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Old 09-21-2016, 06:33 PM
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The Good Place [edited title]


Did anyone catch this? There's a two-parter on Hulu.

Very short synposis: Kristen Bell dies and goes to "The Good Place," where Ted Danson is in charge. But then things start going sideways.

I really enjoyed it. It's funny and different. I expect it won't last more than a season and will end with pretty much every question unanswered.

edit: And of course I messed up the title. Self-reporting for change.

Last edited by Johnny Bravo; 09-21-2016 at 06:35 PM.
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Old 09-21-2016, 07:17 PM
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I really liked it.
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Old 09-21-2016, 11:20 PM
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I found it amusing, though if each episode is going to end with a cod-liver-oil take-it-because-it's-good-for-you lesson for the main character in how to be a better person, it'll wear thin extremely fast.

Well, also that existence in "the good place" if it was running smoothly looks like it'd get boring fairly quickly. I cold see that being the overall premise, that some quantity of jerkhood is a necessary element to any society, on any plane of existence.

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Old 09-22-2016, 05:42 AM
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Even if everything were going perfectly, that one lady is already clearly irritated at her soul mate's vow of silence. So it's not all it's cracked up to be right out of the gate.

My only real quibble is the math. As it turns out, everyone dies on the same day their soul mate dies. That's...weird.

Last edited by Ellis Dee; 09-22-2016 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:39 AM
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It was created by Mike Schur, of "Parks and Recreation" and "Brooklyn Nine-Nine", so i was going to at least give it a chance. And it turns out I liked the first two episodes quite a bit. Like "The Last Man on Earth", the concept seems like it would be hard to sustain, but it's so different from anything else on network TV right now, which can be a good thing. I especially like Chidi and the Ted Danson character.
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:49 AM
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I really liked it and will keep watching. Kristen Bell was a really good choice for the main character, and I liked all the other people, especially the information woman.

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Even if everything were going perfectly, that one lady is already clearly irritated at her soul mate's vow of silence. So it's not all it's cracked up to be right out of the gate.

My only real quibble is the math. As it turns out, everyone dies on the same day their soul mate dies. That's...weird.
I was wondering about how all that worked, maybe it's some place out of time? Like she died 2 years ago and he died 19 years ago, but popped into the good place at the same time. Or it's another indication of how it's not actually as perfect as it should be.

There could be some really interesting world building as it goes on. I like a lot of the weird details so far, like her Icelandic minimalist house, and all the frozen yogurt places, and the apparent dog avatars. I hope we see some of the other neighborhoods. And I'm guessing at some point we find out what happened to the real Eleanor, if she's actually not dead yet, or if she did go to the Bad Place.
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Old 09-22-2016, 08:58 AM
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And it turns out I liked the first two episodes quite a bit. Like "The Last Man on Earth", the concept seems like it would be hard to sustain, but it's so different from anything else on network TV right now, which can be a good thing.
Yeah, it reminded me of "The Last Man on Earth" in that it's "high concept" and that each episode is a chapter in a long, evolving story, which makes it hard to judge how well the show works from just a couple of chapters.

It also reminded me a little of "My Name Is Earl," in that the premise provides opportunities to explore the questions of What makes a good person, and How (or whether) someone can learn to become a good person. How well it manages to address those questions remains to be seen, but at least it's interesting to see them try.
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:24 AM
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I thought it very good with plenty of funny moments. It probably works best on a weekly basis and not with two episodes in a row.

I do love the way they manage the swearing, especially "condescending bench." (Though I think the character clearly is generally upbeat and pleasant, even if they way she expressing things is annoying."

As for how it all works, as the noted philosopher said, "it's just a show/so sit back and relax." The mechanics of it all are about as important as wondering if there are ants in afterlife: a bit of mental masturbation that ignores the big question for any sitcom: Does the show deliver laughs?
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:43 AM
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Well, also that existence in "the good place" if it was running smoothly looks like it'd get boring fairly quickly. I cold see that being the overall premise, that some quantity of jerkhood is a necessary element to any society, on any plane of existence.
It doesn't seem like there's much chance of this particular Good Place neighborhood running smoothly in the near future, even if Eleanor (Kristen Bell) reformed overnight. We've been shown that Michael (Ted Danson) feels pressured to get things perfect on his first solo project, and we know he's already made at least one significant mistake and isn't handling it well. I mean, he kicked a dog into the sun!

