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The Good Place Season 4 - Final Season

Discussion in 'TV Shows' started by Jake Lipson, Sep 18, 2019.

  1. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    Last year's thread was designated for Season 3, and especially because this show evolves its concept so much every year, I thought it would be a good idea to have a new thread for the final season. Since it's starting next week, it seemed like now would be a good time to kick off the new thread.

    I also wanted to remind everyone that NBC is airing a behind-the-scenes special "The Paley Center Salutes The Good Place" tomorrow night (Thursday, September 19.) At least my DVR does not count this as an episode of the series proper, so it is not going to be picked up with a preexisting series recording If you want to record it, check your listings grid, as you'll have to set it up separately.

    However, a couple weeks ago I found in my DVR -- recorded as part of my standing series recording -- that NBC aired one scene of the season premiere as a sneak peak sandwiched in between some ads for their other new sitcoms. This came out of the blue as I had no idea it was going to be on, so if you haven't seen it and want a sneak peak, check your DVRs; it might be in there. No spoilers from me, but the scene shows Eleanor welcoming the third of the "new humans" to the "Good Place" following the introduction of John (the gossip blogger and the return of Simone in last year's finale.

    Also, NBC recently uploaded a series of digital shorts called The Selection, involving Shawn and his workers the Bad Place choosing the new humans for the experiment:

    https://www.nbc.com/the-good-place/exclusives/the-selection/

    And, here are a couple articles that have been posted recently about the final season:

    https://www.rollingstone.com/tv/tv-features/goodbye-good-place-final-season-set-visit-881336/

    https://ew.com/tv/2019/09/16/good-place-inside-the-final-season/
     
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  2. NeilO

    NeilO Producer

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  3. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    Mike Schur told TV Insider: "Something significant happens that changes everything," he says. "You will believe one thing is happening at the beginning of the premiere, and by the end you'll see it's something else."

    https://www.tvinsider.com/810999/the-good-place-season-4-preview-mike-schur/

    Unlike in previous years where the premiere aired in an hour-long block, this year they have the episode, "A Girl From Arizona," airing over two weeks as "Part 1" on September 26 and "Part 2" on October 3. So it's not clear if he means that we'll understand something else by the end of the first half hour or the second.
     
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  4. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    "The Good Place" returns for its final season tonight at 9/8c. About forking time!
     
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  5. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I re-watched the series to date to prepare for the final season, culminating today with the last batch of episodes from season 3. I had a completely random deep dive thought while watching it. In the "Janet(s)" episode, when Chidi is trying to help Eleanor remember who she is, he says (as Janet) that Eleanor's favorite movie is "that clip of John Travolta saying 'Adele Dazeem."

    This is obviously in reference to the Oscars ceremony where Idina Menzel performed Let It Go from Frozen and John Travolta mispronounced her name. But in Frozen, Anna is played by Kristin Bell, who also plays Eleanor. So if the Adele Dazeem clip exists in The Good Place universe, then Frozen also exists in The Good Place universe. So if Eleanor is Eleanor and not Kristin Bell, then who plays Anna in Frozen in The Good Place universe?

    I'm not saying this will be relevant to season 4 in any way at all...but I just thought it was funny, because I'd never thought about it before.
     
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  6. joshEH

    joshEH Producer

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  7. MishaLauenstein

    MishaLauenstein Supporting Actor

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    Hopefully we'll see an appearance by Valerie Harper this season.
     
  8. Message #8 of 22 Sep 30, 2019
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2019
    joshEH

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  9. NeilO

    NeilO Producer

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    I forgot about it until a minute or so into watching the season opener, then went to my PC to watch the videos and then returned to the opener.

    As mentioned last season, make sure to listen to The Good Place the Podcast. It is loads of fun. They had some specials over the summer (some panels at events and other things) and will have an episode every week with the show.
    https://www.nbc.com/the-good-place/exclusives/tgp-podcast
     
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  10. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    Spoilers for the premiere below, but since it aired last Thursday, I think it's time to break the seal on it and dive in. If you haven't watched it yet, go do that and then come back here.

