February 4, 2020 at 5:12 pm #1203330196
From The UK Guardian: The Good Place: was this the most devastating TV finale ever? With so much to pack in, Mike Schur’s afterlife hit often felt like hard work for viewers. But its poignant ending proved this show could still be heavenly – and heartbreaking
“Fittingly, Jason (Manny Jacinto) was the first to leave. He was, after all, the least complex of the four lost souls at the heart of The Good Place, so the ennui of eternity was bound to creep up on him relatively quickly. But it was still a shock when, after finally achieving his lifelong dream of playing the perfect game of Madden NFL, our boy decided it was time to check out. He did so after throwing a party at which he played particularly heinous EDM all night. “Great. Now I’m bummed about two things”, deadpanned Eleanor (Kristen Bell).
The Good Place has always aimed high. Ambition was the greatest strength of the Netflix/NBC hit – and occasionally its biggest flaw. Attempting to combine a convincing exploration of practical moral philosophy with sitcom wit and narrative drive was always likely to lead to the odd wheelspin. Much of season three felt like wading through treacle. Many viewers seduced by the early seasons of Mike Schur’s warm, inventive metaphysical comedy fell by the wayside. And yet the show’s saving grace was always knowing that an endpoint was in sight. It gave the stories weight and context, and made the journeys matter.
This was the real wonder of the finale. Before our heroes arrived, the Good Place they were searching for was both perfect and wholly flawed, inhabited by bliss-zombies who were unable to do anything but stagger endlessly on forever. But former demon Michael (Ted Danson) and “Busty Alexa” Janet (D’Arcy Carden) had a solution. They devised a terminus through which sated inhabitants of heaven could pass into the great beyond at the moment of their choosing.
This simple device was the key to one of the most poignant, perfectly constructed and occasionally heartbreaking hours of TV you’ll ever see. Jason’s departure was sad but also kind of okay. He was one of the least introspective characters in small-screen history and in love with Janet, an eternal being. But we all knew what was coming next. At the beginning of the series, Chidi (William Jackson Harper) had battled with hesitancy and Eleanor with selfishness. Somehow, Schur contrived a conclusion to their love story that was perfectly symmetrical, gut-wrenching and eventually, just utterly exquisite – a moment of pure clarity, as Chidi acted with absolute decisiveness and Eleanor tearfully understood the true meaning of the philosophy tomes she had absorbed. TM Scanlon’s What We Owe To Each Other is The Good Place’s key text. And this was Eleanor enacting its implications. After various extravagant attempts to make Chidi stay, she understood that she owed him the freedom to leave.
This could easily have toppled over into gushy sentimentality. Yet somehow, it maintained a perfect balance. The fates of these characters mattered. But their journeys towards infinity were also undercut by the relentless comic beats of the show, and humour that was always sharp but never harsh. We met a super-evolved version of Janet’s virtual boyfriend Derek (“the nexus of Derek is without dimension”). We got a glimpse of Tahani’s (Jameela Jamil) magnificently eccentric celestial bucket list, which included everything from breaking longstanding cricketing records to “Fixing the Jesus Fresco that lady messed up”. And, after his apparent departure, we learned that Jason actually spent eons in the woods looking for a trinket he had made for Janet, and meditating. When Janet pointed out that he had effectively returned to his initial incarnation as a monk, he gazed at her uncomprehendingly – he had learned everything and nothing.
It is rare that TV feels nourishing. But at the moment, surrounded by corruption, bad faith, antagonism and winter, it sometimes feels that we might be stuck in our own intractable Bad Place. But things change. The Good Place never forced a moral message but it carried one all the same. We can always do a little better. As Eleanor drained her last margarita and Michael began a new life as a (middle-aged) human, The Good Place felt definitively and satisfyingly complete. It ended with a tiny act of kindness, as Michael’s neighbour delivered a letter that had been left at the wrong address.
Because The Good Place is wherever you find it.”February 4, 2020 at 5:27 pm #1203330209
BREAKING NEWS: The Good Place: The Final Season will be released on DVD May 19, 2020. Amazon pre-order link already up:
Cover art:February 4, 2020 at 5:39 pm #1203330223
It gets better: on May 19 there WILL be a Complete Series Collectors Edition…on BLU-RAY for the first time ever in America.
Cover art:February 4, 2020 at 10:32 pm #1203330459
The finale was moreso an incredibly directed episode of television than a well written one. Seriously, between this episode and the latest episode of Single Parents, Mike Schur has shown himself to be a fantastic television director. He should direct more of episodes of his shows.February 5, 2020 at 4:18 pm #1203331836
Even in ISRAEL, The Good Place series finale had an impact:February 6, 2020 at 1:52 am #1203332396
I wish I could have liked this finale. I wish I could have. It had callbacks galore, and yet it didn’t feel right. Maybe the whole idea that eternal life is so mindrotting that eventually you have to be euthanised is too cynical for me. Especially compared to Bojack Horseman’s episode and poem “The View From Half Way Down”, it raises too many bitter doubts to the point I wonder if it is presenting the door as ideal when it is intrinsically flawed morally. How many would have regretted going through the door if they had a chance to? How many did that because of others?