I suspect that Eleanor's presence is not the only error in the neighborhood, and perhaps not even the biggest one. As Ellis Dee noted, Tahani and her silent Buddhist monk soulmate don't seem that well-matched, and Tahani is annoying enough that I'm wondering if her presence is actually another mistake. My current WAG is that she's in the same situation as Eleanor and keeps bringing up "her" past accomplishments because she doesn't want anyone to realize she's not the person who's supposed to be there.

IIRC the magical librarian lady also said the only thing she wasn't allowed to tell them about was "The Bad Place". Between that and Michael saying that Florence Nightingale, most artists, etc., are in "The Bad Place", I have to wonder whether it is in fact that bad or if Eleanor and others in "The Good Place" are being misled. So I think there's plenty of room for conflict in this setting, although of course it remains to be seen what the show manages to do with it all.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:10 AM
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There is some discussion of the points system and some screenshots here. Tahani could be mistakenly in the Good Place, or she could have just unwittingly gamed the system. You get lots of points for hosting Syrian refugees and driving to out of state disaster areas and helping, it doesn't say that you get more or less points depending on if you did that out of selflessness or for bragging rights. Bragging probably loses you points, but not much in comparison. Either way the show could go interesting ways with it.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:14 AM
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Gave it a shot, but doubt I'll watch again.

Didn't hate it. Initial twist of KB there by mistake with her presence messing things up was clever, but I don't see how it has legs. Entire village was too cute, other characters mostly annoying caricatures. Never been a big fan of TD after Cheers.

Stylistically reminded me of Pushing Daisies.
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:19 AM
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Whoeveer edited the title should have put "The Good Place" in quotation marks, so show that it the title of a work. This is an ongoing problem, it is often impossible to guess whether a thread is about a concept, or a work that has the title of a concept.

Last edited by jtur88; 09-22-2016 at 10:21 AM.
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:27 PM
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As it turns out, everyone dies on the same day their soul mate dies. That's...weird.
I don't remember that being implied. Thing is, we can't trust a lot about the Good Place - it's already established that languages are instantly translated (and apparently lip movements also), so the entire thing could be brains in vats. There isn't really a huge demand for frozen yogurt places in the afterlife, for example, but the main character likes them so that's what she perceives. The other characters are seeing dispensaries for foods they like, and every time one of them says "Let's go get a shawarma, soulmate" in Farsi, it's simply being translated to "Let's go get some empanadas, soulmate" in Spanish.
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:34 PM
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I enjoyed the first two episodes. Plenty of funny material and I'm intrigued by the world. Tahini definitely does seem to be 'not as good' as you would think, but as stated upthread could have 'gamed the system' or there is far more to the Good Place that we, or the inhabitants, know. I wonder if the Good Place is a waystation - kinda of a mini-rebirth / nicer purgatory place

Last edited by ISiddiqui; 09-22-2016 at 01:36 PM.
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Old 09-22-2016, 01:39 PM
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My wager was that "the other place" wasn't as bad as they fear. The simulfeed could have been a crowd responding to a sporting event or something. But I doubt I'l stick around to find out.

I liked the Senegalese guy (didn't he say he was from Nigeria but went to school in Senegal?).
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Old 09-22-2016, 02:37 PM
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I suspect that Eleanor's presence is not the only error in the neighborhood, and perhaps not even the biggest one. As Ellis Dee noted, Tahani and her silent Buddhist monk soulmate don't seem that well-matched, and Tahani is annoying enough that I'm wondering if her presence is actually another mistake. My current WAG is that she's in the same situation as Eleanor and keeps bringing up "her" past accomplishments because she doesn't want anyone to realize she's not the person who's supposed to be there.
I think Tahani is going to blow up at her silent Buddhist monk soulmate at some point. And those two guys who were so very cheery, even while collecting garbage? Something's going to piss them off at some point. So while the main character learns to be good, the others will learn how to be bad. Or at least will be able to express real emotions. Even the Ted Danson character kicked a dog.
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Old 09-22-2016, 05:01 PM
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They have to shake up the premise in a big way and soon. If Kristine Bell keeps screwing up heaven for everybody else, it's a bad show. If she converts into a good person, the show ends. I have to hope a whole bunch of twists are coming in the next few episodes or there's no reason for continuing to watch. Mostly, I'm betting that the real Shellstrop shows up. I couldn't find any other Shellstrops on Google so that was a good name choice.
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Old 09-22-2016, 05:05 PM
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I enjoyed the first two episodes. Plenty of funny material and I'm intrigued by the world. Tahini definitely does seem to be 'not as good' as you would think, but as stated upthread could have 'gamed the system' or there is far more to the Good Place that we, or the inhabitants, know. I wonder if the Good Place is a waystation - kinda of a mini-rebirth / nicer purgatory place
I like your idea that it's a purgatory way station, and someone else's idea that the bad place probably isn't all that bad -- they have all the art!! all the musicians!!!
Tahani really is a condescending bench. The main is, I laughed. Oh, and point system was funny....remaining loyal to the Cleveland Browns gets you more points, and rooting for the Yankees gets you closer to damnation? I'll definitely keep watching for a while.
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Old 09-22-2016, 09:13 PM
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remaining loyal to the Cleveland Browns gets you more points, and rooting for the Yankees gets you closer to damnation?
Schur is a very big Boston Red Sox fan, which explains the Yankees snub, and he is on a weekly podcast with sportswriter Joe Posnanski, who is a life-long Browns fan.

