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October 6, 2017 at 1:50 pm #1202231679
Ratings from last night; 4.2m total viewers, dipped just .1%. Adjusted up a tenth in the final numbers.October 7, 2017 at 5:02 pm #1202232218
Advertising Age did its annual survey of the shows that charge for a 30 second commercial, and a look at its findings showed NBC is billing advertisers around $116,000/30 second ad for The Good Place. A 23% increase over its freshman campaign.
Read all about it and other shows here: http://adage.com/article/news/tv-ad-pricing-chart/310429/October 11, 2017 at 8:30 pm #1202235252
Episode 2.5: Existential Crisis
As Tahani throws a dinner party to impress, Eleanor and Jason both have to lend a hand when things don’t go as planned.October 12, 2017 at 8:14 pm #1202235993
It ran the gamut tonight; from funny, to sweet (Tahani and Jason at the end), and sobering, as Michael saw the fear of God hammered into him as Chidi talked about mortality. The episode hit close to home for me on that latter point. And Bell was exquisite as Eleanor, looking at a set of family toothbrushes triggers painful memories of her broken family and how things went so wrong.
Very good, gang.October 12, 2017 at 8:55 pm #1202236013
Another meh episodeOctober 12, 2017 at 9:54 pm #1202236039
My least favorite episode of the season, too, but still had a lot of enjoyable moments. I thought Eleanor’s flashbacks, in particular, were really funny. I appreciate that even a lesser episode of this show continues to push the narrative forward in interesting ways.
Formerly known in the forums as PianoMann.October 13, 2017 at 12:13 pm #1202236485
Ratings for “Existential Crisis”: 4m total viewers, 1.2 in the demo. Steady as she goes, unlike Will and Grace, whose numbers are falling through the floor.October 13, 2017 at 12:24 pm #1202236502
I loved the episode, I thought it was by far the funniest episode so far, and I really enjoyed the flashbacks.October 18, 2017 at 7:21 pm #1202242025
Episode 2.6: The Trolley Problem
Chidi and Eleanor tackle a famous ethical dilemma, leading to the two butting heads with Michael. Tahani harbors a secret and confides in Janet.October 19, 2017 at 6:53 pm #1202242728
Vulture.com’s review of tonight’s episode. It pretty much is in league with my take:
Okay, that’s more like it! After a middling episode that made the viability of The Good Place’s season-two premise seem iffy, this week’s “The Trolley Problem” is both funny and focused, with some of the best uses yet of the show’s anything-goes aesthetic. This half hour had exciting plot developments, callbacks, and Jason describing Tahani’s body as “soft and smooth, like a bunch of water balloons.” It may not have risen to the genius of “Everything Is Great!” or “Dance Dance Resolution,” but otherwise it’s hard to find too much to complain about.
It’s no coincidence that the best episodes of this season so far have been flashback-free. We’ve reached the point in the story where there’s not a lot to be gained from revisiting who these four dead humans used to be. What makes “The Trolley Problem” so much fun is that it ignores what came before and just barrels forward at top speed, with no brakes, right toward potentially lethal harm.
The emphasis on the present rather than the past has been particularly beneficial to the character of Chidi, who’s often overly defined by the indecision he showed on Earth. Ever since Michael’s latest reboot of the Neighborhood, Chidi is something of a changed man. Last season was mostly about Eleanor learning that she’d be better off if she were more empathetic to other people. This year has been just as much about our favorite moral philosophy professor learning that he has value, and that he should assert himself more.
For example, season one Chidi never would’ve stood up to Michael the way he does here, after he gets frustrated by the torture-demon’s lackadaisical attitude. Chidi actually claims to know more about humanity than this being who’s been alive since the dawn of time, and he tries to force him into line by having him write “people = good” over and over on the blackboard. Then, when he finally gets fed up with Michael, Chidi expels him from the classroom — even though a key component of the plan to get the group to the real Good Place involves all of them becoming better people. (The teacher isn’t even persuaded by his problem pupil’s defense: “But I said, ‘My bad!’”)
Of course, season one Michael was very different, too — or at least he was pretending to be. Now that he’s no longer disguising his pure evil, he expresses undisguised glee at trashing Chidi’s little ethical quandaries. The title of this episode refers to the classic thought experiment: If you were steering a trolley that was on a course to obliterate five unsuspecting people, would you actively switch tracks so that you’d only kill one? What if the one was a friend of yours? What if you were a doctor, and you could save five people who need organ transplants by killing a healthy person?
