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S04.E09: The Answer

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A second gold star to whoever cast the young actor that played young Chidi.  He had the mannerisms, gestures, and facial expressions perfect! 

I loved the group moving in slow-mo while Chidi's memories were repopulating, to show just how quickly that actually all happened. 

Another great sign.... "Foot Lager", with one of those boot shaped beer glasses in the sign. 

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10 minutes ago, chaifan said:

I loved the group moving in slow-mo while Chidi's memories were repopulating, to show just how quickly that actually all happened. 

One of the fun elements of those slo-mo group shots is seeing them progress slightly each time we get another look -- including Janet gradually conjuring up that drink for Eleanor. (It helps that she's blocked by someone else in one or two of the shots.)

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3 hours ago, shantown said:

D'Arcy Carden's eyes look like she's been crying. OOF. This episode was so good even in the really heartwrenching moments!

They discuss DC's reaction on this episode's podcast. 

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Ugh I wanted NFL go back and watch the soulmate explanation but I accidentally deleted it. Can anyone recap or is it available somewhere?

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Chidi had written that Eleanor is the answer and gave it to Janet. Eleanor, after finding out that they were about to be rebooted at the end of the first attempt, wrote a letter to find Chidi and gave it to Janet. Very nice callback there,

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Was I the only one bothered by the inconsistency in adult accents and kid accents? It was like nails on a chalkboard for me.

I did love the episode, though. It shows how strong the original relationships were. Even though nothing really happened and I honestly don't feel I learned anything new about Chidi, it was still so much fun. 

Coffee cups were the best background sight gag. 

Esmerelda was amazing. I know we only have a few episodes left, but I really want us to somehow get one glimpse of her with her ravens.

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Baby Chidi getting a tummy ache from being asked about his own name is an AMAZING first memory.

"These trivialities demean me. I must away and tend to my ravens." It me.

I appreciate getting a Chidi-centric episode but I feel like this is the same problem I had with earlier seasons. Chidi and Eleanor have more of a best friend/brother-sister energy and most of what we've seen of their romantic relationship has been tacked on later trying to convince the audience that they're actually soulmates. I've never bought it. The actors just don't have that spark.

I did like the resolution of the story of 8-year-old Chidi's lecture. I was scared his parents were going to actually get divorced at some point because they hadn't resolved their problems. But it was sweet that his talk reminded them of how much they loved each other and then they went to get counseling.

Now that they brought it up, I'm surprised that Chidi hasn't interacted more with Janet. Sure, he was trying to hide Eleanor's and Jason's secrets in multiple timelines. But knowing Janet has all the answers, you'd think he'd turn to her more often. 

For a minute I really thought they were just going to give us an annoying cliffhanger to end the episode and we wouldn't get to see what Chidi wrote in the note. 

I'm curious what the ending means. There has to be SOME answer of what to do about the afterlife. Unless there's no afterlife. But that doesn't seem like what the show is going for. Eleanor being the answer could mean a system that takes into account the change of someone like Eleanor. Or it could mean that she's in charge of a kind of middle place where people can improve as people have been guessing. I do hope Chidi comes up with something because I don't want this show to be SO much about Eleanor. 

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Ok now I want to see a full version of when Eleanor and Tahani were “soulmates” and now the one with Chidi and the raven lady as his soul mate.

Small point but this helps explain why Eleanor was always the one to figure out that they were in The Bad Place. Jason wasn't smart enough and that isn't really the way he challenges authority figures. Tahani was too insecure and more focused on being the best. And even though Chidi is very intelligent and logical, when given all the "answers" he's committed to making things work. Even when Esmeralda clearly seemed way too goth and out there for him, because someone told him that was the right choice, he was more inclined to figure it out than question it. 

Which reminds me, I hope we don't completely abandon the new characters. I think the show could still do some things with Simone who was the Eleanor counterpart in The Fake Good Place 2.0. I don't count Brent because he didn't really figure out that The Good Place was The Bad Place, he just wasn't satisfied with things. 

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Is a person without a romantic partner "all alone"? The show seems to be dramatizing the value of a circle of friends who help and support each other. That matters more to me than getting everyone neatly paired off.

Tahani was often depicted as being desperate to connect to Jason in season 1. She wants companionship as much as the others. Remember, in the 1 year on Earth experiment she was the one to actually get engaged to someone. The show just doesn't bother to give her romantic options most of the time, that doesn't mean there is some sort of virtue in her being alone.