For the second question, I note a throwaway gag about Shakespeare’s post-death plays not being as good as that he made in his life, and him going through the door. While this is not what was intended, I wonder if Shakespeare committed cosmic suicide because others thought his work was worthless. For such a sugary show, that is a twisted and cruel way to end, to the point I might not go back to it.
For Your Consideration:
Best Picture: ParasiteFebruary 8, 2020 at 11:01 am #1203335012
I’m always heartbroken watching a final episode of a series I love. And I’d seen so many clips of the cast and especially Kristen Bell saying “you’re gonna cry so much” etc etc. I was prepared to be a puddle on the floor.
And then in reality it hardly hit me at all. That moment when Jason gets the look on his face and you realize “oh he’s gonna leave” – that made me think it was really gonna be a heartbreaking episode. But honestly, the way the rest of the episode played out just felt like it wanted TOO MUCH for you to just feel sooo sooo bittersweet about it all. They moved way too fast through the dramaturgy just so they could cram in a load of callbacks and cameos. They didn’t let any feelings or emotional scenes linger – that’s my main issue.
Maybe an unpopular opinion, but so be it. Doesn’t make me love the earlier seasons any less.February 8, 2020 at 11:42 am #1203335049
Honestly, a week has passed and I can’t remember much of what happened in this finale.
Big fan of Better Call Saul, Sex Education, Barry, BoJack Horseman, and, especially, SurvivorFebruary 8, 2020 at 2:03 pm #1203335164
I’m always heartbroken watching a final episode of a series I love. And I’d seen so many clips of the cast and especially Kristen Bell saying “you’re gonna cry so much” etc etc. I was prepared to be a puddle on the floor. And then in reality it hardly hit me at all. That moment when Jason gets the look on his face and you realize “oh he’s gonna leave” – that made me think it was really gonna be a heartbreaking episode. But honestly, the way the rest of the episode played out just felt like it wanted TOO MUCH for you to just feel sooo sooo bittersweet about it all. They moved way too fast through the dramaturgy just so they could cram in a load of callbacks and cameos. They didn’t let any feelings or emotional scenes linger – that’s my main issue. Maybe an unpopular opinion, but so be it. Doesn’t make me love the earlier seasons any less.
I enjoyed the ending, but as I look back on it, I think it comes across as too depressing. The ending poignant, but it feels a bit too out of place for a silly comedy series like this.February 8, 2020 at 4:05 pm #1203335451
JonatanRK, there are a lot of shows that have callbacks and guest returns when a series finale is at hand. To me, it was a welcome acknowledgement of events that had happened in the show. The fact so many guest stars even from season 1 were there at the end was a tribute to the quality of the show. The departures that got me were Chidi and Eleanor’s farewells.
Has there been a show that has used its *writers* as actors as The Good Place has? Five that I know of (Jen Statsky, Joe Mande, Josh Siegel, Megan Amram, Andrew Law).
Thanks for your input. It’s appreciated.February 11, 2020 at 10:24 pm #1203343757
Live+7 Weekly Ratings: ‘The Good Place’ Series Finale Ranked 3rd Among Comedies in Raw Adults 18-49 GainsMarch 11, 2020 at 7:43 am #1203378006
Showrunner Michael Schur, author! In 2021, he will be.
Simon & Schuster announced Tuesday the Emmy-winning writer, producer and actor is working on “How to Be Good: A Definitive Answer for Exactly What to Do, In Every Possible Situation,” in which he combines humor and philosophy to “deal with the large and small ethical challenges we all face every day.”
The book is scheduled for fall 2021.March 26, 2020 at 7:42 pm #1203396216
Extras now confirmed on the Complete Series blu-ray out May 19:
-The NBC.com extended episodes, NOT the broadcast-televised ones;
-Series Finale Reunion Special hosted by Seth Meyers;
-2019 San Diego Comic-Con Panel;
-Visual Effects reels
Carryovers from the single season DVD’s:
Table read For “Mindy St. Claire” (Season 1)
Audio Commentaries on:
-“Everything Is Fine/Flying” plus “Mindy St. Claire/Michael’s Gambit” (season 1) w/showrunner Michael Schur, exec producer Drew Goddard, plus Jameela Jamil and D’Arcy Carden;
-“Dance Dance Resolution”(season 2) w/Schur, Goddard, writer/producer Megan Amram and Ted Danson
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