Michael dismisses any suggestion that there’s a difference between these hypotheticals, saying that all the humans ultimately deserve to die. That conclusion isn’t surprising to Chidi, given that when he had Michael read Les Misérables, his book report was, “Everyone in this story sucks and belongs in the Bad Place” because they’re thieves, prostitutes, and Frenchmen.
All of this leads to the spectacular set piece at the center of “The Trolley Problem.” To prove to Chidi that a lifetime of books hasn’t really prepared him for real moral crises, Michael literalizes the day’s lesson by putting the professor in an actual trolley with people stuck on the tracks — including his “boot buddy” Henry from last season’s “The Eternal Shriek.” It’s a particularly cruel form of torture, and it’s to Chidi’s credit that he ultimately decides he wants no part of it. That’s too bad, though, because the scenes of Chidi getting splattered with his victims’ blood (and boots!) are pretty funny in a horrible kind of way.
Meanwhile, Eleanor deserves credit for realizing that Michael isn’t being ornery for ornery’s sake. Initially, she’s sure that teaching her demonic captor to be good would be like teaching her “how to be not-hot.” (She then ponders how that would work: Would she hunch over or something?) Then it occurs to her that Michael may be pulling a Shellstrop. He’s bad at doing something that others are good at, so he’s impulsively rejecting it as as stupid waste of time. With that insight, Eleanor is able to broker a peace and keep class in session.
While all of this is happening, though, Michael, Chidi, and Eleanor miss a more important story happening next door, where Tahani and Jason are trying to make sense of their torrid sexual affair by talking through their fears and needs with Janet. Tahani is concerned that her new lover doesn’t rise to what she calls “the Duke rule” for her boyfriends — referring to both the nobility title and the university, both of which are deemed just impressive enough to name-drop. For his part, Jason wishes Tahani would touch his butt in public more often, and suggests that she act like he’d just sat in gum. (“You do sit in a lot of gum,” she admits.)
What the lovers don’t expect is that a frank conversation about their feelings will break Janet — perhaps because deep within her programming, she remembers being partnered up with Jason and she’s resisting this new Tahani-centered reality. So Janet begins to glitch. Her thumb spontaneously flies off, she vomits up a frog, and her instability causes the whole Neighborhood to shake at episode’s end.
Everything that’s surreptitiously happening in the Neighborhood right now is a byproduct of improving these four humans for the next phase of their afterlife. But in the process, Michael and Janet are becoming marginally more human. As a result, the reality they’ve created is crumbling … and The Good Place is getting good again.
In the Neighborhood
• Man, the Bad Place demons really hate the French. Michael notes that it’s an automatic minus 17 “good person” points for stealing bread, but minus 20 if it’s a baguette. He also points out that Les Misérables author Victor Hugo is in the Bad Place, where he whimpers like a wuss every time he’s about to be tortured. (“Sacre bleu, I peed in m’pants!”)
• In lieu of kooky Neighborhood shop and restaurant names, The Good Place writers slipped an Easter egg into Michael’s “trolley problem” simulation sequence, as Chidi sped past a movie theater marquee advertising “STRANGERS UNDER A TRAIN.”
• Michael tries to buy everyone’s forgiveness with “opposite tortures” — which is what most of us call “presents” — and hits it big with Tahani’s giant diamond and Eleanor’s never-ending shrimp dispensary. Jason loves his Pikachu balloon, too … but it immediately pops because he’s a big kid who breaks things.
• I don’t know about you, but I’d like to see more of Chidi’s rap musical about Kierkegaard. A DVD extra, maybe?October 22, 2017 at 3:06 pm #1202245170
The Atlantic, of all websites weighs in on Thursday’s episode:
How ‘The Good Place’ goes beyond ethics’ most famous thought experiment: The Trolley ProblemOctober 22, 2017 at 3:11 pm #1202245173
And here’s a review of the season 1 DVD from DVDTalk:
https://www.dvdtalk.com/reviews/72462/good-place-season-one-the/October 23, 2017 at 8:04 pm #1202246437
They’re gonna stick it to us again…the November 2 episode will be the fall finale as it’s NBC’s turn to pick up Thursday Night Football for the remainder of the year. The show will resume in January 2018.October 25, 2017 at 10:10 pm #1202248312
It’s 2017’s penultimate episode! 🙁
Episode 2.7: Janet and Michael
Michael is already on the thinnest of ice with Shawn over this whole reboot business. So when his Neighborhood experiences a Janet-inducing glitch, Michael has to resolve the issue with her before it gets out of control and Vicky lowers the boom on him.October 26, 2017 at 1:19 pm #1202248949
From GQ magazine; how The Good Place gets its inspirations from food: