I have a pet peeve.
I can’t stand it when people turn a TV show on to play in the background. It eats away at me that they aren’t putting their full attention to the piece of art on the screen, and are missing jokes or character moments because they’re browsing the internet or doing something awful like playing with their cat.
My annoyance isn’t fair or justified. Everyone is allowed to enjoy whatever content they want in whatever way they want. No matter how you enjoy something, odds are someone else will enjoy it differently. That can be hard to accept; we tend to want other people to extract the same level of enjoyment out of something as we extract ourselves, and we assume we know the best way to do this.
Like when you take your best friend to your favorite burger place, where they have the best toppings and secret sauce, and your friend gets a plain, topping free, sauceless burger.
“No,” you say as politely as you can mustard, “you have to try the secret sauce. You need to get the whole experience.”
“No thanks,” your friend says, in the least aggressive way possible.
“Why did I even bring you here?”
This is how I feel when someone makes a grocery list while watching TV. This is how I feel almost every time someone watches The Good Place Season 2 Episode 10 “Best Self,” even if they’re paying attention.
***Spoilers for The Good Place Below***
The Good Place is hilarious. Because it’s funny and charming, it makes a great background show to throw on while you’re dusting your living room.
It has a unique setting and plot as well, which also makes it fantastic viewing for those who like to sit and pay more attention.
But there is a third layer to the series. It’s deep and philosophic and is available to be analyzed and digested by those who want to do so.
I want to do so. To my devastation, my friends don’t always want to do so. So I’m going to do it for them!
“Best Self” is the most deeply human episode of television I’ve ever seen. Peel away the clever jokes and gags, and the next layer of the intricate plot, and you get to a core that is all of life packed into 22 minutes.
The episode starts with reformed demon Michael telling our heroes Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason that they are finally all going to head to the real Good Place together. The four humans have one last round of fro-yo together and fantasize about the heaven that awaits them.
Once their magic balloon arrives, they have to pass the magic gate that only opens if they’ve become the best version of themselves. Of course, Chidi can’t get on because he isn’t sure that he’s his best self.
Then Michael confesses that he lied, that the magic balloon won’t work even if they all pass the gate, and he has no idea how to get them into the actual Good Place. They’re stuck in the neighborhood, and by morning the Bad Place demons will come and get them, dragging them into an eternal hell of torment and torture. No matter what they have done or what they do now, they’re screwed.
Every single living organism on this planet, in this universe, is screwed. No matter what it knows or does, each living thing is going to eventually die, and there is absolutely nothing that can be done about that. In this way, every living thing is equal; no life is better or more valuable than any other life because, in the end, it won’t be life at all.
Most life, though, can’t actually perceive or understand the finality of our dooms, and our ability to do so is what separates us and makes us definitively human. It’s the same reason Michael couldn’t truly understand humans until he understood death in “Existential Crisis.” This ability to understand the finality of life is what allows us to truly live.
So that’s what the humans decide to do on their last day. Eleanor orders a ton of alcohol from Janet, and they begin to party. The friends dance, get drunk, talk about their feelings and their fears, and take comfort in the only thing they can take comfort in; each other.
If you just watch this episode as another chapter in a story about a crazy afterlife that houses demons who have holiday weekend Ikea as an entire department of torture, it’s honestly a little boring. Very little happens, as basically the cast just hangs out in a single location for 22 minutes, making it a bottle episode. It’s fine, but it’s no “Dance, Dance, Resolution,” with its insane 300 mph pace, or “Michael’s Gambit” with an incredible twist.
Analyze a little deeper, though, and you’ll find an episode of television that perfectly encapsulates human existence.
The unrealistic hope they display at the start as they fantasize about the perfect Good Place, the heartbreak Eleanor feels when Chidi dreams about meeting his soulmate, the pain Michael experiences when he disappoints his friends after revealing he lied to them about getting into the Good Place; the range of emotions captured by these characters in such a short time reminds you of the rollercoaster that is human emotion.
The humanity doesn’t end there. The silly jabs at each other during their toasts are funny character jokes, but also a display of how we cope with our own and each others’ faults. They’re a display of love between people who have shared the trials of (after)life together. There is a comfort we feel when someone truly knows us well enough to point out the specifics of our personalities, and what is human life but trying to create that kind of bond with others?
And then there is Michael’s Human Starter Kit. Made an honorary human, the demon Michael gratefully opens his gift and pulls out car keys, band-aids, a stress ball, and a Dr. Oz diet book; all “garbage that [he has] no real use for.”