And I think the frozen yoghurt is just frozen yoghurt. Bell asked Michael what the deal with that was, and he just said that people really just like frozen yoghurt. He'd have said differently if it was like the language thing - what reason would there be to hide that?
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:28 PM
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Old 09-22-2016, 10:43 PM
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And I think the frozen yoghurt is just frozen yoghurt. Bell asked Michael what the deal with that was, and he just said that people really just like frozen yoghurt. He'd have said differently if it was like the language thing - what reason would there be to hide that?
Why would he? He tells her that frozen yogurt is popular and therefore widely available in the afterlife, he could as easily tell a dead Cantonese that dim sum is popular and therefore widely available in the afterlife. We already know the residents' perceptions are being altered - why assume arbitrary limits on this?

The settlement itself looks to me like the kind of place where a white, suburban-raised, liberal, Gen-X/Millennial, Protestant/Agnostic American would feel comfortable, and I'm okay with that, on the assumption that it's also the show's target demographic. I'm just recognizing the possibility that each resident of this particular corner of the Good Place has a customized view of it. The surreal moments of chaos could be one character's perceptions being allowed to intrude on the others'.

That said, I don't expect the show to deeply explore the idea of collective solipsism.
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Old 09-22-2016, 11:19 PM
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Holy cow!

SPOILER:
Chinese vow of silence guy is really a Mexican from LA!!!!!!


That's freaking awesome.

Last edited by Happy Scrappy Hero Pup; 09-22-2016 at 11:20 PM.
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:33 AM
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Holy cow!

SPOILER:
Chinese vow of silence guy is really a Mexican from LA!!!!!!


That's freaking awesome.
SPOILER:
My DVR cut off just as the "Buddhist monk" was about to make his revelation, leaving me in suspense. So thanks for posting that!
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:50 AM
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If it turns out that:

SPOILER:
EVERYONE is living a lie... that's not the afterlife, that's just life!
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:56 AM
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This reminds me of Pleasantville, where her presence will slowly change everyone else, leading to a meeting in the middle.
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:11 AM
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So, does sexual intercourse exist in the Good Place and if so, what about talking dirty? Is a woman limited to telling her lover "Put your big fooling clock in me, hard, I want you to make me calm."
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Old 09-23-2016, 06:50 AM
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Why would he? He tells her that frozen yogurt is popular and therefore widely available in the afterlife, he could as easily tell a dead Cantonese that dim sum is popular and therefore widely available in the afterlife. We already know the residents' perceptions are being altered - why assume arbitrary limits on this?
I don't have the quote handy, but he gives a bit more information than that. He says he doesn't know why it's so popular as well. If it was a construct, he'd have just said "it's frozen yoghurt for you, churros for hispanics, etc." Why wouldn't he? It's not like it's some big secret. We also know that information on the mechanics of the Good Place is readily available - how quickly did Chidi figure out the language thing? It is not unreasonable at all to assume that Michael is simply telling the truth regarding frozen friggin' yoghurt. If we're to assume that everything we see is different through everyone's eyes, let's all just go back to Philosophy 101 class and ask the professor "but what if, like, the green that I see is actually, like, blue to everyone else, man?".
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Old 09-23-2016, 07:16 AM
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I don't have the quote handy, but he gives a bit more information than that. He says he doesn't know why it's so popular as well. If it was a construct, he'd have just said "it's frozen yoghurt for you, churros for hispanics, etc." Why wouldn't he? It's not like it's some big secret. We also know that information on the mechanics of the Good Place is readily available - how quickly did Chidi figure out the language thing? It is not unreasonable at all to assume that Michael is simply telling the truth regarding frozen friggin' yoghurt. If we're to assume that everything we see is different through everyone's eyes, let's all just go back to Philosophy 101 class and ask the professor "but what if, like, the green that I see is actually, like, blue to everyone else, man?".
Well, it's a fantasy premise with (as yet) no defined limitations or constraints. To me, the individual perception aspect is pretty strongly implied (though I doubt it'll ever be explicitly stated) because otherwise the premise makes less sense.

