If you’re a fan of the shows The Office, Parks & Recreation, or Brooklyn Nine-Nine, you’re likely to be a fan of The Good Place. All produced by Michael Schur, The Good Place is another hit NBC comedy sitcom. However, what is different about this show is that it’s a surprisingly profound work of philosophy.
The Good Place is a show about what life is like after death. Whether you end up in the Good Place or the Bad Place is solely dependent on how you lived your life on Earth. The show begins with the character Eleanor Shellstrop, played by Kristen Bell, suddenly waking up in the afterlife. She is relieved when she is told that she has safely made it into the Good Place. However, she soon realizes that it has all been a mistake and she is not the real Eleanor Shellstrop that is meant to be in the Good Place. With the help of her seemingly perfect neighbors, Jianyu and Tahani, and her soulmate in the Good Place, Chidi, Eleanor must hide in plain sight from the Good Place’s architect Michael, played by Ted Danson, and the all-knowing robot, Janet, to prevent being sent to the Bad Place.
How The Good Place first gained its viewership varies. Some began watching the show because of its famous actors and actresses. Senior Ruoyang Ye ’19 said, “Kristen Bell was in the show, so I wanted to start watching.” Kristen Bell has been in several films and shows, including her role in Veronica Mars and voicing Anna in Frozen. Ted Danson is also famously known for his role as Sam Malone in Cheers, another hit NBC comedy sitcom from the 80s/90s. However, some people began watching the show simply because of its accessibility on Netflix. Senior Kevin Chow ’19 said, “I don’t normally watch TV, so when I saw this show on Netflix, it made me more willing to start watching, and I’m glad I did.”
Being a relatively new show, The Good Place has already gained much critical acclaim and has received several prestigious nominations and awards. These include nominations for “Best Television Series” and “Best Performance by an Actress in a Television Series” for the Golden Globes, “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series” for the Primetime Emmy Awards, “Best Actor in a Comedy Series” and “Most Exciting New Series” for the Critics Choice Awards, and “TV Program of the Year” for the AFI Awards. Such popularity is evident in our school too. Abigail Aronson ’19 said, “I was instantly hooked. The show is so different and so much more creative than many other shows I’ve watched. There’s always a cliff hanger, and the plot twists keep me at the edge of my seat or couch! I like that The Good Place incorporates messages about ethics and morals. The show is funny, yet it has substance to it.”
“I like that The Good Place incorporates messages about ethics and morals. The show is funny, yet it has substance to it,” said Abigail Aronson ’19.
The Good Place proves to be a groundbreaking show that is able to subtly incorporate lessons on ethics and morality into a cleverly written script for each new episode. The show’s comedic nature is actually very informative, and includes lessons from Plato, Aristotle, Kant, Kierkegaard, and many more, all taught by Chidi, a moral ethics professor. The show has managed to tackle several ethical and social situations like the trolley problem, moral particularism, and the many ways to react to trauma. The show has managed to make viewers reflect on their own lives as well. Suporna Das ’20 said, “Chidi was the most crucial character, as he was the one that taught Eleanor about moral philosophy and introduced her to all these different modes of thought. Chidi might actually be my favorite character, simply for his hilarious indecisiveness, his ability to be a selfless human being, and his daily struggles with morality. The show itself really made me think about morality, how extremely complicated it is, and how morality is not always something we can control.”
This show has managed to make every episode a lesson, so it is actually a very educational show that is great for families. Whether it is because of Chidi’s silly indecisiveness, Eleanor’s foul mouth (in The Good Place, she can only say “What the fork!”), Tahani’s relentless name-dropping, Jianyu/Jason’s obsession with the Jacksonville Jaguars and Blake Bortles, Michael’s fascination with the knickknacks of human culture like paper clips, suspenders, karaoke, and Skee-Ball, or Janet’s unfiltered knowledge of everything, The Good Place is a show that you will definitely binge-watch, and you will not regret becoming a fan of it.