    I completely understand why Shawn would seek to manipulate the experiment by sending in a demon in disguise as one of the four new humans. In retrospect, it seems like we should have guessed he would do that because it's such an obvious way to cause trouble undetected, if it works. However, what I don't understand is why he would select Chris as the demon to do that. We know from the time in Michael's fake neighborhood that Chris (the character, not the actor who plays him on the series) is a terrible actor and doesn't really understand the first thing about making up plausible excuses for his actions. Remember, during the first reboot when he was posing as Eleanor's soul mate, he told her he was going to the gym nine times in the first day or so whenever she started to confess as an excuse to get away from her, not understanding that he needed to come up with a different example each time. So out of all the demons who spent time in Michael's neighborhood convincingly, why would Shawn pick the one who is worst at lying to be the one who goes in to undermine the mission? That makes no sense and seems very ill-thought-out on his part.

    On the other hand, Vicky (who played "Real Eleanor" in the first version before Eleanor figured it out and then blackmailed Michael in season two) really gets into this kind of thing and is extremely skilled at acting, lying and manipulating the humans in a way that they don't expect or understand. If you were going to pick one demon to infiltrate the group, she would probably be the strongest one to do that. So I think Shawn had the right idea (for his purposes) in selecting a demon to go in, but picked the wrong demon to execute that plot. Even if for some reason he didn't want to use Vicky, there were enough other demons in Michael's original neighborhood who had experience manipulating Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason that he could have picked one of them instead of Chris. I have to count this whole debacle as a win for our heroes, because Chidi counting as one of the subjects means they don't have a fourth new human to wrangle.

    On the other hand, Brent was a great choice on the part of Shawn because he is a total jerk and will drive everyone nuts, but also seems like he might be a harder nut to crack in terms of progress than the original four. Eleanor was selfish, Chidi was indecisive, Tahani was vain and sought attention, and Jason was an idiot, but none of them actually had, like, deep-seated hatred. The kind of comments that Brent makes throughout the premiere indicate serious racism and sexism, which are more severe problems than the original four dealt with in their many reboots, so getting him to change and grow might be a taller order (but will also be interesting for us, the viewers, to watch.) At the meeting in the IHOP where they pitched the redo of the experiment, Eleanor and company mentioned that the neighborhood allowed them to grow and change because it removed the sexism, racism and other problems that they faced on Earth, and Brent's arrival into the experiment has brought those issues to bear in the Fake Good Place for the first time. Seeing how our core group deals with that is going to bring a new shade to the series that we haven't seen them encounter before, and I think that's really smart on the part of the writers, even though I wanted to punch Brent pretty much every time he opened his mouth in the premiere (which I'm sure is by design.)

    Also...Simone. Poor Simone. What an interesting way to reintroduce her in a completely different fashion than the poised, confident version of her we met on Earth last year. I'm really curious to see how that goes. I feel like the obvious stumbling block for Eleanor is if Simone and Chidi fall in love again (which is obviously why she didn't want Chidi to meet Simone in the premiere), but in order for that to happen, Simone is going to have to be convinced this is real. I can't wait to see how they go about doing that.

    What did everyone else think of the opener?
     
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  11. Adam Lenhardt

    Adam Lenhardt Director

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    I thought it was... alright. The show's conditioned me to expect the premise to be blown up with virtual each new episode, so by that standard the Bad Place sneaking in a mole to be one of the four felt kind of pedestrian.

