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  1. I haven't loved this season. Barely have even liked it. This week was way to many ads and apocalypse stuff. The show has gone from a hilarious watch to a sentinmental but enjoyable one to no fun at all.
  2. Wendell and Michelle have plotted this whole thing out. Not saying they plotted out the entire game, but they talked about what they would do if they were together. And instead of being "together" if they were in the same place at the same time, they decided to make it look like there was animosity. Tonight it was pretty obvious that Wendell was over the top in his mansplaining, and then he has to make amends so the world doesn't hate him. And his condescending conversation with Michelle that just happened to be within earshot of Yul, which just happened to have him plotting, which just happened to turn simple little Nate against Yul. There's no way anyone's former BF talks to them that way -- especially when everyone is on edge -- without a blowup of some sort. But Michelle just let him go with it. Her reflexive "babe" when he was doing the challenges. The fact that neither has really said anything specific about the other in a confessional, and Michelle continuing with this vague "broke her trust," yet tonight saying they only went out a little while. It's all too convenient a storyline not to be contrived. I doubt they are still together -- maybe they are -- but they didn't part on bad terms and my guess is this animosity is just an act to throw suspicion off each other -- they become a very safe keep-around because everyone knows they don't like each other. But they really do and it's worked so far.
  3. I've been doing a rewatch along with the Buffering podcast, so I'm a little fresher than I used to be on the first five or so seasons. One thing that has stood out to me was just how good some relatively short segments are on the show, so i thought I'd throw some out and see what people thought: 1) last five minutes of Checkpoint is my favorite. it hits all the key elements of Buffy as she's grown up, from her realization montage in of her place in the world to her understanding of how people want to take it from her. And I'm not sure the show has ever had a better throwaway line than "Willow is a demon?!" 2) The end of Becoming Part 2. I mean, it's hard to argue with "me" under any circumstances. 3) Faith and Buffy's "Want, take, have," in Bad Girls. 4) The Mayor's speech in the library where he talked about Edna Mae. 5) Giles coming home in Passion 6) Willow, Tara Xander and Anya in The Body. 7) The slideshow in "Hush." That's off the top of my head. Anyone have other favorites?
  4. Unpopular opinions: 1) I think the show wussed out on its mythology with the definition of vampirism. The idea that a demon takes over your body, so it's not really you doing stuff is a total cop-out. I think the show displays a different definition -- that when you get vamped, you lose your conscience and become complete id. If that were the case, then you really ARE the person who does the evil things because there's nothing holding you back. That makes Angel and Spike's re-souling that much more intense, because they don't have anyone/thing else to blame what they actually did on. 2) In the end, Buffy should be with Xander. They've been through enough that no one else will ever know them better, and there's no one they would trust more. 3) I liked Glory, and didn't even mind Claire Kramer that much. Okay, maybe a little.
  5. You encapsulated my growing frustration with people who are critical of the finale. It's like finishing Moby Dick and saying you thought it sucked because you disagree with whaling. Being opposed to whaling -- or having a different expectation of the afterlife -- is a perfectly reasonable position. But in the context of the work of art it's got to be necessary for an artist )or creator, if you prefer) to display their vision. You may not like it for aesthetic reasons, or you might find their subject matter distasteful. But saying you don't like Guernica because you don't think he should have painted in the cows misses the point. Someone may not have liked the message of the finale, but it followed the narrative plotline of the show. One of the aesthetic conceits of this particular show is they never showed us much -- never showed us much daily life, never showed us more than a scene or two of moral philosophy, never showed Tahani and Liam falling in love, or Simone and Chidi falling in love, or Jason and Janet falling in love, or Eleanor and Chidi falling in love. It breezed over EVERYTHING. So to say we didn't see enough of them being bored in the afterlife is to disregard the pattern of the other 51 episodes. Likewise, there is not a single -- not ONE -- line of dialogue that suggest any of them thought that walking through the door was anything but the logical next step for them, or that it was a completely natural and reasonable thing to do. No one expressed sadness or loss at the thought, except for Eleanor who realized it was just being selfish. Now someone might think differently than this show did about the afterlife, and that's natural and expected. But to criticize the show for not living up to anyone's particular version is not a fair way to look at what someone else has created. You can like it or dislike it, but you ought to do so on its own terms. And most of the crits I'm seeing do just the opposite. It's not how I wanted it to end, either. It's not what I think happens when you die. I would have preferred a dozen more seasons of the show. But I didn't write it. I didn't create it. So I just look at it and appreciate the art for what it is -- someone's ideas brought to life, put out there for my enjoyment. I'm not going to condemn it simply because it's underlying belief is different than mine.
