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The Best Episode of The Good Place Is… “Best Self”

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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.

The Good Place - Best Self

The Good Place/NBC                                        Example.

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?

The Good Place - Best Self

The Good Place/NBC                                        Tahani’s face here accurately portrays my emotions.

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.

The Good Place - Best Self

The Good Place/NBC                                        Also known as being Chidi.

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.

Watch The Good Place Best Self Right Here

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.

The Good Place - Best Self

The Good Place/NBC                                          We’ve all had this moment.

That’s life.

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.

The Best Forking Gifts to Buy a “Good Place” Fan 

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.

The Good Place - Best Self

The Good Place/NBC

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.”

The Good Place - Best Self

The Good Place/NBC                                        Who doesn’t love never using their stress balls?

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.”

The Good Place - Best Self

The Good Place/NBC                                        Go us.

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.

The Good Place - Best Self

The Good Place/NBC

Be your “Best Self” and watch here!

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Featured

6 Sexy Shows to Watch for Valentine’s Day

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6 Sexy Shows to Watch for Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day can be celebrated in all sorts of different ways. 

Some people bake cookies, others go out for a romantic date, while some do a fun activity with their significant other. 

However, this is the first Valentine’s Day under COVID-19 restrictions, which means that you likely don’t have as many fun and romance-filled options as in years prior. 

That’s where TV comes in! Regardless if you’re spending February 14 with a significant other or your besties, these are some of the sexiest and steamiest shows to watch on the day that’s all about celebrating L-O-V-E (for friends, family, significant others, and, most importantly, yourself!) 

 

Bridgerton

Romance, scandal, drama… Bridgerton has it all! Dubbed the Regency-era Gossip Girl, Netflix’s smash hit and most-watched series is a brilliant and entertaining period piece with enough sex scenes to make you blush. And Regé-Jean Page isn’t bad on the eyes.

 

Emily in Paris

Emily in Paris, which was just surprisingly nominated for a Golden Globe, hails from Sex and the City creator Darren Star. It’s an airy flick about a millennial named Emily who travels to Paris for a dream job and becomes enamored with the City of Love and the men that want to show her all that it has to offer. 

 

Modern Love

Falling in love requires you to be open, honest, and vulnerable. The American rom-com anthology web series, based on a weekly column published by the New York Times, explores themes of love (romantic, platonic, friendly) with a star-studded cast. The 30-minute episodes are standalone and easily digestible, which makes them the perfect viewing on a night like Valentine’s Day. 

 

Younger

What happens when Liza, a 40-year-old single mom, decides to be 26-years old in order to re-enter the working world and falls in love with not one but two very different men? An exciting journey through the world of publishing and heartbreak. As Liza tries to find herself, she does everything in her power to hide her true self from those she’s become most intimate with. It’s another whip-smart Darren Star creation!

 

Good Girls

Two sisters, Beth and Annie, along with best friend Ruby find themselves embroiled in a dangerous life of crime after robbing a grocery store. Beth, specifically, falls victim to a crime of passion with one sexy “gang friend” that pulls her further and further into his world. 

 

Elite

If Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars had a baby, it would be this Spanish-language drama. A private school becomes the scene of a murder after a clash between the rich and poor students. There’s plenty of sexual tension and unexpected turns as detectives try to narrow down the list of suspects. 

** Article originally published in February 2021**

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The Resident

Is Bruce Greenwood Leaving ‘The Resident’?

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After The Resident Season 6 Episode 9, many fans have been wondering if Bruce Greenwood, who plays Dr. Randolph Bell, is exiting the FOX medical drama.

While there has been no official word about a potential exit, it’s a fair question to ask considering the nature of his most recent storyline. 

In the latest episode—which aired on November 29—Bell, who found himself as the target of Governor Betz’s smear campaign, finally admitted to himself, and to his wife, Dr. Kitt Voss, that his MS is progressing. 

After Bell exposed Betz’s corruption while trying to secure funding for Chastain, Betz decided that the only way to teach him a lesson and make an example out of him was through revenge. Betz ordered a hit piece on Bell that painted him as a dangerous doctor to Chastain, which, in turn, tainted the hospital’s image. 

Of course, while some parts of it were true at one point in Bell’s career, it was largely exaggerated and sensationalized to paint him in a bad light, and it didn’t take into account all the work Bell has done to become a better man and doctor.

The stress of all the negative press caused Bell’s MS to flare up, triggering a variety of symptoms like a high-pitched ringing in his ears, seeing double, and dizziness, which made him realize that he was pushing off the inevitable.

This time around, instead of operating when he shouldn’t, he acknowledged that he no longer felt confident in his abilities, nor did he trust himself to perform any future surgeries. When he told Kit that he needed to go back to the clinical trial, it was a shock, but ultimately, she was supportive because she knew that’s what he needed. 

But what now? How will The Resident keep incorporating Bell’s character into the storyline? Will we just see him communicating with Kit from the trial in the same way we did earlier this season? Or will he slowly get phased out and written off? 

The trial could prove to be successful again, and all of Bell’s worries could have been for nothing. After he prioritizes his health and the whole thing with Betz blows over, it’s possible we could see Bell return to surgery for many more years—back to his previous glory. 

Losing Greenwood would be a huge blow to the series, especially since he’s been part of the series since its inception, however, it remains unclear which direction The Resident will go with this storyline.

Hopefully, we’ll find out in the upcoming season 6 finale, which is set to air on December 6, but as of right now, there’s no indication that Greenwood is exiting the drama.

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What to Watch

Madelaine Petsch’s ‘Hotel for the Holidays’ Is a Gem Among Cliché Films

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Madelaine Petsch's Christmas Movie 'Hotel for the Holidays' Is an Absolute Gem Among Cliche Films

There are a lot of Christmas movies out there, which is why it’s important to make the right choice this holiday season. After all, no one has the time to waste over two+ hours on a bad movie. 

At the top of your list should be Hotel for the Holidays, a rom-com that offers a refreshing take on a festive genre that oftentimes lacks creativity simply because the forces behind the scenes know it will make money regardless as everyone longs for a slice of familiarity and comfort around the holidays.

There’s plenty of Christmas magic (it must’ve slipped through the cracks) in Hotel for the Holidays, and it sneaks up on you—and Madelaine Petsch’s character, Georgia—in the best possible way. It’s Amazon Freevee’s first original holiday flick, and hopefully, not the last. 

The plot is rather simple on the surface, but it isn’t predictable as with other holiday rom-coms.

Here’s the gist: Georgia is a young and ambitious hotel manager at the historic Hotel Fontaine (it gives The Plaza Hotel vibes from Home Alone 2), which attracts an eclectic bunch of guests, including some heartbroken singles, an infamous popstar, a European ex-prince looking for a taste of the real world, and more. They all arrive in New York City for the holidays looking for an escape from the norm, and Georgia is determined to give it to them. However, she also has her own plans and goals that get her into a bit of a love triangle with the hotel’s chef, Luke (Mesa Massoud from the live-action Aladdin), and the ex-prince, Raymond (Max Lloyd Jones from Book of Boba Fett). It also stars Kayleigh Shikanai (American Gods) as Pandora, Jami Belushi (According to Jim) as Kiki, Neil Crone (It) as Milton, and Jayne Eastwood (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) as Florence.

Madelaine Petsch's Christmas Movie 'Hotel for the Holidays' Is an Absolute Gem Among Cliche Films

Credit: Amazon Freevee

Pretty early into the film, it’s obvious how Georgia’s romantic life will resolve itself, which allows the film to dig into other captivating subplots that are positively unexpected. Unlike other holiday films, Georgia values herself beyond a romantic partner, which, right off the bat, is a breath of fresh air. 

The supporting cast plays an integral part in the film, right down to the chef’s best friend/fellow chef and the janitorial staff. They may not be the sole focus of the series, but the team behind the rom-com found a way to involve them in a way that’s natural and easy to keep up with. Pretty soon, you find yourself rooting for the happiness of everyone at Hotel Fontaine—the staff and the guests.

The acting is also great. It’s just the right amount of feel-good so it never feels forced, nor do the character’s choices seem questionable. It’s all believable within the world they’ve created, aside from the scene where they are dining on a rooftop in the dead of a New York City winter without jackets or even sweaters. How are they not cold? As for the few over-the-top performances and characters, well, they also work—the prince’s bodyguard (AJ Zoldy) is a delight.

If I’m being perfectly honest, the magical thing about the film is that it’s a love letter to the community of people you surround yourself with: your found family.

The film doesn’t just settle for telling a story about two people who finally admit that they love each other because that’s tired and expected. Instead, it recognizes that romance comes in all shapes and sizes—in romantic partners, in co-workers, in friends, and even in new acquaintances that pass through your life for a brief moment (or stay awhile). 

Madelaine Petsch's Christmas Movie 'Hotel for the Holidays' Is an Absolute Gem Among Cliche Films

Credit: Amazon Freevee

The storylines come together seamlessly, and the themes of belonging and acceptance—in addition to staying true to yourself, finding the inspiration to pursue your goals and ambitions, and acknowledging that it’s ok to move and find happiness on your own terms, even if it doesn’t always please everyone—help the film stand out among the other cliche seasonal offerings.

Most importantly, Petsch shines… and it’s so deserved. The film allows her to show off her range of acting chops that, sadly, get stifled on Riverdale. The CW series may have been her mainstream big break, but it stopped working in her favor a long time ago, so it’s exciting to see her take on new projects and characters. 

Of all the Christmas films that I’ve seen in 2022 thus far, Hotel for the Holidays is one of the best. 

Check it out for yourself when it premieres on Dec. 2 on Amazon’s Freevee. 

Read On:

Your Guide to All the Must-Watch Christmas Movies of 2022

Freddie Prinze Jr. Is Back! Everything We Know About the ‘Christmas With You’ Heartthrob

Where Was ‘Falling for Christmas’ Filmed?

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