The Good Place is a Netflix original that did not originally jump out at me. But as soon as a friend introduced it to me, I severely regretted that I let it fly under my radar due to its stellar comedic timing and captivating story.
In the first episode, we meet Kristen Bell’s character Eleanor Shellstrop: a young woman who has recently died. In Eleanor’s world, the afterlife is divided into two places; the Good Place for the world’s elite, and the Bad Place, where the rest of the world is tortured for all eternity. This trope isn’t particularly revolutionary, however it takes on an entirely new dynamic when Eleanor realizes that there has been a mistake and that she should be in the Bad Place instead.
"The writers manage to be clever with their jokes without resorting to cheap, insulting gags"
The gentle but clever comedy style reminds me of shows such as Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks and Rec. However, The Good Place possesses a more continuous story that had me watching one episode after another. The writing and dialogue are phenomenal and the writers manage to be clever with their jokes without resorting to cheap, insulting gags. Instead they create their comedy by bouncing characters off one another. Indeed, it’s the characters of The Good Place that really set the show apart. Each works well with the others, and Kristen Bell and Ted Danson really stand out with their performances. Even characters that I originally hated, such as Jameela Jamil’s Tahani, grew on me so much that she became one of my favourite characters.
"In Eleanor’s world, the afterlife is divided into two places; the Good Place for the world’s elite, and the Bad Place"
As with any show about the afterlife, The Good Place raises a lot of questions about the practical functionalities of a Good Place, such whether or not it’s fair that the majority of the world is in the Bad Place, or forcing you to contemplate which place you would end up in.
But even while considering these philosophical questions, The Good Place masterfully manages to keep things fresh and interesting in ways that you could never have predicted, all the while maintaining a light-hearted comedic atmosphere that will have you laughing out loud.