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10 Best Lessons The Good Place Taught Us

THE GOOD PLACE -- "Somewhere Else" Episode 213 -- Pictured: (l-r) D'Arcy Carden as Janet, Manny Jacinto as Jianyu, Kristen Bell as Eleanor, William Jackson Harper as Chidi -- (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

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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.

The Good Place Lessons

NBC/The Good Place

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.

The Good Place Lessons

The Good Place/ NBC

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. 

NBC/ The Good Place

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

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Lizzy Buczak is the founder of CraveYouTV. What started off as a silly blog in her sophomore year at Columbia College Chicago turned her passion for watching TV into an opportunity! She has been in charge of CraveYou since 2011, writing reviews and news content for a wide variety of shows. Lizzy is a Music Business and Journalism major who has written for RADIO.COM, TV Fanatic, Time Out Chicago, Innerview, Pop’stache and Family Time.

Editorials

Who Will Be The Next ‘Bachelorette’ from Peter Weber’s Season?

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The Bachelor - Who will be the Next Bachelorette?

Guest post: Erin Creedon (Mimosa Talk podcast Bachelor expert)

Peter Weber’s season of The Bachelor is coming to end (thank gosh, right?), which begs the most important question: Who will be the Bachelorette next season?

There have been many theories and suggestions, but let’s get one thing settled right away, if Victoria F. gets chosen, I will boycott the show. There I said it. I’m sure I’m not the only one thinking that either, I mean, she is clearly a manipulator and very toxic, but I digress, let’s get into the 5 frontrunners for next season’s leading role.

Hannah Anne

Depending on who wins this season, if anyone does considering many are speculating that Peter ends up alone, I think Hannah Anne has the best shot at being the Bachelorette. While some may argue that she is a little too young, I think she is sweet and confident and could make a great lead. She is ready for love and is willing to put herself out there to find it.

 

 

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Will Ranger Rick (my dad) give Pilot Pete the axe tonight? 💥🪓 ♥️

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Kelsey

If Hannah Anne does win Peter’s heart in the end, I think the next option would be Kelsey who was just sent packing during hometown week. As long as she stays away from champagne, I could definitely tolerate her as the Bachelorette. She does cry a little too much for my liking, but I think once the producers train her for the part, she could do it. She also does not shy away from drama, but instead feeds into it, and has a sad backstory, which Bachelor Nation loves! 

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Sparks are flying in Cleveland!

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Natasha

While she did not receive much air time this season, I would love to see Natasha as the lead. Not only is it time for another African American Bachelorette, I mean let’s be real Rachel Lindsay was the only one a few years ago, but Natasha is also over 30, mature, and knows exactly what she wants. She had some of the best facial reactions of the season and her candor and honesty is similar to Hannah B’s, which makes her a front-runner in my eyes.

Kelley

A very unlikely fan favorite this season was Kelley, the lawyer from Chicago, and she is one of my top picks for next season! Bachelor Nation was drawn to her because of her intelligence, sarcasm, and drama-free attitude. She was unlike any other contestant this season with her level-headedness (I don’t think we saw her shed one single tear, which is VERY impressive) and her emotional maturity. Kelley refused to dumb herself down for the show and Peter’s affections, staying true to herself the entire way through. She would be the ideal candidate because she is a career-driven woman ready to settle down with a man on the same level as her.

Hannah B

And finally, it may be a pipe dream, but I would love to see Hannah ‘The Beast’ Brown back for a second time around! It wouldn’t be the first time considering Nick Viall has been on about 3 different seasons of the show, but I think after last year, she deserves another shot at love. While I was skeptical at first, Hannah B has been one of my all-time favorite Bachelorette’s. She is blunt, confident, and has been around the block before so she is not messing around. I would love to see her again, partially because the girls this season were not that impressive, and I just want her to be happy! 

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Editorials

The Resident Review – Did Dr. Bell Take the Blame for the 3B Life Supplement Poisoning? (3×15)

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The Resident Last Shot Review

Another The Resident episode, another terrible Dr. Cain sighting.

He may have been put in his place by Logan Kim on the previous episode, but all of that seems to be in the past as Cain’s ego takes precedence over patient care and preparedness during the unveiling of the Cain Neurological Institute.

Getting your own hospital wing is a prestigious honor that is given to those who deserve it and comes with great responsibility, which Cain ignored to prioritize his donors.

This isn’t the first time Cain has gone into surgery and disregarded valid concerns from his staff and nurses.

