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S04.E13: Whenever You're Ready

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When Michael gets back, at least Janet will be there to greet him.   I like to think they’ll hang out a lot. 

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3 hours ago, callie lee 29 said:

I really wish somebody has asked Janet if she would be okay. Everyone left her. I know technically she's "not a girl" but she obviously made connections to these people and cared about them. And yes Tahani is still there, but I didn't get the feeling that Tahani was realy around. She's an architect (or at least an architect in training) and I didn't get the feeling they interacted with the others that much.  How is Janet doing????

They addressed that the first time she said goodbye to Jason. She said that to her they won’t really be gone because she experiences time differently. Remembering moments is the same as living them. 

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10 hours ago, BobH said:

While the timeline is obviously confused, Chidi does reference "a thousand lifetimes", so I'm going to assume they spent the equivalent of at least the high tens of thousands of years in The Good Place. Derek was also rebooted 151 million times, so if you assume Mindy can hold out an average of a day between reboots that's over 400,000 years. And Tahani had over 11,000 items on her list. Some were obviously trivial joke items for the freeze-framing audience, but let's assume a significant number are expert level skills which would take  decades to master.

But of course Michael still walks out in a recognizable early 21st Century Earth. But frankly if the epilogue was in a Buck Rogers flying cars future or a post-apocalypse wasteland or any other standard fictional future it wouldn't have been as satisfying.

I mean let's say for Tahani's skills, that the "10,000 hours to master a skill" thing is on the nose. Let's say 7000 of her 11k were expert level stuff, that is 70,000,000 hours, or 7990.8675799 years.

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The more I think about it, the more annoyed I am that there wasn't more. I know the showrunners say it was all planned out all along, but I don't know that I believe that. Spending so much time on the "human experiment" that ended up basically leading nowhere was a bad choice in my opinion, and throwing the eternal door in so close to the end made it seem rushed to me. I felt like it could've been more balanced. Also, I'm not sure that keeping the show so short was their decision, because I feel like there's just so much more they could've done.

For one example, I wish the soulmate concept from the beginning could've been explored more. I don't necessarily even believe in soulmates in real life, but I find it an interesting concept, and all of them being (mostly opposite sex) romantic couples is not interesting to me. Some people having best friends or family members as soulmates instead would've at least been something different.

16 hours ago, companionenvy said:

First of all, I'm not actually convinced these characters were "done," except in a fairly shallow sense of that word...

Yes. Everything you said. (Snipping the quote for length.) The idea of being able to do/see/experience literally anything imaginable, and choosing instead to just end it all is not something I can wrap my mind around.

Even if things aren't exciting and have lost their novelty, to me that's still better than nothing. For me, just a normal day at work, having pleasant but not particularly interesting interactions with people there, eating at a restaurant I like but isn't my favorite for lunch, and then coming home to make something simple for dinner and read a few chapters of a book that's moderately entertaining but not great (trying to extrapolate to my own life a version of existence that's not exciting but that I'm not completely miserable with...but maybe I need to quit trying to compare this show to reality!) is still preferable to nothingness forever. I mean, obviously I would prefer everything to be super interesting and awesome all the time, but to me, even a mediocre life is better than not existing at all.

 

10 hours ago, Charlesman said:

And for Team Cockroach, after fighting Judge Gen so hard to not reboot the universe, after they win, they... just didn't care to see what happens with humanity? There was no desire to hang out for tens of thousands of years just to see what the humans got up to? If we ever invent time travel or spaceships that leave the solar system? If we ever solve war, famine or racism? No care at all? No desire to hang around and see if their system continues to work once morality on Earth changes? No interest in seeing where evolution takes the species?

That's a good point. I don't have kids and don't want them, but I don't think they're necessary to still be interested in humanity and seeing how things are going on earth. Like you mentioned, were war/famine/racism ever eradicated? Were the effects of climate change somehow reversed? Did they ever find a cure for cancer and all the other diseases? What kind of energy do people use now? How has government evolved? What systems of commerce do various countries run on? What do people look like now? What kinds of animals are there? What were the effects of automation? How has technology progressed? How have different countries' cultures evolved with globalization? Has humanity colonized other planets? Is there time travel? Who knows, maybe after some time, humans have invented a way to travel to the afterlife and back? (I read a book once based on the theory that the afterlife is actually just another dimension that exists alongside our own and that when people die their consciousness just travels to this other dimension...I don't necessarily find it particularly likely, but still find it interesting.) Not to mention being able to travel to any place and period in time and watch literally anything that's ever happened. The idea of getting bored when you can experience literally anything possible is just unfathomable to me.

 

8 hours ago, Jessa said:

The thought of the afterlife as being just like earth but better is just sad to me. I shared a similar thought at the end of the thread on the Patty episode - but when people picture their loved ones fishing or eating their favourite foods in heaven, I just wonder - is that all people think there is? We just go to another earth with teleportation and better milkshakes? How depressing. 

Ultimately, I believe that death means one of two things:

1) We die and it’s done. Lights out. 

