The Good Place: Chidi's Choice
January 5, 2017 7:28 PM - Season 1, Episode 10 - Subscribe

Chidi's indecision causes problems when both Tahani and Fake Eleanor confess their feelings towards him. Jason has fewer hangups.
posted by Small Dollar (43 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I am strongly pro-Janet. She made me laugh out loud at least twice this episode.
posted by komara at 8:53 PM on January 5, 2017 [6 favorites]

Janet's wedding to Jason was perfect. So glad to have this back! (For only the next couple weeks, sadly)

I'm in close agreement with Jason's ranking of Fast and Furious movies, though I didn't hear seven (which is solid), also I had the same thought as Tahani about Ariana Grande* a second before she said it, which I often find satisfying on television.

In general, this show is just nailing everything. All the regular actors are great: I want to say "especially" but especially all of them, but ESPECIALLY Janet. So happy with this show.

*Is some writer for this show a big Ariana Fan because it's at least the second reference, after playing "Break Free" in the pilot (which is, in fairness, a fantastic song)
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:12 AM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

I wish we hadn't had such a gap between the last one and this so I could maybe not hate Chidi quite so much now.
posted by Etrigan at 8:52 AM on January 6, 2017

Bulgaroktonos, I tweeted at D'Arcy Carden (Janet) and she responded, and if I'd known your feelings in advance I would have included them.
posted by komara at 1:46 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Hey, who is the subject of the photo in Michael's office? You can see it in the photo that ran with this review. It seems familiar to me (someone's Twitter avatar?) and it was driving me crazy last night.

This episode was a strong okay for me.

I liked Tahani's joke about "I'm just a girl, towering above a boy ..."

I did sort of wish Kristen Bell-Eleanor would have had a little more time to sit with her feelings about Chidi instead of realizing she loves him, acting immediately, and then walking it back. HOWEVER, this show is sort of a miraculous collection of situations where I think, "Aha, the writers have really worked their way into a corner, how will they get out of this one? HAHA", only to have them effortlessly pull off the next plot machination. Which is to say: I think I trust them?
posted by purpleclover at 2:29 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

Oh, and I also loved this (from the AV Club recap):
Harper is, simply, delightful on this show in his deft balancing act of making the impossibly decent and patient Chidi’s harried bafflement consistently hilarious and engaging. He has the finest knowing deadpan on TV, as when, tonight, he listens to Eleanor give a motor-mouthed, discursive account of her history of ditching past boyfriends (and lifting cash from their wallets) once things weren’t fun any more before dropping his “Well, you’ve gotta go spend that money you stole” so expertly that it doesn’t interrupt Eleanor’s flow.
posted by purpleclover at 2:34 PM on January 6, 2017 [19 favorites]

Hey, who is the subject of the photo in Michael's office? You can see it in the photo that ran with this review.

In real life, or in the show? In the show it's Doug Forcett:
He tells her that almost every religion got about 5 percent of it right, but that a stoner from Calgary named Doug Forcett blurted out a theory while high on mushrooms that turned out to be 92 percent correct.
In real life? It's Noah Garfinkel.
posted by Gary at 3:34 PM on January 6, 2017 [9 favorites]

My wife and laughed out loud several times during this episode, and Janet was involved in pretty much all of them.

Holy god did I want to strangle Chidi, but obviously that was by design.

Incidentally, showrunner Mike Schur was a guest on Jonah Keri's podcast this week, and in addition to talking about the Red Sox (they are both huge baseball nerds and Schur is a lifelong Red Sox fan) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, they talk extensively about The Good Place: how it was developed, casting a diverse group of actors, etc. Turns out Schur totally idolizes Ted Danson and still can't quite believe he's writing a show with him in it. Anyway, much recommended...Listen here.
posted by dry white toast at 4:56 PM on January 6, 2017 [3 favorites]

HAHAHA, it is literally in the article I linked for reference.

