The Good Place: Season 1 (Rewatch)   Rewatch 
August 30, 2017 5:49 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

Discuss what the fork was happening with Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason in the Good Place.

Now that we know the secrets of the "Good Place" and Michael, what can you learn rewatching the season? Refresh your memory with TV Tropes' page on the show.
posted by gladly (48 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I rewatched the entire series last weekend, and it was just as enjoyable knowing all the secrets ahead of time. I missed how not-good a person Tahani was during my first watch, and it's much clearer that her motivations are not at all pure. She's still really lovable through the whole series.

Jason probably suffers most for me of all the characters on rewatch. He's so great pretending to be Jian-Yu, and then as Jason he's kind of just dumb. Janet is carrying a lot of the jokes in that pairing, and that's okay, because that actress is pretty genius.

Michael is totally enjoying the torture the whole series.

The Bad Place karaoke was still gold.
posted by gladly at 6:05 PM on August 30, 2017 [4 favorites]

Welcome! Everything is fine.

Are we allowed to speculate about Season 2 here?
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:11 PM on August 30, 2017

I recommend everyone who enjoyed it the first time around watch it again. I did so just a week after the season ended and it was just as funny but also a different experience, knowing what was really going on.

This is such a great show and I'm eagerly awaiting the new season to begin.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 2:01 AM on August 31, 2017

I would cheerfully speculate on season 2 in here. Rewatching got me very excited for it to start.
posted by gladly at 6:52 AM on August 31, 2017

Huh. So I gave up on TGP after a few episodes because, while funny, it just kept falling flat for me. Like, if I wanted to watch a show about obnoxious people, I'd just be catching Seinfeld reruns, you know, instead of watching a show with terrible people that's being sold as everything fine? Now knowing about the twist, it makes sense why off-brand-heaven seemed pretty terrible and not a great place. Which is all well and good, but when a show doesn't match the alleged premise, I guess it confused me*. And life is too short for (seemingly) terrible sitcoms.

I wish the show could have held my interest through the conclusion of the season, but it sounds like it's worth going back to at least the last few episodes now. Season 2 sounds potentially interesting!

*There's probably a way to relate TGP's Twist to The Clever Reveal at the end of episode one of This Is Us. Clever and interesting, but problematic if they had gone all season without The Reveal?
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 10:29 AM on August 31, 2017

Just finished rewatching this last week and enjoyed it at least as much as the first time. That's saying a lot, since I haven't been able to stick with a show since, I dunno, The Wire or thereabouts. Really looking forward to S2, though the promo shot of the clam chowder fountain may have permanently put me off chowder.
posted by sapere aude at 1:07 PM on August 31, 2017

NSAID - yeah, me too, I almost gave up on the show until I twigged "somethings not right."

Luckily, I gave it the 3 ep benefit of the doubt, but I think it "caught" for me near the end of e02 but e03 sold it.
posted by porpoise at 2:30 PM on August 31, 2017

the promo shot of the clam chowder fountain may have permanently put me off chowder

I hadn't seen that picture, and I don't like clam chowder, but I still made the mistake of looking it up. Very upsetting.
posted by gladly at 6:10 PM on August 31, 2017

I had extreme issues with the morality of the show up until the reveal, and now I dunno because literally everything we know about the show's universe comes from the mouths of literal demons. Of course, the reveal raises its own issues- Chidi, as far as I can tell, has been damned for eternity because he has a severe mental illness.

On rewatch, there's so many great moments that make perfect sense in light of the reveal, like Michael repeatedly withholding praise from Tahani or forcing choices on Chidi. I can't wait for the new season.
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:00 AM on September 2, 2017 [5 favorites]

Wow, this was a great surprise for me, both the show and the twist ending. I remember seeing the ads for this show last year during the Olympics, and to me it looked so bad that I never gave it a second thought until it showed up on Netflix for me, and I gave in to my Kristin Bell fanboyness. Glad to see she got another shot at a good series.

Anyway, this show did what I think a few really clever shows have started doing, using the audience's familiarity with genre cliches to set up a surprise. Like, we all knew for the whole season that Tahani was kind of full of herself and obsessed with status, but I thought that we were just supposed to take it at face value that she was a really good person because the show explicitly told us she was, and the jokes about her were just for fun, even though not really consistent with her character. Shows do this all the time--never let consistent characterization get in the way of a good joke. I think a lot of people just let that kind of inconsistency pass, because hey, it's just a show, I should really just relax. Here, that's part of the twist, the shallowness/status obsession is baked into her character and makes the twist feel earned rather than arbitrary.

