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Tag: opinion

10 ethically sound reasons The Good Place is the best show on TV

Contributed by
Jul 25, 2018

The Emmy nomations were announced recently and eight shows were nominated in the category of Comedy Series. And excellent shows they are—The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, GLOW, Black-ish, these are undeniably excellent. But one show was missing and we can't quite put our finger (or Janet's thumb) on why.

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What has one thumb and the most heart on television? The Good Place. And here are 10 reasons it deserves a trolley full of Emmys.

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The Bad Place

Right off the bat, we can't have the good without the wonderfully bad. And between Bad Janet, Adam Scott's Trevor, and a litany of delicious douchebags including GLOW's Sunita Mani, the Bad Place is every bit as good as the Good Place, which is of course actually the Bad Place, and we're here for all of it.

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The lessons

We have learned more about morality and ethics from this show than we ever did in college philopsohy. The way the show uses complex concepts to advance and explain the plot, making them easily digestible in a still-complicated way is nothing short of a miracle. Who knew "the trolley problem" could bring us to tears?

The flashbacks

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The show's use of flashbacks gives us the best of both worlds. We get the real(ish)-time growth of our core characters while also glimpsing their past selves, all gloriously obnoxious and terrible in different ways. What makes the show so impressive is its ability to show the hope and potential in each character pre-death. The dirtbagginess of Eleanor and Jason, the selfishness of Chidi and Tahani; we are given reasons to understand and reasons to believe in them. It's hard not to love them, and it's OK to hate them a little.

The scope

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The sheer ambition of The Good Place is astounding when you think about it. This is a network sitcom about death and our legacy, the ethics and impact of our actions in life, the meaninglessness and meaning alike of every action we take. Not exactly the stuff Kevin Can Wait is bringing to the table.

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The surprises

With every twist and turn, we the audience plunge into a new level of shock and awe and (a lot of awwww). Every season, The Good Place changes the game, altering our preconceived notion of what's actually going on and what might comes next, starting with that Season 1 finale reveal. Finding out we're in the Bad Place seemed impossible to top, but the beauty in this show is how it's not trying to top—every twist builds and expands. 

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The fearlessness

This show takes complicated ideas and makes them entertainment, doing so without pandering or watering down to appeal to audiences. The Good Place puts every bit of its weirdness, its celebration of philosophy, its characters' unlikability out there and trusts the audience to love the show anyway. And we do. We really do.

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The ships

What we love about The Good Place is how it's taken the will-they-won't-they trope and essentially paired off everyone, even temporarily. Tahani and Jason, Jason and Janet, Eleanor and Chidi, Chidi and Tahani, Chidi and Vicky the "Real Eleanor" and of course everyone's favorite ship of them all, Eleanor and Tahani. We're very into that hot stuff.

The friendships

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Maybe these characters don't belong together romantically, but they do belong together. The sheer beauty of comfortably flawed friendships, just like in real life, is an amazing thing. The characters don't rip on each other for our amusement. They take care of each other, help each other, see the warts and all and love each other. And we love them more because of it.

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The cast

Not only is there no weak link, there is no weak character. Every single element of this show brings with them something crucial to the overall experience and the performances match and even exceed what's already superbly written in the script. It would be impossible to imagine any other actor playing Jason Mendoza, or Janet, or Chidi, or Trevor, or, good god, Marc Evan Jackson's "naughty bitch" Shawn. The show deserves every accolade imaginable. The casting deserves even more.

The heart

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But none of that matters without the thing that makes The Good Place so special. And that's how much we care about it. We care about the stakes, we care about every character, and we understand their motivations. We're rooting for them. And in this time of ugly uncertainty, that feels really, really good.

This show makes the bass drop. In our hearts.