The Good Place: What’s My Motivation – The Medium Place (Review)

The Good Place - Season 1

 

 

This week in The Good Place there is a last ditch effort to get Fake Eleanor enough brownie points to stay and not be deported to The Bad Place. As Real Eleanor lets Chidi know how she feels about him, Tahani and Chidi come up with a plan to save Fake Eleanor.

As if Michael did not have enough on his plate already, he learns about Jianyu and Janet’s marriage and that Jianyu is really Jason. Another case of mistaken identity and a non deserving person allowed into The Good Place by mistake.

The real Jianyu went into a coma and his heartbeat dropped so low that everyone believed the monk dead. This happened at the same time that Jason suffocated inside a safe because of no air holes in the structure.

Fake Eleanor must earn enough “good” points to stay in The Good Place and Tahani gets all of the residents that Eleanor upset together. After some grumbling about losing a restaurant, falling down the sinkhole and being hit by an exploding turkey, Tahani comes up with a plan, Fake Eleanor will throw a “sorry party” to make amends.

(It is worth pointing out that “turkey lady” was played by Amy Okuda who played Tinkerbella in The Guild. Amy appears in the show three times. She is a personal favorite and it was nice to see her pop up after her long stint in FOX’s Scream.)

The party goes over very well and ends on a high note after Fake Eleanor makes a joke. Despite everyone losing those grudges, her score stays in the negative area. Suddenly she has an epiphany. She writes personal thank you notes and makes a load of t-shirts with “pobodies nerfect” on them as gifts.

She asks Tahani, Chidi and Real Eleanor to drop off the notes and the gifts. She realizes that the points will never go up unless she choses to leave The Good Place. The apologies counted for nothing before because her motivation for doing so was to stay. Her decision to leave made the gesture noteworthy and counted as a selfless act, many times over.

Meanwhile, a frustrated and angry Michael has to deal with another person being mistaken for a good person, Jianyu and Janet’s marriage and Jason/Jianyu calling him “Dad.”

Michael gives Jason the same test given to Fake Eleanor and he fails spectacularly. (Or as Jason remarks “Am I acing this test?”)

We learn just how stupid Jason was when he was alive, perhaps only beaten by his best mate Pillboi who dresses and talks like a Super Mario Brother when trying to rob the restaurant.

Janet is refusing to help the residents and will not leave Jason’s side. She also will not consider leaving Jason. Michael finally decides that he must murder Janet to reboot her again. As he goes to do this, Shawn, the judge who will preside over Fake Eleanor’s hearing arrives on his own train.

Janet and Jason see Fake Eleanor waiting for the train to The Bad Place and tell her of another “place.” Known as The Medium Place, with only one resident, the two are planning to escape and live there in wedded bliss.

Fake Eleanor is ecstatic to learn that there is a medium place, she insisted that she belonged there from the beginning, Eleanor says, and she goes along. Janet hijacks the train as Michael, Tahani, Chidi and the Real Eleanor arrive at the station.

This episode was very funny and quite touching. Fake Eleanor finally learns the lesson that Chidi has been teaching and we learn that Jason/Jianyu is not so much bad as just “mentally challenged.” (He has the brain capacity of a seven year old, the same as the real Jianyu…)

Michael is capable not only of getting angry but also, apparently, quite able to commit murder. Janet’s previous reboot put her in close contact with Jianyu/Jason and as a result she has developed feelings and as an AI lost some of her acquired “intellect.”

The cast continues to knock this one out of the park. Bell is endearing and damned funny as Fake Eleanor, as is Jacinto as the mentally stunted Jason. D’Arcy Carden was delightful as a much changed Janet in this and the previous episode and Tiya Sircar and William Jackson Harper are perfect as the “Goodies” who are now awkwardly in the role of soul mates.

(The message in the egg, besides being delightfully cute, allowed Harper the chance to place his character in even deeper as the dweeb who cannot make up his mind. This was also a cue to Fake Eleanor to give Chidi some helpful advice.)

Michael’s ire at finding another mistake in the community gave Danson another chance to prove just how big those comedy chops of his really are.

The Good Place is still good fun and one of the two best things about Thursday nights on NBC.

CAST:

Guest starring Marc Evan Jackson as Shawn, Eugene Cordero as Pillboi and Amy Okuda as Jessica.

The Good Place: Chidi’s Choice – Extended Cut (Review)

The Good Place - Season 1

Coming back after the mid-season break, The Good Place “Chidi’s Choice – Extended Cut” may just be the funniest episode of the series yet.  It certainly has enough business going on between the characters. A lot is revealed about the “perfect” people who belong in The Good Place, and in this episode they are not quite a “good” as initially implied.

