For a show focusing on what happens after death, it sure has a lot to teach us about life.
The Good Place was bursting with lessons and teachable moments that were thrown at us in a variety of ways: Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason’s experiences in the faux Good Place, Chidi’s philosophy lessons, Michael’s trial-and-error of understanding humanity, and several hundred Janet reboots.
Not all of the lessons were equal but they were equally as important, and we’ll forever be grateful that the show put them on our radar and helped us become better people.
Join us in reflecting on the lessons we’ve learned from the best, smartest, and most well-written show of the 2010s.
Lesson #1 – Whatever you think you know about your life, you’re probably wrong.
Time after time we thought we had The Good Place figured out, only for it to pull the rug out from under us again and again. Take a moment and you’ll notice the same thing tends to happen in our real lives. Did you schedule out your entire week? Too bad an ant colony is planning an invasion on your kitchen Wednesday. Did you finally find the best pizza in the city? Just wait until you find out it’s a drug front. Think your successful friend is trying to help you move up in the office? Sorry, he’s actually an evil demon relentlessly torturing you.
The Good Place taught us that not only are things not always what they seem, but that reality is not even close to what we think. Apples to oranges is really more like apples to your insurance card. So get ready to roll with the punches and stay on your toes – you never know what’s coming next.
Lesson #2 – Change is possible, but it’s work.
Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason each had to change themselves if they wanted to earn a spot in the Good Place. It wasn’t easy, though. They had to continually work at improving over 800 years of time, with demons, both personal and literal, trying to drag them down. But they put in the work and time to improve, and most importantly, they didn’t leave each other behind.
They never jumped on each other from slip-ups or told the other they were worthless because they were bad people in the past. They worked hard, both individually and together, to change for the Good. Even Michael, the demon who began the series torturing them, became a force for good, and if Michael can do it, so can you.
Lesson #3 – Just because you think you’re a good person doesn’t mean you are.
Chidi and Tahani both completely believed they had earned paradise, as did our recent buddy Brent in season 4. Unfortunately for them, they were secretly in the Bad Place all along, proving definitely that just because you think you’re a good person, doesn’t mean anyone else does. Tahani and Brent both need some more self-awareness and a better understanding of what being “good” entails, but Chidi only ever had the best intentions at heart and he still constantly caused pain and dismay to those around him through his indecision. We certainly took a look in the mirror after these revelations, not to make sure we were good people, but to find out what parts of ourselves weren’t good and how we could adjust them.
Lesson #4 – We make our own meaning.
Whether it’s helping other people, partying like there is no tomorrow, or building a relationship, we make our own meaning in life. The humans of the Good Place are perpetually screwed, and yet they continue helping each other, comforting each other, laughing together, and building their bonds. When demons are coming for them, they celebrate. When they’re bound for hell, they spend time trying to save others from the same fate. When they discover soulmates aren’t real, they make them anyway. When everything seems lost in our own lives, we think of The Good Place to remind us that we can find a purpose in all that madness, and be our best selves in the process.
Lesson #5 – Almond milk is bad for the environment.
When Chidi discovers he’s in the Bad Place, he believes he knows the reason: he drank almond milk despite knowing it was bad for the environment. We never knew this, but have totally removed almond milk from our diets ever since. Chidi was initially derided for believing this was the reason he was sent to the Bad Place, but we’ve learned in the back half of the series that small, seemingly inconsequential transgressions (such as drinking almond milk) are contributing to the mass rejection of humans from the Good Place. It’s difficult to be good in a world that has become so complicated that the simple act of drinking almond milk loses you points, and we’ve been on the lookout for the unseen consequences behind our innocent actions ever since.
Lesson #6 – Own who you are (even if it’s a Jaguars fan)
While change and betterment were at the core of The Good Place, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason only made progress at becoming better people when they acknowledged and accepted their flaws.
The four humans weren’t bad people, per se, they were simply products of their environment who oftentimes let their insecurities get the best of them. But those qualities also made them unique and valuable. They were just “bad enough” that they could change, but they also needed those qualities in order to change. Change requires acknowledgment of the problem, acceptance of those flaws, and the desire to become better. The humans did all of that and wore their flaws like badges of honor to improve and grow in the afterlife.
Check Out Our The Good Place Gift Guide for All Your Afterlife Swag
However, improvement never required them to become different people. They channeled their flaws and turned them into positives. Even after becoming better, those fundamentals of who they were and what made them the characters we love were still there; Eleanor’s raunchiness, Chidi’s indecisiveness, Jason’s simultaneous dopeness and dopey-ness, and Tahani’s need for approval. Their experiences came in handy many times when dealing with demons and trying to save the world ie. Eleanor’s wit and skepticism were instrumental in continuously cracking the mystery that the Good Place was really the Bad Place. It was because of who they were that they were able to make such strides in the afterlife, flaws and all.
