The Good Place

The Good Place 2×05 – Existential Crisis

"I would say I outdid myself, but I'm always this good. So I simply did myself."

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I can’t get over how witty this episode was. In fact, practically every line was comedic gold. What a spectacular show!

The incredible thing about The Good Place is that I don’t even compare it to regular sitcoms; this is an exquisite and impeccably thought-out show that deserves to be compared against the finest dramas. The storytelling is layered, the season-long narrative is packed with twists and turns, and most importantly of all: the show not ONCE loses sight of its characters. How amazing is that?

Ted Danson has long been one of the show’s standouts, but his performance this week was on a whole other level. Watching Michael struggle through an existential crisis (and a mid-life crisis) wasn’t just hilarious, it was painfully realistic. Maybe it’s because I’ve recently suffered through the former myself, but it was so poignantly well done and affecting. The best comedy is rooted in real pain, and that made this storyline a rousing success in every way. The facial expressions, the gestures, the nuances – every aspect of Danson’s performance was glorious.

Although Tahani and Jason didn’t receive nearly as much screen-time, their subplot with the party planning was also a hoot. More importantly, their adventure finally culminated in the two sleeping together after Jason highlighted just how amazing Tahani is. I am so excited to see these two hilarious characters experience a fresh dynamic together. Interestingly, there’s always been a lot of sparks between Jason and Janet, so I’m eager to see the show navigate this triangle. I have no doubt The Good Place will do that with its signature flair and creativity.

Existential Crisis is also notable for featuring the return of Leslie Grossman as Eleanor’s alcoholic mom Donna. Grossman is insanely funny in the role, and there’s an added layer of heartbreak when you see just what a troubled and messed-up childhood Eleanor experienced. Again, it’s the real life gravitas that elevates this comedy to something much more than that.

Bits & Places

– Vicky as the show’s villain is a great touch. Keep it up show!

– Michael’s “NO ME” made me laugh out loud.

– Donna explaining the concept of death to her daughter after their dog died cracked me up.

– An ACTUAL build-a-bear. A unicorn. Fly like a falcon. The creativity on this show downright kills me every week.

– Janet as Michael’s bimbo girlfriend was too funny.

– So bizarre that the fragrance Drakkar Noire (which I’ve never heard of) was mentioned in this show as well as Kevin Probably Saves The World. Product placement or not?

– Eleanor sobbing over the family of toothbrushes was perfection. The family-pack tissues was a bit of an overkill though.

Heavenly Quips

Michael: Here are the torture ideas you asked me to write up for next week.
Vicky: (groaning) So long. You’re not supposed to be torturing me.

Michael: It really tucks my nuggets. I worked so hard on my torture ideas, and theirs are so basic. These millennials, they have no work ethic. Oh, sorry, a millennial is someone who has only been torturing people for a thousand years.

Eleanor: Not a demon in sight. Except for, you know is that what we should call you? “Demon”?
Michael: Well, I mean, it’s not really accurate, and we consider it to be a little racist. But it’s fine.

Michael: Well, I’ve read everything on your syllabus, and how do I put this delicately? It’s all, ah, stupid garbage.
Chidi: Look, we have to start somewhere. So how about Socrates?
Michael: All right, all right. Let me just get into the mind-set of a human. “Oh, I’m a human, “and my breathing tube is next to my eating tube. “Oh, and look, my arms end in stupid little sticks.” Okay. Proceed.

Eleanor: Right now, I’m the best student. I’m going to be the velociraptor.
Chidi: You trying to say “valedictorian?”
Eleanor: NO!

Chidi: Before I can teach Michael to be good, I have to force him to think about what we used to think about: that life has an end, and therefore our actions have meaning.
Eleanor: That’s what you used to think about? I used to think about how it’s weird they don’t make pants that are just one big pant leg for both your legs.
Chidi: You mean a skirt?
Eleanor: No. You’re not getting it. And my thing is different, so shut up.

Chidi: Is there any way that you can die?
Michael: Yeah, actually there is. It’s called retirement. It’s rare, but when one of us really screws something up… well, it’s fairly straightforward. My essence would be scooped out of my body with a flaming ladle, and every molecule of my body would be placed on the surface of a different sun.

Eleanor: (to Michael) Hey, buddy. How you doing? Can I get you a snack? Do you eat? I can never remember. What do you eat? Babies? Do you want me to get you a big fat baby? What flavor baby? How about a Cool Ranch baby?

Eleanor: (to Michael) Okay, bud, whatever is going on right now, just shove your feelings way down deep, plaster on a fake smile, and pretend you’re having fun. Okay? Just like I used to do when someone started talking about their kids.

Michael: (explaining his tattoo) It’s Chinese for “Japan.

Donna: Don’t be sad, okay? Your father wasn’t great. Let’s call him what he was: a fart in the shape of a man.

Michael: Want to hit the clubs? Oh, oh, oh Vegas! No, no, no, even better Dubai.
Janet, make us a Dubai.

Eleanor: I don’t know if what I’m going to say is going to hurt or help, but screw it. Do you know what’s really happening right now? You’re learning what it’s like to be human. All humans are aware of death. So we’re all a little bit sad all the time. That’s just the deal.
Michael: Sounds like a crappy deal.
Eleanor: Well, yeah. It is. But we don’t get offered any other ones. And if you try and ignore your sadness, it just ends up leaking out of you anyway. I’ve been there. And everybody’s been there. So don’t fight it. In the words of a very wise Bed, Bath, and Beyond employee I once knew “Go ahead and cry all you want. But you’re going to have to pay for that toilet plunger.”

Jason: You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met besides Michael, and he was constantly torturing us so I’d only rank him a ten.
Tahani: Which is worse than an eight?
(Jason nods)
Tahani: That’s so unnecessarily confusing.

Conclusion
Packed with humor and heart, this is one of the finest Good Place episodes ever.

Nad Rating
A

2 comments

  1. I was shocked that a lot of people found this episode underwhelming (some review called it the show’s weakest outing yet) because I LOVED it just as much as you did. Those one-liners just KILLED me. It also made me laugh out loud for several minutes knowing that the Bed Bath & Beyond employee eventually made Eleanor pay for that plunger (as evidenced by her line: In the words of a very wise Bed, Bath, and Beyond employee I once knew “Go ahead and cry all you want. But you’re going to have to pay for that toilet plunger.”) TOO FUNNY.

    But what I loved most about this is it was sooo relatable. I actually teared up when Eleanor told Michael that all humans are sad and aware of death. That scene just really hit me hard for some reason. I’m torn between loving that it ends with one of the funniest jokes the show has crafted yet (again, the plunger thing) and wishing they actually kept going for a more depressing tone for the rest of the episode. Then again, this is a comedy!

    And Tahani and Jason! Woohoo I can’t wait to see where this goes next! Love that you’re covering this WEEKLY now. Don’t ever stop!

  2. Weakest? I was debating give it an A+! I loved it that much and found it exceptional!

    Also I debated if I should continue reviewing a “Sitcom” on a weekly basis, but you’re right it so deserves it. It puts most dramas to shame. Absolutely love it! Looking forward to reading more of your comments!

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