Well, it’s been a fun ride. After lasting for a scant 4 seasons, The Good Place is over. The Good Place was a sitcom I flat out fell in love with, thanks to it’s really smart concept of tackling the subject of what morality is and how it also manages to talk about one’s morality in a fun way. It’s also super funny and the characters are just fun to watch thanks to their distinct personalities and quirks. The show also had a habit on changing up the status quo and turning the idea of what a typical situation comedy should be like.
All good things must end and this is true for The Good Place, sadly. It seems like there was nothing left to do. The heroes have already saved the afterlife and have concluded their entire journey in the universe. There was nowhere left to go.
Or was there?
Looking back at the final season and especially the penultimate and concluding episodes, there was a nagging feeling that something was kind of amiss. It’s not like there was anything wrong with them. They were still wonderfully written and the characters’ still acted the way I expected them. It took me a while to figure out what the problem was and the answer just came to me in a flash while eating lunch and talking about the final episode with my friends.
The Good Place final couple of episodes felt really rushed. Not in a bad way but it just felt like a rather missed opportunity. It just seemed like they could’ve used the ideas from those final episodes and made an entirely extra season. However, in hindsight, I think Michael Schur, the man behind the creation of The Good Place, made the right decision to end it there.
In order to understand what I’m talking about, I will have to go into detail regarding the general plot of The Good Place and, more importantly, the last few episodes of the show. So, even though it’s been out for around a week now, I’m putting up the mandatory SPOILER warning right now.
The Good Place’s basic plot revolves around 4 humans who have died and are now in the afterlife. They are told that they are in The Good Place, which is essentially heaven. Eleanor, played by Kristen Bell, tells her supposed “soulmate,” Chidi there must’ve been some mistake because she’s not a good person. The first season appeared to be all about Kristen Bell’s character learning how to be a good person by Chidi. At the end of the first season, Michael Schur throws a huge wrench in the proceedings as it turns out they’re not in The Good Place. They’re actually in The Bad Place and they’re torturing themselves because of all the awful and selfish decisions they’ve been making since arriving in the afterlife!
Since then, The Good Place generally upends itself at the end of each season as they tell a new story each time. The second season had the human recruit Michael, played by Ted Danson, as his repeated failures to keep them from realizing they’re in The Bad Place might result in his destruction. Michael manages to get The Judge of all existence to return the human to life to see if it’s possible for a bad human to change their ways. The third season has the humans and Michael to discover every human goes to The Bad Place as life has become too complicated and the effects of even the most mundane decision gives the negative points. They manage to convince The Judge and the leader of The Bad Place to create a new neighborhood to see if anyone can turn good as long as the complications of life are removed from the equation.
This leads us to the final season of the show. The humans are ultimately successful and rewrite the entire way the afterlife works. They are sent to actual Good Place. Unfortunately, while it is paradise, the humans who live there have become bored because it’s an endless paradise. Michael, who was tricked into becoming the head and only architect of The Good Place, create a doorway that will essentially end any Good Place resident’s existence if they choose. The idea is that all good things have to end.
The final episode of The Good Place deals with the initial 4 humans and when they arrive to their eventual decision to enter the door and end their existence in the universe. This is one of the most touching and most emotional final episodes for me as I watched each of these characters evolve and grow throughout The Good Place’s four seasons.
The show ended beautifully, with all of the main characters’ arcs ending. So why do I feel Michael Schur could’ve squeezed out another season? It’s because the final couple of episodes had some fascinating concepts that could’ve been explored in one more season!
Look at it this way. Eleanor and company have been striving to get into The Good Place and we only get a few episodes where they’re actually in The Good Place! It would’ve been great to see them actually have a fun time initially and do believe it’s an unending paradise. However, they do slowly realize that eternal bliss isn’t all that’s cracked up to be! That could’ve been a story arc in itself as they can act all confused at how they can be unhappy to get whatever they want all the time!
Also, since they fixed the system and now all humans will eventually get to The Good Place, wouldn’t it be funny to have a few episodes wherein we get to see them work out the kinks in the system as well as see some of the recurring characters actually try out the tests to get into The Good Place? That’s a story arc in itself!
While I do believe these would be extremely fun story ideas, the back of my mind does agree with Michael Schur’s decision to end it and just rush through the ending. Why? Because those episodes and story arcs would feel anticlimactic.
By this time, the group has already gone to The Good Place. The “eternal bliss can be boring” is just one final twist to the story, but, essentially, the group has already accomplished their goal. There was basically nothing really left to add. Seeing them kick back and relax in the actual Good Place may have been cathartic since they finally get the fruits of their labor but, without any real problems to face, that would’ve gotten boring really quickly.
The same thing might be said for watching other people take the test to get into The Good Place. I can root for Eleanor, Michael and the rest of the gang to get into paradise because I have seen them struggle against almost insurmountable odds to get there. What do I care if I see Eleanor’s mother fail the tests a dozen times? I didn’t see her growth like I did with Eleanor.
It’s just me trying to rationalize a way to keep one of my favorite shows going. I would definitely have watched one more season of The Good Place but that would kind of be defeating the theme of the final episodes as well. The Good Place was special because it was good but it was also finite. It had to end at some point and I am glad Michael Schur ended it while making me want more because the quality never dipped in the least. It’s sad that The Good Place ended but none of it is a bad thing.
Or should I say “take it sleazy”?
What did you think of The Good Place? Let me know in the comments section below!