‘The Good Place’ more than a comedy


NBC is a business known for creating works that are inventive and realistic.

“Saturday Night Live” is one of its signature television shows that reflect its reputation. They continue building this persona with a  new comedy act called “The Good Place.” The focus of the production is Eleanor Shellstrop played by Kristen Bell.

Eleanor lived a selfish life on Earth, which should have placed her in hell or “the Bad Place.” Instead, she finds herself in “the Good Place” after she passes away. This causes chaos to ensue in the neighborhood she lives in.

Eventually, we get to meet three different characters who belong in the Bad Place, like Eleanor, for different reasons. Chidi was a moral philosophy professor who was terribly indecisive, while Tahani was someone who constantly wanted attention and did things for prestige. Jason was a reckless DJ who lived in Florida. Each of these people try to hide the worst parts of themselves, but they eventually slip up in hilarious ways.

After watching several seasons of the show, a viewer can tell how much moral philosophy influences this work.

Besides the honorable mentions of famous philosophers like Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche, the main events that drive the plot are the decisions the characters make and how they are founded on moral principles. This focus on moral principles and schools of thought ushers in theories people usually avoid and portrays them in engaging ways that relate to real life.

One example of this is when Chidi is trying to teach the architect of their neighborhood, Michael, how to be a better person. The way he does this is by using the trolley problem.

The trolley problem is a situation where a person is faced with the decision of either killing five people to avoid killing a loved one and vice versa. This lesson translates later into the series when a hard decision must be made. To avoid spoilers, this leads to a major plot twist.

When something as abstract as the trolley problem and moral particularism can be related to real life situations, people can find the value and relevance of something they once believed to be pointless and stuffy. “The Good Place” has been able to revive philosophy and bring it into popular culture once again, along with utilizing plot twists and absurd humor.

“The Good Place” is a work of art which deserves to be recognized for its merits. It breaks through the monotony of prime-time television dramas which perpetuate plots and characters seen in every drama. By centering on philosophy and working in unpredictable plot twists, “The Good Place” will continue to stretch its viewers’ mindsets while making them laugh.

5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)