The Good Place is one of my favorite shows of all time. I immediately fell in love with the show since the first episode aired. There was even a time whenever something bad would happen to me, I would exclaim “Oh, so this is The Bad Place” as a reference to the show. It’s a show that I have been telling my friends to watch but they haven’t as they’re too busy binging other sitcoms like Friends, How I Met Your Mother or some other shows that have already run its course but people still watch it in repeat because they love the show.
This upcoming season of The Good Place is very bittersweet for me. I really love the show so I always look forward to a new season of these four humans exploring the afterlife and how it teaches up little nuggets of philosophy and ethics without being all preachy about what is good and bad. What makes this season a rather sad one is the fact that this will be the last season of The Good Place. A part of me is glad it’s ending as the producers can end it on their own terms without having to draw it out to the point where we’ll see Eleanor jump a shark or something.
The Good Place ending after 4 spectacular seasons (yes, I’m saying the upcoming 4th season will also be fantastic even though I haven’t even seen the first episode yet) isn’t the really sad part, though. What’s making me despondent is the realization that The Good Place, despite being consistently good and critically acclaimed, will never be one of those comedy programs that will be remembered in the future.
As much as I love The Good Place and I really believe it’s a show that will stand the test of time, I think it’s a show that isn’t as popular as it should be. Its overall rank, when it comes to the number of viewers, doesn’t even bust into the Top 50 shows. I bet there are some die-hard Good Place fans out there but that just means it’s more of a niche show rather than something that has mass appeal. Why would that be the case? Well, there are probably different factors but one that comes to mind is how The Good Place takes a lot of comedy program conventions and throw them out the window.
With most sitcoms, episodes are generally self-contained. Previous events may pop up here and there but things usually are reset by the end of each episode. This is not the case with The Good Place. The Good Place always seems to take risks and a lot of the episodes even end in cliffhangers, making you want to watch the next episode. This makes it a bingeworthy show but not something a lot of the regular TV viewing audience is used to. In fact, there’s always a prevailing feeling that each episode will lead to something in the future, no matter how minor. While this is great for fans who have really good attention spans, this isn’t all that fun for those who just want to get a laugh or two and then move on to the next thing.
Since the actions of the characters do influence what’s going to happen in the future and things don’t just revert back to normal by the next episode, this leads to a lot of rapid character growth. I’m not saying that other comedy shows don’t have this. Friends had this. The Big Bang Theory had this. The thing is, the growth in those shows moves at a snail’s pace when compared to The Good Place. In other shows, character development happens after seasons. In The Good Place, each of the main characters will change in one way or another in just a couple of episodes. It’s incredibly fulfilling to see someone change their attitude and, you know, learn something from their past mistakes. However, this isn’t the typical sitcom format and it does make it jarring if you don’t watch The Good Place consistently.
The humor in The Good Place is also very different from other comedy shows. I hate to say this because it sounds so cliche but you have to kind of be smart to get the humor of The Good Place. Yes, I know that statement is reserved for fans who like Rick and Morty but I strongly believe it applies to The Good Place as well. There is a nonsensical yet very profound style of comedic timing the show has. I even believe that some of the jokes are meant to not be understood which can be annoying to some viewers. In one episode, they talk about how the timeline on Earth is linear but the way time functions in the afterlife follows a “Jeremy Bearimy” flow.
This was a gag that had me in stitches for a long time and my sides were hurting from laughing for so long! This was especially true when Chidi, who likes to think he’s the smartest of the humans, kind of breaks down when Michael and Janet explain that the dot on top of the letter “i” of “Jeremy Bearimy” is both Tuesday and July. The entire “Jeremy Bearimy” timeline is simply something that can’t be understood by a “human” but for the beings in the afterlife, that’s just the way things are so it’s no big deal. I’m not sure if some of the “dumber” viewers understood that we’re not supposed to understand how their version of time works, but I certainly did!
I think that’s the biggest “problem” of The Good Place and why it will not be remembered by a lot of people. The humor is just too offbeat and caters to a specific type of viewer but that’s also what makes it special. It’s unapologetic with the way it is and it trusts the fans who “gets it” to stick around until the very end. The show has received critical acclaim yet it’s still never going to be a well-known as some classic sitcoms like Cheers, Friends or Seinfeld because The Good Place is so unlike those shows. It’s a show that marches to its own beat and that’s what makes it stand out. At the same time, however, this makes it strange to those that don’t get it.
I will be waiting eagerly with bells on for the first episode of The Good Place and I know I will once again be amazed and laugh a whole lot while watching it. I will do it with full knowledge that, despite it being one of the best shows ever, The Good Place will be buried under more popular shows that didn’t want to try to challenge their viewers because that would be too hard and risky. In about a year or so, when people have forgotten about the show, it’ll creep back into my mind and I’ll remember what a fantastic show it was and wonder why no one talks about it like The Big Bang Theory or Friends.
I’ll probably exclaim “Oh, so this is The Bad Place” then.Byee!How do you feel about The Good Place? Let me know in the comments section below!