This. Season 1 Tahani was desperate to connect to Jason. And season whatever Tahani had that other hideous Hemsworth brother 😉. Tahani didn't have toxic romantic relationships that we know of. I don't think her character arc has anything to do with needing to learn to be happy alone. As lovely as the glimpses of the Tahani/Jason and Tahani/Eleanor friendships have been, if they save humanity, she would be sidelined. That just happens when your friends are coupled off and you're single.

If anything, next to Eleanor, Tahani is the character whose backstory most reflects that she shouldn't end up alone. She has a lot of love that wasn't appreciated by her parents or her sister. Tahani should finally figure out how to do something useful besides planning parties and to find someone to spend her afterlife with. Tahani ending up alone isn't satisfying because as she had repeatedly said, she was often alone. Even with all the name dropping, she was so caught up in social hierarchy that she ended up staying alone in that most exclusive VIP room (referring to the story she told John).

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17 hours ago, SomeTameGazelle said:

I adored Esmeralda. It was Kate Berlant, not Megan Amram.

She was good. This show has amazing casting.

and writers

and everyone

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52 minutes ago, aradia22 said:

This. Season 1 Tahani was desperate to connect to Jason. And season whatever Tahani had that other hideous Hemsworth brother 😉. Tahani didn't have toxic romantic relationships that we know of. I don't think her character arc has anything to do with needing to learn to be happy alone. As lovely as the glimpses of the Tahani/Jason and Tahani/Eleanor friendships have been, if they save humanity, she would be sidelined. That just happens when your friends are coupled off and you're single.

I think the idea was that Tahani was desperate to connect because she needed approval from others. She is the one who said she needed to learn to be happy alone when she ended things with Jason. 

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I think perhaps given everything, it's best we end our relationship. It's probably about time I stopped relying on others for my sense of self-worth or happiness. 

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15 hours ago, Harvey said:

Tahani was often depicted as being desperate to connect to Jason in season 1.

I remember her being frustrated because Jianyu the silent monk she had been told was her soulmate was not giving her anything she knew how to work with. As long as she was under the impression that the ultimate authority had destined them for each other of course she would be distressed that the relationship wasn't working. Was she desperate for his affection once she knew he was Jason?

At one point I assumed that fully-evolved Janet would mature past Jason's level and at the end of the series they would no longer be together. Based on the glimpses of their relationship in Chidi's memory restoration it seems more likely they will end up together. And if Michael doesn't believe that soulmates are real, I think it's a better story if Jason and Tahani don't end up together.

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3 minutes ago, SomeTameGazelle said:

 Was she desperate for his affection once she knew he was Jason?

Would anyone be? There is literally nothing appealing about the real Jason, he is stupid and childish.

Since there are so few episodes left, suddenly giving Tahani a love interest might feel shoe horned in, so for that reason I can see her ending up all alone.

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8 hours ago, aradia22 said:

Small point but this helps explain why Eleanor was always the one to figure out that they were in The Bad Place. Jason wasn't smart enough and that isn't really the way he challenges authority figures. Tahani was too insecure and more focused on being the best. And even though Chidi is very intelligent and logical, when given all the "answers" he's committed to making things work. Even when Esmeralda clearly seemed way too goth and out there for him, because someone told him that was the right choice, he was more inclined to figure it out than question it.

Not true, though. While it was usually Eleanor, everyone figured it out at least once. (That's one of the best jokes of that episode, when Michael is so exasperated that even Jason figured it out.)

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9 hours ago, aradia22 said:

I appreciate getting a Chidi-centric episode but I feel like this is the same problem I had with earlier seasons. Chidi and Eleanor have more of a best friend/brother-sister energy and most of what we've seen of their romantic relationship has been tacked on later trying to convince the audience that they're actually soulmates. I've never bought it. The actors just don't have that spark.

I know exactly what you are saying and on the one hand although I rarely get any kind of vibe of Hot Love on the Wing with Eleanor and Chidi, when they are actually together and acknowledging they are in love I do get the soulmate vibe that transcends sibling/friendship. I think it's because the kind of doubt and uncertainty that is the staple of most romantic fiction isn't really a factor -- that's not the story we are being told. The idea that Eleanor makes Chidi confident and just a better person is very powerful and appealing to me, and I do feel that the performers show that beautifully.

The moment in this ep when they jump in mid-sentence ("I don't know what I've done to deserve you") from a big fight to a cosy expression of gratitude and playful banter really worked for me.

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5 hours ago, jacehan said:

Not true, though. While it was usually Eleanor, everyone figured it out at least once. (That's one of the best jokes of that episode, when Michael is so exasperated that even Jason figured it out.)

