The Good Place
My daughter, Rosanna, suggested that I take a look at this television series. (Each episode is called a “chapter”: the show has 31 chapters, so far.)
I’ll have to admit, I’m not a fan. True, I haven’t watched every chapter, but the ones I’ve seen have not endeared the concept to me. Still, the series does have its fans, and they include TV critics.
I suppose what strikes me about the premise behind this show is the avoidance of knee-jerk reactions. That’s why there is no ‘heaven’ or ‘hell’, just the ‘good’ place and the ‘bad’ place. Talk about trying to have it both ways.
In my opinion, this completely squares with the idea that there is no heaven, ‘above us only sky’ (John Lennon). But the milquetoast attempt to sell us on this ‘perfect vision of an afterlife’, lacks true grit, as far as I am concerned.
The only thing I see with the four main characters is the fact that, even though they are dead, they aren’t automatically ‘perfect’. In fact, they seem to have brought over from life their ‘normal’ reactions, and that would be entirely correct, in my understanding.
By wanting to learn ethical philosophy, the group has shown that they recognize their failings as humans. The show’s situational comedy comes from the individuals learning to be better people, almost in spite of themselves.
Season two gave us a total turnaround. The afterlife was not as it seemed. The ‘good’ place was actually the ‘bad’ place, and the afterlife ‘rewards’ were actually eternal ‘punishments’. That kept the story moving forward in unexpected ways.
Season three has just begun, and the four have been allowed to return to life on earth. The twist is that their deaths were averted, and they have no awareness of the afterlife. Their ‘eternal being’, Michael, has come along with them, together with his robotic assistant, Janet, in order to ‘prompt’ them to take their next ‘correct’ steps, and sometimes to make things happen. The plot lines are unravelling because Michael and Janet keep ‘breaking the rules’. What message does that send us? Something is rotten.
I was suspicious of the whole thing from the first moment I watched it, but that is because I came in at season three. Eternal beings don’t act like Michael.
If you are looking for a little diversion and don’t mind that the story is silly and the acting is over-the-top, you will adore this show.