“The Good Place” Believes That, Like Eleanor, We Are All Redeemable
NBC’s new comedy, “The Good Place”, ended last night. Let’s look at the two major themes of the show: morality and redemption.
The Good Place is a one-of-a-kind show. Most network half-hour shows have twenty-plus episodes per season. The Good Place has thirteen. Most comedies aren’t serialized. The Good Place is. Few comedies— although much more in the last few years — have depth. The Good Place has depth, and then some. If you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’ve watched the entire season and keep the season-at-a-glance short. Kristen Bell’s Eleanor awakes to learn that she has died and that the moral maths of her actions while alive have led her the Good Place. She quickly realizes that her being there is a mistake so she decides to fake it until she makes it, learning about morality with her designated-soulmate, Chidi. And while the truly surprising twist revealed in the finale changes a lot, what didn’t change is the fact that Eleanor grew to become a good person, the antithesis of the first-life, long-haired Eleanor.
The Middle Place
In the show’s universe, there is only the Good Place and the Bad Place; there is no designed place for Medium people (unless you’re Mindy St. Claire), as Eleanor points out (shout-out to Cincinnati). This would lead you to think the show believes that morality is dichotomous (i.e., good or bad), but the moral points system shows otherwise, as each moral act is given a numerical value instead of a dichotomous “good” or “bad” label.
By design, the points system implies that in order to get to the Good Place, you don’t have to be completely good. You can use the term “bro-code” (netting you -8.20 points), or even overstate a personal connection to a tragedy that has nothing to do with you (-40.57 points), and still come back from that by something as easy as hugging a sad friend (+4.98 points) on ten separate occasions.
We Are All Redeemable
In the back-half of the hour-long season finale, Chidi tries to persuade Shawn, “The All-Knowing Eternal Judge”, that all the bad things on Eleanor’s record were done by the old Eleanor. “She’s changed”, Chidi pleads. And he’s right. Eleanor has come a long way. She used to be a self-centered, grouchy, and generally all-around bad person, and now she’s not only casually quoting the philosophy of Immanuel Kant, she’s volunteering to sacrifice herself for her friends, without a semblance of hesitation, out of genuine selflessness.
Eleanor’s journey is one that we can all learn from. No matter how bad of a person you think you are, it’s never too late to change. Heck, Eleanor didn’t change until part-way through her afterlife. “Pobody’s nerfect”, as Eleanor says. We are are all redeemable. Nobody is a saint like the “sexy skyscraper” Tahani, but nobody (I hope) is as much of a turd as Trevor from The Bad Place. There is a place for medium people! Everything is going to be fine.
Small, Random, Details From The Season That I Loved
- Tahani booping Eleanor’s nose.
- The cacti.
- Tahani being on the cover of a magazine while Eleanor was at the cashier.
What did you think about the finale? What were your favorite moments of the season? Comment below!