The argument that someone “didn’t die” doesn’t negate that they could have. He should have listened to Nic and waited until they were ready to perform the surgery.

Nic’s point was valid — they perform incredibly risky procedures on a daily basis where the odds are stacked against them, and being prepared can make a life or death a difference. They owe that much to the patients.

There are so many issues with Cain’s character, but the most frustrating has to be how he belittles nurses and makes them feel less than.

Those are the people you want on your good side — they support you, help you, and lift you up — you don’t want to make an enemy of them. Also, it’s hilarious that he truly believes that Nic, who chose a profession that barely gives her any recognition, would care about having her name on a building. Cain, not everyone is as selfish as you are.

But enough about Cain, let’s focus on Dr. Bell’s glow-up because it is one of the best on television.

As Bell grappled with the realization that his 3B Life supplements may have been poisoning and killing people, Pravesh questioned what it would take for Bell to revert back to his old ways to save himself.

While it seemed like Pravesh was still thinking of the Bell from back in the day, it was a fair question considering some people never change.

But Bell did.

And he proved that he’s above his old ways when he was presented with the opportunity to throw his business partner under the bus and refused.

Bell backed Andrea early on when the situation was first brought up and he was ready to taint his name if the product turned out to be dangerous to consumers because “it was his responsibility.”

Every time I watch The Resident, I think how the writers are to have been able to transform Bell’s character from the villain to a champion of the people who wants to be better and do better.

The conclusion of the 3B Life story-arc was necessary as it was pointless to drag it out any longer, and it was surprising that there was no foul play involved with their products. We all considered that Cain was somehow involved, didn’t we?

Instead, Conrad and Pravesh determined in the knick-of-time that the illnesses and deaths were related to a pesticide shipped on clothing from a boutique advertised on the same shopping network.

The storyline almost makes you want to stop online shopping… almost.

Conrad seems to have a knack at getting to the bottom of unsolvable cases and “seeing what others don’t,” a quality that Bell has learned to admire instead of chastise. See, isn’t it so nice when everyone works together on the same team?

Bell’s on such a positive trajectory, he’s about to become the new Dr. Oz after being offered an opportunity to take over the Dr. Pierce Show following his retirement.

While Bell never imagined a life outside of the OR and Chastain, he’s clearly been very flexible as to his career moves. He’s also a natural on TV and not one to shy away from the spotlight.

A gig like this could bring much-needed exposure to Chastain and the good work they’re doing. But, it also struck me when Pierce told Bell he could “restructure” the show in a way he wanted to that Bell could use this platform to expose Red Rock for the greedy, money-over-patients company that it is.

Bell said he’d think about accepting the gig, and I think he just might after he got deeply personal with Conrad and acknowledged his past for the first time.

He admitted that he always wanted to be as respected as his father, a man that people trusted, and now, he was working towards that. Being in public in front of thousands of people who trust and respect him could be the next step that he needs to take.

It was an enlightening moment as we’ve never heard Bell speak so fondly of his father before, and it gave us a deeper look at who Bell is when he’s not a surgeon.

Torres is an exciting addition to Chastain, but will his romance with Mina bloom?

Mina pursued him and suggested a date after coming to terms with AJ and Andrea’s romance.

AJ gave Torres his blessing after shutting down any notion that he and Mina were more than friends and allowed them to have some alone time.

And while it’s sweet that these two are so supportive of each other’s love lives, they’re very clearly just avoiding the inevitable; those feelings are bound to bubble up.

Things between AJ and Andrea and Mina and Torres could be fine, but they won’t be “it” and sooner or later, they’ll have to acknowledge those feelings.

Even Torres saw the sparks that we see with Mina and AJ.

The Resident is taking a brief hiatus before returning in March with the episode we’ve all been waiting for — the Conic proposal!

From the promo, it looks like Conrad isn’t the only one ready to pop the question as Nic also suggests getting engaged. But I have to ask if any of my Gilmore Girls fans saw the nod to the series with the gazebo in the background. It could just be a coincidence, but I’m not one that believes in them.

I’m ready for a wedding, y’all. I have my dress picked out and everything.

