Reptile’s Random Review: “The Good Place” on Netflix

Is it so good?

I have been watching NBC’s “The Good Place” on Netflix, which has 3 seasons available.

With the shows fourth and final season about to premiere, I figured I should share my thoughts on the show.

The premise is four people who died and have gone to heaven, a.k.a. The Good Place, or have they?


SPOILER ALERT


The show starts out with central character Eleanor Shellstrop, played by  Kristen Bell, sitting in a waiting room in the afterlife, awaiting her orientation with Michael the Architect, Ted Danson. Michael explains she has died and all the good deeds she has done in her life have earned her a place within the “Good Place.” As Michael reviews her exemplary deeds, she realizes he is not talking about her life and decides to keep that fact to herself, as she knew herself to be a short-tempered, foul-mouthed, self-centered person. Michael then introduces Eleanor to the omnipotent Janet (D’Arcy Carden) and shows her an idyllic neighborhood.

Eleanor is placed with her soulmate Chidi. played by William Jackson Harper, who is an ethics professor. You can already see the conflict taking shape here. She is given her “dream house” (more of a nightmarish piece of architecture decorated with clowns) and introduced to their neighbors. Tahani, a wealthy philanthropist socialite (Jameela Jamil) and her soulmate Jianyu (Manny Jacinto), a Tibetan Buddhist Monk who has taken a vow of silence. Only Jianyu turns out to be not what he seems and is really Jason Mendoza from Jacksonville, Florida, a failed DJ & criminal who is also hiding who he really is. He and Tahani live next door to Eleanor’s modest-sized house in a huge multi-room mansion, much to Eleanor’s envy.

As stated earlier, the show’s whole premise is these four mismatched people have been put into an environment that should be paradise, but is really the “Bad Place” disguised as the “Good Place.” The four of them are the friction in each other’s lives due to their opposing personalities, views on life, and social standings.

In the beginning, we see chaos caused by Eleanor’s inability to be good. Every time she does a misdeed, something crazy happens in the town they reside in, such as giraffes running through town, a garbage storm during flying lessons, or the ever-growing sinkhole inside the only restaurant in town. All the while, Eleanor is trying to learn to be a better person before she is found out via lessons begrudgingly given by Chidi. Then Jianyu reveals his true self to Eleanor, a bumbling idiot of a person and not the wise, silent monk they all think he is. All of the events are being secretly crafted by Michael to cause as much emotional grief in their lives as possible.

The show was interesting and funny in the first season, but by the end of the season Michael is found out and the “Good Place” busted for actually being the “Bad Place.”

Season two starts out very slow with what seems like a redo of what happened in season one, with Michael trying to find a better way to keep them unhappy and from discovering the truth. I nearly stopped watching after the first four episodes of season two, but hung in there and it got better. In season three, Michael, an eternal demon, is now fully siding with the humans and is trying to protect them from going to the “Bad Place.”  To do so, he gets the Eternal Judge (Maya Rudolph) to return them to living back on Earth so they have an opportunity to become better people, as they had proven capable of in the fake “Good Place.” The secret for them to get better is they need to stay together and Michael spends season three trying to make sure this happens.  

Because of the diverse storylines through the seasons, I will rate “The Good Place” by the season. Let’s hope the fourth and final season (premiered 9/26) is as good as the first.

Season One:

PopCultHQ Rating - 3.5 Stars

Season Two:

PopCultHQ Rating - 2.5 Stars

Season Three:

PopCultHQ Rating - 3 Stars

This has been another edition of Reptile’s Random Reviews.