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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

Walker Season 4 Premiere Review – The Quiet

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Walker Season 4 Premiere Review - The Quiet

Walker returned to The CW for its 4th, and, likely final, season. 

Despite a 5-month time jump, the focus remained on serial killer Jackal, whom Walker and Trey were pursuing at the end of season 3, and the suspect that previously drove Cap. Larry James into a tailspin, effectively ending his marriage to Kelly before fate gave them another shot. 

Only this time around, Larry’s wife, Kelly, asks Cordell not to drag her husband down this road again—a promise he intends to upkeep, though, knowing Larry, he’ll figure out that his rangers are up to something and have no other choice but to get involved, especially since Trey’s tip for a detective reveals that Jackal, whose trail previously went cold for several months, is gearing up for “something big.”

This will be the overarching mystery of the season, while other weekly cases will also see our rangers getting into plenty of shenanigans, as they did with their pursuit of the Delmonico brothers. Also, props to all of them for taking part in a steak-eating competition and then jumping into a raid. It was bold of them, but it’s how Cordell wanted to spend his birthday, so I’m glad that despite the best-laid plans being uprooted, he was still able to feel the love from those around him.

A lot seems to have changed in the past five months, as evidenced by Walker and Geri’s steamy hook-up. Even when everything is going wrong, we can have faith in their love being a constant, which is what fans have been hoping for since season 1. 

There’s also Cassie, who blows back into town after taking a lengthy leave to go work for the FBI. She’s back with a newfound confidence about her abilities on the job, but she’s also struggling with a personal decision as she’s been offered a spot at Quantico, which means further uprooting her life and leaving behind her loved ones, er, Trey. 

Yeah, Trey and Cassie kind of addressed the elephant in the room—their feelings for each other—but neither of them was honest about it, so we’ll likely get something more truthful and heartfelt in the near future. 

Another lingering storyline is the break-in at Geri’s place that rattled Stella to her core. She hasn’t been the same since shooting and killing Witt, and it’s likely because she also lied to the police about having met him before. The officer who called her and Liam in over a “breakthrough in the case” said that the case was closed due to lack of resources, but the way he watched Stella sign the paperwork (and questioned if that’s “all she knew”) makes me uneasy—there’s definitely more to this storyline. What does he know that he’s not letting on?

As for change, I think that in the midst of all the “I’m Walker, Texas Ranger, you’re under arrest” in case you needed the reminder, we’re also continuing to see Cordell as a flawed human and a father coming to terms with the fact that he’s about to be an empty nester. It’s the next phase of his life—and one that brings about plenty of concern over the “quiet” that will allow his dark thoughts to flourish. Hopefully, Geri will be the light to cut through all of that. 

What did you think of the episode?

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Wild Cards

Vanessa Morgan Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves With ‘Wild Cards’

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Vanessa Morgan Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves With ‘Wild Cards’

I meant to write this post when Wild Cards first premiered on The CW, but time got away from me, and before I knew it, the season finale of the series was upon us! 

I’m not a huge fan of The CW’s decision to axe some of our favorite shows in its rebrand, but what does ease the pain of losing the likes of Nancy Drew is the addition of promising shows like Wild Cards

To be quite frank, Riverdale never did Vanessa Morgan much justice. She amassed a huge number of fans, who were mostly hoping to see her character Toni reunite with on-screen love interest Cheryl (played by Madeleine Petsch) in the later seasons, and while she was seemingly considered one of the “core” characters, she rarely got the storylines she deserved.

We knew she could act—but Wild Cards shows us the depth of Morgan’s talents. It lets her shine, dominate, lead,  and even carry the series, opposite her on-screen partner and potential future love interest, Giacomo Gianniotti’s Ellis. 

Morgan delivers with the role of Max, a whip-smart and very charismatic con artist who utilizes her special skillset to help a “down in the dumps” maritime officer get his mojo back—and, spoiler alert if you’ve watched the season finale, his badge and desk back. 

Despite his initial hesitation with the idea of her joining the force as a consultant, even Ellis comes around, amazed by her abilities and the way she’s able to navigate every crime scene and follow the leads to produce results.&nbsp

The two grow very close over the course of the season’s 10 episodes, largely due to Morgan’s delightful on-screen persona and presence. Even when it’s not clear whose side she’s really on (is she fully on board with helping the cops or does she have a larger-than-life plan up her sleeve to pull off her greatest con yet and help her dad George—90210‘s Jason Priestley—snag a “get out of jail free” card), you find yourself drawn to her and rooting for her because of her likable personality. 

Vanessa Morgan Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves With ‘Wild Cards’

Credit: The CW

The series not only gets us invested in Max’s character—learning about her past—and what it entails for her future, but we also find ourselves rooting for Max and Ellis to finally get together… or even test the boundaries of that electric chemistry that they share (a moment that is, sadly, ruined when her husband Olivier (Dewshane Williams) blows into town). 

And it’s the mystery of Max that has all of us begging The CW to renew the series for a second season. We need more Max. We need more Ellis. We need more Morgan and Gianniotti. And we need answers. The good news is that Morgan told TVLine that season 2 of the quirky crime procedural is “very likely,” and trust that we put all our faith in her. 