Not a big deal. The show is superficially entertaining for now - I'm curious if the deeper implications will be explored.
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:35 AM
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I wasn't sold after episode 2 because I just felt bad the main character was ruining everything for everyone and she wasn't likeable enough to overlook how bad she was as a person but episode 3 and its revelations have me intrigued enough to keep going.

Last edited by Quimby; 09-23-2016 at 08:36 AM.
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:21 AM
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Chapter 3 -- especially the final scene -- really sold the show.

I'm actually starting to like Tahani as a character. Despite her seeming condescension (which may be filtered through Eleanor's perceptions), she's basically a very nice character who just happens to say things in a tone and manner that makes it sound like she's looking down at you.
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Old 09-23-2016, 10:23 AM
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I kind of doubt there will be a "everything you see is different from what everyone else sees" reveal, if only because it kind of renders everything we see, and everything we have seen, meaningless, plus it would be super hard to represent.


In any case, this is definitely my favorite new show this year (out of a small sample size). I definitely agree with the comparison to "Last Man On Earth", where it starts out with an amusing and different concept, and then it lives or dies based on what it does with that.


A plus is that the actors are universally excellent.
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:30 PM
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I did not see that ending coming. At all.

I of course immediately started wondering if everyone was there by mistake. It sure would explain a lot: Many of the main characters sure do seem to be selling their own personal virtue overly hard.
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Old 09-23-2016, 12:40 PM
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That neither my wife nor I didn't set the recording for ep 3 apparently suggests I wasn't interested enough in the show... Maybe we pulled the plug too early. Think I'll hold off and - if this show turns out to have legs - go back and catch up.
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Old 09-23-2016, 01:38 PM
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.....
Stylistically reminded me of Pushing Daisies.
That's exactly what I thought. This is not the type of show I typically like, but I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure where they will go with the plot, but I'm hoping they have a plan.
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Old 09-23-2016, 05:17 PM
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BTW, here's the orientation video from the first episode. You can stop it to see how the points are awards. It's hilarious.
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Old 09-23-2016, 05:35 PM
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Did anyone notice the "forward by" byline on Tahani's diary?
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Old 09-23-2016, 08:40 PM
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I did not see that ending coming. At all.
Well, I almost saw it coming, but yeah, the "monk" was not my suspect.

One reason I suspected Tahani (who I suppose may yet turn out to be a mistake) was because the weird/bad stuff seemingly caused by Eleanor's bad attitude mostly related to Tahani. So I was wondering if perhaps at least some of it might actually have been caused by Tahani being annoyed by Eleanor -- like maybe the giant flying shrimp weren't caused by Eleanor's greed but by Tahani secretly being angry about it. But it occurs to me now that Jianyu could possibly have been behind some of it.
Quote:
I of course immediately started wondering if everyone was there by mistake. It sure would explain a lot: Many of the main characters sure do seem to be selling their own personal virtue overly hard.
I was thinking this too, although Chidi at least does seem to truly be who he says he is. Whether he's really supposed to be in "The Good Place" or whether "The Good Place" is really even all that good remain open questions.
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Old 09-23-2016, 09:22 PM
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Well, so far we know that the "deities" of the good place are not even close to infallible. They seem to be extremely advanced aliens - note Ted Danson's unfamiliarity with the human body he built for himself as well as his inability to program Janet.

We know that none of the religions of earth got closer than 5% right - presumably that includes concepts of morality.

We know that the "deities" have a formula that determines who is good and who isn't, but we also know that a lot of folks who were pretty damned good didn't make the cut.

My guess is that most of the people in The Good Place are meant to be there by the formula, but we're going to eventually find out that the formula (or perhaps Ted Danson's use of it) does not actually bring up the best of the best. Just a particular slice of humanity.

I also expect that we'll find out The Bad Place isn't so bad. Or maybe that there isn't a Bad Place at all.
  #39  
Old 09-26-2016, 10:16 AM
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I'm actually starting to like Tahani as a character. Despite her seeming condescension (which may be filtered through Eleanor's perceptions), she's basically a very nice character who just happens to say things in a tone and manner that makes it sound like she's looking down at you.
Agreed. Tahani may be just some really good person who was born into a life of privilege (but did something really good with it) and that's just how she reacts to the world.

