The Good Place: A Girl from Arizona, Part 1
September 26, 2019 8:15 PM - Season 4, Episode 1 - Subscribe

With Eleanor assuming the role of the architect, the group adapts to the challenges facing them when four test subjects inhabit a new neighborhood under their supervision.
posted by DirtyOldTown (73 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
The idea that the 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS song is the theme song is hell is no kidding around one of my oldest running jokes.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:17 PM on September 26 [40 favorites]


I laughed so hard when they started singing that song.

I'm so anxious for all of them, and what will come of Chidi getting to know Simone.
posted by numaner at 8:29 PM on September 26


Season 2 and 3 got me used to a two-part opener that I had a "wait, where's the rest?" moment after this one. :(

Anyway, glad this show is back!
posted by bigendian at 8:29 PM on September 26 [1 favorite]


Most of my existential terrors come from pondering what the last fragments of neural activity might be experienced as, so Simone sciencing the fork out of that is so good.

Also I kind of want a cocktail glass full of gherkins.
posted by joeyh at 8:49 PM on September 26 [12 favorites]


Always pleased to see No Shirt Guy because that gag makes me laugh every time.

That song choice was A+.

I need to rewatch it. I saw most of it but comcast was being a forking bench.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 9:00 PM on September 26 [7 favorites]


Sooooo, I want to be happy the show is back, but this was kind of a mess.

How is this experiment supposed to work? In the original squad, Eleanor only worked to get better because she thought she didn't belong. Then in the second season the whole squad improved because they knew they had been sent to hell and wanted to be better. So where is the motivation for the new test subjects to get better? None of them suspect they don't belong there (except Simone who just doesn't buy into the whole concept). Where is even the acknowledgement that they can improve? Do Janet and Derek's babies all have invented back stories of lives on earth that the subjects will learn about, contrast with their own, and be moved to improve themselves? The premise is that they are repeating the original experiment to see if it produces the same results. But the original (accidental) experiment involved the humans being tortured. Except for the environment, nothing about the experiment is the same.

e.g. in the original experiment, flying day was supposed to torture Eleanor (or unintentionally motivate her to change) because she had to watch everyone else fly while she cleaned up. But in this version they were just trying to get the test subjects to fly and have fun. How is that testing whether they can become better people or not?? The cast seems more like they're trying to run a resort than an experiment.

There no longer seems to be any coherent narrative or central message. It just feels like a setting for very good actors to vamp.

This is one of my favourite shows of all time, but the premise for this season didn't seem promising when they laid it out at the end of last season, and so far the execution bears that out. The obvious ending they are building towards is that the new subjects will show some kind of improvement but not enough, and the real proof that the point system is flawed will be that Eleanor went from being an Arizona trashbag to trying to save people's souls.

Sorry to be a killjoy. I want to love it because so much of this show has been perfect, but they've just lost the plot. :(
posted by dry white toast at 9:33 PM on September 26 [13 favorites]


Dwt, I have been surprised enough times by the writers that I am willing to give them an episode to both raise and speak to those points.
posted by emjaybee at 9:43 PM on September 26 [16 favorites]


I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt that there will be explanations for all of this, and any weirdness is part of the journey. (they sure explained Linda!)
posted by geezlouise at 9:46 PM on September 26 [2 favorites]


I don't think this setup will last more than another episode or two, they are really fond of destroying what you think the premise of the season will be by episode four.

For example, I will be very surprised if the Michael and Janet that got off the train at the end were our Michael and Janet. Shawn gave up too quickly and I bet they did a switcheroo.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 10:04 PM on September 26 [45 favorites]


not a secretary
posted by ellieBOA at 4:49 AM on September 27 [19 favorites]


I'm definitely giving them the benefit of the doubt here, but I, too, was pretty underwhelmed with this premier. It just felt so disorganized and "throw crap at the wall and see what sticks"-ish to me.

I had a real issue with how Simone was responding to being in the Good Place. Yeah, I can see how her training and intellect would lead her to believe this was all just her dying neurons going into spasms and whatnot. But, I don't buy that she would just mindlessly become an asshole against it like that. I would think she would take the opportunity to actually explore and experience the world that she believes her dying mind is creating. I mean, that seems like something a trained neuroscientist would absolutely jump at, even if they were dead.

I also don't buy that the Judge would simply allow the contest to continue, however modified, after catching Shawn & Co. cheating. I could have sworn she laid down the law about there being no interference, and any side doing so would forfeit. I could be wrong, of course.