  6. You can just pretend his new Tina Fey show is that. Being mayor of LA isn't exactly being an architect, but it's sorta-near it.
  7. Since we're at the the end, and all the questions are answered, there's not much room for speculation. Or so i thought until i was taking a shower this morning. Okay, if we're going to assume that fireflies are the end, and in the end those fireflies go down to Earth to help, then maybe the fireflies are the little voices in our head Eleanor talked about. Schurr said as much in the podcast, and since he created the thing, we have to assume that's canon. But, because of Jeremy Bearimy, afterlife time is different -- and because, despite a few thousand Bearimies, Michael ended up at something resembling current-time-frame Earth -- then maybe the little voices Eleanor was hearing during her life were Chidi, or Jason, or eventually Tahani. Or Michal, because once he became human and died, maybe he then had the chance to go through the door. Or maybe, just maybe, the voices Eleanor were hearing were Eleanor herself. ETA: So theeeeen (as he thought as he was snowing snow), maybe our conscience is our actual best self, the one that's already lived, died, gone through tests and torment and paradise, and is here to help ourselves out just a bit.
  8. What's ambiguous about this scene?: Eleanor walks through the door, becomes fireflies. We follow the fireflies to Earth. On Earth, a guy goes through is mail, throws a piece out. One of the fireflies lands near his shoulder. He then reconsiders the mail he threw out. He walks somewhere out of his way to deliver it to a stranger, and giving it to the stranger brings the stranger joy. The man then has a smile of satisfaction for having done a nice thing. That is what is presented on the screen. A is followed by B, which is followed by C and so on. There's not much open to interpretation about it.
  9. For the suicide question: On the podcast, Schurr explained that in Patty, there was supposed to be a second point to walking through the door. Chidi was supposed to tell everyone that when you go through, you end up going down to Earth and helping people make better decisions. It was gong to be explicitly said. But that episode was too crammed and convoluted. So they thought they'd push it off for the finale. But that also got long (52 minutes of actual running time, compared to 21.5 of a regular show) and as they tried to fit it in, they realized they didn't want to be so blatant. They wanted it to be open to interpretation and let each of us read it the way we needed to read it. But to them, the point of the final scene is that someone who has transcended everything going down to help someone make a kinder decision, and that ends up helping her friend in a tiny, little, meaninglessly significant way. To them, again, that was the point of the show. So, for everyone who thought it dark, or glorifying suicide or that walking through the door meant nothingness or obliteration, I'd politely encourage you to watch it again. Because to quote the famous Spanish moral philosopher Inuedo Montoya, "I do not think it means what you think it means," and I'd hate for your overall impression or enjoyment of the series to be permenantly tainted by reading something into the work that was not actually there.