The idea that heaven turns out to be hell is not in of itself a shockingly original conceit, but I think the way they did it was really inventive, and to me the real surprise was how they were able to finish the season and set up a second season in a satisfying way that didn't feel cheap or made-up as it went along.

I'm only about 3 episodes into a re-watch, but it's worthwhile so far--except it's hard, you really have to pay attention to the nuances. It's hard to find a network show that stands up to multiple viewings though, so good job.
posted by skewed at 4:41 PM on September 5, 2017 [6 favorites]

It's not like we don't know anything at all about the show's eschatology. Mindy St. Claire and The Medium Place are real. Good Janet and Bad Janet are real.
posted by Monochrome at 6:36 PM on September 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

It's not like we don't know anything at all about the show's eschatology. Mindy St. Claire and The Medium Place are real.

Are they? We have no reason to believe that the trains actually go between Places, or that Mindy isn't an actress like Vicky, or that the Medium Place isn't just part of the Neighborhood (which is larger than advertised), or just another part of the overall Bad Place. We only "know" that the trains go between Neighborhoods and Places because, well, the demons say so. And they're liars, who spent the whole season lying, so we can't trust the things they tell Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason.

Good Janet and Bad Janet are real.

This is probably true, because what the demons say to each other in their office is probably trustworthy (since they're basically coworkers and not interacting with victims). As far as I'm concerned, literally anything that can't be derived from those scenes in the finale set in the Bad Place offices cannot be trusted. Of course, if Janets are in fact not people but basically sophisticated computers, they can be programmed to say whatever the being controlling them wants.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:43 PM on September 14, 2017

We have no reason to believe that the trains actually go between Places, or that Mindy isn't an actress like Vicky, or that the Medium Place isn't just part of the Neighborhood (which is larger than advertised), or just another part of the overall Bad Place.

It may well get retconned, but Mike Schur has confirmed some of these things:
Does Michael have any control over Janet other than being able to reboot her and convince her that she still works in the Good Place? If not, then does this mean that the fake Good Place has to largely resemble the real one so she won’t figure it out?

That will also be addressed. The key about Janet is that he does not “control” her. She is just part of every afterlife Neighborhood. One analogy we used internally: Janet is to the afterlife as Clippy the Paperclip (or whatever it’s called) is to Microsoft Word — it’s just there when you turn on the program.

Is the Medium Place real, or part of the con?

Medium Place is real. The essential story of Mindy St. Claire’s situation is on the up and up.
posted by Etrigan at 8:09 AM on September 15, 2017 [9 favorites]

Huh, that's a fascinating interview! Now I'm even more excited for Wednesday!
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:11 PM on September 15, 2017

The Medium Place was the most unsatisfying bit in season 1 for me. I just did a binge rewatch, and Mindy St. Clair still doesn't make sense. By the rules as we know them (which is admittedly suspect), Mindy clearly belongs in the Bad Place--post-mortem impact not withstanding--due to her overt and unapologetic selfishness. Her motivation for drawing up those plans is not even particularly pure, she wasn't really doing it to help people, she was doing it on a whim because her coked-up brain wanted to organize some shit.

Her eternal residence of living a solo, literally self-centered life also seems out of whack with the eschatology as presented.
posted by desuetude at 7:27 AM on September 29, 2017

One of the unfortunate casualties of it all being a con is that we lose Shawn's backstory as an arbitrator. I mean the only two things we got were that Eleanor was case #3 and he had been in goo for 29 years (which lines up with when Mindy's case was sorted out), but that just makes the question of what case #1 would've been so tantalizing.
posted by ckape at 2:37 PM on September 29, 2017 [3 favorites]

I posted this the other thread I made because I didn't see this one, but I'll repost here:

So I'm up through episode 4. I'm noticing things more now that are a clue that it's not The Good Place.

