The second season of The Good Place is just around the corner (September 28) and I couldn’t be more excited. I fell in love with this series from the very first scene. It’s a little out there and Kristen Bell gives one hell of a performance.
Despite this, I was afraid of getting attached to the show because I was 70% sure it was going to get cancelled (I hoped it wouldn’t) but I am sincerely glad I was wrong. Truth is, out-there ideas like this one rarely survive.
The plot of the show is simple enough,
After Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) dies, she is welcomed into the afterlife by Michael (Ted Danson), the architect of Eleanor’s new neighborhood in the heaven-like utopia called “The Good Place”. The Good Place was designed for those who lived ethical and selfless lives on Earth. Michael tells Eleanor she made it into The Good Place for helping innocent clients get off death row, plus other international humanitarian work.
The only problem, she has been mistaken for someone else.
While on earth, Eleanor was a truly, truly terrible person and now belongs in the bad place.
Hoping to stay in The Good Place, Eleanor must hide her past from everyone by trying to become a good person in the afterlife. However, she quickly confesses to her assigned soulmate, Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), a university ethics professor in life who agrees to teach Eleanor how to become a better person and avoid eternal torture in “The Bad Place”.
She also interacts with the people who were rightfully admitted into the Good Place, notably Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil), a wealthy philanthropist who dedicated her life to helping the poor and raised billions through charities, and her soulmate Jianyu Li (Manny Jacinto), a silent Buddhist monk from Taiwan. Michael and the habitants are assisted by Janet (D’Arcy Carden), an artificial woman in charge of helping the residents of the Good Place.
See? Not your usual everyday show.
Kristen Bell does an excellent job of making the truly horrible (and I mean HORRIBLE) Eleanor likeable and a fun character to watch. I personally think Kristen Bell is particularly gifted at playing bitchy characters, mostly because no one expects it from her. Remember her role as Jeannie Van Der Hooven in House of Lies….amazing.
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I think one of the reasons Kristen does so well with characters like these is because no one expects her to be bitchy in the first place.
Also, Ted Danson does an excellent job as Michael, the architect of the good place where Eleanor is spending eternity and D’arcy Carden is spectacular as Janet.
The characters and the unique plot made The Good Place one of the most talked about new comedies in a while – it was fun, it was witty, it was smart but it was also morally challenging.
Amidst all its humour, The Good Place took out time to ask the important questions, reminding its viewers that good and evil is not as simple as black and white.
To top it off, the season ended with an awesome twist that the good person will not allow me to spoil for you.
With interesting characters, stellar cast and plot twists that will definitely keep you invested, The Good Place is unlike anything that’s on television today.
It will definitely appeal to fans of shows like Community, Arrested Development and Parks and Recreation.
What’s beautiful about this show is that it pushes the envelope without actually offending anybody – which is honestly truly rare in today’s overtly PC world.
I especially love how the show handles ‘death’…as a concept and as a topic.
In recent years, comedies have breaking away from the structured slapstick monotony but this one proves that ambitious comedic ideas are capable of capturing audiences intelligently. In every episode, we are reminded why Bell’s character needs to be in the bad place but then we see her character growth since her death and it makes you root for her to stay in the good place.
Venturing into new territory, let’s hope that the Good place continues with its experimental niche for at least a few more years to come.
If not anything, watch the show for Janet – she’s amazing.
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