‘The Good Place’ Sophomore Season Sets High Bar For Comedy

Jack Julow, Writer

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After binging the first season of the critical darling, The Good Place, I immediately fell in love with the series. Created by Michael Schur, who also contributed to The Office, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and Parks and Recreation, the half-hour comedy sets a high standard of what comedy can be with its serialized nature and highly complex characters. After finishing the freshman season, I had no idea where the series would go, but somehow these characters fall into conflict organically.

At the end of the first season, I was delighted by a brilliant twist that changed the whole dynamic of the show in a beautiful way. I will not reveal the twist if you wish to watch it after reading this review, but it is at the level of The Usual Suspects and The Sixth Sense. With knowing the real purpose of the show, I worried that the show would fall into a cyclical, repetitive nature, yet it found a different path for hilarious jokes.

The second season continued the technique of using each episode to teach philosophy to where any viewer can leave the show being a better, more aware person. Theology feels somewhat redundant when I already learned Descartes and Nietzsche in a humorous fashion that teaches the idea in modern times over a long drawn-out reading. I am practically now a genius thanks to binge-watching this show.

My favorite joke of the season involves Kristen Bell’s Eleanor Shellstrop offering Ted Danson’s immortal demon Michael a care package with human items. Michael comments on how he loves that he now has a corporate stress ball that is practically useless, but he will never have the heart to throw it away. Humanity is always under scrutiny in the half hour comedy, and all the characters are picked apart to examine how we as a species act in certain situations.

While The Good Place has its fair share of exemplifying idiots who commit violent and evil crimes, the show also shines on a light on humanity’s best attributes. No one can doubt that the main cast of characters have done highly immoral, unlikeable things, yet it is impossible for me not to fall in love with these highly empathetic people. It’s rare for a comedy to feature flawed characters that are impossible to fall in love with and relate to, and I cannot think of a show that accomplishes this feat as flawlessly while maintaining its comic roots.

The Good Place returns for a third season on Sept. 27, 2018.

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