(takes a deep curtsey, exits.)
posted by purpleclover at 7:34 PM on January 6, 2017 [1 favorite]

So this was my favorite episode so far. (Fake) Eleanor prioritizing her friendship with Tahani was beautiful. Jason and Janet's wedding was hilarious yet adorable. I really want to eat all those frozen yogurts.

Though I did keep thinking, "Hey, Eleanor told Chidi she loved him right before she confessed to Michael," so the hype about it in this episode was odd. Also, it's pretty clear she doesn't love him in a sexytime way, but in a bestie way.

Loved how the choice didn't matter as both ladies take themselves out and ran out the door.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:47 PM on January 6, 2017 [5 favorites]

Oh yeah, and (Fake) Eleanor saying that if she'd been able to hang out with Tahani and Chidi IRL she might have made it here for real. I can't wait to see what Tahani comes up with.

Also, Eleanor and Tahani and their wine glasses was great.
posted by jenfullmoon at 7:50 PM on January 6, 2017 [4 favorites]

How much more sitcom could this plot be? None. None more sitcom.
posted by ODiV at 10:47 AM on January 7, 2017

Kristen Bell-Eleanor

Beleanor, now and forever.
posted by Etrigan at 10:59 AM on January 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

Oh, how I love this show!

I'm still laughing over Janet with the wedding cake mushed onto her mouth. The whole wedding, actually.

And there was this one moment that was just so... perfectly this show. Chidi asks for help using frozen yogurt as a metaphor, and Michael is suddenly grief-stricken with worry that there's something wrong with the frozen yogurt and how it's the only thing holding this society together.

There's only three more episodes left, you guys. I hope it's picked up for S2.

This show is my frozen yogurt.
posted by mochapickle at 4:20 PM on January 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

I am a surprised fan of this show having semi-binged it over the last few days; alas, I'm now back into realtime with the rest of you.

I like Kimmy Schmidt but this is even better!

Janet is the most turn-around character for me and is now my fav. Kristen Bell has been solid all season (even doing her own 14 yo self?) and benefits from solid writing.
posted by porpoise at 2:14 PM on January 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

How much more sitcom could this plot be? None. None more sitcom.

Oddly, I was thinking that it's not so much a sitcom as a really good comic novel. Watching this episode - and I'm so glad it's back - I was reminded of (of all things) Michael Moorcock's Dancers at the End of Time, which is my favourite fantasy novel of all time, and is completely and totally different, but shares with The Good Place the ability to reduce me to helpless, yelping laughter with its sudden lurches in unpredictable directions.

That being so, I confess I'm kind of hoping that they do manage to draw it to a satisfying conclusion. Not because I don't want more of it - I'd be in favour of an infinite quantity of it - but because they've drawn the arc so beautifully so far I'm rooting for them to stick the ending in a satisfying way.
posted by Grangousier at 4:00 PM on January 8, 2017 [3 favorites]

I just want to chime in with everyone else and say how much I loved this episode and this series. It's one of my favorite things ever and I can't believe it's on a traditional broadcast network.

I ended up watching the previous episode all over again just before watching this one, and, hey, how about Bad Janet? Heh.

Also, I loved the bit when Tahani gleefully explains that this BBC comedy, her favorite, ran for 15 years and has almost 30 episodes.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:00 AM on January 9, 2017 [23 favorites]

and I can't believe it's on a traditional broadcast network

I know, right? The premise/surface is populist Christian-Right but written by really funny super-Lefty peeps.

I do still have to turn off my brain and/or headcannon that there are an infinite of Good Places (recall, this Good Place has an identifier number, so there has to be other Good Places, also implied by Michael in introducing the place) where the definition of Good may differ from this particular Good Place.

I vastly prefer sleazeball Adam Scott to any other flavour of Adam Scott; he had a particularly funny bit in the first season (episode?) of 'Bajillion Dollar Propertie$.'

posted by porpoise at 1:35 AM on January 9, 2017 [3 favorites]

Also, I loved the bit when Tahani gleefully explains that this BBC comedy, her favorite, ran for 15 years and has almost 30 episodes.