Other Noteworthy Moments from Chastain 

  • Annie is a recurring character that offers some relief from the new-case-of-the-week formula of the series. Not only did she survive the explosion, but she also beat cancer and now, so did her foster daughter, Lucy. Chastain has been good to Annie. The scene with Lucy singing while getting her brain tumor removed gave me chills.
  • At first, the case-of-the-week featuring two bickering roommates that were both waiting for a heart transplant didn’t seem like it would give you the fuzzy’s, but The Resident knows how to pull one over on you to make you feel the feels and really connect with the patients even if for a little while. Each patient leaves a lasting impression on audiences in a similar way they do on doctor’s. If you’re familiar with the show, you knew one of them would die and the other would donate the heart, but it was still heartbreaking when it happened. Though, shouldn’t there be a button that warns them when a heart recipient has a stroke?
  • I found it odd that Bell was promoting the supplements when on the previous episode when they were potentially making people sick. I guess they tried to explain it by saying Andrea had the lab tested, but it was still incredibly risky knowing that they might have to issue a recall. If Conrad hadn’t figured it out, Bell would have made himself look incredibly stupid.

This is the first time The Resident ended on a high note — no cliffhanger, not dramatic death, no emotional moment. The end saw three friends, Nic, Conrad, and Pravesh, gathering to eat pizza and laugh together after a day of saving lives.

It’s a nice change of pace to remind us that not every day is extremely difficult or filled with suffering. And sometimes, you just have to embrace the small moments.

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Katy Keene

Pepper Smith on ‘Katy Keene’ Draws Inspiration from Faux Heiress Anna Delvey

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Katy Keene's Pepper Smith inspired by Anna Delvey

If you found yourself watching the second episode of Katy Keene and wondering why Pepper’s characters seemed so familiar, it’s because she seems to be The CW’s take on Anna Delvey, a real-life faux heiress that swindled the one-percent and intrigued the masses for several months before getting caught in one of the most fascinating scandal’s in history. 

To back it up a little bit, Pepper Smith, played by Julia Chan, is Katy Keene’s New York City friend. 

She’s introduced in the pilot as a socialite and gossip columnist who knows all the right people, can get into the right places, and lives lavishly bouncing from hotel to hotel while rocking the hottest designer brands and some wicked glasses. (Pepper has them too!)

However, the cracks begin to appear by the second episode as it’s revealed Pepper is in some financial trouble. 

It isn’t even minor financial trouble – homegirl owes a whopping $60,000 to the hotel that she can’t pay off because, as it turns out, she’s not as rich as she’s led people to believe. 

In fact, she cannot even afford a stay anywhere and refuses to come clean to her friends about her real identity. 

Instead, she retreats to a deteriorating warehouse space that she just tricked an investor into funding in hopes of helping her realize her vision of opening her idea of “Andy Warhol’s Factory,” or, a mecca for creatives and artists alike to gather, showcase, perform, and more. 

After blackmailing the real-estate agent to rent it out to her at a discounted price, Pepper is forced to shack up in the murky warehouse for the time being essentially becoming the squatter she was so worried in the first place. 

Upon getting to know Pepper’s character on a deeper level, I immediately made the connection to Delvey in the Katy Keene Season 1 Episode 2 review

For those unfamiliar with Delvey’s fascinating story, she was a German woman (real name Anna Sorokin), who posed as a wealthy heiress and fooled anyone that was anyone in New York. She lived a lavish lifestyle at the expense of others, defrauding friends, financial institutions, hotels, and more. 

Her story almost seems like it would be something out of a Riverdale spinoff, and yet, it’s completely true and seems to inspire, at least slightly (for now), the character of Pepper. 

Much like Delvey, who also wanted to open her dream arts club and attempted to secure a massive loan using fraudulent documents, Pepper meets with an investor and attempts to sell her dream to him, a moment that proves undoubtedly that Pepper can sell a lie to anyone as long as she believes in it. 

Pepper has moxie as she seems to be manipulating the hotel concierge and her lover, Didi, to cover for her, which can also be compared to Delvey’s female friends that funded her lavish trips and footed the bills. 

However, it’s unclear how much of Delvey has inspired Pepper, or if her swan song will be anything like Delvey’s, whose lies caught up with her after 10 months and landed her on trial where the jury in Manhattan found her guilty of second-degree grand larceny, theft of services and one count of first-degree attempted grand larceny. She was sentenced to 4 to 12 years imprisonment. 

For Peppe’s sake, she better hope her character is only “loosely” based on Delvey, but for now, she remains one of the most enticing parts of the series in contrast to doe-eyed Katy Keene and her optimistic tribe of dreamers taking on the Big Apple. 

As I mentioned before, Delvey’s story was so fascinating and unbelievable, plenty of people, including Shonda Rhimes, has expressed interest in telling her story. The CW may the first to draw its inspiration from the pathological liar, but it isn’t the last.

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