Essay

The Uncommon Goodness of The Good Place

Filled with positivity, heart, and goodness throughout every fiber of its beautiful tapestry that has thus far been woven for us.

3o7WIOdFK2o15rlHjiI’m not breaking any new ground here to say that The Good Place continues to be a tremendous show into and through its second season, which builds on the twist at the end of season one in unexpected and spectacular ways. If you’re not watching this, get on it. It’s smart, fun, and is overflowing with heart. There are so many moments from its dense and well plotted season two arc that made me laugh out loud, and almost as many that actually got me choked up because the characters are so full and accessible that you share in their struggles and pains.

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What’s especially astonishing about the second season in particular, is how casually they make nerdy ethics and morality philosophy cool. Granted, nerdiness has already established its sex appeal in the zeitgeist, but damned if TGP isn’t taking full advantage of it by having its leading cast regularly overcome challenges with quick fire debates about the merits of Aristotle versus Kant’s moral tenets.

A thought occurs to me, and the reason for my writing this (because I’m never satisfied to just write a thumbs up or down review). Why haven’t the same denizens of toxic nerd culture that latched on Rick & Morty latched onto this? Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad the show’s fandom is as positive and warm hearted as the show itself. However, don’t those guys take pride in “getting” R&M and that making them superior?

l4pTnPZ6m0pqh3BTyI think the simple answer is that while there is an accessible intellectual depth to the philosophy discussed in the show (and some added layers to character dynamics if you’ve taken even a 101 course or just read the Tao of Pooh), the show concerns itself at all levels- shallow and opaque- with what makes a good person. It’s impossible to latch onto that kind of art with this sort of morality and intention at its core and wield it in the name of such toxicity as R&M has been.

Ernest Hemingway once said “there is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man, true nobility is being superior to your former self.” If that’s as true as it feels, and the characters on The Good Place are all so driven and focused on self improvement and growth then how can anyone profess to understand or “get the show” more than anyone else, or to wield it as a badge of superiority over others?3oxHQDfHIGY7jYSbuw

It’s a profound secondary recommendation I can offer for the show, it accomplishes something very few other shows manage to, even so many others with characters I adore and remember fondly:

It is filled with positivity, heart, and goodness throughout every fiber of its beautiful tapestry that has thus far been woven for us.

I can’t wait to see where the journey goes in season three, and I sincerely hope you jump on board for it.

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