Are you sure about that? I don’t remember Chidi or Tahani ever figuring it out on their own. 

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1 hour ago, Dani said:

Are you sure about that? I don’t remember Chidi or Tahani ever figuring it out on their own. 

Yeah, Michael referenced, when talking about all of the 800+ times he rebooted everything, that each of the four figured out they were in the Bad Place during different reboots, although Eleanor seems to be the one who figured it out the most times.

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On 11/22/2019 at 10:42 AM, mmccpp said:

My son is giving 5 to 1 odds that it's Jason who will save humanity.  And I am not betting against that one.  Jason, for all that no one ever called him smart, clearly has the highest emotional IQ of Team Cockroach. 

I can picture Jason something that at first sounds crazy and/or stupid but after someone expands on it, adds things to it, or somehow improves it, ultimately leads to the solution that will save humanity.  

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On 11/23/2019 at 2:01 AM, aradia22 said:

I appreciate getting a Chidi-centric episode but I feel like this is the same problem I had with earlier seasons. Chidi and Eleanor have more of a best friend/brother-sister energy and most of what we've seen of their romantic relationship has been tacked on later trying to convince the audience that they're actually soulmates. I've never bought it. The actors just don't have that spark.

I just had to repost this because I thought I was the only one that’s sees zero romantic soulmate connection between these two!  Thank you dear Aradia22

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On 11/23/2019 at 1:21 PM, SomeTameGazelle said:

Was she desperate for his affection once she knew he was Jason?

Desperate no, but Tahani and Jason had a relationship for  half of S2 resulting in a heartbroken Janet nearly subconsciously destroying the neighourhood when they asked her to marry them. And creating Derek as a rebound guy. Tahani knew Jason as Jason all through their relationship but still wanted on some level to marry him. She also actually married him in their second life in S3, and even though that was largely as a way to share her money with him, there were hints of her being attracted to him.

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On 11/22/2019 at 10:42 AM, mmccpp said:

My son is giving 5 to 1 odds that it's Jason who will save humanity.  And I am not betting against that one.  Jason, for all that no one ever called him smart, clearly has the highest emotional IQ of Team Cockroach.  Remember how Janet described him at his "funeral" as basically a big old ball of sweetness and light, able to see her for her real value as an individual.  

Throw a Molotov cocktail at it?    2nd Big Bang?   
 

it would be a fun way to end the long running joke of Jason liking tho blow things up.   

Edited by Chaos Theory
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On 11/24/2019 at 9:01 AM, cpcathy said:

I see no romantic connection between Eleanor and Chidi at all. Like, zero. 

Me either. They seem more like best friends than lovers. 
 

Tahani needs to find someone from the relative past as a soul mate. Someone who has no idea who all the people she name drops are. 

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6 minutes ago, Dbolt said:

Me either. They seem more like best friends than lovers.

Same for me.

On 11/23/2019 at 6:03 PM, SomeTameGazelle said:

I know exactly what you are saying and on the one hand although I rarely get any kind of vibe of Hot Love on the Wing with Eleanor and Chidi, when they are actually together and acknowledging they are in love I do get the soulmate vibe that transcends sibling/friendship. I think it's because the kind of doubt and uncertainty that is the staple of most romantic fiction isn't really a factor -- that's not the story we are being told. The idea that Eleanor makes Chidi confident and just a better person is very powerful and appealing to me, and I do feel that the performers show that beautifully.

The moment in this ep when they jump in mid-sentence ("I don't know what I've done to deserve you") from a big fight to a cosy expression of gratitude and playful banter really worked for me.

SomeTameGazelle, I see what you mean, but it doesn't work for me here. I feel like I'm being told that they're in love, but I don't feel the actual love between the two characters. I see respect, admiration, understanding, wanting the best for the other, all those elements, but no love. I don't know why, they're both excellent actors, and K. Bell has made me believe in many other relationships in her career, but not this one. I keep seeing two best friends.

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For those who didn‘t like this episode or who wanted something „that would move the story forward“, just remember a few episodes back. We got a scene where Jason got all his memories back. That was over in a blink of a second and then he was reserved enough in hell to get Janet out of there.

