What a confident and hilarious pilot.
It’s the rare comedy that knows exactly what it wants to be right out of the gate, but The Good Place is lovable right from the start. I won’t spoil much here, but the show basically follows one woman’s adventures in the afterlife – or the so-called “Good Place”.
And really the show’s world is wonderfully imaginative: languages are automatically translated in mid-speech, newcomers receive flying lessons, bad words are morphed in hysterical ways (although this joke could get old pretty quick), and frozen yoghurt is EVERYWHERE. I am always impressed when a show builds its world in such an effective manner, and The Good Place seamlessly accomplishes this without slowing down its narrative. In fact by the end of the show’s two-episode premiere, there’s a heck of a lot of forward momentum going on.
It’s no surprise that Kristen Bell is excellent as our heroine Eleanor Shellstrop (talk about a mouthful), but Ted Danson is a certified comedic goldmine as the neighborhood’s “designer”. The role just feels like a perfect fit for the actor’s skills, and I can’t wait to see more of him. The rest of the supporting cast also make a great impression: Jameela Jamil just might turn out to be the show’s MVP as Tahani, a stuck-up rich girl whose soulmate is a buddhist monk, while D’arcy Carden is wonderfully charismatic as the the Good Place’s information assistant, Janet. God this is one creative show!
Bits & Places
– Seriously I love how the show begins with Eleanor’s meeting with Michael. Too good.
– How brilliant is the orientation video? I genuinely hope this is how our lives are judged in the future (with a point-based system that analyzes all our good and bad deeds).
– Raise your hand if you can’t wait to learn more about “The Bad Place”. The brief audio clip with the horrifying screams was just perfect.
– I can’t say I loved the character of Chidi. He’s way too dull at this point but there’s room for improvement.
– So it’s Michael’s first job. I guess that explains the mistake with Eleanor making it there!
– The CGI with all the bug monsters was pretty horrific wasn’t it?
– Flying lessons? Epic!
– I know it was inappropriate but I couldn’t help but laugh when Michael kicked the dog into the sun.
– Very funny moment with Jianyu restoring Michael’s faith without saying a word.
– The flashbacks to evil Eleanor are very Samantha Who. I miss that show.
– Did anyone else get Desperate Housewives vibes with the ending? Eleanor received an ominous note about someone knowing the truth about her – eerily similar to Mary Alice’s note in that pilot. Oh well, imitation is the best compliment.
Michael: So welcome to eternal happiness. Welcome to the Good Place. Sponsored by: otters holding hands while they sleep. You know the way you feel when you see a picture of two otters holding hands? That’s how you’re gonna feel every day.
Eleanor: So who is in the Bad Place, that would shock me?
Michael: Uh, well, Mozart, Picasso, Elvis, basically every artist ever, uh, every U.S. president except Lincoln.
Eleanor: That sounds about right. What about Florence Nightingale?
Michael: That was close, but, no, she didn’t make it.
Chidi: She’s like this walking database. You can ask her about the creation of the universe or history-
Eleanor: Oh, there was a guy who lived in Avondale, Arizona, around 2002. His name was Kevin Paltonic. Is he gay?
Eleanor: Really? Huh. I guess he just didn’t want to have sex with me.
Janet: That’s correct.
Eleanor: Well, that’s fine, I wasn’t that into him anyway.
Janet: Yes, you were.
Tahani: (to Eleanor) Can I just say I love your house? It’s just so tiny and cute. It’s like a little child’s plaything, like for a family of mice or for a very fancy little dog. I love it. It’s just so sweet and teensy. Just like you. Boop.
Activist: Hi there. Do you have a second to talk about the environment?
Eleanor: Do you have a second to eat my farts? (She throws her coffee)
Activist: You missed.
Eleanor: Pick it up if you’re so horny for the environment.
Eleanor: I might not have been a saint, but it’s not like I killed anybody. I wasn’t an arsonist. I never found a wallet outside of an IHOP and thought about returning it but saw the owner lived out of state so just took the cash and dropped the wallet back on the ground.
Chidi: Okay, that’s really specific, and that makes me think that you definitely did do that.
Eleanor: You’re a nice person, Chidi… Anaconda. Anagonye. Aganocomonga. Anagonye. Ags… say it again.
Eleanor: No, say what you said before.
Chidi: I did. It’s Anagonye.
Eleanor: You just changed it.
Chidi: I didn’t change it; it’s my name.
Eleanor: Argrugande. Ariana Grande. [gasps] That’s a person. I did it.
Michael: Boy, my armpits are leaking. What is that called again?
Michael: Right, right. Still not used to being in a human body. And what do you do with sweat? Do do you lick it away, is that right?
Janet: No, you dab it with a cloth.
Michael: Oh, right. And then you lick the cloth? (He licks it) That seems weirder.
Chidi: What country am I from?
Eleanor: Is it racist if I say Africa?
Chidi: Yes, and Africa is not a country.
Chidi: What country am I from, again?
Eleanor: Sen… sodyne.
Chidi: That is a brand of toothpaste.
Eleanor: Hey, up there, having fun, or does it maybe suck, probably?
Woman: I’d say it’s like 50 million simultaneous orgasms, but better. How’s volunteer garbage pickup?
Eleanor: About the same.
Woman: Great! (she flies again) Whee!
Michael: So here’s the situation, Pevita. I kind of kicked your dog into the sun. But I got her back.
Pevita: Teacup, thank goodness you’re okay.
Michael: Everyone, it is merely a construct of a dog. It feels no pain or joy or love.
Pevita: Teacup doesn’t love me?
Michael: Oh! Oh, no, no, no, no, no, it definitely feels love. Do you actually want a dog that loves you a little bit more? Because I can kick her right back into the sun and get you another one just like that.
Eleanor: Before you say anything… That’s it, I just don’t want you to say anything.
Tahani: You’re a mountain of strength.
Michael: I’m not a mountain of strength. I’m a canyon full of poo-poo.
Tahani: Oh, you have so much to teach me. Maybe I should try to be silent too. No really, look. Here I go. (she is silent for five seconds) Oh! That was wonderful! So cleansing.
Eleanor: See that hot bartender over there? He’s into me, and we’re gonna bang it out. The bad news is it means I can’t drive you guys home. But I did call a cab for you guys. But they recognized my number, and they didn’t want to come. I’ve thrown up in a lot of cabs. So are we good here?
Eleanor: (as the episode ends) Ah shirt!
A quirky and whimsical comedy that’s solid from the get-go. Awesome!