To Binge or Not To Binge Episode 28: “The Good Place”


Hannah Allred

(Graphic by Hannah Allred | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Palak Jayswal, Arts Editor

Netflix recently added the second season of NBC’s “The Good Place” to its library of shows, and fans everywhere are excited to finally be able to binge it. From the same executive producer of the shows “Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Master of None,” this feel-good (or feel-bad) comedy is accented with a star-studded cast and is rich in comedic gold. “The Good Place” is the winner of the 2016 Critics’ Choice Television Award for “Most Exciting New Series” as well as a two-time Primetime Emmy Award Nominee. Yet what makes the show so enjoyable is the simple message it carries: you can be a good person or you can be a bad one, but either way, you’re going to face consequences.

The main character, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), dies. When she wakes up, she realizes she’s in a place called “The Good Place,” which is an equivalent to heaven, more or less. The problem is that she knows she’s not supposed to be there, because she wasn’t exactly a nice person during her lifetime. Yet the architect of the Good Place, Michael (Ted Danson) believes otherwise, so Eleanor remains in the Good Place. There she meets three companions, Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil), a spoiled socialite who Eleanor doesn’t like at first, Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), an ethics professor and Eleanor’s soulmate in the Good Place and Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto), a Buddhist monk. With the help of a programmed robot guide, Janet (D’Arcy Carden), these four face afterlife in the Good Place and all of the twists and turns it throws at them together.

Previous Season Recap:

Warning: This next section contains spoilers.

In the first season (through flashbacks), viewers learn that Eleanor is not meant to be in the Good Place. Since Chidi is Eleanor’s assigned soul mate in the Good Place, she confides in him and tells him that there has been some sort of mistake. He, in turn, freaks out. Eleanor remains on edge until she finds out that Jason Mendoza is only posing as a Buddhist monk, was actually a Floridian drug dealer and has also been incorrectly assigned to the Good Place. Chidi begins to give both Jason and Eleanor lessons in ethics and philosophy in the hopes that they can become “good” in their afterlife. Jason’s soulmate Tahani figures out that Eleanor and Jason are not supposed to be in the Good Place, but she works with Chidi to keep their respective soulmates there. However, an eternal judge finds out their secret and rules to send Jason and Eleanor to the Bad Place. The first season consists of hilarious learning experiences for all of the characters, but it also has profound moments of bonding and understanding.

To Binge or Not to Binge?

“The Good Place” has many attributes about it which makes it a fun show. It features comedy, romance, creativity and interesting characters. The show also has many layers — its focus on ethics, philosophy and how we conduct our daily lives. It is interesting and unlike any other production which has tried to capture such features previously. “The Good Place” is subtle at reminding us that our actions, words and thoughts do matter in one way or another. This show isn’t about scandal or drama — it’s simply about being a good person. The creators of the show do a fantastic job in making the series not come across as preachy to viewers. It’s light-hearted, interesting and funny. Through humor and heart, they’ve been able to craft a show which is unlike anything else on the air. “The Good Place” points out an important reminder: there is good and bad in everyone, but what matters is how you act on both of those.

That being said, the first season of the show is admittedly better than the second season. The second season is good, but it falls short in terms of plot. It’s a bit repetitive. The actors themselves are what carry the second season through the holes in the story. Yet I still binge-watched the second season in a day. This show is certainly bingeable — it’s the perfect watch after a long day of stewing over college coursework. “The Good Place” is creative, intuitive and it leaves viewers feeling a little bit lighter. The series has five stars from me.

Best Episode: Season 1, Episode 7: “The Eternal Shriek”

Similar Shows: “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Arrested Development,” “New Girl” and “Portlandia”

Trigger Warnings: There are some instances of violence, blood and death in this show. For the most part, “The Good Place” is pretty trigger-free.

Rating: 5 stars
“The Good Place”
Available to stream on Netflix
25 episodes, Approximately 13 hours

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