That felt a bit strange, right? We as viewers didn‘t believe it quite (also because it‘s Jason). This is the same here. If Chidi is about to give the answer, we do need to believe he is capable and that is why him remembering his whole life is so important. It makes us understand the genius that will be the next few episodes 😉

As to the discussion on Tahani‘s soulmate, I am on the side that she doesn‘t need to be paired off at the end of the show. First, that is what Michaels speech to Chidi was all about: not everything is neat and clean and you just can‘t force it. Secondly, they got the whole eternity waiting for them, why does she need to have someone now. And Thirdly, exactly because we are talking about eternity here, is that construct of a monogamous two-sided relationship really the end of all wisdom? There don‘t need to be crazy orgies. But we are talking about heaven with no responsibilities here. The options are endless. They really don‘t need to pair off Tahani with anyone.

That‘s a huge point of the show for me: it‘s good to challenge some tv-truths from time to time.

And btw. Why didn‘t they give us that Chidi-Jason Soulmate pairing. That would have fitted perfectly.

Edited by hertolo
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I agree that Chidi and Eleanor don't have gobs of sexual chemistry, but I actually LIKE that. Passion in that sense is not the kind of "everlasting love" that I'd envision between two souls in eternity. I know some couples are like that, where they just get total butterflies for each other until their 90s, but I like seeing a couple that complements each other and makes a great team like Cheleanor. YMMV of course.

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7 hours ago, Dbolt said:

Tahani needs to find someone from the relative past as a soul mate. Someone who has no idea who all the people she name drops are. 

I love this idea.

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They could always bring back Miley Cyrus‘ ex-husband’s brother’s brother, what’s his name, for Tahani.

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1 minute ago, BobH said:

They could always bring back Miley Cyrus‘ ex-husband’s brother’s brother, what’s his name, for Tahani.

Larry Hemsworth! Perfect!

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3 hours ago, ClareWalks said:

I agree that Chidi and Eleanor don't have gobs of sexual chemistry, but I actually LIKE that. Passion in that sense is not the kind of "everlasting love" that I'd envision between two souls in eternity. I know some couples are like that, where they just get total butterflies for each other until their 90s, but I like seeing a couple that complements each other and makes a great team like Cheleanor. YMMV of course.

Eleanor and Chidi were never two people who had to be together or the world would end.   
 

That is the point.

They had a certain feeling.   They liked each other.   And they worked on it.

This isn’t some passionate romance.   There is no soul mates or fated love.   

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5 hours ago, hertolo said:

And btw. Why didn‘t they give us that Chidi-Jason Soulmate pairing. That would have fitted perfectly.

We sort of did, in this last year, when Chidi was trying to protect and teach Jason and keep his secret.  It was a lot like Eleanor's intro to him as soulmate, but I think we saw how it would make Chidi crazy, and how Jason respects him.  And Chidi must respect Jason too, based on some of what we saw in this episode.  Jason can give good advice and truth, just in his Jacksonville way.

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What I really love about Chidi and Eleanor is how much they’ve grown together, and influenced each other for the better. Eleanor has become a better, more moral and selfless person, and Chidi has learned to relax and have fun a bit more, and even become more decisive. They’ve grown together, as people and as a couple, it’s like what Michael said about soulmates. It’s not some instant magical connection, it’s something you work on to create, and they’ve certainly worked at a lot to be together! 

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The whole idea of romance between post-biological people is silly. 

 Why are high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine being released in non-existent brains for the non-existent biological purpose of mating and producing children?

But then, we never do get a clear picture of the physicality of the afterlife. Do spirits have digestive systems? Hearts? Blood? Can ghosts get pregnant?

I don't get the insistence on "soul mates". Mating is biological. Why would souls need to pair off for an eternity?

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Billy Graham once said that yes, there will be golf in heaven.  I doubt that he was serious, but, if so, it's completely illogical, because then there would be swearing.

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I think a platonicesque relationship with a jacked guy who looks foine in a mailmans’ outfit and respects her is actually the perfect “soulmate” for Eleanor. She never had that. And Chidi gets a woman who puts up with his idiosyncratic behavior and even finds it adorable when she isn’t knocking him over for it. 
they complete each other.

and if it isn’t the great passionate love we’ve been taught to expect, well, they are in the afterlife, where expectations should be altered to take eternity (or bearimy time) into account. Passion fades. What they have grows and changes with every iteration and reboot. 
 

they are aspirational.

Edited by Wanda · Reason: Spelling
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I forking love this show. Just rewatched this ep. At first I was a tiny bit frustrated because I wanted to see the story move forward but I trust the writers and I’m sure there is something in this episode that will be important later. And second time through I just enjoyed and let my heart soak up the cheesy goodness.