It's pretty obvious that Janet is heading for some level of disaster. They really played-up that she was barely holding the simulation together, and was becoming more and more peeved at having more duties lumped on her.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:08 AM on September 27 [4 favorites]


For example, I will be very surprised if the Michael and Janet that got off the train at the end were our Michael and Janet. Shawn gave up too quickly and I bet they did a switcheroo.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit
Remember that we saw late last season that they had made a replica Michael skinsuit, too.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:34 AM on September 27 [8 favorites]


I also share some of the concerns about "What's the test here?" and how Simone was acting, but I also am willing to give this show a lot of glidepath. I remember thinking the same thing about the first episode of the second season. They gotta re-establish the new Good Place every time, and it's never quite landed as well as everything else.

For example, I will be very surprised if the Michael and Janet that got off the train at the end were our Michael and Janet. Shawn gave up too quickly and I bet they did a switcheroo.

Did Michael get on the train at all? I thought he was outside perfecting his "Booyah!" jibe. But yeah, as soon as Janet came off the train, I said "There's zero reason for this scene unless Janet just got replaced."

From the podcast:
Note that "Linda"'s first question was "Is there a fitness center?" The writers were afraid that was giving it away too easy, but it stayed.
When Luke took his shirt off, some crew member muttered "Oh, goddammit." Which, yeah.
posted by Etrigan at 6:35 AM on September 27 [28 favorites]


dry white toast, I voiced similar questions in this thread from last season. And I think the answer is pretty much going to be it doesn't matter because this part of the premise will cease to be relevant by the end of episode two. Even if they had figured out how recreate the experiment "properly", this season was never going to be watching another round of ethics lessons and monitoring the points board to see if it was working.

On a more typical show, though, the cheating by the Bad Place would have been more subtle and drawn out for half the season. Instead we already have the first "reset" of the experiment by adding Chidi as one of the official subjects (something I also wondered about last season). I also got the feeling that something happened to Janet (or a switch was made) on the train. She is very much seeming weird in the background after getting off the train.
posted by mikepop at 6:41 AM on September 27 [1 favorite]


Note that "Linda"'s first question was "Is there a fitness center?" The writers were afraid that was giving it away too easy, but it stayed.

omg I'm so dumb :( I love gym demon!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:52 AM on September 27 [23 favorites]


I forgot there was a podcast :(

Also, "Dead eyes, eat hearts, can’t lose".

Ha!
posted by ZeusHumms at 7:29 AM on September 27 [21 favorites]


This really, truly felt like the first half of an episode, so I refuse to have an opinion (currently meh, because I supremely hated Derek last time [due to Jason Mantzoukas' complete overuse in B99] and can't quite get past the hate). I am happy to see Bambadjan back, though.
posted by jeather at 7:53 AM on September 27 [5 favorites]


The Bad Place pep talk was surprisingly touching. The whole Bad Place concept is such a weird, Bizarro-World setup that sometimes it comes right around to them having their own strange sort of ethos.
posted by emjaybee at 7:56 AM on September 27 [7 favorites]


So I'm not saying Janet is a facsimile of 'God', but if she were, and if she were to decide to Peace Out and let everyone take care of their own problems because they are all so dammned needy and take her for granted, well.. I'm not saying it would be a fitting statement about 'God' abandoning his Creations to their own devices because ::gestures around:: have ya seen what humanity does when there is no direct impetus to be good? BUT...

This was the first ever episode where I didn't' laugh out loud at least once. I still enjoyed it, but it definitely felt like the first part of a two part episode.

Also I'm a tad worried, that after all their improvement the Good Place Squad are all backsliding on their ethics so unthinkingly.

Jason 'killed' Derek without a second thought, to get his own way.
Elanor kept Chidi and Simone apart for her own (understandable) utterly selfish reasons.
Tahina has gone back to every-other-phrase is humble-brag mode

Chidi self sacrificed his memories to help everyone else, but we didn't see much else of him this episode so ::shrug::

ALSO the boring lady being a demon was an amusing twist, but it would have been more - I dunno I want to say - more in keeping with the show if she were a human who was just incapable of feeling joy due to a lifetime of disappointment. Teaching her how to know it's okay to be happy would have been a meatier ethical subject,.. hope that makes sense.

Because it's the final season. I'm guessing there will be lots of loose ends and things unexplored due to time constraints.
posted by Faintdreams at 9:28 AM on September 27 [16 favorites]


Wait, the KARS for Kids song is real? Man, you learn something hellish every day!