Lesson #7 – Empathy goes a long way
When the series began, Michael was a demon from the Bad Place who enjoyed causing pain to the four humans, but as time went on and he grew closer to the humans, he began to learn and understand what it meant to be human. He became empathetic to their experiences, their struggles, and their desire to change.
The best example of this is when Michael agrees to help them get to the judge so they can present their case of why they deserve to be in the Good Place. When he realized they only had four badges to get through the portal, he told Eleanor that he finally solved “The Trolley Problem” and sacrificed himself by putting his friends first. He understood how hard they’ve worked to become better people and knew they deserved a shot at proving it.
In a similar fashion, Janet, an animatronic guide, also learned to be human. After more than dozens of reboots, she becomes an all-knowing entity that not only knows all the answers to every question in the universe but also starts to understand the human experience. She begins to display human emotions like love (mostly for Jason) she understands feelings of sadness, happiness, and everything in between, and she has the capacity to put herself in someone else’s shoes. Compassion and empathy are at the core of what makes us human.
Lesson #8 – Frozen yogurt really is delicious
Michael rebooted his neighborhood many times after it seemed to fail, but one thing that was constant was the frozen yogurt shops. Michael put it in there as a form of torture, but let’s be real, frozen yogurt is hardly torture. As Michael explained, humans excel at “taking something and ruining it a little so you can have more of it,” and it may not be ice cream, but froyo is delicious in its own right (fight me).
In fact, the invention of froyo single-handedly proves humans are geniuses and thus, froyo should be eaten and enjoyed in abundance. If there is an afterlife with an unlimited menu of flavors, that’s enough to convince us to be our best selves every single day. When Eleanor confronts Michael about all the froyo shops, he even admits it by replying, “I’ve come to really like frozen yogurt.”
Lesson # 9 – Know when it’s time to let go and move on
In the second to last episode of the series, Ted Danson’s character Michael realizes that he’s fulfilled his purpose. He went from being a demon who tried to innovate the torture experience for humans sentenced to the Bad Place, befriended them, became a better person, and built a new afterlife system with their help to save all of humanity. Initially, he tries to sabotage Vicki from taking his job but eventually accepts that she’s better at it than he is and hands over the reins, which is a key lesson.
Related: The Best Episode of The Good Place Is… “Best Self”
It’s imperative that one understands when their path has run its course, when it’s time to walk away from something that no longer serves them, or when it’s time to find something new and challenging. Now, Michael is walking into the unknown and not knowing what waits for him on the proverbial other side, which is scary, but it’s also a necessary part of life. As humans, we are constantly reinventing ourselves and searching for our next journey. Sometimes, there’s magic with accepting and “going with the flow.”
Lesson #10 – If it’s meant to be, it’ll be
No, I’m not singing the Florida Georgia Line and Bebe Rexha song, although, it is fitting. I’m talking about trusting that whatever is meant for you will find you. Soulmates don’t exist in the afterlife, but that never stopped Eleanor and Chidi from falling in love and finding each other over and over again after almost 800 reboots. They were meant to be, it was written in the stars, call it whatever you want, but they always found a way back to each other, even if they didn’t have their memories.
At one point, the only thing Chidi was ever sure of was his love for Eleanor. When he made the sacrifice to get rebooted to save all of humanity, it’s because they both believed that they would be reunited again. It’s the very simple idea of trusting what the universe has planned for us and not trying to control your destiny. When Michael was trying to succeed with his neighborhood, he did everything in his power to prevent Chidi and Eleanor from meeting and finding each other and somehow, they always did. Okay, cue the FGL + Bebe song, baby.
Catch up on all episodes of The Good Place now
Written by: Tommy Czerpak and Lizzy Buczak
What to Watch
Summer 2023 TV Lineup Schedule – Time to Heat Up the Summer
It’s time to heat up the summer with plenty of new and returning TV shows.
The summer months are, obviously, best spent outside enjoying the warm weather, unlimited BBQs, and pools and beaches, but when you’re ready for a little getaway, TV shows and characters are always around to keep you entertained.
With the WGA strike possibly continuing into the fall, summer television might be the last time we get any new seasons for the next few months, so embrace it.
As always, the slower-paced summer months are also the best time to catch up on any shows that you’ve been wanting to watch!
Here’s what’s on tap for summer 2023—let us know what you plan to watch in the comments!