We find out that Chidi is the world’s worst “choice maker” he is so bad at choosing things that he even inadvertently caused his own death. As Chidi’s best mate Uzo proves that he would be unable to be Uzo’s Best Man at his wedding, Chidi hits the air conditioner in the window very hard, the two friends then decide to go out for a beer.

It takes Chidi an hour to decide where to go for said beer and as he stands vacillating the air conditioner falls from the flat and hits Chidi in the head killing him.

Michael and Chidi have teamed up to help keep “Fake” Eleanor in The Good Place, while the real Eleanor and Bambadjan  quiz the fake Eleanor to work out a defense. As the three people talk, with fake Eleanor being quite rude to Bambadjan, she realizes that she loves Chidi.

The meeting stops, but only after Bambadjan give Eleanor a hug, and she goes to confess her feelings to Chidi. Meanwhile, Tahani is furious with Jason/Jianyu for lying to her and he reveals that Chidi has been helping him to make Tahani happy.

Tahani then realizes that she must be in love with Chidi. She comes to this conclusion after deciding that he must be her real soul-mate. Fake Eleanor tells Chidi how she feels and as she goes to leave, Tahani barges in and reveals her true feelings for Chidi.

Jason decides that he and Janet are in love and they get married. Michael is getting frustrated with Chidi’s inability to make up his mind on anything and fake Eleanor and Tahani spend some time bonding since Eleanor refuses to fight over Chidi.

Tahani makes Eleanor watch “Deirdre and Margaret” an “English” series about an ignorant lower-class woman who is friends with an upper-class one. The implication is that Eleanor is the lower class friend.

Chidi has memories that go back to grade school where he cannot make a choice on which kids to have on his soccer (football) team. He wastes an entire recess discussing all his options.  His friend Uzo, the chap who is with him later when he dies, is as frustrated as Michael.

Eleanor, the fake one, actually decides that her soulmate is really Jason/Jianyu. They are, she says, both there by mistake, both were horrible people when they were alive and he is a “bad boy.” Just as she decides this, Jason marries Janet in a small ceremony witnessed by Tahani and Eleanor.

The Good Place returned from its mid-season break with a top-notch example of what makes it so funny. The addition of  Tiya Sircar as the real Eleanor has been perfect. She exudes the “goodness” that should have included her amongst the good people effortlessly and manages to make her appearances funny as well.

Jameel a Jamil is still spot on as the overbearing Tahani.  Manny Jacinto and D’Arcy Carden, as Jason and Janet, are brilliantly funny together. Danson, Bell, and Harper are all maintaining the status quo comedy wise and show creator Michael Schur looks to be setting things up for a hilarious season finale.

The Good Place airs Thursdays on NBC.

CAST:

Guest starring Bambadjan Bamba as Bambadjan, Keston John as Uzo, Dallas Young as young Uzo, Jayne Entwistle as Deirdre, Abigail Marlowe as Margaret and A.J. Hudson as young Chidi.

The Good Place: Episode 9 – Get the Fork Out (Recap/Review)

The Good Place - Season 1

The Good Place picks up where it left off last week;  where the Real Eleanor arrives via the train and Michael decides to fight for the Fake Eleanor to stay. While “Someone Like Me As a Member” focusses on the negotiations with Trevor, Tahani learns Jianyu’s secret. We also learn about “Shawn.” By the end of the episode, Michael gets tough and tells Trevor and his gang of bullies to “Get the fork out.”

Real Eleanor gets to eat food that “does not turn into spiders in your mouth” and she shows Fake Eleanor how to get into the bedroom via the hidden steps. (The whole fake and real bit is a tad annoying but slightly better than “Good Eleanor and Bad Eleanor.”)

Finally this episode reveals how the mixup between the Eleanor’s occurred.  Both were in Phoenix, Arizona in the same supermarket parking lot when they died. The Real Eleanor was there to buy something for homeless people and the Fake one to buy margarita mix and a magazine called “Celebrity Baby Plastic Surgery Disasters.”

Both died within “10,000th’s of a second” in the same traffic accident. Real Eleanor tried to save Fake Eleanor and they were both hit by the “boner pill” truck.  Real Eleanor apologizes to Fake Eleanor for “botching” the rescue attempt.

Michael reveals that people on Earth look like dots and then tries to buy off  Trevor with the option of getting a real unicorn. After Trevor reacts by saying they might like skinning and eating the creature Michael rethinks his strategy.

Fake Eleanor asks Michael why he is fighting for her to stay and he tells her that now she feels like a member of the team.  Fake Eleanor has a flashback, or two, about being a loner when she was alive.