  10. Only if you subscribe to a tiny definition of existence, that we are only our physical form, our current collection of memories and our most basic definition of self. The easy to overlook truth about this show is everyone is already dead. We got attached to the characters, and want them to live lives. That's why I always thought the show would end up being a dream or a fantasy or a reset or whatever. The show always glossed over the inherent truth that they had all died. But that is the reality of the premise. They had already lived lives, and then gone through a series of tests to become eligible to reach the satisfaction of all their desires. They had been reunited with their loved ones; they had experienced all the things that their current form had to offer. And they reach the satisfaction of their desires, go through it for however long they want until they reach a degree of peace where they realize they have done all they need/want/choose to do in their current form. Assigning the rules of life to the afterlife feels completely unfair. And completely restrtictive. There is a limit to how much Starbucks you can sell in a small town. There is a limit to how many times you can have sex, a limit to how many stardust milkshakes you can have. Eventually, we want to get beyond the situation you're in That's not selfish ro suicidal; that's understanding that in our core, we are more than our stuff. We are more than our desires. We are a part of the cosmos, we are a part of the eternal, and that our ultimate closure is not to end, but to become part of everything. After all, physics and metaphysics tells you that neither matter nor energy is ever destroyed; it's just changed. From one state to another. My wife and family are Catholic, and at the end of the day, that's the goal, to live with God forever. But I've always thought it simplistic to think living with God meant living on a golden street. It has to be more. At the end of the day, every religion eventually has you ending up as more than you are. And if you're an atheist, you can think the same thing; the energy that is your thoughts, your brainwaves, just becomes part of the rest of the universe. The beauty of the finale isn't committing suicide; it's the ultimate understanding that these materialistic and human desires do not, in the end, define us as beings. That we all eventually reach a point where we understand that wanting is not enough for eternity. That at some point we do get past all the stuff and reach some sort of peace. it'a not selfish or suicidal to decide it's time to end who currently are and become something else, especially in the context of the afterlife. It's the opposite of nihilism; it's the ultimate in optimism. It shows we are not only capable of evolving past our human problems -- we are capable of evolving past our essence. I had not thought a network TV show was brave enough to get there. I'm delighted to see I was wrong.
  11. You didn't say it, but Janet is Glinda. When I read this last week, I thought it was cool but a reach. After listening to the podcast this morning, I think you're dead on right. I think they are going to go through the door, and we're going to have Eleanor in a coma or something after the shopping cart collision. All of them will be some sort of connection to people she already knows. Maybe they will be her group of friends from Earth, exaggerated to make them fit their GP counterparts. Like Tahani is her friend who reads tabloids. Jason is her dumb brother; Chidi's the best bud coworker. Stuff like that. But also, when Tahani said she felt like Dorthy landing in Oz, she got it wrong. Dorthy wasn't thrilled or spellbound; she was scared and terrified. Pretty big miss at a pretty key point. So I'm not sure that it will be Oz, but I'm convinced that we're going to have some sort fo wake-up. It can't be a dream, because Newhart did that. Or a fantasy, because St. Elsewhere. Or heaven or hello because Lost. Or even a book because Rosanne 1.0. But we haven't had the Wizard of Oz ending yet, and my guess is that once it's shown, the Easter eggs are going to be so obvious we're going to be mad we didn't see it. Great find.
  12. They could have ended it there and I'd be fine. The episode was sweet if rushed, and if they wanted to wrap it up like that they would have salvaged a lot of the issues I've had for the last two weeks. They explained the behavior off the Good Place Committee -- they just wanted out. It wasn't as much a commentary on politics as it was a commentary on the idea of just being done and wanting someone else to take over. Shawn wants control? Fine. Whatever. let's just get this all over with. And seeing Chidi one Eleanor on the couch was perfect. "The Good Place is time," was perfect. I don't love Kudrow, but she was perfect in the role. So they could put a bow on it and I'd be cool and would defend it to the ends of the Earth. And if next week they want too show us the gang going through their lives, and then eventually deciding to go through the door, I could see the six of them going arm and arm and we're left guessing as to what happens next. But ... Regardless of the way it ends, it's been a hell of a ride. Or maybe a heaven of a ride. But either way, it's been darn near perfect.
  13. My money is on Lor. Other than feeling very old, I enjoyed it quite a bit. I liked seeing nice, caring Romulans, and I didn't think Spiner looked as old as I expected him to. Caked in makeup, but not old. Looking forward to next week. I expect her to yell out: "We are Sex B-Bomb and we're here to sell out and make money and shit!"
