The Good Place

Holy shirtballs! The new season of The Good Place has landed on Netflix. Chidi, Tahani, Jason and Eleanor are back on Earth, unaware of their second chance at becoming “good people”. It’s entertaining to see to see the fan-favourite foursome alive and well, having been rescued from their gruesome fates by Michael (Ted Danson), but it’s clear that simply cheating death isn’t enough to turn people “good”.

After numerous plot twists throughout the last two seasons,  viewers were left hungry for more of Michael Schur’s Netflix original, and this episode was certainly worth the wait. Compelling and anticipatory, in the new episode the characters we’ve grown to love struggle to find their place in the world post-near-death experience.

Admittedly, the episode tends to be somewhat confusing at times; the timeline chops and changes, and some scenes are repeated. However, Michael Schur’s writing lives up to the previous series with his artful character development and rapid-fire wit. Kristen Bell has come a long way from Frozen; her delivery of Eleanor’s one-liners is truly a craft. Jameela Jamil’s Tahani acts beautifully, however her portrayal of the character can tend to feel like a caricature straight out of an amateur drama class. Not to mention Jason, the failed rapper originating from Florida.

Yet somehow, the ensemble makes that the show’s viewers love to love. A nerd, a princess, a weirdo and pseudo-punk are a grouping fit to challenge the Breakfast Club’s champion title. The characters are relatable, particularly when it comes to Eleanor’s penchant for happy hour and attractive men, however also promote the importance of diversity within a friendship group.

However, to dispute the title of this episode, not everything is bonza. The episode lagged at points; deadpan delivery and obvious jokes felt stunted rather than humorous, as can be the default for American sitcoms that try too hard. Chidi (William Jackson-Harper) and Eleanor (Kristen Bell) carry the show; their flirtatious yet chummy dynamic make up for loose slack. The best of the dialogue seems to have fallen to Bell; with her comically crafted facial expressions and scorching tone, she stands out as the star of the show.

Despite getting off to a slightly bumpy start, season three is going to be one to schedule time for between studying at Teviot and taking advantage of Tesco meal-deals. The Good Place takes moral philosophy and adds a fork-tonne of drama, some exemplary script writing and characters viewers want to grab a pint with. In the dark days of autumn, curling up with the whole three seasons on Netflix sounds like a Good Place to be.

Image: Aitchisons via Wikimedia Commons

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