I too felt underwhelmed, though Mark Evan Jackson does a lot to get me over it (it's so weird to me that one of my favorite characters is a demon in "the form of a 45-year-old white man, I can only fail up" because I usually hate bad guys, even comedic ones. But I just adore that man and mrowr, he can get it in that olive-green suit. Also, I started out totally devoted to Chidi, so). And I have so many residual stores of heart-eyes for the show that it would be a while before I got annoyed.

This is my favorite show along with Schitt's Creek, and both of them are ending this year and I'm devastated, so I will let this play out and see where it goes. But I definitely left the episode wondering what's actually happening here, and was surprised by how little I found really funny or endearing. I know they adore Mantzoukas, but he is so grating and annoying to me.

Though: "I need my daily dose of Timothy Olyphant." Same, sister, same. If you were real, I'd invite you to join us on my dreamwidth for our rewatch of Justified.
posted by emcat8 at 10:54 AM on September 27 [6 favorites]


For me, this episode felt like it was mostly just moving some things into place for the rest of the season. Winding some clocks, setting some springs. And that's OK. We've had episodes in the past that did this and it ended up paying off really well.

I did laugh out loud about the racquetball partner comment. Jamil's delivery is perfection. I still laughed at the Lasagna Come Out Tomorrow shop sign. And while I hope they keep Derrick to a minimum, I laughed at him taking a bite out of his martini glass. (Although I do think there's some sort of Big Plan in store for Derrick, as they made a big deal about Mindy St. Claire constantly resetting him, which results in hundreds if not thousands of tiny hops forward into his evolution.)

My big question right now is: Where is Vicky in all this? Is she masquerading as someone else? Is she quietly stepping in as Train-Switch Janet? I get that the actress playing her has some other projects, but she's always had other things going on.

Weirdly, I'm still clinging to the idea that this particular universe is benevolent and leaves no one behind, and that there are thousands/millions of elaborate Good Place setups where everyone on earth passes through until they learn what they should have learned on earth, and then they eventually graduate. That everyone evolves on reset, not just Janet and Derrick. That our fearless four are just one group of many. That Michael was never actually a demon, but played one to move the training forward. That none of the demons are actually demons. And based on Eleanor stepping in as architect for this round, maybe she'll eventually run one of the Good Place instances. I dunno. I just have faith that this is all leading up to something positive and good.
posted by mochapickle at 11:06 AM on September 27 [5 favorites]


Vicky was the one wearing the Michael suit at the end of last season, so maybe it's still her in there.
posted by umber vowel at 12:08 PM on September 27 [3 favorites]


Jason 'killed' Derek without a second thought, to get his own way.
Elanor kept Chidi and Simone apart for her own (understandable) utterly selfish reasons.
Tahina has gone back to every-other-phrase is humble-brag mode

Chidi self sacrificed his memories to help everyone else, but we didn't see much else of him this episode so ::shrug::


......WAIT. wait wait wait wait wait wait WAIT.



I'm calling this now: I predict we'll get some kind of a twist reveal that the whole "we need to do a test to see if humans are good" was actually a crock, and what's REALLY going on is that Michael and Shawn and Gen cooked it up as a final test for our original four: "Have they truly learned from being around each other to the point that they will carry those improvements out on their own, or when they're separated will they backslide into their old behavior?"
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:59 PM on September 27 [19 favorites]


FYI, the network showed the first four episodes to TV critics, if that means anything to people searching for reviews and recaps right now.
posted by ZeusHumms at 12:59 PM on September 27


Also, I do hope this is something we get to see. You can't just drop Disco Janet and not show us Disco Janet! From the AV Club recap:
Michael reveals that, during some of the reboots, there was a Disco Janet in the mix. “She was great,” he muses, “Well, she was a lot.”
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:38 PM on September 27 [17 favorites]


Ugh, Bad Janet reminds me of my ex, who I ran into the other night. *sigh* Bad Janet...

They went into this knowing it was the last season, so I highly doubt this status quo is going to stay in place for long. What's the over under on when they go back to earth??
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:10 PM on September 27


My comment above sparked some discussion (yay!), and after I posted I felt like I should have added what other people noted, which is that the writing has been at such a high level that they've earned some leeway to play things out. But this isn't just the first episode of this premise, it's the third. And also, if they dump this concept after the next episode, then the emotional stakes of the season cliffhanger, erasing Chidi's memory (A twist that also made very little sense), meant nothing.

I guess I just also find the Bad Place's attempts to interfere to be the least interesting part of the show. The show has always been driven by the growth of the main characters cast against the risk of their eternal torture. None of that has ever been affected by the demons trying to get their hands on them. They're unnecessary.

