Currently Watching: The Good Place

Well what was sold to me as “it is quirky, you might like it” turns out to be a piece of clever social satire, discourse on moral philosophers and excellent speculative fiction with jokes.

The premise for episode 1 season 1 is that a deeply selfish and at best amoral woman finds herself accidentally in a kind of heaven run by Ted Danson and full of frozen yogurt shops. However, that premise is very misleading in terms of what the show is like – Ted Danson kicking a small cute dog into the sun gives a better idea of the sensibility.

I’m on Season 2 already and have caught up. I might review it when Season 2 is over but…really hard to describe the show now without some major spoilers. (Nice to see philosopher Philippa Foot get name checked in a sit-com.)

I don’t know how long they can sustain the show but it is nice to see people trying.

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3 comments

  1. inconstantreader

    I love this show. Ted Danson is a comedy god, all of the other regulars give terrific performances as well, and the writing is top-notch. You’re right that it’s tough to describe without spoilers, so I usually just go with the premise as presented at the beginning. (The network had no idea how to promote it, creating ads like Danson and Kristen Bell sitting on a park bench with the caption, “What the fork?!” Which was meaningless until you watched it.

    The show has always managed to surprise me in the past, so I’m willing to trust that Michael Schur knows where he’s going. I do hope at that at some point they deal with the arbitrary and unjust point system.

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    • camestrosfelapton

      I’m sure there are a whole pile of introspective essays on the competing moral philosophies being presented and god-forgive me I know I’m going to be adding to the pile, but I thought that was a bit off in Episode 1 and then rapidly realised that the writers really, really, really have put a lot of thought into this. Chidi, in particular, keeps returning to virtue-based ethics (Aristole, Foot) and the show keeps returning to consequentialism (in particular utilitarianism) AND then does the thing that classic sitcoms are obliged to always return to the status quo – which means that in a sitcom there can be NO long term consequences in a sitcom and HENCE that within a sitcom consequentialist ethics are unviable.

      Also Chidi is my hero.

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      • inconstantreader

        Oh, absolutely. His ending up in the Bad Place is the most obvious sign that the system is fatally flawed. He meant well, but he hurt people, so it seems that the system is utilitarian. However, Tahani helped a lot of people but is in the Bad Place because her motives weren’t pure (as if there is such a thing as a human with pure motives). . . .

        Maybe part of the point of the show is that we overanalyze TV shows?

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