Say hello to your new favourite TV show…
The Good Place is finally back on our screens after what feels like an eternity, with a brand-new episode being dropped into our Netflix accounts each Friday.
That’s just one episode a week. One. Delayed gratification or the sweetest form of torture ever devised? Hard to tell – but you have no idea what we’re talking about, do you? You’ve never even seen The Good Place before.
Here’s five reasons why that needs to change – immediately.
1. The cast is beyond brilliant
Heading up the talent is real-life Disney princess and otter obsessee Kristen Bell, so we’re already off to a good start. But, when you add in the likes of Jameela Jamil, Ted Danson, William Jackson, D’arcy Carden, and Manny Jacinto, you have the recipe for a truly perfect comedy cocktail.
2. It’s completely unlike anything you’ve seen before
The Good Place is about the afterlife and 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. However, when Eleanor digs a little deeper in a bid to discover exactly how she earned her millions of points, it quickly becomes apparent that there’s been a big mistake.
How long can she keep her true identity a secret? Can she ever learn to be polite to her sanctimonious and seemingly perfect neighbours? And can she find a way to posthumously earn the points she needs to keep her out of the torture-and-pitchforks horror that is the Bad Place?
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 been running for a season and a half, 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?