The Good Place: Jeremy Bearimy

“See you in hell!”

Variations on the phrase “what we owe to each other” recur frequently on The Good Place. That line refers not only to the title of T.M. Scanlon’s book, which featured heavily in the first season, but also to his arguments about moral philosophy. In sum: goodness is relational. We have a contractual obligation to others, and to think about others, in what we do.

It’s hard to argue with (says the person who has never taken a philosophy course), but it raises some interesting questions as Team Cockroach, aka the Brainy Bunch, struggles with knowing that nothing they do matters in the end. Why bother to figure out what you owe—and why you should care—if you know that your monthly goodness-repayment plan is inevitably going to lead to your soul being repossessed?

Well, to quote Angel: if nothing you do matters, than all that matters is what you do. That’s the conclusion our heroes come to after a day of Aristotelian virtue ethics (giving away money), consequentialism (attempting to do more good than bad, also with money), and deontology (following the social contract by not stealing money).

And, of course, nihilism (spending money on horrible food and novelty t-shirts). Chidi’s breakdown was delightful. I’m not sure what I loved more: finding out that Peeps are available year-round in Australia or discovering that William Jackson Harper is shredded. I am not a nihilist, so I enjoyed the humorous quality of Chidi dipping his toes into the waters of nothingness. I’m also glad he got over it, since he seemed to be in genuine agony. And I’m not just talking about the chili.

Even Michael and Janet got in on the act. Their manifesto was an attempt to “enact real change in the process of judging people” while spreading the gospel of cinnamon buns made with pizza dough. Creating the manifesto was an entirely selfless act. What they owe to the world, apparently, is a solid effort to fix the inequities of the point system.

That sort of structural change might dovetail nicely with Eleanor’s plan: to try to help others get into the Good Place. Since their “fates are sealed,” the Brainy Bunch is going to transform into the Soul Squad. “It’s better than not trying,” she says, and I’m not sure anyone can argue with that.

What Sacred Games Shall We Have to Invent?

• Michael: “My name is agent Rick Justice…”
Jason: “I knew it!”

• Chidi: “What the hell is this? The dot over the I. What the hell is that?...This broke me! The dot. Over the I. That broke me. I’m done.”

• Michael: “Their bodies are very poorly made. They’re mostly goo and juice. You just take the juice out, and then they’re dead.”

• Cabdriver: “I feel like a bloody boomerang.”
Eleanor: “Of course you do!”

• Banker: “We’re technically supposed to just shut down the bank if anyone from Florida even walks in.”

• The timeline of the afterlife happens to look like the name Jeremy Bearimy in cursive English. In unrelated news, I now have a great idea for my next tattoo.

• The bar was called “Drinking Nemo,” which took me a while to figure out. (Finding Nemo, water, drinkable things…?)

• I had forgotten all about the Fourth Hemsworth until he popped up at the very end. So, in his honor:

Four out of four Hemsworths.

Josie Kafka is a full-time cat servant and part-time rogue demon hunter. (What's a rogue demon?)

8 comments:

Lamounier said...

The bar was called “Drinking Nemo,” which took me a while to figure out.

OMG, I didn't catch the reference. A great one, by the way.

This episode was awesome, I loved everyone's arcs. Being good is part of who Eleanor is now, no matter how much she tries to get rid of that. I loved Chidi's breakdown too, and Janet trying to keep it cool after learning Tahani and Jason got married.

This show. <3

sunbunny said...

This show is so wild. Every episode takes us some place insanely different and reinvents the show. I wonder where we'll end up next week.

Chidi's breakdown was the best thing to happen to this episode, and perhaps, the season so far. That's some chili, Chidi. It made a nice parallel that Eleanor was the one to help Chidi this time.

WHERE WAS SIMONE?

I also forgot about Larry Hemsworth. Poor Larry.

sunbunny said...

Wait, how did you get through undergrad without having to take a Philosophy class?? I'm so jealous! I had Intro to Philosophy at 8 AM ON FRIDAYS junior year. It was....bad, it was bad.

Victoria Grossack said...

The episode was fantastic. Just try to help people. In fact, the series could end right here and I'd be content. Except I'm enjoying it too much, so I don't want it to end.

Jason sure gets married a lot.

Nonei said...

I know it was said already but this show continues to pleasantly surprise me. I also enjoyed Janet trying to keep it together and her relief-ish when she found out it was platonic. "Jason sure gets married a lot." - this cracked me up

I wish the episode had included Simone too! But, I'm not sure how she would have fit in. I think this happened just in one day so it might make sense for her not to realise something was wrong.

Anonymous said...

The best part of this whole episode was Jason calling the violin a "chin guitar". That made me laugh for about 10 minutes and I will never again call that instrument by it's correct name.

Billie Doux said...

What a fabulous episode. Especially Chidi's breakdown, which was the best thing ever. The dot over the "i." I bet that's going to be important.

I took a class about existentialism when I was an undergrad, but that was a French-related thing. (It also forever affected my writing style.) So philosophy wasn't an undergrad requirement for me, either. Was my college's bachelor offering inadequate?

Lovely review, Josie.

Patryk said...

Time is ball of Wibbly-wobbly Timey-wimey, Jearemy Bearimy stuff. :)