Last edited by ISiddiqui; 09-26-2016 at 10:16 AM.
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Old 09-26-2016, 08:20 PM
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I like the show but I had a thought: Maybe this premise would work even better as a drama.

And, as a drama, as a feature film rather than a series. There could be a whopper of a twist at the end.


mmm
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:13 AM
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Another funny episode last night. I loved seeing Jason's flashbacks and his "bud hole." I should have paused at the restaurant to see what everyone's favorite meals were, but one guy definitely had a pile of M&Ms. And I loved Michael's delight about suspenders.

For the overarching storyline, there seem to be more indications that this is some kind of purgatory. Last week there was Chidi's super long thesis that he never finished on earth and decided to get finished now, and this week Michael mentioned at the restaurant something about how everyone in the Good Place will fulfill their true purpose. This doesn't explain why Eleanor and Jason got sent there, but should be interesting as it goes forward.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:22 AM
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I'm wondering if each episode is going to focus on a different member of the community, and explain why he or she is there.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:43 AM
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Another funny episode last night. I loved seeing Jason's flashbacks and his "bud hole." I should have paused at the restaurant to see what everyone's favorite meals were, but one guy definitely had a pile of M&Ms. And I loved Michael's delight about suspenders.
I spotted the M&Ms, too.

I like that we're seeing this as a serial comedy; the episodes are chapters in a story (they're even identified as such). The long-term problem is that eventually they will have to wrap things up, and it may be hard to find a new place to go.

In any case, the show had some great laughs. I'm thinking that Chidi's role is to learn that you have to be flexible about morality.

Still loving Tahani. She's a great supporting character.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:51 AM
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I don't mean to thread poop; I watched this last night and couldn't make heads nor tails of it. I was aware of the premise and really looking forward to Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. The latter was pretty funny but Ms. Bell was . . . not likable. I realize she's not supposed to be likable but this was unlikable not in a Sarah Marshall way, but in a not funny, very un-Bell like way. Is it necessary to have seen the first episode in order for it to make sense?
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:57 AM
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
I don't mean to thread poop; I watched this last night and couldn't make heads nor tails of it. I was aware of the premise and really looking forward to Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. The latter was pretty funny but Ms. Bell was . . . not likable. I realize she's not supposed to be likable but this was unlikable not in a Sarah Marshall way, but in a not funny, very un-Bell like way. Is it necessary to have seen the first episode in order for it to make sense?
I'd say that you would definitely need to see the first episode or two. You might still not like the show, but it would make a lot more sense.
  #46  
Old 09-30-2016, 09:43 AM
ISiddiqui is online now
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Man, Jason was such a douche. This is going to be Chidi's greatest project - maybe it'll help him finish his thesis?
  #47  
Old 09-30-2016, 09:55 AM
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Alley Dweller is offline
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Originally Posted by WOOKINPANUB View Post
I don't mean to thread poop; I watched this last night and couldn't make heads nor tails of it. I was aware of the premise and really looking forward to Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. The latter was pretty funny but Ms. Bell was . . . not likable. I realize she's not supposed to be likable but this was unlikable not in a Sarah Marshall way, but in a not funny, very un-Bell like way. Is it necessary to have seen the first episode in order for it to make sense?
NBC is re-running the entire series from the beginning this Saturday. Set your DVR or VCR or whatever.

Or watch them online for free here.
  #48  
Old 09-30-2016, 10:25 AM
Trion is offline
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For the overarching storyline, there seem to be more indications that this is some kind of purgatory. Last week there was Chidi's super long thesis that he never finished on earth and decided to get finished now, and this week Michael mentioned at the restaurant something about how everyone in the Good Place will fulfill their true purpose. This doesn't explain why Eleanor and Jason got sent there, but should be interesting as it goes forward.
Unless Eleanor is there for Chidi to teach ethics to, which could be part of his true purpose...??
  #49  
Old 09-30-2016, 01:54 PM
MaxTheVool is offline
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Definitely continuing to enjoy this show. Although my DVR keeps cutting out the last few seconds. Did we see anything at the end of this episode other than Tahani seeing the sinkhole getting larger?
  #50  
Old 09-30-2016, 03:08 PM
ISiddiqui is online now
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Definitely continuing to enjoy this show. Although my DVR keeps cutting out the last few seconds. Did we see anything at the end of this episode other than Tahani seeing the sinkhole getting larger?
God, that is annoying for me as well. It seems to happen on a bunch of shows.. I just set my recording to +2 mins at the end.

I'd like to know about this as well (anything other than Tahani seeing the sinkhole grow)
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