Anyone who has had a conversation with me in the last semester knows that I cannot stop singing the praises for “The Good Place.” With season one now available on Netflix for streaming and the second finishing up just last night (but still available on Hulu, mostly), “The Good Place” somehow topped an amazing first season with an even more impressive follow-up.
The first season follows Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a recently deceased person sent to The Good Place. Very quickly after arriving, Eleanor realizes that this was actually a mistake and that they grabbed the wrong person, since she was an awful person on Earth.
In The Good Place, everyone gets a soulmate upon arrival, and Eleanor confides in Chidi, her soul mate, that she is in fact not the right Eleanor that he is supposed to be in love with. Chidi takes it upon himself to try to give Eleanor a crash course in ethics to prevent anyone from finding out her secret. What ensues is a series of mishaps and cover-ups of epic, after-life level proportions.
It is hard to tell any more details without giving away spoilers since the first season ends with a major plot twist, and maybe even telling you that is already giving too much away, but just trust me that you will want to see it for yourself.
Perhaps the strongest aspect of the show is the impeccable writing. The writing team is composed of names like Megan Amram, Mike Schur and Jen Statsky, so basically everyone that has been a writer on all of your favorite shows already (seriously, look them up, they write everything). The comedy is smart, referential and witty, and puns abound in “The Good Place.”
Writer Amram, queen of the puns on the show, recently released a full list of every food pun she has ever written for the show. Most of them are names of restaurants and include hits such as The Maize Runner, Udon Own Me, The Apple Doesn’t Farfalle From the Tree and Matzah-Chew-Sits. I could go on, but I am showing enormous self-restraint by not.
Besides the writing, the plot of the show is easily one of the most original on television right now, and every week raises the stakes. After the season one ending, viewers were unsure how the writers could go any further, but season two was just as extreme. The character development has a lot to do with this. Since Eleanor’s whole purpose is to become a good enough person for The Good Place, each character — even the ones you would least expect — have transformations of their own.
There were a few stale bottle episodes scattered throughout, but every television show is plagued with those. The culmination to the season finale was filled with new characters, new highs and zero lows. I cannot say it enough: watch this show.