    The only gag that really worked for me was:
     
  12. Jake Lipson

    Jake Lipson Lead Actor

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    I get what you're saying, but I also think it makes sense because of course they would try that. I will be perfectly happy if they actually devote a good portion of the season to watching this experiment play out, because they spent so much time in the end of last season setting it up that if they just blow up the premise in one or two episodes, that would feel weird. I think it's an opportunity for them to dig into the characters without having them constantly on the run or changing settings like they did last year. Plus, if you look at season one, Eleanor didn't confess to Michael until about the midpoint of the season, and it does seem like the conceit of the new experiment is supposed to mirror season 1 a little bit. So I'm fine with them letting this play out. It was also nice to be back in the neighborhood, since season 3 didn't really have that to a large extent based on the way it was designed.

    I also think it's important to note that this is the only year where the first two episodes did not air continuously as an hour-long block, so it might feel a little off because we usually get more up front than we usually do now. We'll see what happens in this week's episode, which is officially designated as "Part 2" of the premiere. I'm guessing NBC wanted to split them up this year because they wanted to use the premiere to lead into the pilot of Sunnyside in order to launch that show, rather than having an hour block lead into SVU, which would have been the case if the first two episodes aired together.
     
  13. Message #13 of 22 Oct 3, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
    joshEH

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    "I grew up in Chicago...a suburb, obviously."

    As a recent former suburban Chiraq-resident, this was fucking savage.

    Also:

    "White Guillermo" and "Mexican William."
     
  14. Adam Lenhardt

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    I liked the second episode a lot better than the season premiere. I appreciate that the show hasn't made Brent at all sympathetic so far. If there is a cosmic reckoning upon our deaths, some people really do deserve to go to the Bad Place, no matter how generous the scoring rubric.

    A few good gags in there too, and some even better throwaway lines.

    The highlight of the episode for me though was Michael's pep talk to Eleanor. It was a rare opportunity to see Eleanor vulnerable and unguarded, and Kristen Bell really hit it out of the park. Watching that scene, I was reminded of how special this show is.
     
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  15. Matt Hough

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    It is special, and I really enjoy the main characters, but I'm not loving this last season so far. I do agree this week's episode was better than the premiere.
     
  16. Message #16 of 22 Oct 11, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2019
    Jake Lipson

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    Spoilers below through last night's third episode, so don't read this post if you haven't watched the episode yet. (This is too long and too detailed to hide some of it behind spoiler tags; it would have to be the whole post, and there's really no point in doing that since it would make the thread unreadable to spoilerize everything.)

    I loved last night's episode. Of course, I loved all three episodes this season more than most people here seem to have, but this one was clearly the best yet. However, I've got a bad feeling about this for our heroes, and therefore for humanity at large in this world.

    Two weeks in a row now I've noticed what could be the show dropping hints that one of the four subjects will figure out what's going on. Last week, Michael made a point to remind Eleanor that she beat him 800 times when he was torturing the original group. This week, Chidi got awfully close by saying he felt like he did something wrong and this is the universe getting back at him. He rationalizes this away because he still believes this is the Good Place,but he got awfully close to the edge of the truth here.



    The Judge gave our heroes one year of Earth time to run the experiment. But if the current subjects figure out what is going on, then their motivation for improvement would be void and therefore it seems like there would be two options: 1) the new experiment ends earlier than planned, thus not giving as much time for potential improvement; or b) they could be rebooted and start over, but that would both erase their progress and delay the Judge's ruling. I don't really think she would be okay with option B, because she made very clear that she expects this to end one way or the other. Plus, of course, we know it is ending soon. Working in our heroes' favor is that "We are in the Medium Place as the subjects of a wager between a reformed demon and his former tormentor colleges" is a harder thing to figure out than "THIS IS THE BAD PLACE!" and they're being tortured, but still.

    Last week, I gasped when Eleanor told Chidi that he and Simone were soulmates. It's one thing to ask him for help with her, and it's quite another to put that idea in his head. Presumably, when the experiment ends, she will want to tell him the truth about their history, and that's going to be much harder for him to hear and process if he is devoted to Simone when that happens. I get that Eleanor said what she said because putting Simone and Chidi spending time together will lead to their improvement and success with the experiment, but it still stunned me to hear her say it.

