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The Good Place: The Book of Dougs

"We're four Oreos from heaven."

It turns out the Soul Squad landed on a side sector of the Good Place, just not the main area.

And that was enough to make Eleanor super anxious. How can you be this close to heaven and not make it? After all they have been through (and she just remembers a tiny portion of it), it's understandable that all she wants is just to rest in peace.

But there is more going on in Eleanor's mind, and it's brought to the surface when Chidi tries to cheer her up (by dressing up as a mailman and looking damn fine) and she bursts into tears. Because she has never been this happy and she fears it will go away. Eleanor never had a meaningful, lasting connection with anyone in her lifetime like the one she has with the members of the Soul Squad, especially with Chidi. She freaked out earlier in the season over the possibility of losing them, and her insecurity pops out here again. But as Chidi tells her, she should focus on the now. I love that quote by Tolstoy because it's so truthful. The past can't be changed and it's naive to think that we can assure the future will be a certain way. We never know what's coming next, and best we can do is live the now, the only time we have any power over. Eleanor gets the message, and since she can't guarantee she will be with Chidi forever, she decides they'd better consummate their love while they can. And so they hit the sheets.

Another character who has trouble dealing with her emotions is Janet, and it happens after she learns that Jason and Tahani discovered she has feelings for him. She's still exhausted from keeping the four humans inside her void and doesn't want to deal with emotions while pretending to be a Neutral Janet. I loved Tahani trying to take care of the situation, particularly her misguided attempt to end her marriage with Jason. Her certificate was adorable, albeit incorrect. I mean, death literally didn't part them, in fact, it brought them together in the first place, but, okay, that second part she doesn't remember.

I liked the resolution to that subplot, which focused more on the ladies and less on the man in the middle, and I also liked how the three of them just ended up group-crying, no matter how silly Jason's inclusion in the moment was. These people can keep being rebooted and they'll still grow the strongest ties to one another. Although, since we are talking about it, this season better not end on another reboot.

While the humans and Janet worked their issues, Michael continued his journey to save humanity and it was a rather frustrating experience since the Useless Committee of Uselessness did nothing to help him. I mean, 1,400 years to select and align an investigative team? I know the writers were poking fun at endless bureaucracy and supposedly good people that just sit around and do nothing useful, but come on. There you have a demon trying his hardest to save humanity against a bunch of self-proclaimed good guys who do nothing more than pass memorandum to each other saying how concerned they are (that was totally a jab at social media activists, right?). Are those guys just that clueless or are they not really good to begin with?

In any case, Michael realizes through a quick chat with Tahani that the Bad Place isn't tampering with the points system, but in reality the world has become so complex and people so interconnected that being a good person became harder. Buying your grandmother roses would earn a few points 500 years ago, but now it will actually lose you some points, because such an action will indirectly condone pollution of the planet and slavery.

Okay, so, I want to nitpick this a little bit. First, even though we are very connected now, there are still a few groups who are largely disconnected or completely isolated. I understand that the writers of The Good Place live in the super connected side of humanity, but that's not how it is for everyone. However, this is a fantasy show and I can let that issue slide if I assume that in the world of The Good Place everyone is connected, no exceptions. My biggest problem with the logic behind Michael's realization, though, is that our stand against slavery, for instance, is rather new. Five hundred years ago, slavery was normalized and voices against it were dissonant noises, not the choir. So if today the biggest problem for humanity is how complex the world has become, back then it would be the lack of a more consolidated notion of human rights. In both eras, though, I can see a handful of people making it to the Good Place.

But, again, this is a fantasy show and I'm probably being too dense, because, leaving logic aside, I was rather fascinated by the concept of how far the ramifications of our actions should be taken into our account. People become vegan when they stop and think about how much their eating habits contribute to the abuse of animals. I have a colleague at work who is a vegetarian, so not really a vegan, but he told me he has a few rules, such as buying the most expensive eggs (according to him, the cheaper the egg, the more the chicken suffered). But he'd still be totally forked in the points system, because transportation of the eggs probably polluted the atmosphere and so on. We have been speculating for a while the likelihood of the points system setting the bar too high, and now we have proof that's exactly what it does. However, in our real world, should we put our actions under the microscope? Are we to blame for the unintended consequences of our good deeds? I love how this show keeps asking some really interesting moral questions as it takes us along the ride.

Favorite Things/Smells

Eleanor: Typhoon Falls, her favorite water park. "Chlorine, suntan lotion, Band-Aids and a thick cloud of teen hormones."

Chidi: either warm pretzels or the smell of absolute moral truth. They do smell alike, Janet confirmed.

Jason: Black Bortles holding the Super Bowl MVP trophy. Also, weed.

Tahani: a curtain closing between first class and economy.

Doorman: frogs, obviously.

Bonus: Eleanor's tears tasted like the nacho cheese from her favorite movie theater.

Too bad we didn't learn what Janet's and Michael's favorite things/smells were. Janet's would certainly have something to do with Jason.

Other Bits

- There is only one door for humans to enter the Good Place, the official entrance.

- Everything Eleanor used to try to unlock the other door to the Good Place turned to glitter.

- Jason spoke of the time they were in Janet's void as if it had been ages ago.

- Janet worried that her emotions would come out of her butt.

- Michael's jawline is indeed great.

- I'm usually annoyed at characters who are too naive, but Gwendolyn was adorable.

- The note on the champagne Eleanor and Chidi opened said: "Gwendolyn, here's some champagne for you for thanking me for thanking you for thanking me for thanking you for thanking me for the champagne you sent me." I wonder how many champagne bottles Gwendolyn and the writer of that note gave one another.

- Was it me or Jameela's delivery of "but we really didn't deal with my thing" was very Buffy-esque?

- Next stop: IHOP, Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes.


Tahani: "Are you sure we're in the actual Good Place? It's rather carpeted."

Jason: "What kind of messed-up place would turn away refugees?"

Tahani: "Jason, you seem thoughtful. And that concerns me."

Jason: "It's nice to know I can talk about girls with my wife."

Chidi: "It's like when my parents would go to a symposium and I would sneak into their office and read the unabridged dictionary."
Eleanor: "I can't believe I'm attracted to you."

Chidi: "Is this a horny cry?"

Chidi: "There is a quote I like by Tolstoy. 'There is only one time that is important. Now. It is the only time when we have any power.'"
Eleanor: "I know that quote. An unverified Tyra Banks account posted that meme on Instagram."
Chidi: "Well, now I hate it."

Michael: "The Titanic is sinking, and they're writing a strongly-worded letter to the iceberg."

Tahani: "There are so many unintended consequences to well-intentioned actions. It feels like a game you can't win."

Janet: "Why are you crying?"
Tahani: "I don't know. I'm British, I never cry."

It's so unfair that there are only two more episodes left this season. Three out of four closed doors to heaven.

1 comment:

  1. I never know what to say about this show, except that every episode is unpredictable as well as endearing.

    The IHOP joke really struck me funny. I must have giggled for five minutes.

    FWIW, Nicole Byer, who played Gwendolyn, is the host of a ridiculous cooking show competition on Netflix called Nailed It! It makes me laugh *a lot* even though the basic joke is the same in every episode. So maybe I'm recommending watching one episode...?


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