Review: The Good Place


Catherine Allen, Editor-in-Chief

In a world of many different philosophies and ideologies, we are all exposed to certain rules and regulations that we choose to either obey or disagree with. Be that as it may, many can agree on a general concept of what it means to simply be a decent person. NBC’s The Good Place delves into this concept and its significance with a fresh yet off-beat style, still centered around the same high quality comedy as previous NBC shows. The creator of the quirky comedy, Michael Schur, has also worked with NBC on TV shows such as The Office and Parks and Recreation, but with The Good Place, Schur aims for a series that hints at the underlying conflicts pertaining to moral development.

The main character, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), embodies a perfect balance between high-energy humor and egocentric cruelty as she lives out her life spreading negativity everywhere she goes, hurting everyone around her from close friends to complete strangers. However, after dying at only 35, Eleanor is seemingly sent to “The Good Place,” the heaven of the show’s afterlife, evidently by mistake. She then convinces her designated soulmate, moral philosophy and ethics professor Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), to teach her how to be good in order to avoid being kicked out and sent where she belongs: “The Bad Place.” Throughout the adventure, The Good Place develops main characters Eleanor and Chidi, along with neighbors Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and Jianyu Li (Manny Jacinto), who all turn out to be major ethical life lessons in and of themselves.

We must act conscientiously because everything we do does in fact make an impact on the world and people around us.

During her time in the Good Place, Eleanor makes progress in her personal moral development, such as becoming someone who lets other people cut in front of her in the frozen yogurt line when she doesn’t know what to order yet (a major improvement compared to her life on Earth).

Despite the imaginative premise of the series, Schur distinctly associates positive actions with good results and negative actions with bad consequences, which, in turn, presents a valuable life lesson for viewers. What seems minuscule and harmless, such as being like Eleanor and purposefully littering right in front of an environmentalist, actually adds an unmeasurable amount of negativity to the world. On the other hand, you never know how much a small act of kindness means to someone else. Thus, The Good Place avoids all religious controversies present in real life and serves as a universal reminder that we must act conscientiously because everything we do does in fact make an impact on the world and people around us.

Overall, The Good Place is a genius mix of comedic entertainment and philosophical discussion, with the perfect dramatic touch. Watch season one on Netflix here to catch up before episode eight of season two airs on Jan. 4, 2018!