  14. I should just be grateful for what we have, but I was completely underwhelmed by this one. More than any other in the series, and it's left me nervous about the end. Nearly everything in it seemed recycled, and what wasn't recycled felt rushed. Like they were speeding towards Golden Corral or something -- I get that you're in a hurry, but for this? MEJ acting like Fonzie, Vicky being Vicky again, Jason not being quite as dumb as he seems (I mean, we're on five or six times with that now) ... it all just felt lackluster. A lot of P&R shows felt that way to me -- heck, almost the entire Office run felt that way to me -- but with so much to do and so little time to do it, just none of it worked for me. Also, the inconsistencies are really starting to show. Someone above was thankful Tahani passed her test, but she didn't. After all these lifetimes and all her "growth," she still couldn't think of a sincere nice thing to say about her sister. Eleanor still has trouble thinking past both herself and her past. Michael is still manipulative, and to be honest --- Okay, on one of the last episodes of The Andy Griffith Show (after Barney was gone and they were in color and pretty awful), a bad guy is getting away and Andy takes someone's gun and shoots at the car. The entire premise of the show was the opposite of that -- he was literally The Sheriff Who Didn't Carry a Gun. He had never drawn a pistol in any episode before that one. And in this stupid little scene, they threw away the show's bible because they just wanted to be done. That's how Michael telling Janet to shut up (and her just taking it) felt to me. Not in character, not in line with anything we know about either of them. But along those same lines, Michael just turning the project over to Vicky also felt out of place. As, honestly did his antagonism towards her. He's never been an aggressive character, and here he was, being a lot of things he's not.* Drawing his pistol to shoot the bad guy driving away. So this leads me to three possibilities. The first -- and the one that follows the path they are on -- is the Good Place is going to be lackluster, and boring, and there will be something about the struggles of every day life that make the living worthwhile. Maybe something like Michael's version is better because there is something to care about, and in the real Good Place there isn't. This would be a severe attack on a lot of mainstream religion, and I'm not sure Mike (or NBC) really want that kind of fight. The second is we're at holy Mother Forking Shirtballs Part II, in which all of this has been Michael's evil plan, and that explains a lot of his reactions because he developed some degree of compassion for the four of them and he knows what is about to happen. That would be a very long con, but if you're immortal ... The third is that we're in Newhart/ St. Elsewhere territory, where it all will have been some sort of dream of Eleanor's, so as she's getting closer to waking up things don't have to make sense. Time and coincidence often run together at the end of a dream, that this has all been about the reclamation of the soul of Eleanor Shellstrop. I'd be okay with that because I think there are lots of clues along the way, but I don't know how from a storytelling point you deal with the other POVs that have been included. I have loved this show. I'll miss it. It's made me feel good and think a whole bunch of times. But so far I've been let down by the way they're wrapping it up. Now, it's their story and they are allowed to tell it however they want, and not usually one to criticize. But I hope they do better than this episode showed, and I hope they've just been saving up for the end. Because to me at least, to do anything less would take away from the overall thing they've created. It doesn't wipe it away, but a simplistic solution to everything they've been asking would certainly diminish it.
  15. If you really think about it, none of it makes much sense. Nothing dealing with any kind of point accumulation/subtraction is going to be able to be fair. Do all the already dead suddenly find themselves in the Good Place, with their memories of millennium of torture erased? Do the Portland Trailblazers now have a chance? And what exactly is The Good Place, anyway? Again, it seems to me like the Good Place reps we've seen sure are a lot like the do-gooders on Earth that irritated Eleanor so much. Are we to believe that Paradise is just a collection of perpetual acquiescing? To me, it all feels like scrambling at this point. That might be why Schurr decided to end it after this season; he realized he actually was asking much bigger questions than he could answer, and all he was doing was digging himself deeper and deeper. Part of me is worried that he knew the premise, and he knew the holy-motherforking-shirtballs moment, but he didn't really know what happened next. A lot of the issues they seemed to want to tackle (the redeemability of Brent's Brenti-ness, or Simone's self-righteousness, or John's intentional cruelty. Or even Tahani's self-centeredness, or Jason's impulse control, or even -- even -- Chidi's inability to choose) they just seemed to decide not to and give us Disco Janet instead. It's like they've been hitting us with a lot of ideas that we answer for ourselves while watching and discussing, but the show itself has given us very little concrete at all. Even unintended consequences -- a really brilliant observation for a network sitcom -- seems to have passed by the wayside in the current discussions. I'm hopeful -- really hopeful -- that they've thought this out enough to have it make some sort of sense beyond an episode of Welcome Back, Kotter. I would hate for a show that has been so smart end up so, so dumb. But I have to admit I'm getting worried that what we'll get is a lot of what we've seen -- after four years of asking complex questions and throwing us more than few twists and turns, I think we might be headed for a "can't we all get along?" sort of ending. I hope i'm wrong, but with two hours left, I'm not convinced they've got it in them.
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