Thoughts:

  • Absolutely love the kid that played young Chidi. Perfect mannerisms.
  • I now have a new way to exit a party “I must away and tend to my ravens.”
  • I don’t know why but I got teary eyed when Janet our “not a robot or a girl” kissed Chidi on the cheek when he passed her the note. It was just so sweet and when have we seen her show affection like that beyond Jason?

Im glad they’ve committed to an ending but man I’m going to miss this show.

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I have always seen chemistry between Eleanor and chidi.

as well as true love the kind where you can tease and kid around and argue
-

yes best friends but I’ve always seen the spark. 

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On 11/26/2019 at 11:50 AM, clack said:

Can ghosts get pregnant?

In  the "Welcome to the Medium Place" video Mindy showed Eleanor, the annoying bad place guy asked the good place woman if she was pregnant, and she said "You know that's not possible."

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On 11/26/2019 at 11:50 AM, clack said:

The whole idea of romance between post-biological people is silly. 

 Why are high levels of dopamine and norepinephrine being released in non-existent brains for the non-existent biological purpose of mating and producing children?

But then, we never do get a clear picture of the physicality of the afterlife. Do spirits have digestive systems? Hearts? Blood? Can ghosts get pregnant?

I don't get the insistence on "soul mates". Mating is biological. Why would souls need to pair off for an eternity?

Even if one accepts the premise that romance=procreation and is therefore "biological", there is plenty of evidence that The Good Place does not conceive of the afterlife as a truly "post-biological" or post-physical state. The humans are shown to eat and drink (and take pleasure in eating and drinking). They can get drunk (and experience hangovers when the filter is turned off). Chidi's anxiety manifests as a stomachache. And we know that the humans have sex and presumably experience pleasure (plus we know Mindy St Clair masturbates).

Michael has confirmed that the promise of a soul mate was fake and part of the torture. So we should not expect everyone to automatically be paired off at the end of the series.

I'm not even going to get into the fact that in reality in this life, humans have successfully separated romance and sexual pleasure from each other and from procreation in many, many different ways.

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Sex and love and intimacy and bonding are way more than procreation. If procreation is all people get out of them, I think that's very sad. These things are some of what people like the most about life, and what make them better people.

I don't know what The Good Place would be like without the possibility of those things, for those who want them. It's an interesting idea, though, to imagine a Good Place that totally leaves out anything a living person would have wanted.

We haven't actually seen the show's real Good Place, though. We've seen The Bad Place, a Middle Place, and Michael's FAKE "Good Place" which was a resdesigned form of The Bad Place.

So it's hard to make inferences about what the show's actual Good Place would or wouldn't be like.

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On 11/22/2019 at 4:46 PM, whiporee said:

Until last night I was pretty sure that something other than what I was seeing was happening, But after that one, I'm now pretty sure that the story is a lot more straightforward than I had assumed. 

I'm so sure that the redesign of the system was made so totally obvious that I can't figure out why no one in here is talking about it.  I'm surprised that there weren't actual anvils falling in the neighborhood.

But usually my certainty means I'm totally wrong and the show is about to swerve.

7 hours ago, possibilities said:

I don't know what The Good Place would be like without the possibility of those things, for those who want them. It's an interesting idea, though, to imagine a Good Place that totally leaves out anything a living person would have wanted.

We haven't actually seen the show's real Good Place, though. We've seen The Bad Place, a Middle Place, and Michael's FAKE "Good Place" which was a resdesigned form of The Bad Place.

So it's hard to make inferences about what the show's actual Good Place would or wouldn't be like.

But haven't we seen the Good Place gatekeepers and representatives?  I've been working under the assumption that we are supposed to infer a lot of things about the Good Place from that and that its a place (in this show) that many people would not consider a place that they wanted to stay in for eternity (or a week).

Actually, since the end of last season, I've been assuming that the Good Place on this show is modeled after season 19 of South Park (the season they introduced PC Principal).

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3 hours ago, ParadoxLost said:

I'm so sure that the redesign of the system was made so totally obvious that I can't figure out why no one in here is talking about it. 

I have an idea, but I've learned not to predict this show too much, and just go along for the ride. I'm curious what you think is coming, though. Maybe we should take that conversation to the speculation thread.

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On 11/25/2019 at 9:49 AM, Isazouzi said:

I see respect, admiration, understanding, wanting the best for the other, all those elements, but no love.

That sounds exactly like love to me.

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I don't think Tahani necessarily needs a soulmate but it does feel like her character has been sidelined a bit this season. I doubt it's deliberate, they can only fit in so much story, but it's a shame.

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