episodes 1 & 2:
- All the yogurt places and no icecream, as most have pointed out.
- None of the 4 gets to fly, through their own ego about being "good" (Tahani and Chidi), or being dragged into it (Jason and Eleanor). Just as Eleanor is about to take off, she gets hit with garbage, meaning somebody is always watching them to ensure Eleanor's transgressions results in a "glitch" of the neighborhood. And it was obvious to do that one sooner than later so she can't fly.
- I understood Michael's act of self-defeat in front of Tahani and Jason to make Tahani wants to "act good", but I didn't wholly get the entire scene with kicking the dog in this context. Perhaps Michael just really wanted to do it because he's a demon?

episode 3:
- Eleanor actually sees Tahani for who she truly is, i.e. someone that doesn't deserve to be in the Good Place.
- The plant Tahani gives her apparently comes with a setting to respond to whatever comment Eleanor makes, designed to further sow discord.
- Tahani is truly tortured by "Jianyu", and Eleanor is truly tortured by Tahani.
- So what's interesting is that Michael seemed sincere about the different personalities he tried out with Janet. I'm not sure if that's because he was trying to use Janet to cause more confusion with the 4 (or at least Chidi who saw most of that firsthand), or more of him trying to get a handle on a Janet that's not supposed to be there. (hey, running theme!)

episode 4:
- You get hints that the demons that signed up for it are really into their jobs and their characters. Like the guy that stood up and spoke at the dinner first clearly wanted to share his character's story, foiling Michael's plan to immediately expose Jason and Eleanor.
posted by numaner at 4:24 PM on October 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

ha! in episode 7, in order to "save" Michael from retirement, aka infinite pain, without revealing herself, Eleanor proposed to somehow throw Tahani under the bus!

In episode 6, while getting Michael to not work, with the context of the twist, I was surprised that Michael went along with her "not working" scheme. And it seemed like he really did enjoy all the fun stuff. But perhaps that's because demons do enjoy fun when they can. Of course that gave him more reason to turn it on Eleanor that the cause of the troubles is a person, creating more stress for her.

And of course, Tahini and Chidi creates their own tortures. All the while, I feel like Jason was having a blast unless getting roped into something Tahini and the others cooked up. It definitely reiterates the whole "ignorance is bliss" trope.
posted by numaner at 5:24 PM on October 1, 2017 [2 favorites]

oh oh! when Janet first details the train and that she's the only one that can operates it, she does that choo-choo thing too, so I guess she's always been excited about the train.
posted by numaner at 5:26 PM on October 1, 2017

I'm sorry for basically taking over this topic, but I gotta express things!

So at the end of ep7, from what we know now, it definitely seems like Michael and the demons are fully aware of everything the 4 are doing inside the "Good Place". At least when the demons are functioning properly. So I think they were fully expecting Chidi to confess to Janet's murder. Michael's reaction when Eleanor confessed seemed like genuine surprise.
posted by numaner at 5:47 PM on October 1, 2017 [3 favorites]

I've been confused about what the demons know about the four's activities, but it makes sense that when they're not on strike, they're usually spying on them.

I think it's interesting that they're not omniscient about what happens in their domain. I guess that might be a little awkward between demons.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:14 PM on October 1, 2017

The thing that actually seemed the most off to me about Season 1 was the presence of both Chidi and Tahani in The Good Place. Tahani was a terrible person who did a lot of good in her life for the wrong reasons. And Chidi was so consumed by being a good person that he never actually did anything positive. Based on the moral framework we were presented with, both couldn't belong.

Come to think of it, their is still a conflict. Chidi is in The Bad Place because he hurt everyone in his life through his inaction, but his motivation was good, and Tahani is in The Bad Place because her motivation is corrupt. Both of those things can't be true.
posted by dry white toast at 7:47 PM on October 1, 2017 [1 favorite]

Why couldn't the standard be right action for the right reasons?
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 7:50 PM on October 1, 2017 [8 favorites]

haha I just got the season finale and Michael did in fact admit that it all started going wrong when Eleanor confessed. I forgot so many things!
posted by numaner at 7:56 PM on October 1, 2017

My theory: There's something more to Jason.
posted by drezdn at 12:21 PM on October 2, 2017

I'm about halfway through right now (haven't read the thread yet to avoid spoilers), but when people say "Rick and Morty is a show for smart people," this show is actually what they're talking about. But also, it's not a show "for smart people," like a 30 minute comedy is some great test of intelligence, it's just a show that has great characters, an engaging plot, invokes actual philosophy (beyond angry young man nihilism), and fantastic direction.
posted by codacorolla at 7:51 PM on October 8, 2017 [4 favorites]