Have they truly learned from being around each other to the point that they will carry those improvements out on their own, or when they're separated will they backslide into their old behavior?

I like this idea but this was also the premise of the experiment at the end of Season 2. And it was failing enough that Michael had to cheat to get them together.
posted by dry white toast at 3:16 PM on September 27 [1 favorite]


I feel like mochapickle was basically 7 minutes off, which scares me as it is within 0.002% given the prediction was 9 months ago.

He didnt remember her name! This show is brutal sometimes.

I think Simone could be persuaded by a mathematician. If she sees some proof that she's never known or understood, she could understand that she's not in her own head. The laws of physics could be bent in there, but not maths at a level she can check. I hope we get a fully-developed "how do you convince a neuroscientist she isn't hallucinating" episode.
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 4:11 PM on September 27 [9 favorites]


I liked how materials guy said frickin' and it didn't come out forkin'. So he actually meant to say frickin'.
posted by paper chromatographologist at 5:17 PM on September 27 [11 favorites]


Man, some of y'all are grinches. I loved this (and super-trust that the show knows where it's going, which is something none of us save for maybe mochapickle can predict.)

But, from where we are...

•John was chosen to torment Tahani, with his supreme shallowness and obsession with the most embarrassing aspects of her life on earth.
•Simone was chosen to torment Chidi, with their complicated romantic history together.
•Brent was chosen to torment Eleanor with his relentless white male privilege.
•Linda was Luke the Shirtless Demon in disguise, sent to sabotage the project a lot more gradually than a demon like Luke can manage.

Something to note here is that all of this means that the Bad Place doesn't understand Jason. Or, perhaps more likely, they think it's pointless to try to torment him, as they see him as dead weight on the Soul Squad. It didn't come through as too obvious here, because Derek was doing more than enough overt antagonism for Jason for one episode, but Michael couldn't think of anything that Jason brings to the table during his pep talk, and Shawn didn't bother factoring him into his plan. I think that's gotta mean something (and I wouldn't be shocked if Jason is the one who can get through to Simone, not by reasoning her into understanding that this is real, but by accidentally getting her to reason it out for her self, accidental-socratic-method-style.)

But regardless, instead of having a human in the experiment picked out specifically to get on the nerves of each member of the Soul Squad, we've got one for Tahani (John, still, who didn't get a lot to do here but was hilarious with the moment he got), one for Janet (Brent, without whom she'd probably be keeping it together more - D'Arcy Carden was so damn good in this one) and two for Eleanor, with Simone and Chidi together bringing out the (relative) worst in her.

Other things of note:
•When Eleanor taught Chidi the book-summoning trick, did anyone else expect him to not be able to mentally choose a book to summon? But he did! At lightning-speed by Chidi Anagonye standards! Even with his memory wiped, he's still improved upon where he was at the start.
•I probably like Jason Mantzoukas more than some here, but he was full of laugh-out-loud moments in this episode, with the "A MURDER HAS BEEN TO ME!" topped only by him menacingly chomping a bite out of the martini glass.
•I think they're nowhere with the experiment so far specifically because they don't yet know how to reach the subjects they've been given, so of course everything's slapdash right now. Michael knew everything about Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi and Jason when they started season 1, and tailored everything to their purposes, but this time they're playing the beats just because they're flying blind and after rebooting it 800-something times they forgot the reasons for the welcome party, video, flying day, etc.
•If they are going to get through to John, I think Tahani is actually the best one to get him there. They were similarly shallow and just accepting of their belonging in The Good Place when they first arrived, so Tahani will likely "know they way out" as Leo McGarry might say. Similarly for Brent and Eleanor, though Eleanor by-design had a much more self-reflective view of her trashbagocity when she arrived. As I said above, I think Jason can get through to Simone, making Chidi perhaps the toughest nut to crack here, which seems fitting. Earlier, he needed the other three so that he had someone to teach and a moral epic quest. He's not going to get that impetus this go-round.

And finally, the lingering question:

•If Mindy died in the eighties, and no one has gotten into the Good Place in over five hundred years, is Mindy the best person who has died in all of that time, according to the points system? And if her charity did so much great work, how don't Tahani and/or Chidi know what it is?
posted by Navelgazer at 6:02 PM on September 27 [25 favorites]


It felt like Eleanor had been really emphasizing Linda's name, which made me think that she was going to be there "accidentally" but I guess not. As far as the way forward for the experiment goes, with Eleanor as the architect, that leaves Jason as the only one there as a "mistake". I expect he'll reveal his real identity to the test subjects and they'll try to use that as the hook to get the others to improve. I also expect that they'll find that the whole thing doesn't really work without the insidious torment angle, running them into the ethical conundrum of whether or not they can torment people for their own good.