    Brent, on the other hand, is a major win for the Bad Place. His reaction to the chaos sequence proves this. He seems worse to me than the original four. Obviously, he's written to be unsympathetic right now, so that's partly by the show's design. But he appears to have a deep-seated superiority complex, and he's obviously racist and sexist. Incidentally, in the scene in the IHOP last season, Eleanor specifically mentioned that there was "no racism" and "no sexism" in Michael's original neighborhood. See here for a refresher:



    Brent seems to have been chosen for the experiment specifically to counteract that, because he brings the racism and sexism with him, and since that sort of thing is usually ingrained into a person's belief system, it's a real challenge to correct. Contrast him with Eleanor, for example. In her time on Earth, she was a selfish bench, but her problem was only that she was apathetic toward other people. She didn't actually think she was superior to anyone else, and in fact often referred to herself as an "Arizona trash bag." She always had the self-awareness that she was a bad person, which is why Michael was able to torture her in the original neighborhood by surrounding her with "better people." If Brent believes he is a "best person," and automatically superior to the others, why would he seek their help to improve? Chidi is black, Simone is black, and John is white, but gay. We know from Brent's comments that he's racist ("I'm not racist; my dentist was a black woman!") and sexist ("Captain Marvel!"), and I don't think it's that much of a stretch to imagine he has a problem with gay people too, because they're not like him. So he's coming in not only convinced of his own greatness, but also with deep-seated disregard for the value of the other three subjects. Michael's guess in the season 3 clip I linked above is that the new subjects will "seek help, support each other, and improve." Getting Brent to support two black people, including a woman, and a gay guy, is going to be a challenge. We already heard tonight that he blew off Chidi's ethics class, which is not a promising start.

    Speaking of that, I'm confused as to why Chidi would start an ethics class for Brent to skip prior to learning that Jason isn't supposed to be in the "Good Place." I feel like the show skipped over the narrative beat of him deciding to hold a class. Last week, he was helping Simone, only, but why would he do that beforehand? It's not like he sought out students in the first version; Eleanor always had to come to him to get him to teach her. So why did he start one, and why would Brent attend it even once? Does he think the ethics class will get him enough points to enter the "Best Place?"

    The other thing is that we haven't really seen the new subjects all interact yet. Last week didn't include John as a major player, and this week, neither Simone nor Brent were actually in the episode. I get that these actors are not series regulars like the core six, and we're supposed to be watching the core six (minus Chidi) coordinate the experiment as much as watching the new humans (plus Chidi) react to it. I'm not saying that I want the new humans to take over the show, especially as we get close to the end, because they aren't the ones whose journeys we've been following for four seasons.

    However, it's baked into the wager that the subjects of the experiment will support each other in order to improve, and they can't really do that if they're not all interacting, which means they have to be at least some of the same episodes. Isolating Tahani with John this week was smart because the Bad Place chose him as her foil, and it was fun to watch her deal with him. (Side note: I'm not sure that "unironically watching Crossroads" represents as much progress for John as Tahani thinks it does, but him apologizing to her for being mean to her on Earth is something.) But eventually, the new subjects are all going to have to come together in a meaningful way.

    That being said, I loved the return of Jason's Janyu the monk disguise. I think that's the funniest he's been in a long time; it echoes the first season in a fun way, but it's different enough this time not to feel repetitive because now he is in on the act instead of doing it to hide. His "confession" to Chidi when Eleanor left -- and the consequences of John badmouthing Daniel Day-Lewis -- were my two biggest laughs in the entire episode.

    It seems clear that they are patterning this season to be a mirror of sorts to season one, with the new improvement in place of the original torutre experiment. Back in season one, Michael's torture began to go off the rails at the end of episode seven, which was when Eleanor confessed to him that her presence was in error and was the source of the neighborhood's (apparent) "problems. " I don't really have any set expectations for this show at this point, so it wouldn't surprise me if they deviated from this. But, hypothetically, if they did stick to the season one model and blow up the experiment somehow in episode seven, then our heroes are living on borrowed time since next week is already episode four. All this to say, I hope for everyone's sake that the subjects begin improving real quick.