And yet he does find a use for them. By assigning meaning to the objects as they pertain to people and as they relate to him as a gift from his friends, Michael finds value in something meaningless. “Welcome to being human,” Eleanor tells him.
The episode immediately shifts to the friends doing the same thing, as they create meaning in their last day by dancing and having fun with each other. They take what’s left of their lives and they live it. Tomorrow they will be doomed forever, but for now, they are free. Free to laugh, free to cry, free to feel, and free to dance.
In the end, after discussing what their personal Bad Place will be (a nice contrast to the start of the episode where they discuss their Good Place), the friends decide to do the most human thing of all.
“Attempt something futile, with a ton of unearned confidence, and fail spectacularly.”
We cannot win. We can’t escape our own doom, and we can’t create some transcendent meaning to our lives. All of our attempts at it will fail, but my goodness, we are going to keep trying.
“Best Self” packs in so much about human existence and reminds us that even if we don’t have a larger purpose, we’re responsible for creating the meaning in our lives, and we do so through each other. We can’t stop the end from coming, but we can make the time we have left worth something to us and the people around us. We can find meaning in the void.
“In a way, the Good Place was inside the Bad Place all along.”
My Good Place is shutting the lights off and over analyzing everything I see on screen, but everyone’s Good Place is different, and no one’s way is right. So if you want to do the dishes while watching TV, go for it. Have it on while you vacuum the floor, put together the furniture you got over the holiday weekend at Ikea, and cook up a plain, topping free, sauceless burger. It doesn’t matter, we’re all doomed anyway, so watch TV, and live, in whatever way makes you feel alive.
Be your “Best Self” and watch here!
Tiger King: Did Carole Baskin Kill Her Husband Don Lewis or Did Something Else Happen?
If you’ve gotten to episode 4 of Netflix’s eccentric new docu-series,Tiger King, you know all about animal rights activist Carole Baskin and the claims that Joe Exotic latched onto that she killed her husband nearly 20 years ago.
The investigation went unsolved for 20 years as there was absolutely no trace of Jack Donald “Don” Lewis.
Despite her enemies and Don’s family pointing fingers at Carole, who has also become one of the most meme-able people from the series, Carole maintained her innocence. She denied all the wacky claims that she fed him to the lions (don’t put it past her), put him through a meat grinder (seriously, Netflix has a thing with meat grinders! Please see: YOU), or that she threw him to the bottom of the septic tank.
Look, they’re all plausible guesses and Carole did have plenty of motive considering Don wanted to leave her, he was scared of her, and he wanted to expand the sanctuary to Costa Rica, which is something she didn’t want. She also wrote multiple diary entries indicating that she wanted to escape or find a way out of this marriage, so it’s likely she resorted to extreme measures.
Then, there’s the fact that she laughs every time she’s questioned, which could be a nervous tick to cover up her lies. The evidence was enough to convince everyone on the Internet that Carole is guilty of murder.
And clearly, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister has been watching the true-crime docu-series during this coronavirus-forced quarantine and believes someone might know something that could possibly make a break in this cold case.
Chronister announced that he was looking for new leads as he re-launches the 1997 investigation to see if maybe the police missed something.
Since @netflix and #Covid19 #Quarantine has made #TigerKing all the rage, I figured it was a good time to ask for new leads. #CaroleBaskin #DonLewis #Netflix #Tiger #BigCatRescue #JoeExotic #TigerKingNetflix #HCSO pic.twitter.com/LHoJcBZVOI
— Chad Chronister (@ChadChronister) March 30, 2020
However, upon watching this, there is a huge possibility that Don wanted to disappear and leave without a trace.
The day after he was never heard from again, police found his van at a private airport, but they said there were no flights recorded and his lawyer confirmed that none of the several planes Don could never make it to Costa Rica without stopping for gas at least four times. But this could have been what Don wanted everyone to believe!
Think about it, how hard could it be for a millionaire to disappear?
No one knew how much Don was truly worth because they said he would “hide” his money and gold bars (GOLD BARS). Therefore, it’s plausible that he had money buried that no one knew about here or in Costa Rica where he wanted to live and allegedly had a girlfriend (or multiple).
There were other hints that Don was planning to fake his own death and get out of town including his comment to one of his associates about “if he could pull this off” it would be the legendary and the fact that he made sure to get his will in order.
My theory, which is purely based off of me sitting on my couch and hoping to solve a longtime murder mystery, is that Don planned his escape to Costa Rica with all the money he hid, hoped his disappearance would raise questions and incriminate Carole, and leave his family with the rest of his money.
