We’ve all heard it before: laughter is the best medicine. The problem is that this piece of wisdom doesn’t tell you HOW to laugh more. In a day and age, where there’s a lot of depressing news stories on TV, we could all use a little more laughter for our health and well-being. The Good Place is one of the funniest and smartest sitcoms on TV right now. So, go ahead– laugh it up! It’ll get you closer to your healthy, happily ever after.
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Is it just me or is network TV getting better and better these days? I remember the 90s when my favorite shows were Boy Meets World, Friends, and Gilmore Girls. While these shows were amazing in their own way and I still have a soft spot for them, they didn’t quite have the depth that some of the shows today have. I feel like in the past 5-10 years, audiences have been demanding more from television, which has led to more intelligent scriptwriting and new creative premises. Of course, there’s still plenty of stupidity on TV, but I do feel that there’s been an upward trend in quality. Anyone agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments!
What’s so good about the “The Good Place”?
The Good Place is one of those imaginative, high-quality shows that’s graced network TV in the past few years. It somehow manages to be a hilarious sitcom and a lesson in ethics at the same time. The show is centered around Eleanor Shellstrop, a selfish and vain young woman who died in a tragically ridiculous accident (I won’t give too much away, but it involves margarita mix and erectile dysfunction pills—I have your attention now, huh? 😉 ) After she dies, she awakens in the Good Place, where only the most altruistic and noble people go after death. Since Eleanor wasn’t a particularly good person (read: a completely crappy person), she knows she doesn’t belong in the Good Place and chaos begins to ensue. She enlists the aid of an ethics professor named Chidi with the hope that he can help her become a better person. The results are both surprising and humorous as Eleanor strikes a balance between self-improvement and not getting caught. But, does it really count as becoming a better person if you’re already dead? Only Immanuel Kant and Albert Camus can answer that one. Oh, and the writers of The Good Place.
Kristen Bell shines in the role of Eleanor. I’ve been watching her movies since Forgetting Sarah Marshall (remember that one?) and I personally feel that she was born to play the role of Eleanor. Ted Danson also stars as the feisty, but loveable afterlife “architect”, Michael, who guides the humans through their Good Place journey.
While the performances are excellent, the script is the real reason to watch the show. Every episode is packed with inventive “I-did-not-see-that-coming” plot twists, well-timed jokes, and deep ethical undertones. The show explores classic ethical dilemmas like the Trolley Problem through a fresh, new lens without being too “thinky” or convoluted. It’s like reading an amusing SparkNotes version of Machiavelli. You get all the ethics without the unfortunate side-effect of my brain-hurts-from-thinking-too-hard. Plus, ethics aside, the show is just plain fun to watch!
While the show is enjoyable all the way through, the final plot twist is reason enough to binge all 13 episodes in one night. IT. WILL. BLOW. YOUR. MIND. I actually watched the first season twice, so I could see it from the perspective of the twist the second time around (clearly, I have no life). I’m being deliberately vague here, so I don’t give anything away. Just watch it. You’ll thank me—I promise. (If you’ve seen the show and you leave a comment, please resist sharing spoilers for those who haven’t watched!)
You’ve convinced me! Where can I watch?
The second season just finished airing, which is what prompted this Friday Favorites post. I needed something The Good Place related to occupy my time until the third season rolls around (over 7 months from now… ugh!) But the good news is that if you haven’t seen the show yet, now is the perfect time to catch up! Season one is available on DVD (purchase it here) or you can stream it on Netflix. If you’re a fan of the show, I highly recommend the DVD because it has extended versions of many of the episodes along with optional audio commentary. Season two is available for streaming on the NBC website, but I don’t know how long it’ll be there, so don’t delay! You can also purchase and stream season two on Amazon here, if you don’t have an NBC account.
What if I’ve already watched?
For those of you who have watched the show and are looking for something to fill the philosophical void until Season 3, check out the article Talking to a Philosopher About “The Good Place”. It’s a super interesting read about the ethical implications of the show. There’s also apparently a podcast about the show called Forkin Bullshirt (funny, right?), but I haven’t gotten a chance to check it out yet. Have any of you listened to the podcast? Share below!
Yes, TV can be part of your healthy, happily ever after! As the saying goes, laughter is the best medicine, and The Good Place is guaranteed to make you laugh out loud. Just make sure you’re learning something new about ethics with every episode. 😉 Enjoy!