As for the answers I mentioned we need, well, we need to know who killed Ellis’ brother, a murder that was the catalyst for him to get knocked down from his detective responsibilities in the first place. When he met Max, he was in a hard place, still trying to pick up the pieces of his brother’s death. And though he’s come a long way, surely, the fact that he can crack this specific mystery is one that he won’t be able to pass up. 

At the end of the finale—spoiler alert, again—Max convinced the authorities to help her pull off a heist that was two years in the works, hoping to frame her estranged husband Olivier after he steals a $33 million egg (he’s the one who betrayed her dad and landed him in prison), lessen her father’s sentence, and restore Ellis’ badge. However, there was a piece of the plan she didn’t share with Ellis—she swapped the real egg for a fake egg, and hatched a plan to disappear forever alongside Ricky and her millions. 

She didn’t expect Ellis to figure it out, though, this was one of the weaker points in the episode because she should’ve known him better than that by now, but she figured she’d be halfway across the country and it wouldn’t matter. What she didn’t anticipate in her plan is that Ricky, who was transcribing incriminating recordings from the mob as part of their safety-net policy, would find something on the drive about Ellis’ brother, namely, who murdered him. 

It’s at this moment that we see the biggest change in Max. She’s not the same person she was when the series first started. Her skills have become more valuable to helping than stealing, and she’s grown to care about someone other than herself and her father. She can’t, in good faith, leave with this knowledge and leave Ellis hanging. 

And that’s where we leave off—a promising cliffhanger on a promising series with two very promising leads. 

Your move, The CW.

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Editorials

Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 6 Review – I Told Myself That I was Done With You” Episode

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Chicago Med Season 9 Episode 6 Review - I Told Myself That I was Done With You" Episode

Chicago Med zeroed in on some personal situations for the doctors working in the ED, including Ripley (hey, Rip!), who treated an old friend from his past life, and Sharon, who was forced to come to terms with Bert’s diagnosis. 

Ripley’s past continues to haunt him, but it’s actually illuminating for audiences who are trying to get to know him on a deeper level. I feel like I know more about him than some of the other docs who have been here for years. When a drunk man waltzed into the emergency room, Ripley didn’t expect to have a run-in with an old friend he used to hit the streets with. However, while treating his friend, he also found the beginning signs of lung cancer, which was a diagnosis that he didn’t take too lightly. When Ripley pressed him to seek out treatment, things got tense, and a fight broke out in the ED, with Ripley’s impulsive behavior rearing its head. Eventually, Dr. Charles, without casting judgment, came to save the day, informing Ripley that his friend didn’t need a doctor in a white coat but rather a friend to look out for him. He wasn’t ready to accept his diagnosis now, but hopefully, after feeling supported, he’ll come around and get the necessary treatment. 

Zola is still finding her footing at Med, but what we’re seeing is that it’s not necessarily a bad thing because she feels strongly and passionately about taking down the corrupt system around her and fighting for her patients. She’s been told that jumping headfirst is a bad thing, but acting on instinct has proven to be beneficial, even if it does seem reckless at first. She’s prioritized her patients at every turn, she’s confident in the diagnosis she makes, and she saves lives, despite some unconventional methods. When the drug that she recommended was finally shelved, she viewed it as a win until Archer tore her up about it because it was replaced with a very expensive drug that would burden patients. It’s an odd approach considering a doctor should be happy if a drug that’s harming people or has adverse effects is taken off the market, right? Archer also didn’t stop to think about the consequences of his actions—bashing Zola and making her feel like she can’t trust her gut in situations where she’s seeing things clearly. It’s a skill to have. But her tenacity proved even more useful when she did a little more research and found the person who helped pull the drug was working for a company that produced the pricier one—thus piecing together that it was a sweetheart deal. It’s not exactly illegal, but being as perceptive as Zola is can be really useful to the hospital. 

Also, the chemistry between her and Crockett is getting heavier and heavier, especially as he begins to realize how much of an asset she is. Let’s get this romance going! 

Archer and Maggie teamed up amid Hannah Asher’s absence, and while he can rub people the wrong way, his advice about not holding on to a reality that didn’t exist anymore was crucial in helping Maggie move on from her divorce. She was avoiding going home and confronting the fact that Ben was gone, but it was necessary for her to move into the next phase of her life. Maggie was also inspired by a patient, who she helped convince to get her son a needed surgery so that they could both move into a more promising future together. It was sweet how the writers connected their stories—although they were so different, they both learned a great deal from each other.

And finally, Sharon Goodwin learned the truth about Bert’s diagnosis, and it was as everyone feared—he had Alzheimer’s dementia. The news is always difficult for everyone affected, from the patient all the way to his family, who will now be responsible for taking on the care. In this case, the burden was going to fall on Sharon, even though she was his ex-wife, and she knew it would take a toll on her personal life. Trying to navigate a new relationship while getting pulled into an old one is tough, but hopefully, her new partner will understand that this is something she has to do for her former spouse. The good news is that she has Charles, who has a history with Bert, and will be a good source of support as not only a friend but a therapist. This is going to be a long road for Sharon, but hopefully, a storyline that brings more awareness to the heartbreaking disease. 

What did you think of this week’s Chicago Med?

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