Of course, that didn’t happen because as the Netflix documentary pointed out, Carole and her father got to the will and changed it so that she got everything including the 69-acre wildlife Big Cat sanctuary they ran together.
We can only hope the recently revisited investigation can bring up new evidence and finally give Lewis’ family some peace of mind.
Do you have any working theories? Share them with us in the comments!
5 Possible Theories About Who Madison’s Doctor and His Daughter Sadie Could Be on ‘This Is Us’
Okay, so you watched the season 4 finale of This Is Us and found yourself thinking, “who is the doctor and his daughter, Sadie.”
The episode spent so much time and attention on the doctor’s backstory, before we even knew that he was Madison’s obstetrician, and introduced his daughter.
Some may say that there’s nothing to it, it was just a way to introduce a character, but avid watchers of This Is Us know that’s absolutely false.
There has to be some bigger meaning and connection that simply hasn’t been revealed yet. Plus, they wouldn’t give us so much insight into Sadie being a horse-whisperer unless it was relevant.
Check them some of favorite theories about who Dr. Mason might be below and let us know if you have any ideas:
Theory #1: It’s Dr. Katowsky’s Son/Grandchild/ Relative
It cannot be a coincidence that Dr. K was heavily featured in this episode talking about his own loss of a child, right?
There’s a huge probability that Madison’s OB-GYN, Dr. Mason, is Dr. K’s son aka the child that he and his wife had after the first miscarriage. *a fan pointed out that child was a daughter, but Dr. K had other children. Someone pointed out that those children would be older and that he once mentioned having grandchildren, so it’s possible Dr. Mason is related in some way.
The doc seemed to have a knack for giving some really great advice just like Dr. K. He told Madison not to write off Kevin before she even talked to him and told him about the pregnancy, which led to Kevin being “all in” with the twins. There may be proof of this Dr. K and Mason are related because in the very first scene he tells Sadie that her horse is “is just a lemon.” And we know Dr. K loved his lemon metaphor.
Theory #2: Someone Like Dr. K
Considering Dr. Mason gave great advice just like Dr. K, many fans believe he’s going to be a huge part of Kevin and Madison’s pregnancy journey. He might be the one that they turn to for advice, guidance, and assurance just like Kevin’s parents did with Dr. K after he delivered Kevin and Kate. It would be a sweet way of bringing things full-circle. And hey, this still allows the Dr. Mason to be Dr. K’s son. Dr. Mason might be Kevin and Madison’s person.
Theory #3: Dr. Mason is Kyle
Okay, this theory is kind of wild and if This Is Us was a thriller drama/ telenovela rather than an inspirational, heartwarming family drama, we might consider it to be true, but sadly, we don’t think it is. That being said, we’re including it because it’s fun to imagine “what if.”
What if Dr. K was so desperate for a son that he stole one of Rebecca and Jack’s children instead. Imagine if Kyle never died but was taken and raised to be Dr. Mason, who reunites with his biological family, the Pearsons, years later by sheer coincidence when Madison walks into his office pregnant with Kevin’s twins. Again, if This Is Us was that kind of show, which it isn’t, this would be an incredible plot twist.
However, Dr. Mason seems older than Kevin, Randall, and Kate, plus, I wouldn’t want anything to tarnish the sweet, innocent Dr. K, who is a gem in this world.
Theory 4: Sadie Needed to Give the Doc Advice
Maybe Sadie and Dr. Mason were only necessary so she could give her dad that he then gave Madison about Kevin: “Little early to give up on him, don’t you think? You haven’t even give him a chance to be himself yet.” Sadie is a horse and Kevin whisperer.
Theory #5: He’s Madison Future Husband
Madison knows she’s not Kevin’s great love story, and she’s fine with it. Maybe through all of this, she falls in love with the doc and Sadie becomes her step-daughter. There’s no confirmation that Madison becomes Kevin’s wife simply because she’s carrying his children, so it’s entirely possible they both move on while being connected by their twins.
Showrunner Dave Fogel told Deadline that Dr. Mason will 100% become instrumental next season: “The doctor becomes an important character next season to Kevin – he’s having twins with a virtual stranger, not a normal birth experience. It’s no coincidence he was introduced in the same episode that Dr. K returned.”
That has to confirm Theory #1, right?
What are your favorite working theories?
13 Best Government Conspiracy Shows to Watch During Your Self-Quarantine
Feeling a little restless and bored at home during your self-quarantine? It’s understandable. You didn’t expect to be living and working from home a month or so.