Michael asks Tahani for help with Trevor and his bullying crew. The architect admits that he is afraid of Trevor and his minions. Tahani agrees to help and they hold the negotiations for Fake Eleanor in her house.

The Good Place - Season 1
Michael and Tahani

Trevor, Chidi and the two Eleanor’s go on a double date to The Good Plates.  It becomes obvious that Chidi and the Real Eleanor really are “soulmates.”  During the dinner date from Hell, we learn what the real difference is between the two Eleanor’s.

Fake Eleanor is a glass half empty person and Real Eleanor is a glass half full person.

Janet, or “Good Janet” has to ask Jianyu what jalapeño poppers are and he tells her.  He then gives the A.I. a hug and when she asks why, Jianyu replies that she is the only one here who is nice to him.

Trevor acts disgusting throughout the entire meal and Fake Eleanor has another flashback. At Tahani’s house, the bully crew are snorting time and Tahani learns that Jianyu knows how to tap a keg.

After the Real Eleanor and Chidi go on a tour of The Good Place, while Fake Eleanor gets hammered with Trevor.  He tries to convince her that she belongs in the bad place. Fake Eleanor goes to leave and Trevor asks if they are going to have sex.

“Ew. Gross. No.”

“Okay. You know I had to ask babe.”

Tahani teaches Michael how to “man up” against Trevor and his goons. Fake Eleanor gets her first hangover since arriving in The Good Place. Chidi reveals to Fake Eleanor that he is still on her side and will go with her to the negotiations.

Cue another flashback and Fake Eleanor’s work life on Earth.  (Her dream job was selling fake medicine to old people.)

At the negotiations Trevor lies and says that Fake Eleanor gave up and will be coming to The Bad Place with him.  She then tells them all that she wants to stay because she wants to be a better person.

Michael stands up to Trevor and tells him he will get nothing and finishes by telling him to “get the fork out of my town.” Trevor and his crew storm out and he tells Fake Eleanor that she is on borrowed time.

Tahani confronts Jianyu in his man cave and reveals that she knows he is not a Buddhist monk. She also found his junk food. Tahani suggests they have a chat.

The Good Place continues to amuse. “Someone Like Me As a Member” did have one flaw. The concept of “The Bad Place” and Trevor as the “devil” came across a bit more disgusting than horrible. (Although food into spiders thing was pretty horrific…)

It also a tad odd that the presence of Trevor and his nasty little gang did not cause some sort of disruption. All the inappropriate things they got up to should have torn the place to pieces.

Their behavior also points out the more topical premise of The Good Place. In this show, heaven and hell are separated by degrees of political correctness.

The Good Place is all PC and frozen yoghurt while The Bad Place is disgusting and, as Fake Eleanor says, gross.  This is a concept that seems to fit Millennials like a glove.

On a quick sidenote, we love Tiya Sircar’s Real Eleanor.

The Good Place airs Thursdays on NBC. Tune is for a giggle or two.

CAST:

The Good Place: Most Improved Player – Forking Forked (Recap/Review)

The Good Place - Season 1The Good Place looks all ready to deport Eleanor and send her to The Bad Place. As Janet is still rebooting, Michael has to revert to questioning Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jianyu. The recently rebooted Janet is having issues with the most mundane of tasks and it is slowing Michael’s investigation down.

Janet hands out cactus plants whenever she is asked for anything. Michael asks for Eleanor’s file and gets a cactus.

First Michael must have Eleanor complete a questionnaire, which she does pretty well on. The questions are designed to see if she is essentially a good person.  She is asked if she ever watched The Bachelor or any of its spin offs. Other questions include whether she has ever taken off her shoes and socks on a commercial flight.

Eleanor replies, “Ew. Who would even do that?” “People in The Bad Place, Eleanor,” says Michael.

Then there is a polygraph “cube.” The small white box turns red and green, red equals a lie and green the truth.  Eleanor also does well on this test.  During the test she is asked if she killed Janet and Eleanor replies no. It is, of course, the truth.

Michael is finished with Eleanor and moves on to speak with Tahani.  Eleanor then warns Chidi that anyone who helped her would also be sent to The Bad Place. “We are all,” she says, “forking forked.”

As she explains what Michael told her, Eleanor quotes Immanuel Kant and Chidi is overjoyed that his lessons have not been in vain. She and Chidi tell  Jianyu to say nothing to Michael. He agrees to nod and gesture vaguely while being questioned.

In the interview, Michael begins quoting Buddha and Jianyu touches a cactus and pricks his finger. The architect takes the gesture to be some sort of meaningful event and thanks Jianyu.