That was hysterical and they didn't dwell on it, just sped on by. I had to rewind it for my (more BBC than me) wife who tends to screw around on her phone while we watch tv and who missed it.
posted by phearlez at 11:52 AM on January 9, 2017 [13 favorites]

Favorite detail from this episode: The Save the Date card for "in 10 minutes." Actually, everything about the wedding, especially the objections and overruling. Oh, and that the restaurant Chidi and Uzo were at was called Eating Nemo.

Things I'm still unsure about: Where's the real Jianyu? Isn't anyone (who knows about the Jason/Jianyu mistaken identity) worried about him? Does other Eleanor have ANY flaws?
posted by mixedmetaphors at 5:42 PM on January 9, 2017 [5 favorites]

I'm assuming that real Jianyu is stoicly suffering eternal torment silently.
posted by porpoise at 7:05 PM on January 9, 2017 [8 favorites]

Given that Eleanor's torment in the bad place was throwing baby showers for strangers. I imagine that Professional Amateur EDM DJ Jason's torment is likely just as benign to the real Jianyu.
posted by zinon at 8:14 AM on January 10, 2017

I imagine Trevor screaming at Jianyu, who just sits there and takes it, to the point that Trevor actually starts wondering whether he's the one in the Bad Place.
posted by Etrigan at 8:31 AM on January 10, 2017 [6 favorites]

This episode was so good that I just sat here cracking up reading these comments and remembering all the funny parts.

This episode was absolutely stuffed with hilarious small moments. My favorite that hasn't already been listed was Chidi's series of "...WHAT?"s at the end. That AV Club recapper is right on - Harper's comedic timing is impeccable.

This is such a good show and I will be forking mad if it doesn't get a second season.

casting a diverse group of actors,

I loved this bit from a recent interview with Schur:

At the same time, the diversity of the cast on this series is fantastic. Was that a conscious decision and effort, from the start?

SCHUR: Oh, yeah, 100%. I wanted to make it very clear that in this conception of the afterlife, there was no right answer, in terms of where you were from, what religion you were, what your ethnicity was, or what your sexual orientation was. I wanted it to be a true random sampling of the entire world, so to that end, when you crunch the numbers, 40% of this afterlife neighborhood should be East Asian, 30% is some version of Indian/Pakistani/Bangladeshi/Indonesian, 20% is Caucasian and 10% is African. I don’t know that those are the actual numbers, but it’s a pure numbers game and whatever they were, we tried to represent that, not only with the main cast, but with the background, as well. Even for the people who are in for one episode or a couple of episodes, we always choose specifically what country they’re from and what their background is. The names that we gave them are true to the country we’ve said those people are from. We’re trying to replicate the world population. By the way, it’s not that hard. It’s pretty easy. But, I really wanted there to be a sense that there’s no Western Hemisphere or North American bias. We’re saying that this is a place that’s truly just reserved for the top 150,000th of 1% of all human on Earth. You can achieve the best life, whether you are from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Senegal or Australia. That was a very conscious thing and a very deliberate thing, throughout the whole run of the show.

I do actually feel like the main characters are pretty skewed towards North America/Europe, but hopefully that will change next season, and I do really appreciate how diverse the cast is, and how developed the backstories are.
posted by lunasol at 10:25 PM on January 10, 2017 [13 favorites]

The main human characters were born in:
  • Fake Eleanor: United States
  • Jason: United States
  • Chidi: Nigeria (raised in Senegal)
  • Tahani: Pakistan (raised in England and France)
  • Real Eleanor: Bangladesh (immigrated to United States)
Presumably there is also a "Real Jianyu" from Taiwan, though we haven't met him yet.
posted by mbrubeck at 3:23 PM on January 11, 2017 [1 favorite]

Plus Beleanor and Jason are clearly just the fucking worst.
posted by Etrigan at 3:36 PM on January 11, 2017

Chidi eventually moved to the US too right? Or did the cowboy boots and best man flashback stuff happen in Senegal? I can't quite remember what the show told us.
posted by ODiV at 3:47 PM on January 11, 2017