Where do Trevor and crew belong in all this? Like, are they in on the secret that it's the Bad Place? Maybe I should watch those episodes again to see if I notice anything, but it seemed to me that they really thought Eleanor et. al were in the Good Place.
posted by cooker girl at 6:06 AM on October 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

Trevor and friends are all Bad Place demons (and a Bad Place Janet) and so I don't see any reason why they wouldn't know about everything and were playing their own roles. Hilariously.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 12:30 PM on October 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

I hope that's the case, too.
posted by cooker girl at 12:52 PM on October 12, 2017

Late to the party, bingewatched Season 1 over the last 24 hours, JUST now got that Michael, creator and Architect of "The Good Place," shares a name with Schur, creator and showrunner of The Good Place.
posted by infinitewindow at 10:56 AM on November 12, 2017 [1 favorite]

So, I'm rewatching this to see how much different things are knowing the twist and, yeah, Michael's first little pause before he says "The Good Place!" is really nice.

You get hints that the demons that signed up for it are really into their jobs and their characters. Like the guy that stood up and spoke at the dinner first clearly wanted to share his character's story, foiling Michael's plan to immediately expose Jason and Eleanor

I think so, too. This is another scene I saw differently on the rewatch - Glenn volunteers to go first and tell his little "story", presumably ad libbed or part of his "deep character" or whatever - upstaging Michael and stalling out Michael's scheme. When the sinkhole appears, it's Glenn that gets knocked into it and is holding on for dear life.

Michael yells down to him: "I asked Chef Patricia to save that soup, I know how important it was to you" or something is just a wonderful level of passive-aggressive shadiness.
posted by absalom at 5:19 PM on November 26, 2017 [7 favorites]

And then, in the next episode, Glenn is at the bottom of the standings.
posted by absalom at 5:36 PM on November 26, 2017 [5 favorites]

And then it's Glenn in Episode 7 who cheerfully reminds the pre-wake audience that Michael is destined for the "Eternal Shriek."

What I'm saying is I pissed away my Sunday.
posted by absalom at 6:30 PM on November 26, 2017 [5 favorites]

Super late to this because I have only just finished season 1 - but did anyone else notice overuse of the word ‘literally’ in the series? By the end, we were shouting LITERALLY! every time someone said it. I think the record was 5 in one episode, which is a lot considering how short they are.
posted by andraste at 7:18 PM on January 6, 2018

This may have already been posted in the season 2 episodes, but it's strictly about season 1 so safe to post here, and it's forkin awesome:

footage of the table read when the cast found out what the twist from the season finale would be
posted by skewed at 3:31 PM on January 17, 2018 [9 favorites]

Okay, well I just finished binge watching the entire first season on Netflix and OH MY GOD I could not stop watching. I just let it auto continue to the next episode until it was time to go to sleep last night, and the came home from work today and watched the last 6 episodes. I did wonder throughout the arc of the season if perhaps this was not The Good Place but maybe The Purgatory/Lesson-Learning Place. So I was sort of expecting some kind of reveal, but not the one we got. It was great! Now I'm sad because I have no way to watch the second season until it gets put on Netflix, but I can't wait to make mr. hgg watch this with me. I will so enjoy the rewatch, and I'll really enjoy seeing him experiencing it for the first time.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 9:47 PM on February 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

Me and sweetie just thoroughly enjoyed season 1 and are starting season two. I think I know where things are heading, the thing I like about these plot arcs is that I don't know exactly how or why they're going to get there. And, I did not suspect the first season to end the way it did, even though I saw a spoiler about one of the means to the ending.

I also liked in Season 1 how the characters grew, and it took time for them to grow, and they truly liked each other and were on each others' teams, and that they made progress together and not backstabbing. I also love how Season two is deconstructing that and showing characters in different lights — what parts of them are malleable, and what parts of them are fixed.

Really, I can't think of a comedy that is this smart, aside from Angie Tribeca. Even Arrested Development, as intricate and funny as it was, didn't have that character growth aspect to things. All of the Bluths remained the same. All of these characters are doing different things and being influenced, both subtly and overarchingly, by their myriad situations and interactions. Especially now that season two has started.