Chidi is saved from being interrogated when Janet finally produces Eleanor’s file. Michael begins going through some instances of her life and  initially things do not seem too bad.

Then the subject of “Dress B*tch” t-shirts comes up. By the end of the memory, where Eleanor borrowed her roommates peach dress and tore it, Michael decrees that she must go to The Bad Place.

(The clincher was Eleanor and her other roommate printing up t-shirts with the roommate’s picture on it with the logo “Dress B*tch” across the front. Eleanor made enough money to buy the exact same dress that she tore.)

Michael rings Trevor, his counterpart in The Bad Place, and tells him to come collect Eleanor. When Trevor and his entourage arrive he is excited to see who he has been called to collect. He tell’s her that she is famous in The Bad Place.

After Eleanor boards the train, Chidi speaks to Michael about not sending Eleanor away. Michael says that despite Eleanor getting better there was no award for “most improved player.” Chidi replies that there should be.

Michael rushes to stop the train and tells Trevor to let Eleanor off.  He wants Eleanor to stay until he can work out how she got in The Good Place.

Trevor agrees but explains that the real Eleanor Shellstrop will stay in The Bad Place until things get sorted. He brings “good” Eleanor off the train and the two women stand facing each other.

There are some funny bits in this episode. The Bad Place crew, for example, give Michael 100 Hawaiian pizzas, aka pineapple and ham.

The big question is what will happen to both Eleanor’s at the end of the investigation.  Since both the Shellstrop’s are dead, and presumably the real “good” one will be trapped in The Bad Place while Michael discovers what went wrong, the pressure on Chidi’s fake soulmate will be  intense.

The Good Place is still funny and it is almost compulsive viewing.   The show  is clever, funny and brings out the best in Ted Danson and Kristen Bell. Jameel a Jamil has become a personal favorite along with Manny Jacinto.

The series airs Thursdays on NBC.

CAST:

The Good Place: The Eternal Shriek – Murder Most Janet (Review)

The Good Place - Season 1

The Good Place picks up where last week’s episode ended. Michael told everyone that the problems must be his fault. Therefore  he would be leaving  by train and retiring. “The Eternal Shriek” is the fate awaiting Michael, a retirement most foul,  and in desperation Eleanor suggests murdering Janet, the only thing that can operate the train.

Chidi has real problems with this solution as he considers shutting down the robot murder and he cannot stand lying.  Being a moral philosopher means he believes in the truth above all things. Even a little white lie bothered him when he was alive.

Eleanor explains that Janet it not alive at all.  The A.I. tells the two where her shutoff switch is. It is on a remote section of beach and the thing is a red button on a tall chrome stand. They follow Janet there. She very obligingly shows the couple how to end her “life.”

Janet warns that even though she is not alive, she will beg and plead for her life when anyone starts to touch the button. Chidi tries a couple of times but is put off by Janet’s pleading.

Eleanor believes she is made of sterner stuff and goes to push the button. Janet continues to plead for her life and even shows pictures of her three children. Finally Jianyu, aka Jason Mendoza turns up and goes to press the red button.

Chidi tries to intervene but Jianyu hits the button and Janet falls face forward in the sand. Immediately after landing a large screen appears in the sky showing Janet telling The Good Place that she has been murdered.

We see more of the earthly Chidi in this episode and find that even he is not without sin, much like Tahani. He lies about a colleagues hideous looking cowboy boots. He tells Henry that the boots are beautiful and a grateful Henry buys Chidi his own pair and then  declares him his boot buddy.

Later, his friend ends up in hospital and finally Chidi tells Henry he hates the boots.

Back at The Good Place Tahani attempts to throw a going away party for Michael. She learns that the architect’s retirement will be quite painful.  Tahani decides to change the party’s theme around a bit.

After the murder of Janet, Michael is speaking to the inhabitants and the “new” Janet is rebooted missing almost her entire database. Michael says he will not leave till the murder is solved and Eleanor suddenly stands and confesses that the person causing all the problems is her.

Chidi looks on, stunned that Eleanor tells the entire town that she does not belong in The Good Place. Jianyu smiles slightly and this looks to be a game changer all around.

Clearly this place is not all it’s cracked up to be.  The problems; the falling rubbish, the sinkhole and so on, could be down to Eleanor but…

The retirement that Michael faces sounds horrid.  Surely “The Good Place” would not offer such an alternative and bleak future for the man who created the village.  With at least two people being let in by mistake there is apparently a “bug” in the system.

Will Michael find out that it really is Eleanor making the place unsafe or is there something else going on here. More importantly, will Jianyu get in trouble for pushing Janet’s button?

The Good Place airs Thursdays on NBC.

CAST: