Name another comedy where you can hear the phrase “yeah, but she is wearing the hell out of those foam-fingers.” Name another comedy where a Jacksonville-based failed DJ dressed as a Buddhist monk falls into a love triangle with an AI woman and the boyfriend she created from the void for herself. Hell (no pun intended), name anything you can find in media with as much hilarious complexity as NBC’s “The Good Place.”
In June, the show’s fanbase was stunned by the decision to end the show after its upcoming fourth season. I know I sure was — the show’s third season was its strongest yet, which is saying something, and in the era of streaming wars, it would be a terrible decision for NBC to axe one of their best-received comedies. It would be like cancelling “The Office” right before Jim and Pam got together.
“After ‘The Good Place’ was picked up for Season 2, the writing staff and I began to map out, as best we could, the trajectory of the show,” creator Michael Schur explained. “Given the ideas we wanted to explore, and the pace at which we wanted to present those ideas, I began to feel like four seasons — just over 50 episodes — was the right lifespan. At times over the past few years we’ve been tempted to go beyond four seasons, but mostly because making this show is a rare, creatively fulfilling joy, and at the end of the day, we don’t want to tread water just because the water is so warm and pleasant.”
The news hit hard, but I had to grit my teeth and trust the process.
After months of teasers, set photos and anxiety, the premiere of the final season finally hit television sets nationwide last night, and it didn’t disappoint. Chidi, who sacrificed his memory for the good of the “do-over” Good Place at the end of Season 3, pranced around the neighborhood with the same nerdy, philosophy-professor charm that has been winning hearts for years. That came much to the chagrin of Eleanor (Kristen Bell), the self-proclaimed “Arizona trash bag”-turned unwilling head-of-operations of said “do-over.” Eleanor’s yearning for her amnesiac boyfriend was just as painful as I anticipated. As few scenes they had together, the grief expressed through Eleanor’s face was gut-wrenching. I sincerely hope they end up together at the series’ end. It’s all I want.
As far as complaints go, I don’t really have any. Some scenes weren’t knee-slapping funny, but they weren’t supposed to be. What sets “The Good Place” apart from the average primetime weekly show is how it ventures outside of the usual comedic format. The show brings the ordinarily hard-to-grasp topic of moral philosophy and propels it to an easy-to-grasp format. It’s so funny and charming that you don’t even realize you can get a B+ on a Kant paper after a daylong binge watch. It’s that effortless, and it’s one of the best shows on television.
Consider me sidelined for all Thursday night nickels from now through Thanksgiving. You may be in a good place, but I’ll be in “The Good Place.”
Danny Barletta is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @dbars_12.