And, I love how Jason and Janet are the only true soulmates throughout the storyline.

Now I gotta get to the gym.
posted by not_on_display at 8:50 PM on March 2, 2018 [5 favorites]

My roommate has brought me into watching this, and we are going episode by episode. So far so good.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:47 PM on April 12, 2018 [1 favorite]

In episode 4, when Jason sets ACIDCAT's boat on fire, he yells, "BORTLES!" when he throws the bomb. I think that's its first appearance!
posted by rhizome at 11:44 PM on May 30, 2018 [1 favorite]

yep, I just recently rewatched that episode too. I was wondering if that was when we first heard it and I immediately searched transcripts of the previous 3 just to confirm.
posted by numaner at 10:29 AM on May 31, 2018

It took me a second because it's a little muddled in the delivery, but I LOLed.

Like Stern fans yell "Baba Booey" everywhere they can, TGP fans should start yelling "Bortles!" whenever there's media on location.
posted by rhizome at 10:40 AM on May 31, 2018 [2 favorites]

If you have horrible chthonic waking-dreams, maybe give this one a pass? You are perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop, as capital-H Heaven doesn't DO bureaucratic mix-ups and that's probably part of the torment. Noping right the hell out, pun intended, as the clown-screen closed.

Who am I kidding. This is so much worse than my waking-dreams. Gonna watch all of it, probably from a much different perspective than most.
posted by Slap*Happy at 12:09 AM on October 6, 2018 [2 favorites]

I am rewatching this and introducing my six and eight year old to it. They LOVE it after being initially skeptical. We watched the first 2 episodes last nights and they immediately wanted to watch episode 3 this morning. I think I'm good to watch with hem through the appearance of the Medium Place bc I can't really see myself explaining horny cokehead Mindy to them. We'll see. Notes from the first two episodes- only one - I love Chidi's Mr. Rogers sweater
posted by bq at 3:41 PM on November 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Further notes: Manny Jacinto is a lot better at being Jianyu than Jason would be. Also I think the handwriting on the note was better than Jason’s would be. No further complaints.
posted by bq at 10:09 PM on November 15, 2018 [2 favorites]

Watching Michael torture Chidi with the choice between a dry erase marker and a pen is much more funny when you know they're in the bad place. This is just really, really well done.
posted by bq at 1:58 PM on November 20, 2018

Yeah, it really pays to watch Michael closely on a second rewatch of season 1. My favorite example of this (can't remember the specific episode): right after Michael and Eleanor learn that one of their wacky solutions won't work after all, Michael sighs and walks away saying "The nightmare continues... the nightmare continues." And when he repeats the line, there's something sinister in his tone that was invisible the first time but just leaps out at you on rewatch.
posted by showbiz_liz at 3:12 PM on November 20, 2018

Hi, I just started watching this a few days ago and am already on season 3 but as the only moderately catch-all-type thread on this show this seems like a good place to freak out for a little bit about how much I love this show and how much I’m kicking myself for snobbishly avoiding it because I’d pegged it as a twee sitcom. It’s amazing how it manages to top the charts both in terms of being a virtuosic display of plotting and character development and premise interrogation and also being lovely, humane, and heartfelt.

Also, the characters and the acting behind them are excellent across the board, but I’m now obsessed with William Jackson Harper. I know it can be folly to attribute the qualities of a character to the actor that plays them, but he’s one of those people where I can’t help but believe that the deep reserves of kindness and (yeah, frequently crippling) self-awareness that Chidi displays are something that Harper draws from his own self so as to better inhabit the character he plays. That’s not to say that he’s playing himself, just that his ability to portray those qualities seems very genuine. I’ll grant that that sense has been further substantiated by all the interviews with him that I’ve read, and also that I have a major crush on him, and also if it’s not obvious that I identify with his character a lot, but. I guess there’s not really a “but” there, but I wanted to leave that open.
posted by invitapriore at 7:31 PM on April 15, 2020

Yeah, it sucks. I hate it. The philosophy and theology is incorrect. Apart from the teleological self-congratulating hey, is that a frozen yoghurt shop? Where you can order Rum-Raising Sweet Sourd'oh frozen yoghurt with gummi-worms? That might be OK.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:10 PM on June 26, 2020

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