As far as Mindy goes, I think the main thing is that she died before the demerits from the negative externalities could get marked against her.
posted by ckape at 6:51 PM on September 27


Except that Mindy's positive points were virtually all from the externalities her charity created after her death. But that could be a weird loophole. But also, like, didn't her sister actually get the charity going based on Mindy's coked-out writings? Because I'm betting the sister still winds up in the bad place.

Anyway, I just rewatched and Michael and Janet both get on the train to deliver Luke, so yeah, there's almost definitely something hinky there. Watching it that way, Michael's "Boo-ya!" thing really makes me think that Trevor is wearing the Michael suit (unless Trevor is still flying through the time knife or whatever.)
posted by Navelgazer at 7:07 PM on September 27 [2 favorites]


I too would like to note that Derek taking a bite out of the cocktail glass was one of my favorite visual gags in years
posted by DoctorFedora at 7:33 PM on September 27 [12 favorites]


As far as the way forward for the experiment goes, with Eleanor as the architect, that leaves Jason as the only one there as a "mistake". I expect he'll reveal his real identity to the test subjects and they'll try to use that as the hook to get the others to improve.

I think this is where I keep getting stuck--the four, well, three have no perception that they don't belong there, unlike Eleanor realizing right away they mistook her for someone else, and we don't get to see their interior processes for the most part since they're not our main characters. The closest we have is Simone not believing it's happening. I went into season 2 not sure they could sustain the show and then we got stuff like Dance, Dance Resolution, so I should just let it go and put myself in their hands. It's just that I'm baffled by what's actually happening, as much as I'm frequently baffled by the tenets of moral philosophy.

Still cracking up over Michael's "Oh, I'm not part of this."
posted by emcat8 at 7:48 PM on September 27 [7 favorites]


it would have been more - I dunno I want to say - more in keeping with the show if she were a human who was just incapable of feeling joy due to a lifetime of disappointment. Teaching her how to know it's okay to be happy would have been a meatier ethical subject,

when we are not caught up in excruciating Good Place false ethics we call that being depressed, and we don't fix it by explaining that it's ok to be happy. though who am I to say what can and can't be taught in Ted Danson hellworld.

however, she wasn't even necessarily depressed just because the actor was projecting a depressed affect for miles, and the sheer baseness of Eleanor & Ted et al.'s projection was shocking (she seemed content, she said she was content, and solely because they didn't like her, they decided that A. she was unhappy and B. there was something wrong with her.) her big sin was not groveling enough, not being grateful enough, and being fine without a massive influx of empty stimulation. and not entertaining them. all had zero to do with not being happy or, more importantly, not being good.

plus and also, why did they erase Simone's & Chidi's memories to avoid having a single difficult conversation, what is even the problem with Simone being there, what the fuck is any of that supposed to be in service of, what is the internal rationale for any of that? yes I did watch last season. no, they did not explain it. they may have thought that they did, but they did not.
posted by queenofbithynia at 7:48 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


Chidi would be unable to lie to Simone for long. He would spill the beans about the experiment, which would taint the results and make the experiment forfeit, thereby dooming humanity to the status quo of everyone being banished to the Bad Place.

That explanation seems to hold a little less water once Shawn tried to taint the experiment with Chris dressed as a dispassionate Norwegian woman, and Judge Gen allowed the experiment to continue with one less player on the ice, but still, it was a risk Chidi could not countenance taking.
posted by ejs at 7:54 PM on September 27 [8 favorites]


however, she wasn't even necessarily depressed just because the actor was projecting a depressed affect for miles, and the sheer baseness of Eleanor & Ted et al.'s projection was shocking (she seemed content, she said she was content, and solely because they didn't like her, they decided that A. she was unhappy and B. there was something wrong with her.) her big sin was not groveling enough, not being grateful enough, and being fine without a massive influx of empty stimulation. and not entertaining them. all had zero to do with not being happy or, more importantly, not being good.

I too think this could have been interesting. They basically hated Linda off the bat because John and Simone's presence had them primed for her to be antagonistic and suspicious. And this Bartleby the Scrivener type actually would have been probably their biggest challenge if she'd stuck around, but it's the final season and I get it if that's not the road we're taking.

