If it wasn’t clear just based off the title, this article will contain spoilers!
It’s rare that a sitcom actually surprises me with its story. The Good Place by NBC’s Mike Schur did just that when it really should have been obvious. I mean, it’s a series set in the afterlife, the twist of you “you’re not really in heaven, but hell” is one of the first ones you think of with this genre, but the show expertly swerved you away from that conclusion with a series of plot developments that seemed way too compelling to be faked. And there is a certain mourning involved with this twist, I grew really attached to the grift version of the show, the illusion. Michael as a good natured architect that just wanted to create the perfect after-life community for all of its residents was one of my favourite television characters of 2016. Trevor and the existence of the Bad Place as just this douchey super inconvenient place was also oddly hilarious. All the little quirks and intricacies of this place made me so invested in what turned out to be a con. The brilliance and simultaneously the tragedy of this twist is that our entire past conception of the show died, and a new one has taken its place. It isn’t as if the signs weren’t there though.
The characters that were supposed to belong to the good place, Chidi and Tahani seemed less and less worthy as the season went on. Chidi spent his life writing awful books no one read, and being frustratingly indecisive. The best you can say about him is that he was well intentioned, which doesn’t exactly meet the bar for the good place established in the pilot. Meanwhile, Tahani is a total narcissist who seemed more interested in lording over other people with her status, fame, and wealth than she did in actually being a good person. The fact that these two aren’t good people, but are actually just as destined for hell as Eleanor, is just perfect. Meanwhile, the fact that Eleanor didn’t belong to a “Medium Place” she kept insisting should exist was clear to the audience, but Eleanor and her hellbound castmates being slated to eternal damnation is just a perfect revelation to close a season on.
The show as we knew it ended with that season finale, and with a second season on its way, we can look forward to a show where Eleanor must face off with the freshly heel-turned Michael as he plots to keep them imprisoned in this creative hell he has for them. Suddenly we went from having a fun comedy about a bad person learning to improve in the afterlife, to a comedy-mystery thriller following four flawed heroes. A lot can happen in this next season. Maybe we can delve into why Michael wanted to spice up eternal damnation for mediocre people so much, maybe we can see the return of Adam Scott’s wonderfully douchy Trevor, and hopefully we get to watch our freshly divided castmates reunite once again. This show cleverly shows that hell is indeed other people, but also that other people are the only way we can stand it.
Quote of the Day:
Chidi, The Good Place.