What does it mean to be a good person? In its 4th and final season, The Good Place (NBC), creatively explores this idea.
A quirky and colorful comedy, equally full of surprises and dark twists, stars Kristen Bell (Veronica Mars), as Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman from Phoenix, Arizona who dies and wakes up in the afterlife to find that she has landed in “The Good Place” as a reward for living a righteous life. The catch, though, is that she didn’t live a righteous life – she was actually the complete opposite of righteous. Knowing that she has been sent there by mistake, Eleanor sets out to become a better person and rightfully earn her place in The Good Place.
Shenanigans ensue as Eleanor attempts to hide her horrible ways from Michael, The Good Place architect, played by Ted Danson (Cheers), and all of the rest of the residents of the Heaven-like Utopia. According to show creator Michael Schur, Danson’s character is based on St. Michael the Archangel. Other Good Place residents include a Pakistani-British socialite Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil), Floridian dance-lover Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto), aide Janet (D’Arcy Carden) and Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), a Senegalese professor of ethics and philosophy tasked with teaching Eleanor how to be a good person.
With its light but smart take on philosophical topics, The Good Place is a one-of-a-kind show. It is funny and superbly written with great acting. Its hilarious replacements for swear words is a part of the show’s charm. The show won a prestigious Peabody Award in 2019 as well as two Hugo Awards for Best Dramatic Presentation, Short Form.
Through humor, The Good Place explores the concepts of Heaven and Hell but it is more so about ethics and morality than Christianity or religion. Todd May, a Clemson University philosophy professor who is a consultant for the series, says that The Good Place intends to hold a mirror up to society and show “humans as deeply flawed but ultimately redeemable, given the right circumstances.”
The takeaway: Higher hopes, a few laughs and new reasons to be a kinder person.
The series finale of The Good Place airs January 30th at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. Episodes can be streamed at NBC.com