30 for 30: The American Gladiators Documentary (May 30, ESPN)
The Ride (May 30, Prime Video)
Drag Me to Dinner (May 31, Hulu)
Nancy Drew, season 4 (May 31, The CW)
Manifest – season 4 part 2 (Netflix, June 2)
The Idol (HBO, June 4)
The Lazarus Project (June 4, TNT)
Cruel Summer, season 2 (Freeform, June 5)
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, season 16 (FX, June 7)
The Real Housewives of Orange County, season 17 (June 7, Bravo)
Alone, season 10 (History Channel, June 8)
Based on a True Story (Peacock, June 8)
Never Have I Ever, season 4 (Netflix, June 8)
The Crowded Room (Apple TV+, June 9)
The Full Monty (FX and Hulu, June 14)
The Big D (June 14, USA)
Temptation Island, season 5 (June 14, USA)
The Wonder Years, season 2 (June 14, ABC)
Project Runway, season 20 (June 15, Bravo)
Outlander, season 7 (June 16, Starz)
The Walking Dead: Dead City (June 18, AMC)
The Righteous Gemstones, season 3 (HBO, June 18)
Secret Invasion (Disney+, June 21)
The Bear, season 2 (FX, June 22)
I’m a Virgo (Prime Video, June 23)
2023 BET Awards (June 25, BET)
The Bachelorette, season 20 (June 26, ABC)
Grown-ish, season 6 (June 28, Freeform)
Hijack (Apple TV+, June 28)
The Witcher, season 3, part 1 (Netflix, June 29)
Warrior, season 3 (June 29, Max)
Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, season 4 (June 30, Prime Video)
And Just Like That …, season 2 (HBO Max, June TBD)
Black Mirror, season 6 (Netflix, June TBD)
The Horror of Delores Roach (July 7, Prime Video)
The Prank Panel (July 9, ABC)
The Afterparty, season 2 (Apple TV+, July 12)
Full Circle (Max, July 13)
Foundation, season 2 (Apple TV+, July 14)
The Summer I Turned Pretty, season 2 (July 14, Prime Video)
The Real Housewives of New York City, season 14 (Bravo, July 16)
Justified: City Primeval (FX, July 18)
Minx, season 2 (Starz, July 21)
Praise Petey (Freeform, July 21)
The Witcher, season 3, part 2 (Netflix, July 27)
Good Omens, season 2 (July 28, Prime Video)
Heels, season 2 (July 28, Starz)
Survival of the Thickest (July TBD, Netflix)
Reservation Dogs, season 3 (FX on Hulu, August 2)
Heartstopper, season 2 (Netflix, August 3)
Only Murders in the Building (Hulu, August 8)
Painkiller (Netflix, August 10)
The Upshaws, season 4 (August 17, Netflix)
Archer season 14 (August 30, FXX)
Ahsoka (Disney+, August TBA)
As for what we can look forward to in the fall and beyond, well, Lupin Season 3 is scheduled for October 3 on Netflix. Other shows in the works without premiere dates include Bridgerton Season 3 and The Crown Season 6 on Netflix, Ironheart and Loki on Disney+ and Gen V on Prime Video!
What to Watch
Memorial Day Weekend: 5 Best TV Shows to Binge-Watch
Break out the red, white, and blue because it’s Memorial Day weekend.
The holiday, honoring and remembering fallen military personnel, is typically characterized by a three-day weekend consisting of parades and outdoor grilling.
But if you’re planning to kickstart summer indoors, there are plenty of great shows and movies to binge-watch with friends, family, or even solo!
You can opt for some Memorial Day-themed movies, or you use this time to finally get around to that “one show” you’ve been meaning to watch! Or even use this time wisely to catch up on shows that will be dropping new seasons in the next few weeks/months.
If you’re looking around for new shows to feed your eyeballs, look no further than this list of must-watch during Memorial Day weekend shows that are all streaming RIGHT NOW!
Manifest – Netflix
The last 10 episodes of the groundbreaking plane drama are preparing for landing on June 2, which. means that this is the perfect weekend to catch up on all this Manifest. Where did the passengers of Flight 828 go when they disappeared for 5 years?
Sweet Magnolias – Netflix
It’s almost time to return to Serenity to catch up with your three best gal pals, Maddie, Dana Sue, and Helen. The beloved Netflix drama just announced a summer premiere, so this is your time to binge all the episodes you haven’t seen yet!
How I Met Your Father – Hulu
HIMYF, the Hilary Duff-led HIMYM spinoff, is one of the biggest sitcoms on TV right now. Along with its promising cast, it delivers a fast-paced yet quirky and hilarious storyline that makes it a breeze to watch during a long weekend.
Cruel Summer – Freeform
Love a good mystery? So do we. And Cruel Summer, which was a breakout hit in 2021 when it dropped its first season, kept audiences on their toes right down to the last minute of the season. The first season of the drama—spanning three different summers—focused on Kate Wallis, a popular teen who goes missing, and Jeanette Turner, a dorky outlier who is accused of knowing who abducted Kate and keeping it a secret. Which one of them do we believe? Binge all seven episodes and prepare for the arrival of season 2 in June!