Also, since Simone was seemingly taken from some part of Jeremy Bearimy where she and Chidi never had a history, memory-wiping him is feeling like an extra-dumb maneuver now.
posted by Navelgazer at 7:54 PM on September 27


I would be perfectly happy if Derek/Jason Mantzoukas just did gags with the martini glass for the entire season. I enjoy Jason Mantzoukas but he can be a lot. But he's really damn great at sight gags.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 7:57 PM on September 27 [4 favorites]


Chidi would be unable to lie to Simone for long. He would spill the beans about the experiment, which would taint the results and make the experiment forfeit, thereby dooming humanity to the status quo of everyone being banished to the Bad Place.


no I remember they said that in the whole thing where they were all saying it HAD TO BE DONE, but if he's really that incapable of undertaking one single act of self-control and staying committed to it for a set and limited duration, that would call into question the whole idea that any of them have improved in any way. and I'm not just saying that because I prefer self-absorbed dicks to boring smarm factories, although I do.
posted by queenofbithynia at 8:00 PM on September 27


But that was actually evidence that Chidi had improved, because he was able to make a decision to benefit those he loved, whereas in life his indecision had harmed both those he loved and himself. (The main reason he was sent to the Bad Place.)
posted by ejs at 8:51 PM on September 27 [8 favorites]


I would be perfectly happy if Derek/Jason Mantzoukas just did gags with the martini glass for the entire season. I enjoy Jason Mantzoukas but he can be a lot. But he's really damn great at sight gags.

Derek is the frozen yogurt of the show.
posted by mochapickle at 9:55 PM on September 27 [6 favorites]


On the other hand, what if Simone is right?
posted by kyrademon at 1:28 AM on September 28 [5 favorites]


Also, since Simone was seemingly taken from some part of Jeremy Bearimy where she and Chidi never had a history, memory-wiping him is feeling like an extra-dumb maneuver now.

The Judge ruled that she could be mind-wiped to pre-Chidi-relationship when the Soul Squad appealed her inclusion in the experiment. Even after that, Chidi realized that he wouldn’t be able to keep it a secret.
posted by Etrigan at 3:55 AM on September 28 [7 favorites]


1-877-KARS for Kids

Don't. Don't click it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:35 AM on September 28 [3 favorites]


I'm taking Michael's "Oof!" reaction to Eleanor's "He didn't even remember my name!" as a total Cheers callback.
posted by maudlin at 7:16 AM on September 28 [4 favorites]


The Soul Squad has to convince Simone this really is the Good Place, spy on her, and then reveal it's a setup in the Medium Place... how pissed is Simone going to be when that's revealed?
posted by Monochrome at 7:27 AM on September 28 [1 favorite]


this time they're playing the beats just because they're flying blind and after rebooting it 800-something times they forgot the reasons for the welcome party, video, flying day, etc.

Yes, that's one of the huge mistakes they're making here. They're so focused on how to deal with the Bad Place's sabotage that they lost sight of their actual goal.
posted by tobascodagama at 8:26 AM on September 28 [4 favorites]


I don't think this setup will last more than another episode or two, they are really fond of destroying what you think the premise of the season will be by episode four.

3 - 3 - 3 - 3 - 1, every single season. Just because the formula is a great one that’s used well doesn’t mean this show isn’t incredibly formulaic.
posted by a box and a stick and a string and a bear at 12:32 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Re 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS as hell's theme song? Ha, the demons evidently haven't heard the Empire Carpet song. Over and over. And over.

I forked over a couple forking bucks to buy the epi. (Wasn't home that night, don't have a DVR.) In light of that expense, I also felt a bit underwhelmed. But I'm looking forward to see where they go.
posted by NorthernLite at 12:58 PM on September 28 [3 favorites]


I will most likely say more later, but did anyone have any issues going to Hulu the next day, not being able to find the show at all on the website, except for some ad to buy Hulu TV live? It made it look like they weren't putting the show online at all whatsoever unless I paid even more money, but it did show up today.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:21 PM on September 28


Weird. I was able to get into it on Hulu the next morning, here in Mountain time. I'm not sure what time it would have popped up.

I think it's also supposed to stream on the NBC website for free the next day.
posted by mochapickle at 6:46 PM on September 28 [1 favorite]


Yes, I watched it tonight on NBC.com
posted by willF at 7:55 PM on September 28


>the reboot thing is the most important thing in the show. regardless of where the arc goes, the one consistent thing has been that getting to go again makes one better.

i’d say there’s another consistent thing in the show, but ever since she’s started playing the architect kristen bell has worn vertical stripes, not horizontal stripes.