While you’re doing your part to flatten the curve and help prevent the spread of coronavirus, if you don’t have something to keep you occupied, your mind begins to wander just a little bit.
That’s honestly the only explanation I can think of for all the conspiracy theories I’ve been reading. While there’s absolutely no basis to them, it made me think that maybe there’s something there entertainment wise– people are craving a specific genre of television to help them through this tough time.
So, I’ve put together a list of shows surrounding government conspiracies that you might enjoy while you are cooped up inside.
Manifest (two seasons – currently airing)
Manifest is a mystery inside of a riddle that focuses on the return of Flight 828 five years after its initial disappearance. The plane’s re-emergence shocks everyone because they assumed their loved ones were dead. As the passengers begin looking for the truth, they stumble upon a government conspiracy that’s dangerous and frightening.
Emergence (one season so far)
Manifest made way for Emergence, a drama about a small-town cop who takes in a young girl at the site of a mysterious plane crash. The young girl begins exhibiting certain supernatural powers, and as high-ranking officials develop an interest in the girl, Jo realizes she’s entangled in a mystery larger than she ever imagined.
Stranger Things (preparing for season 4)
When Will Byers goes missing, three best friends in the small town of Hawkins, Indiana begin their search for him along with his mother and police chief Hopper. The investigation leads them to unraveling a series of supernatural mysteries that lead to secret government experiments with an alternate universe.
God Friended Me (two seasons – currently airing)
Not all government conspiracy’s have to be dark and dangerous, sometimes, they’re feel-good shows! Miles is friended by the “God Account,” a mysterious account on Facebook that allows him to help people in need. Miles and his friends try to figure out who is behind the all-knowing account, and the possibility of a government entity is high up on that list.
The Bodyguard (one season)
The British police thriller follows Police Sergeant David Budd, who is a war veteran suffering from PTSD. He currently works for the Royalty and Specialist Protection Branch of London’s Metropolitan Police Service and is assigned as security for Homeland Secretary, Julia Montague, who is rather controversial in the political landscape. It keeps you guessing until the very end over who did what and who knew what.
The Passage (one season)
The series, based on a trilogy of the same name, focuses on Project Noah, a secret medical facility where scientists test dangerous viruses that could potentially be a cure-all. However, there’s a chance they could potentially wipe out the whole human race if they get into the wrong hands (this might be a little too on the nose). A federal agent grows to love a young girl who becomes a test subject and attempts to protect her at all costs… even human destruction.
Alex Parrish is the one of the top recruits at Quantico, a training facility for only the best and brightest, but she’s being set up of masterminding the deadliest attack on U.S soil since 9/11 — a bombing at Grand Central. Can she solve the conspiracy and clear her name before its too late?
What’s better than a show that combines time traveling to relevant, pivotal, and iconic moments in history with a government conspiracy? Timeless is an adventure series that places you in the middle fo all the actions as Lucy, a historian, Wyatt, a soldier, and Rufus, a scientist, get recruited to thwart a nefarious government institution that wants to change the world as we know it.
Prison Break (5 seasons)
Michael Scofield’s brother, Lincoln Burrows, is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and put on Death row. Michael holds up a bank to get arrested and begins his elaborate plan of breaking them both out, which eventually leads into the reason he was framed and yeah, you guessed it, it’s an intricate political conspiracy that’s really messy.
24 (9 seasons)
Jack Bauer, Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles, thwarts assassination attempts, torture, traitors, and nuclear attacks, while hoping to save his nation from ultimate disaster.
Designated Survivor (3 seasons)
In a similar vein and also starring Kiefer Sutherland, low-level cabinet member Tom Kirkman ascends to the role of President of the United States after a devastating attack on the night of the State of the Union blows up the Capitol and kills the President and most of the top-reigning officials. Soon, it’s revealed that Kirkman wasn’t the designated survivor on accident as a government conspiracy unfolds.
The Event (one season)
Extant (2 seasons)
After a year in space, Molly Watts (our girl Halle Berry) returns to Earth and reconnects with her husband, a gifted scientist, and her son, Ethan, who has skills and powers that make him incredibly special. However, she begins to realize something isn’t just right and the conspiracy that unfolds threatens her career and family. The thrilling drama hails from Steven Spielberg, so even if it’s slightly overcomplicated, you know it’s bound to be an adventure.
There’s likely plenty of other shows… which ones would you add to the list? Share them with us in the comments or on Twitter @CraveYouTV!
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