The Bear – Hulu
There may be a lot happening in Jeremy Allen White’s personal life right now, but that shouldn’t deter you from enjoying Hulu’s The Bear, where he plays a young chef from the fine dining world who comes to run his family’s sandwich shop following a death in the family. There’s a lot to dig into with this one, including White’s poignant performance and an organic chemistry with the cast.
YOU Review – Portrait of the Artist (402)
And the murder mystery continues on YOU Season 4 Episode 2.
Joe, er, Jonathan, has been going above and beyond to figure out which of the members of the elitist circle could be the murderer that’s trying to frame him, but it looks like he’s being played at his own game.
Honestly, it’s kind of refreshing to see Joe on the other side of things for once—running around terrified like a chicken without a head and trying to put together the pieces of a puzzle.
He’s not in a city that’s familiar to him, and he’s definitely not in his element. And while he fell into a friends circle of some of the most insane and damaged people on earth, his charm isn’t working on them or in his favor in the same way that it has countless times before.
And what’s making this all the more disturbing is that there’s someone out there that’s actually more deranged than Joe. Joe pales in comparison to the person that’s stabbing people left and right and keeping body parts as tokens of some sort, likely to frame Joe in the long run by planting those body pieces on his belongings or in his apartment.
The person is hiding in plain sight and utilizing all common and familiar murder mystery tropes, including that the second victim is always the first suspect.
The crimes are gruesome and terrible, but it’s also hard to feel bad for any of the victims as the whole bunch—maybe aside from Rhys—is genuinely unlikable. Mostly everyone in the wealthy group has no redeeming qualities, and most of them don’t even seem too phased by the deaths in their inner circle because the truth is that none of these shallow people actually like or care about each other.
YOU does a great job at making us question Joe’s sanity and then immediately introducing people who are even worse than him, proving that the world seems to be full of unhinged people everywhere you go.
Joe doesn’t have much to go on at the end of episode 2 as every single person he’s come across could potentially be the killer. He has, however, seemingly figured out some kind of connection between Malcolm and Simon’s deaths, though it’s unclear if that has any bearing on their deaths.
Blackmail seems to be a common thread, with Malcolm likely blackmailing Adam, who fancies himself a golden shower from the bus boys at his establishment, while planning to take down Simon, a fraud who stole artists’ work to pass off as his own. Joe learned the truth about Simon from his assistant, who crashed the opening and threw red paint at him (he had it coming). She also confirmed that Malcolm was trying to expose him, and while she definitely has the motive, I don’t think she would stoop that low. She wanted to make a statement—she didn’t want to be the statement.
At this point, the only person who stands to gain anything from the destruction of both men is Kate as she was in a relationship with Malcolm and a gallery partner with Simon, whose secrets threatened her career. But I’m not convinced that she’s responsible. She genuinely seems like one of the only good and level-headed people in the group, not to mention she’s also concerned about Malcolm’s disappearance meaning she likely has no idea he’s dead.
It could’ve been Adam to keep his sexual kink a secret, but I don’t think he’d have it in him.
The timing of Roald’s arrival was suspect, as was his immediate distaste for Jonathan, so I’ll keep him on the list. Joe may be the new guy, but he shows up right before the second murder.
If I truly had to put my money on someone, my prime suspect is still Rhys. There’s just something off about him, plus, he carries himself as if he’s above them all, so it would make sense if he was trying to make them pay for their sins or something. He’s also very observant, thus, he’d be knowledgeable about all of their deepest and darkest secrets, which could be used against them. It would also make sense that he used his status and smarts to dig up dirt about Joe.
The killer seems to be having an absolute blast toying with Joe, even beating him at his own game by figuring out his identity.
It sent a chill down Joe’s spine—and I didn’t think it was possible to freak Joe out. In an attempt to stay ahead of the killer, Joe is somehow trying to play catch up.
What if it’s Marienne? What if she’s turning the tables on him? It seems like the killer is using Joe’s psychological warfare against him, which means that they have a lot in common. It has to be someone that Joe has connected with on a personal level already, so aside from Rhys and Kate, that leaves Nadia rounding out the top three suspects. She’s been helping him figure out the murder mystery genre, which might be a clue as to her involvement. Plus, we find out that she had some kind of personal relationship with Malcolm, though it’s unclear if it was sexual.
I really hope that she’s just a genuine person helping her teacher, but at this point, we can’t rule anything out.
And finally, there’s the possibility of Adam and Phoebe’s security guard, Vic, who is silent but deadly. He sees everything that’s happening (he ticks off the observant box for sure) but doesn’t say anything, though we know he’s not above blackmail because when he catches Joe snooping around, he takes a lump sum of money to remain quiet.
What did you think of the episode? Who do you think the killer is?
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