(just marathoned season 3 in anticipation of season 4. so many horizontal striped sweaters, y’all. until she becomes architect and then blam, vertical stripes)
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 11:12 PM on September 28 [12 favorites]


I'm idly rewatching the episode over coffee, and the first question Linda asks is, "Is there a fitness center?"
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:15 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


RNTP, there was a video behind the scenes in the costume department and the costume designer Kirston Leigh Mann said she chose the horizontal striped sweaters for a collegiate feel.
posted by ellieBOA at 7:35 AM on September 29


Re 1-877-KARS-4-KIDS as hell's theme song? Ha, the demons evidently haven't heard the Empire Carpet song.

There may only be one record in hell's jukebox, but it's still gotta have a B-side.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:14 AM on September 29 [10 favorites]


> RNTP, there was a video behind the scenes in the costume department and the costume designer Kirston Leigh Mann said she chose the horizontal striped sweaters for a collegiate feel.

yeah but also it means something that eleanor switched to vertical stripes at the exact moment that she stepped in for michael and thereby leveled up from legit snack to novice angel.
posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 8:56 AM on September 29


I do hope there's a limit to Bad Place demon antics--they just seem like pointless obstacles to the interesting questions about working with flawed people.

I had been hoping that Linda's deal was just that she had lived such a comfortable life that being just under medium-good had always been enough, and so she'd never had the need or drive to improve. Material Sales Guy seemed just so aggressively obnoxious that he seemed more likely to be the plant.

I do think that Simone is an excellent test for even mind-wiped Chidi: she's playing out actual nihilism, and it seems like the setup for Chidi to discuss either Pascal's Wager or existentialism, or both.
posted by pykrete jungle at 9:18 AM on September 29 [1 favorite]


Actually, to the point above about Simone not actually "testing" the world enough, I imagine some of that is due to shock and bewilderment. I could see her pushing Janet to the breaking point with tests of reality and physics, presenting paradoxes, asking her for the real truth, etc.
posted by pykrete jungle at 9:21 AM on September 29 [3 favorites]


the thing that i find low-key annoying about simone's scientism as presented in this episode are that her condition while in eleanor's good place is exactly the same as her/our condition out in mundane reality: we are all presented with a series of sensations, and we have no way of sorting out the underlying reality of those sensations, and we have good reason to believe that the stream of sensations will at some point relatively soon end, leaving no new sensations and no trace of either the previous sensations in the stream or the existence of anything to sense them.

i really look forward to chidi helping simone realize this, and help her stop doing silly things with no philosophical grounding and start doing actual well-grounded science instead. i'm sure it will help them fall madly in love, thereby setting up chidi/simone as endgame, and the team having someone with scientific training on their side will greatly improve their chances of actually carrying out some serious tikkun olam or whatever.

i wonder if eleanor the architect will ever tell chidi about their history together, or if it will remain her own little bittersweet secret. a wistful thing that she carries with her forever as she spents eternity helping new people adjust to their afterlives in the good place.

omg you'll cry so much. you'll cry like kristen bell meeting a sloth.

posted by Reclusive Novelist Thomas Pynchon at 9:49 AM on September 29 [10 favorites]


As for this being shown as part one on its own rather than as a single hour: I figure NBC made various decisions based on the rest of its Thursday night lineup, and I figure the second half of the ep will be good and will answer some more questions.

My household did not suspect Linda! We were thinking that Linda would be a chance for us to reflect on people who are neither virtuous nor wicked, just apathetic..... perhaps who have no particular desires. My spouse heartily enjoyed Eleanor's "well KEEP it off!" reply (re: the shirt being stuck to the skinsuit) and accompanying facial language.

The spouse and I were talking about what Simone's flaws are .... maybe the show is going to criticize her for willing to be playful/jokey at times when other people need her to be serious.

I hope people don't mind spoilers for the websidodes about The Bad Place's planning meetings (caution: one of those episodes has a lot of scatological food-related humor that I found nauseating).

Glenn is a bit of a wild card now... my wild throwing-it-out-there very-low-probability prediction is that he and Mindy will get infatuated with each other while he's acting as a Team Cockroach/Soul Squad mole.
posted by brainwane at 9:59 AM on September 29 [4 favorites]


Oh, and: I believe the book Chidi chooses to summon into his hand is Kant's Critique of Pure Reason!
posted by brainwane at 10:02 AM on September 29 [2 favorites]


I woke up at 2am with jetlag and decided to get some work done by reading a few hundred letters of recommendation*, so Brent's line, "Graduated in the top half of the bottom half of my class" is resonating like the hum of an iguana on Kristen Bell's head.

