“What matters isn’t if people are good or bad. What matters is, if they’re trying to be better today than they were yesterday. You asked me where my hope comes from? That’s my answer.”Ted Danson, The Good Place
Airs: NBC | Air Date: 2016-2020 | Number of Seasons: 4
The Good Place follows Eleanor Shellstrop after her death as she enters the good place. This is a place for those who have dedicated their lives for the good of humanity and have lived their lives by earning points that ultimately contributed to earning their time in the good place. However, Eleanor is not a good person. She knows that she deserves to be in the bad place, yet she does not want to leave the good place and face an afterlife filled with horrors that even the strongest person can’t survive. With the help of some new friends, Eleanor attempts to change her outlook on life and attempts to become a good person. With a colorful cast of characters, The Good Place is a beautiful story consisting of lessons on moral philosophy and the notion that it’s never too late for people to change.
I’m at a loss on where to begin with this masterpiece of a show. The concept itself is something to marvel at. Starting with the fact that most of the show takes place in the afterlife. The show hints at the reveal at the end of season one by putting the characters in wild situations that make the good place almost seem vicious. I love the concept of the show being based in moral philosophy. The character of Chidi Anagonye grounds the teachings of philosophy in humor, making it easier for the audience to understand. The comedic chemistry between the six leads make the show compelling and downright hilarious.
The cast really makes the show wonderful. Kristen Bell has played Eleanor Shellstrop with such in depth care that makes the viewer question the line between good and bad. Eleanor is used to doing bad things. She feels comfortable in her label as “bad person”, yet throughout the show it’s shown that Eleanor has a selfless interior that has been marred by feeling worthless in her childhood. Chidi, a professor of moral philosophy, is incapable of making decisions, placing him in several questionable places in his life while he tries to live an ethical life based on what he teaches. Tahini, a socialite that has been hosting charity events her entire life is flawed in the sense that she only does what she does to make herself better than her sister and the best daughter in her parents’ eyes. Once she realizes that she can truly be a good person, Tahini becomes a moving character who comes to terms with the neglect in her childhood. Jason, who appears as a monk initially, is an aspiring dancer who committed many crimes throughout his life. While Jason is a small-time criminal, he is loyal to his friends and stands by them even at the cost of his own life. Michael, the demon who creates the good place as a source of emotional torture for his residents, eventually learns to use his demonic abilities for good with the help of his residents. Lastly, Janet, an all-knowing entity helps the gang work through their antics while slowly becoming her own person.
The cast has been the highlight of the show, yet the comedic nature of this show is really what sets it apart from the other sitcoms. The concept of the show is inherently serious. Concepts of moral philosophy and the afterlife are usually approached from a serious angle, yet The Good Place differs by adding comedy so as to not preach to the audience. The ultimate goal is to teach the audience that living a morally good life for the sake of being admitted into the good place is not a way to live. The concept of moral dessert is touched on many times within the show and as the characters attempt to earn their way into the good place, they face many obstacles that test their true character as well as their friendship. With many sitcoms, the shows tend to fizzle out, not able to maintain the humor as well as the plotline. Yet, with The Good Place, the humor remains top notch while each season gets better. The shots, even when shot in the bad place are beautiful and keep the viewer enthralled. The supporting characters only add to the brilliance of the show and the lore introduced within the show is consistent, which many shows can’t say.
Overall, this is a beautifully done sitcom that teaches the audiences several lessons while being thoroughly entertaining. The cast has natural chemistry that holds the show together while allowing the viewer to fall in love with them. A beautifully done show for anyone who needs a good laugh and a good cry.