Rating 5/5 Being a Marshmallow what made me watch the first episode of The Good Place because Kristin Bell was the star. I will not be forgiving Ted Danson for that blackface shit, I don’t care which asshole comedian defended him. I’m not exactly on regular TV these days, I prefer binge-watching and will probably be signing up for all the eventual Netflix clones before I ever go back to cable. I’ve given up Cable because it sucks, and I mostly a Netflix, Amazon Fire Stick and YouTube watcher. I actually visited a friend and we sat down and watched the first episode and I was completely hooked. The show has an awesome premise, the dialogue is great, the characters are completely memorable and the twists rock.
It’s hard to think that I’m praising a regular TV show but here I am. The Good Place is a prime-time show on NBC and it probably one of the best things TV has produced since Battlestar Galactica. I do not say this lightly.
The Good Place
The “Good Place” is where you go when your positive points during life were really high. If they are not high enough you go to the “Bad Place.” Ted Danson plays Michael. He runs and operates the Good Place. He explains to Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) that her life as an attorney who freed the wrongly convicted has earned her a place in the good place.
During the orientation, it’s explained with a digital whiteboard how everything you do in life has a positive effect and a negative effect and each effect is given a percentage. For instance, telling a woman to “smile” puts out a negative effect (-50) or using Facebook as a verb puts out a negative effect, whereas patiently waiting on line at a theme park without complaining or installing solar panels puts out a positive effect. When you die it all gets added up and your score will decide who goes to the Good Place and who goes to the Bad Place.
According to Micheal, every religion has only 5% of what the afterlife is correct. The only one who got it 90% right was a stoner in the 1970’s who actually earn a plaque for doing that. Yep, that’s the kind of show it is. In the Good Place, everything you could ever want is provided for you. You get to fly and eat whatever you desire. Not to mention your soul mate is there waiting for you. it’s the perfect place. It’s the Good Place.
The Good Place a Forking Funny Premise
There’s a bit of a problem. Eleanor Shellstrop does not belong in the Good Place. While Michael got her name right that’s about all he got right about her. She did not free the wrongly convicted, nor did probably ever do a good thing in her life except probably die. She’s a self-centered narcissist who cares as much about her fellow humans as she does the old purse she left in a closet.
Her job while alive was to sell bad drugs to the sick and elderly and she was number one at it for two years running. Eleanor’s co-workers hate her, she couldn’t keep a relationship and her death pretty much match how she lived.
Eleanor’s soul-mate is a Nigerian ethics profession named Chidi Anagonye played by William Jackson Harper. She immediately confesses to him that she doesn’t belong in the Good Place. In the same breath, she convinces Chidi to teach her how to be a better person so she does not end up being sent to the Bad Place. However there’s an even bigger problem, things are going crazy in the Good Place because of Eleanor. Every bad thing she says or does manifests into serious disasters in the Good Place. In a world were most sitcoms are basically the same it is refreshing to have a show that goes in a completely different direction. The greatest thing you can say about The Good Place is everything about is original.
The Good Place – Greater Creators
The is the creation of Michael Schur whose known for Parks & Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Writer Drew Goddard directs the first episode and does a fantastic job. The talent combined makes the Good Place feel like someone took the end premise of LOST and went crazy with it. The combined talent of actors, writers and creators give us a funny, quirky show that is a hands-down hit.
The standouts are Kristen Bell, Jamella Jamil, and Ted Danson. Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) is Eleanor’s super perfect next door neighbor. Tahani’s soul-mate is a Buddhist monk that took a vow of silence that went to the grave with him. Eleanor finds herself surrounded by people who are all exactly opposite of what Eleanor is. I laughed out loud several times in every episode and now The Good Place is one of my top five must-watch shows.
Good Place Cussing Is Not Allowed
There’s is one gag I forgot to mention, you can’t curse in The Good place. Eleanor is told and the reason given is the residents finds cursing too offensive. The Good Place replaces any curse word with something hilarious. “Fuck” becomes “Fork.” “Bullshit becomes “Bullshirt.” You get the idea. The last show to do replacement cures imaginatively was Battlestar Galactica and it did it so well that “Frak” is actually part of the English lexicon. Here is a premise they can pump until doomsday. Watching Eleanor constantly attempt to curse makes me laugh until I cry.
The Good Place – What a Twist
Another LOST comparison was how that was the last show to successfully pull of twists and cliffhangers. There hasn’t been a show to pull that off until the Good Place. And there are twists in this show, lots of them. Not only do the twist fit within the universe of the show, but the cliffhangers are also damn near perfect. Then we get to the final twist. It’s one you think you should have seen coming, but I did not. The final twist is a beautiful revelation and turns the whole show upside-down. That’s a rare thing on TV, especially for a sitcom.
Don’t get me wrong, a lot of TV is better than most movies. There have been some really good, intelligent shows over the past few years, mostly on basic cable. However to say this about a sitcom is that rarities of rare. I was one of the few people who loved Two and a Half Men. The Good Place is.
If you’re looking for a fun time with a show that does something new, The Good Place is that show. The characters are great, the writing is spot on and the premise isn’t like anything you’ve ever seen before. They hit the ball out of the park right from the start. Every twist and turn adds to the comedy and every character is great. The first season ROCKED and I’m totally looking forward to what they’ll do next season.