* for 60-ish applicants, not all for the same applicant, ye gods
posted by basalganglia at 11:03 AM on September 29 [6 favorites]


The demons chose well with Brent. I thought I was going to be okay with him -- haha yeah, of course they picked one of THOSE guys -- but then he was just so casually entitled to be in heaven that I wanted to strangle him.
posted by grandiloquiet at 1:16 PM on September 29 [11 favorites]


I just can't get enough of Mindy St. Claire. Her hands-on-hips chortling at Derek's faceplant was delicious.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 1:38 AM on September 30 [6 favorites]


Brent was chosen to torment Eleanor with his relentless white male privilege.
I thought he was supposed to be a lot like her but with more unexamined privilege. When he explained how he was selling stuff that is bad for society but he doesn't care, I thought "Oh, so he is Eleanor but without any charm."

I too would like to note that Derek taking a bite out of the cocktail glass was one of my favorite visual gags in years

I can't find the gif but the greatest physical comedy I have seen in the past 5 years is Marc Evan Jackson on B99 in an episode called "The Safe House" where he has an argument with his husband and then angrily army crawls away and you see his lil dress shoes slowly sliding into a hallway. I have watched and rewatched that episode and every time I rewind and show it to my spouse so I can laugh at it again.

I also found Linda to be not annoying at all. In fact she may be the most relatable. If I were suddenly in The Good Place where I expected to be for all of eternity, I would just rest. I would eat and rest until all my tiredness from life was rested away. Then I would get ready to explore my surroundings.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:16 PM on September 30 [11 favorites]


Also, a Chidi-Simone theory: Chidi will be relieved by Simone's explanation of what they are experiencing and he too will decide he is free to wear the hell out of some foam fingers or whatever the Chidi equivalent is. It wouldn't last very long as a gag but it could be funny.
posted by Emmy Rae at 8:18 PM on September 30


How is this experiment supposed to work? In the original squad, Eleanor only worked to get better because she thought she didn't belong. Then in the second season the whole squad improved because they knew they had been sent to hell and wanted to be better. So where is the motivation for the new test subjects to get better?

I agree with this, but remember that none of them except Michael and Janet remember those experiments. So it would make sense that they're stumbling to figure out how to motivate the new set of humans. Janet has to much on her plate and while we might expect Michael to be more helpful, he's the one pushing to try to get Simone to acknowledge that she's dead. They're not doing so bad, all things considered.
posted by matildatakesovertheworld at 9:35 PM on September 30


Chidi will be relieved by Simone's explanation of what they are experiencing and he too will decide he is free to wear the hell out of some foam fingers or whatever the Chidi equivalent is. It wouldn't last very long as a gag but it could be funny.

I feel like this would just be a rerun of "Peeps in the chili pot"... but maybe the gang realise that Chidi has already been through this existential crisis and can help out if they restore his memories, except they won't be allowed to because he's officially part of the experiment now.
posted by tobascodagama at 5:24 AM on October 1


I feel like this would just be a rerun of "Peeps in the chili pot"

Totally. Michael: "[sigh] we've actually been through this before with Chidi..."
then they get both Chidi and Simone on the same page and it's a 2 for 1 fix.
posted by Emmy Rae at 5:40 AM on October 1


There's another fun connection between The Good Place and Semi-Charmed Life.

Punch up the Jam is a comedy podcast that dissects songs then parodies them, with Miel Bredouw and Demi Adejuyigbe (who recently left the podcast). Demi happened to be a writer for The Good Place! Episode 17 of the podcast was about Semi-Charmed Life. I'd never paid attention to the lyrics, so all the crystal meth and blowjobs surprised me. Their conversational redo of "Doo-doo-doo, doo-doo-doo-doo" is amazing, catchy, NSFW, and a terrible idea for a ringtone.

Checking the times, it looks like he only worked on season one of The Good Place, so this is a tenuous connection but it made me laugh.
posted by Pronoiac at 9:23 PM on October 12


> For example, I will be very surprised if the Michael and Janet that got off the train at the end were our Michael and Janet. Shawn gave up too quickly and I bet they did a switcheroo.

Remember that we saw late last season that they had made a replica Michael skinsuit, too.


Even stronger evidence: that is actually mentioned/shown in the recap.
posted by phearlez at 1:57 PM on October 17


late to the party but i lost my fucking fool mind when they started singing the kars 4 kidz theme song. those MONSTERS.
posted by poffin boffin at 9:25 AM on November 5 [8 favorites]


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