Chidi said in the first episode, "My work took me all over the place: Australia, Hong Kong, Paris…"
posted by mbrubeck at 4:39 PM on January 11, 2017

Demi Adejuyigbe, who wrote this episode, is also apparently the guy who made Steely Danzig, and now I feel horribly like I've never accompished anything.
posted by thecaddy at 7:27 PM on January 11, 2017 [3 favorites]

And he records The Gilmore Guys, which has episodes that are so long that I don't understand how he has time for a writing job.
posted by phearlez at 12:36 PM on January 12, 2017 [2 favorites]

I have noticed and appreciate the diversity, but why are they all young? Has that been addressed? It doesn't seem like a situation where everybody appears as their young beautiful selves in the afterlife; they all seem to have been killed or died young. I wonder if there are separate Good Places for old people.
posted by something something at 9:56 AM on January 13, 2017 [5 favorites]

Maybe people who live to old age tend to rack up too many negative points in their later years? In that case, Billy Joel got it wrong: Only the young die good.
posted by mbrubeck at 11:08 AM on January 13, 2017 [22 favorites]

I wonder if there are separate Good Places for old people.

Imagine an eternity of whippersnappers all over your lawn.
posted by Etrigan at 11:16 AM on January 13, 2017 [3 favorites]

Well, they did say each Good Place community was designed to appeal to the people who lived in it, right? So maybe this is the Millennial Good Place.
posted by lunasol at 11:59 PM on January 14, 2017 [3 favorites]

Ok so here's my new theory, based on the fact that I LOVE that eleanor loves Chidi: they're actually soulmates and the reason she ended up in the good place was because the system was trying to fulfill Chidi's soulmate quota, over putting Eleanor in the bad place.

I understand this theory doesn't really hold up with Jason and Tahani.

But also it does pose an interesting question, because there's bound to be 'good' people whose soulmates didn't make the cut. What then?
posted by FirstMateKate at 5:52 AM on January 16, 2017 [2 favorites]

Jason's soulmate is Janet.
posted by mbrubeck at 8:31 AM on January 16, 2017 [4 favorites]

Tahani's soulmate is Michael -- he's the only person in the Good Place with an inarguably higher status than everyone else, but he's deficient in just enough ways for Tahani to be better than him.
posted by Etrigan at 8:35 AM on January 16, 2017 [10 favorites]

I'm hoping they have in fact used this episode to blast the Chidi-Bealanor shippers below the waterline. I like them much better as friends, and it'd be nice to have male female leads on a sitcom that weren't paired off for plot's sake.
posted by Diablevert at 6:12 PM on January 16, 2017 [8 favorites]

We just binged the season and I so I want to hold up the bit about the English show Tahani likes -- it ran for sixteen seasons; they made nearly thirty episodes -- as the point where I cackled like a madman idiot thing.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:41 PM on January 26, 2017 [12 favorites]

Real Eleanor is totally the sort of person who would have outed herself on the first day in the Bad Place by complaining that she actually enjoys clowns and this is an ineffective torment.
posted by ckape at 5:13 PM on September 24, 2017 [2 favorites]

I just binged all the episodes (I'm caught up now, WOOOO) and my favorite joke of all has been the one about Tahani's favorite British tv show. "It's 'Deirdre & Margaret!' It ran for 16 years on the BBC. They did nearly 30 episodes!"

Oh my God, I laughed so hard. Rewound it, cackled some more. I love this show and that is where I really FELL IN LOVE WITH IT AND WANTED TO HAVE ITS BABIES.
posted by Aquifer at 7:12 AM on October 10, 2017 [1 favorite]

So I'm clearly super late to this Good Place party but I am so in love with this show, and it's exactly what I need these days.

A detail that captured my heart which I don't think I've seen mentioned: the signs at Chidi's school are in French! I love the attention to detail for this tiny flashback scene.
posted by invokeuse at 5:26 PM on May 2, 2020 [2 favorites]

Maybe people who live to old age tend to rack up too many negative points in their later years?

Has... had no one else ever had holiday dinners with their uncles and aunts?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:48 PM on June 5, 2020

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