The Good Place
Cast: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden, Manny Jacinto, Ted Danson
Creator: Michael Schur
Due to a clerical error, when a young woman named Eleanor ends up in the “good place,” (aka Heaven) after she dies, even though she was pretty selfish when she was alive, she tries to figure out a way to stay and not get caught.
The Good Place was created by Michael Schur who created Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which I love. I am also a big fan of Kristen Bell (since Veronica Mars days) and Ted Danson. I was looking forward to this show, but the trailers for it didn’t look all that funny. That made me sad. I kept putting off trying to watch it until the season ended. Then Steve and I finally gave it a chance and ended up binge-watching all 13 episodes of the first season in a couple of days.
It is a comedy, but I did not find it as laugh-out-loud funny as Parks and Recreation. It is more in line with the comedy of Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It is consistently amusing. When Michael (Ted Danson) the architect of the neighborhood that Eleanor is living in tells everyone during orientation how each choice people make in life is assigned positive and negative points and that’s how it is determined if people end up in the good or bad place. We had to pause the show in order to read all the different reasons given for points since they were hilarious. There is also a running gag about Florida being horrible, which could be a stale source for humor but I was still laughing at every instance it was brought up.
What became my favorite character over the course of the show was Janet (D’Arcy Carden) who is a robot concierge. She is there to answer any question anyone has about anything from their own life, other people’s lives, or any question of the universe. She can also bring people anything they want. She’s awesome to have around. I enjoyed it when Michael was trying different ways to make Janet more pleasant and had her announce “fun facts” that were facts, but not necessarily fun.
Finally, I did not expect this show to have cliffhangers. They start out very small in the first few episodes, but the way each subsequent episode ended and how things keep ratcheting up with various twists, it made us continue watching. I am not sure if I would have enjoyed this show as much as I did if I was watching it every week. I think it benefited from our binge-watching so I would recommend doing the same. The show has also been renewed for a second season and I can’t wait to see what they do with it next since the season ended in a crazy way.