WARNING: if you don’t want to see any mother-forking spoilers for the third season of The Good Place, then get outta here.
Jameela Jamil recently confirmed that The Good Place will return for its third season on 27 September. And, as has been the case in the past, it’s expected that the first episode (a special hour-long treat) will air in the US on that date and will then appear on Netflix UK the following day (28 Sep).
That’s just one episode a week. One. Delayed gratification or the sweetest form of torture ever devised? We are tempted to vote the latter, especially after that humdinger of a cliffhanger we were treated to at the end of season two.
Need a quick refresher on what happened?
Well, at the end of the last season, we saw Michael (Ted Danson) and the Judge (Maya Rudolph) sending Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) back into the moment they died, saving them from their deaths to determine whether or not they were really capable of becoming good people in real life.
But… well, was it all another elaborate trick? After all, we initially found out that our favourite quintet weren’t in “The Good Place” come the end of the very first season. Rather, Michael – a demon – had created the suburban paradise especially to torture them for being such shirty (ha) people when they were back on earth.
Well, in a new interview with the Rolling Stone, creator Mike Schur pinky promised that, this time, all is completely as it seems.
“Normally I don’t like to just flatly state what’s going on, but here I don’t see the benefit of people experiencing ambiguity,” he said. “The four of them are straight-up back on Earth, in a new timeline where they didn’t die.”
Schur added: “A lot of the progress they have made as people has been sort of theoretical, because it’s all come after they’ve understood that they are dead and in the afterlife.
“It seemed like a natural move to send them back to a time before they made that progress, and to use the idea of nearly dying to test their ability to improve. Especially because now that Michael has watched them improve, over and over, he has started to wonder whether or not there is something fundamentally wrong with the way humans are judged.”
Hmm. So what next?
Well, the first two minutes of the season three premiere were aired at San Diego Comic Con 2018, during which we learned that things next season will start with Michael meeting the ornery The Guard (Mike O’Malley), who controls eternal beings’ access to Earth. After handing over his paperwork, Michael goes to Earth to reverse the death of the four humans. Before he undoes their deaths though, Michael informs The Guard that it will start a new timeline and could have some “ripple effects,” which sounds… well, it sounds not good. Will we soon see giant flying shrimp terrorising the real world as well?
Still not sure if you will be tuning in? Here are five reasons to start watching The Good Place, immediately…
1. The cast is beyond brilliant
Heading up the talent is real-life Disney princess and otter obsessee Bell, so we’re already off to a good start. But, when you add in the likes of Jamil, Danson, Jackson Harper and Jacinto, you have the recipe for a truly perfect comedy cocktail. D’Arcy Carden is also confirmed to reprise her role as Janet, and there’s the potential for Adam Scott to come back as Trevor, Maribeth Monroe (Mindy St Claire), Jason Mantzoukas as Derek Hofstetler, and Rudolph as Judge Gen, among others.
We also have two new faces joining the cast for season three in the form of Mike O’Malley, who plays The Guard that is protecting the door connecting the afterlife to Earth, and Killing Eve star Kirby Howell-Baptiste, who plays Simone.
According to EW, Simone works at the university in Australia where Eleanor found Chidi in the season two finale and Chidi seeks her help to “figure out if there’s something wrong with his brain”.
“He’s in a discipline where people mull over the divine secrets of the universe and try to tease out incredibly indistinct meaning from various pure thoughts, and she is a person who scans things with machines, determines results, and draws conclusions,” creator Mike Schur outlined.
“She has science and math on her side. She is a very different kind of academic from Chidi.”
2. It’s completely unlike anything you’ve seen before
The Good Place is about the afterlife and the very first episode opens on a shot of Eleanor (Bell) finding out she is a) dead, and b) due to spend eternity in a suburban paradise.
This is not the heaven and hell that you were raised on, though: this is the Good Place (you can tell by all the frozen yoghurt stalls) and it’s pretty exclusive, as all-knowing architect, Michael (Danson), explains during an orientation video.
To break it down into its simplest terms, the afterlife is based on a point system: our actions on Earth are monitored from above, and we are assigned points – positive or negative – based on these actions.
At the end of our lives, only the cream of the crop, those with the very highest point totals, ascend to the Good Place.
As writer-producer Michael Schur explains to Nerdist: “It is a system of pure justice. The way I thought about that was the way you’re driving around LA and someone cuts you off—‘That’s negative eight points man!’ You don’t have to worry about judging bias. It’s like, this is the system, these are the points.”
Fair enough, we suppose.
3. It’s ridiculously quotable
The jokes are relentless in this show – and unendingly funny. Best of all, though, is the fact that everything in the Good Place is perfect, which means the neighbourhood has an actual filter in place to prevent you from swearing.
Eleanor soon finds a way to get around this, though, and express her exasperation: think random, innocuous wordage, like holy mother-forking shirtballs.
Schur points out that coming up with this censored-language has been incredibly fun, saying: “In the fourth episode, Kristen calls someone ‘shirt for brains.’
“We have to be careful. If you give a writers’ room a game like that they tend to lose their minds.”
4. Literally everyone is talking about it
The Good Place has only just reached its third season, but there are already countless sub-Reddit feeds dedicated to the show, where die-hard fans analyse and explore every single tiny little detail of it. Remember how obsessed everyone was with Lost when it first came out? Remember how everyone you spoke to - whether it be your colleague, your hairdresser or the person scanning your milk at the supermarket - wanted to know what was under that hatch?
Yup, it’s just like that - but with more jokes and on-point cultural references.
5. Yet it still feels niche
This is probably one of the only sitcoms to ever deal with big philosophical topics (and quote the likes of Aristotle), but it does it in an accessible, thought-provoking and, above all else, fun way.
“I think the only objective is to discuss the main question,” says Schur. “Which is, ‘What does it mean to be a good person?’
“Religion is almost irrelevant. It’s really about ethics. The intention is not to make any current commentary on any people or things except to say that the behaviors we all exhibit in our everyday lives have ramifications. [Michael] says, ‘Every thing you did had an affect that would ripple out over time…’ The only intention was to discuss the nature of actions and what they mean and what effect they have on the world.”
Yes, it’s a pretty big deal. And, yes, the show has a huge fan base, but they’re mostly US-based at the moment, so you’re still going to feel pretty smug when you recommend this to people. The kind of smug that gives you a warm tingling feeling, because not only are you doing people a good deed (they NEED to see this show, remember?), but you’re also going to be the person everyone credits for finding The Next Big Thing.
That’s how all of you are going to remember us, right?