    Also, I loved Eleanor's confession to Michael about going too far torturing Chidi and liking it even more than I loved her breakdown last week. Also, watching her cry to his face as Chidi expressed his ppain was horrible, but a beautiful scene. Just the look on her face as he talks, transitioning into her crying, killed me. You can see it in the first clip at the top of this post.

    They're really putting Eleanor through the wringer this season, and Kristin Bell is stepping up her game -- not that she isn't always terrific in this role, but the depth of what she is able to play is really impressive. I suspect another Emmy nomination is in her future come next summer.

    The train shot at the end was certainly ominous. Who do you all think is on there? My guess would be Trevor, if the Bad Place got him back somehow; we haven't seen him since the Judge flicked him away for interfering with the rebooted timeline on Earth early in season 3, so it's not entirely clear what happened to him. But he's particularly good at getting under Michael's skin, and successfully infiltrated the core group once before when he signed up for Chidi's study, so it would make sense for the Bad Place to send him in again. Of course, Eleanor, Tahani and Jason would now have been told by Michael who he is, so he wouldn't be able to trick them again in the same way, but still, he obviously has a talent for causing them trouble. My only problem with the theory of it being him is related to what was going on when we last saw him. If the Judge just sent him back to the Bad Place, why didn't she just immediately do that with Michael and Janet instead of letting them escape? See what I mean in the clip below. Also, if he's back in the Bad Place, why would Shawn have sent Chris in as a mole in the premiere instead of him, when he's obviously better at infiltrating the group?



    Of course, it could also be Vicky, if Shawn decided to send in his acting MVP this time. But the problem is that the Judge made very clear Shawn's not allowed to interfere again. So, if the train is carrying someone from the Bad Place, what would prevent Eleanor and Michael from calling up the Judge again like they did in the premiere? Therefore, it would be very difficult for the Bad Place to insert in now without enraging the Judge.

    I can't wait to find out who it is, though, and what they're planning to do.
     
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  17. joshEH

    joshEH Producer

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    So which eight Game of Thrones characters do we think were based on Tahani?
     
  18. Matt Hough

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    I agree: this was the best episode of the season thus far. Quite a few big laughs, and I loved Kristen Bell's performance this week. BTW, Jake, Kristen has never gotten an Emmy nomination for this show. She was nominated once for a Daytime Emmy. Was that what you were referring to?
     
  19. Message #19 of 22 Oct 12, 2019
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2019
    Jake Lipson

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    No, I just got her Golden Globe nomination for it mixed up with the Emmys for a second. My overall point that she should be nominated for an Emmy stands, but you are correct that she has not been.

    In thinking about the nature of the show, though, it wouldn't surprise me if this season were to leave empty-handed. The story is so heavily serialized that if you saw a couple episodes for Emmy submissions, but weren't invested in the whole show, the samples likely wouldn't mean much to you because there really aren't any standalone episodes. At this point in the show's run, it's really not going to gain new viewers, and that probably includes awards voters who haven't been with the show for its entire run. Of course, I love the show and would be delighted to see it get its due, but I have been on the ride since the beginning.

    On another note, I still think that one of the subjects is going to figure out they're not really in the Good Place. I was thinking more about this and came to the conclusion that it would be the most tragic (and therefore the most dramatically interesting) if Chidi is the one who eventually comes to this realization. The whole reason that he volunteered to have Michael wipe his memory is so that he wouldn't ruin the experiment by blabbing to Simone. It would be deeply ironic and sad if he ends up ruining the experiment anyway by deducing the truth, which would invalidate their motivations for improvement. This would essentially make his earlier sacrifice for naught if they still come to the same result (him ruining the experiment) with or without his memories. Just a guess.
     
  20. Adam Lenhardt

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    "That's just what motorcycles do."
     
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