by Madison Palmieri ’22 A&E Staff
The final episode of the hit NBC television show The Good Place will premiere on Thursday, January 30, 2020 at 8:30 p.m. The comedy series has been on the air for four seasons—which are available to stream on platforms such as NBC, Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube TV—and amassed a substantial following.
The show, created by Michael Schur, who is best known for his work on comedies such as The Office and Parks and Recreation, details the misadventures of a motley crew of recently deceased humans as they navigate the complexities of the afterlife and befriend a host of quirky entities.
These characters grow both as individuals and a group, becoming better versions of themselves, while learning a great deal of philosophy and finding themselves in hilarious situations in the process.
Kristen Bell stars as protagonist Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman of dubious morals who wants to earn her spot in the titular Good Place. She enlists the help of deceased ethics and moral philosophy professor and fellow new arrival Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), who happens to be her assigned soulmate. Along with the other new arrivals, snobbish socialite Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and drug-dealing DJ Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto), they attempt to find their place in eternity.
Rounding out the main cast are Ted Danson’s Michael, the Good Place architect in charge of the four humans, and D’Arcy Carden’s Janet, a robot programmed with all knowledge and the ability to grant wishes.
With such an unusual premise, the show could have easily disappeared after a handful of episodes. Instead, it has garnered praise from viewers and critics alike, securing nominations for the People’s Choice Awards, the Golden Globe Awards, and the Primetime Emmy Awards, as well as wins at the Critics’ Choice Awards for Most Exciting New Series in 2016 and Best Actor in a Comedy Series 2018.
The show is clearly a hit with viewers, as evidenced by the show’s 655,000 followers on Instagram, and its tendency to trend on Twitter after an episode airs. Perhaps this is due to the chemistry between the actors. Their dynamics are natural and never forced, which is no small feat considering the offbeat scenarios they are constantly tasked with performing.
Maybe these situations are the keys to the show’s success, combining nonsensical hilarity with fundamental questions about existence. Viewers are forced to think deeply about their own lives, morals, and beliefs, but laugh out loud as they do so.
Indeed, Providence College students, familiar with ethics and morality thanks to the Development of Western Civilization (DWC) and the philosophy core requirements, may especially enjoy The Good Place, with its recurring references to Kierkegaard and an entire episode centered around the Trolley Problem.
Although the show, unlike the existences of its mortal characters, has come to an end, The Good Place, with its stellar cast and examination of friendship, life, death, and morality, is sure to endure for years to come.