Friday, September 29, 2017

The Good Place (a review, of sorts)

We stumbled across The Good Place recently. Which was a good thing because it's a good show. Actually, I'd say it's a great show. As I was saying to my wife just before we found this, the problem that I have with many shows is that there is no story. For instance, we've been watching Brooklyn Nine-Nine with our kids, lately, and it's a funny show; I enjoy watching it. BUT! If we never watched it again, I wouldn't miss it. I wouldn't miss it because it has no story so I wouldn't wonder what was going to be happening next. The Good Place, despite its sitcom status, has a story, a pretty great one, too. As I said, it's a great show, currently my wife's favorite show.

Part of that is because of Kristen Bell. Actually, all of the cast is great, including Ted Danson, whom I've never been a big fan of, but he's great in this. But Kristen Bell! She's just the kind of person you'd expect to find in the "good place." Which is part of why it's so funny that -- okay, spoiler alert but not really since you find this out virtually right away in the first episode -- she's not supposed to be there. Yeah, she's died and gone to "heaven"... by mistake.

Hi-jinks ensue. Because, you know, now that she's there, she can't let anyone know there was a mistake.

Oh, and Adam Scott shows up as "Trevor" a few episodes in, and he's spectacular.

So here's the thing, and it's the thing about why it's such a huge mistake that Eleanor is in the Good Place: almost no one gets in. Like, less than .01% of people get in. The system in the show is all based on how much good a person has done in the world, and only the very best of the do-gooders get into the Good Place. Everyone else goes to the Bad Place. There's this funny bit where Eleanor asks Michael who got it right, you know, about the afterlife and all of that, and Michael says something along the lines of, "Well the Christians got it about 5% right, and the Muslims got it about 5% right, basically, everyone got it about 5% right." Then he goes on to say that one guy sitting around a campfire one night doing mushrooms got it 92% right, but he was the only ever who got even close. The whole thing is kind of brilliant.

Not the getting into "heaven" by doing good things, but the part where no one has gotten it right. Because if there's one thing the religions of the world have in common it's that they, none of them, have not gotten "it" right. Oh, and they all think they have.

Which is why there should be more shows like this, shows that state bluntly, even in a comedic way, you've got it all wrong. Though this might be a show that "christians" avoid. I'm pretty sure that when I was younger I would have been offended enough by the premise of the show (that you earn your place in the Good Place by doing good in the world) that I would never have watched it no matter how funny it was. And there are a lot of people out there who are like how I was. Which is to say: stuck in dogma. Which is to say: wrong.

All of that to say that this is a show you should check out, especially if you're a "christian." While I don't necessarily agree that it's how much good we do in the world that gets us into Heaven or the Good Place or whatever you want to call it, it's certainly an idea that more of us should be paying attention to.


  1. I've heard that it was a good show and I'm sure I'll get around to watching it one of these days, like I did with Brooklyn Nine-Nine (which turned into one of my all time favs). I'm always a fan of really good story telling.

    1. Brooklyn Nine-Nine is a big favorite around here, too, though I don't think I like it as much as everyone else.

  2. I just have this thing where I really, really, dislike Kristen Bell. I don't even know WHY. I just can't stand seeing her. Like recently she rescued those people from Irma or whatever and even THAT annoyed me. I have tried to overcome it and I can't. I'm not even joking about this; I just can't stand her. It's like we're opposite magnetic poles.

    Which is to say: I doubt I'll ever watch this show. I've heard it's good but I just ... can't.

    "Brooklyn 99" is funny but I agree with you: disposable.

    The shows I've really been into recently are "Adventure Time," which is surprisingly adult, and "BoJack Horseman," which is one of the weirdest funny/sad shows around. But I do more reading than movie/tv watching these days.

  3. Briane: Have you seen 'Fan Boys'? Maybe that would change your mind about Bell. Seriously, you should see 'Fan Boys.'

    I'm currently not really into any shows. Well, 'Silicon Valley,' since that one is still going. I love it.
    I also like 'Gotham,' which is surprising to me since all of the other DC shows have been crap.

    I have no interest in 'Adventure Time,' but I am considering 'BoJack Horseman.'

  4. I've never even heard of "Fan Boys." It's not that I find her a bad actress or anything; it's just that for some reason she annoys me whenever I see or hear her.

  5. Yes, I've been watching The Good Place. And it sounds like you're in season 1. They just started season 2, and at the moment it's a bit uneven. But there's a reason for that, and I suspect that it'll even out soon.

    I won't tell you why. That would be spoilers.

    Good show. Make sure to update us when you hit the season finale.

    1. Liz: Oh, we're watching season two.
      The review was written so as not to have any spoilers in it. I wouldn't want to give anything away about the end of season one.