally in one ear and out the other. And how sweet Ted Danson’s acting is when I can wrap my whole mind around the stakes of what Michael did and what he’s trying to do now. Like when Eleanor says “us 6” and Michael does this sweet little smile.
posted by bleep at 11:20 AM on February 2 [2 favorites]


why am i tempted to make an afterlife wingdings font whyyy
posted by Pronoiac at 12:14 AM on February 3 [6 favorites]


I don't know. Clearly that effort would be better spent lobbying Unicode to get it added as a new code block.
posted by ckape at 6:47 AM on February 4


I present, Afterlife Wingdings.

Also, heh, I think some of the symbols are already in Unicode.
posted by Pronoiac at 8:43 AM on February 4 [6 favorites]


Truly a font of wisdom.
posted by Mogur at 8:50 AM on February 4 [8 favorites]


omg. The decoder ring I made was enough for WhatTheFont to identify it as Alchemy B! Some links: MyFonts, Linotype, Deniart (the creator). The included PDF booklet looks like it dates back to 1993. And Alchemy C matches the blurry text on Shawn's computer screen! Doing some decoding and googling, I'm getting Latin placeholder text - lorem ipsum with more context.
posted by Pronoiac at 12:45 AM on February 5 [8 favorites]


I'm not saying Gen killed Simone, I'm saying she *was* Simone the entire time, and who knows how much Earth-time she continued to be Simone before finally "dying" and leaving Earth. She could have died of old age...

Nah - remember that in Chidi Sees the Time-Knife (the previous episode), Gen thinks people are just lazy not to do the research to, for example, buy ethically-sourced tomatoes, and the humans say she doesn't have any idea because she doesn't know humanity first-hand. So, in order to prove it, she goes to experience Earth and the human realm herself. She would not have needed to do that if she'd been Simone, and that seems like too much of a "ooh another twist" if that whole discussion turned out to be a ruse.
posted by tzikeh at 10:27 AM on February 9 [4 favorites]


I think the people who are suggesting that Gen was Simone are saying that she did all that during her exploratory jaunt in "Time Knife" but due to the general Jeremy Bearimy nature of time, on EARTH it took place during the Australia episodes.
posted by He Is Only The Imposter at 5:36 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


That's how I understood that suggestion as well, yeah. Personally, I think it's an unnecessary contrivance and Simone is either (by far the most likely possibility) just Simone or (I don't find this very likely, but it's more likely than Simone and Gen being the same person) some kind of sleeper agent working to bring down the Point System.
posted by tobascodagama at 7:33 AM on February 11 [1 favorite]


I'll be really disappointed if Simone isn't just a cool, smart, funny person Chidi met. We don't have enough characters like Simone on TV and I'll be sad if they take that away.
posted by bleep at 8:13 AM on February 11 [7 favorites]


Like yeah, cool, smart, funny people like Simone are out there and when you meet them they make your life better. I need to hold on to that hope. The message of "if you think you met an awesome person, surprise! You didn't, they were fooling you. They're actually there for some esoteric purpose and gamed their stats to get you to like them." Ugh.
posted by bleep at 8:15 AM on February 11 [3 favorites]


Like not every piece of media is a video game.
posted by bleep at 11:21 AM on February 11 [6 favorites]


On the podcast, Mike Shur mentioned almost in an offhand way that he went to a philosophy conference because of the show; specifically the 2018 North American Sartre Society conference. [PDF link to conference agenda]

He brought philosophy advisor and actual expert on French existentialism Todd May with him; they were in a two-hour plenary session after lunch entitled Sartrean Philosophy and NBC’s The Good Place. In addition to Mike, Todd and the moderator, three papers were presented:
  • “I Would Refuse to Be a God if it were Offered to Me": Architects and Existentialism in The Good Place. Kimberly Engels, Molloy College.
  • Is Hell Other People? Relationships in Sartre’s No Exit and NBC’s The Good Place. Kiki Berk, Southern New Hampshire University.
  • Marginal Comforts - What Keeps Us in Hell? Jake Jackson, Temple University.
I repeat, there was a two hour plenary session at the North American Sartre Society Conference about... a very unusual American network television sitcom.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 1:38 PM on February 12 [10 favorites]


I repeat, there was a two hour plenary session at the North American Sartre Society Conference about... a very unusual American network television sitcom.

I have some interesting news for you! (Call for Papers deadline is not yet up for 2020).
posted by tzikeh at 8:56 AM on February 14 [1 favorite]


Is Hell Other People? Relationships in Sartre’s No Exit and NBC’s The Good Place. Kiki Berk, Southern New Hampshire University.

SIGN ME UP FOR THIS.
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:37 PM on February 14 [1 favorite]


The Vulture interviewed the Good Place writers for "How The Good Place Is Written". It has a summary of some of the interview and a podcast of more (all?) of it.
posted by Margalo Epps at 6:48 PM on March 20


I'm re-watching this season since my family decided to start watching. There is a great bit of foreshadowing in the episode where Chidi breaks up with Simone:

Simone: Well...see you in the next life.

Chidi: [freaking out] What? Why would you say that? What do you know?
posted by mikepop at 12:51 PM on March 21 [6 favorites]


Soul Squad UP! #TheGoodPlace just had our first Season 4 table read.

Ahh, the wait still seems long but there is light at the end of the tunnel.
posted by rewil at 3:56 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


That is the first picture I have ever seen of William Jackson Harper relaxed.
posted by Etrigan at 4:15 PM on March 28 [4 favorites]


And Darcy Carden is really tall. I guess I always knew that, but this pic, y'all.
posted by Mogur at 5:24 AM on March 29


I just re-watched this episode and I guess I'm a little unclear on how this new arrangement is "repeating the experiment".

Original setup:
fake Good Place neighborhood in Bad Place
fake residents are all Demons
four recently deceased humans who believe they are in the real Good Place, half of whom know this is a mistake
one regulation Good Place Janet
Hypothesis: humans will be bad and torture each other for eternity
Observable result: they somehow always find each other and try to improve

New setup:
fake Good Place neighborhood in Medium Place (ok, shouldn't make a difference)
fake residents are mostly Janet (with help from Derrick?) babies (we'll assume they can act the same)
four recently deceased humans who believe they are in the real Good Place
three other humans who know quite a lot about the afterlife
one human who used to know about the afterlife, but who will be reset to more of a "recently deceased" state (Chidi).
one Super Janet

I'm mostly confused about Chidi's role. The initial plan, I assume, was for the four new residents to somehow "find" Chidi, who would then commence with ethics lessons while the new fake residents (and I guess Eleanor and the gang) did fake torturing to emulate the past demons' roles. So already the experiment is off because instead of one of the unknowing humans doing lessons you have a very knowing human. Or at least that would have happened had the Bad Place not introduced Simone. So that seems like a major difference to me.

Of course, now Chidi will be closer to the Chidi in the original setup. Does this make him count as one of the new deceased then, or will there still be four new plus him? Will two of the new humans believe they are there in error? Will the constant thread of exposure still be the main driver of motivations?

I assume the writers had plenty of time to figure this all out! Also, the whole experiment concept might be thrown out after episode two anyway given the pace of this show so all the little details might not matter.

I can imagine Mindy St. Clair invading the fake neighborhood and blowing the entire deal.
posted by mikepop at 12:48 PM on April 18


I guess I'm not sweating the details because I just assume they'll blow up the whole premise for a different one within the first five minutes of next season's premiere.
posted by tobascodagama at 1:33 PM on April 18 [2 favorites]


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