2) We die, and leave our earthly form behind, but our essence remains and experiences a peace and paradise that we cannot currently comprehend because our imaginations are limited by our humanness. 

I dearly hope the second is true, and that is how I interpret what is happening when they go through the door in the show.

Wow, it's interesting how people are so different! I feel like "just like earth but better" is a bit of an understatement because (at least as it's portrayed in the show), it's not just fishing and eating your favorite foods, seeing/doing/learning/experiencing literally anything is possible. But even if it was just hanging out with your loved ones and doing all the hobbies you enjoy and eating your favorite foods...to be able to do those things without all the stress or worry or anxiety of life is the opposite of sad or depressing to me. To me, life is awesome and if I'm wrong and there is an afterlife, it being just like regular life but without any of the negative stuff is awesome, even without the added bonus of being able to see and do anything imaginable.

What exactly does your second option entail? Because if you don't have a consciousness or independent thought, and you don't get to be with the people you love, that is what's sad and depressing to me. If you do have those things, and you're not hanging out and eating your favorite foods and enjoying your favorite hobbies, then what are you doing? Just floating around in space without a body and looking at planets and having conversations by sharing your thoughts telepathically? To me that's way more boring than being able to travel all over the world in an instant and see/do anything and everything you've ever wanted to see/do. A non-specific "peace and paradise that we cannot currently comprehend because our imaginations are limited by our humanness" is not something I want any part of if I can't know what specifically it means. I like being a human and having a mind and thoughts, and the idea of being something other than human is not something that appeals to me at all. If I can't have the things that make me human, to me it's the same as no longer existing, and I would take just hanging out with loved ones and doing mundane things over that any day.

On 1/31/2020 at 10:17 AM, metalgirl said:

I did not like the finale because I like happy endings.  It would have been better to end the show when they arrived and then everyone gets to be happy forever.  I would have liked the finale to make Michael born a baby and why couldn't the people in heaven choose to be a guardian angel or something.  I don't know. It seemed like a lot of work to finally arrive, get bored, and cease to exist.

I'm okay with non-happy endings, I just feel like there was so much potential for more. (In a show that's set in the real world for example, I'm fine with characters dying. I might be annoyed with it if it's one of my favorite characters, but I'm not as bothered by it as I am here.)

And Michael being born a baby was actually something I was thinking of earlier, they could've had that be an option for anyone. Once they got bored of the afterlife, they could've chosen to be reborn and lived a whole different life as a whole different person. Like I've said in other posts, I believe that in reality, there most likely is nothing after life, and that's fine, but in fiction, set in a world where there are infinite possibilities, to still choose nothing is just...disappointing, and lacking in imagination, to me.

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1 hour ago, marina707 said:

Even if things aren't exciting and have lost their novelty, to me that's still better than nothing.

Which makes me wonder, a place that bores people into wanting to annihilate themselves...to me that can't be a "Good Place."  That's another thing that bugs me about the finale, all those prior seasons fighting to get to a place that turns out to be not all that good.  So much for hanging out on the dot of the "i".

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So I keep thinking about this and trying to further analyze my thoughts, and I think for me it's actually not all that complicated. I don't know if it's because I'm not religious or what, but none of the "it's not suicide because they're not alive", "it's about enlightenment/peace/nirvana/whatever tenet of whatever religion" arguments ultimately work for me. I just can't see it as anything other than a group of people deciding that they're bored with life and killing themselves. No matter how many different interpretations I read, none of them resonate with or ring true to me. To me it's about suicide and portraying it as if it's a wonderful thing, and that makes me angry and sad.

38 minutes ago, ByTor said:

Which makes me wonder, a place that bores people into wanting to annihilate themselves...to me that can't be a "Good Place."  That's another thing that bugs me about the finale, all those prior seasons fighting to get to a place that turns out to be not all that good.  So much for hanging out on the dot of the "i".

Good point about a place like that not sounding like a Good Place. And yeah, them spending thousands (or more) of years in their time trying to fix the afterlife, and then just finally essentially shrugging and saying "oh, well, everything sucks, so we'll just choose to not exist anymore" by using a door that didn't exist until the second to last episode of the show? With writing that bad, I just find it really hard to believe that all this was really planned out this way from the beginning. I don't know if NBC wasn't happy with the ratings and was going to cancel it regardless and the showrunners wanted to save face by saying "oh, yeah, it was our decision, totally, we planned it this way all along" or what. If it really was planned this way all along, it makes my opinion of Mike Schur go waaaaaaaaay down.

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Mike Schur has been very open about the fact that he planned the FIRST season in great detail ahead of the pitch, but that all seasons after that have been done like all the other shows on tv--one season at a time.

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1 minute ago, Ailianna said:

Mike Schur has been very open about the fact that he planned the FIRST season in great detail ahead of the pitch, but that all seasons after that have been done like all the other shows on tv--one season at a time.

Ah, that makes way more sense. I've read elsewhere (and there are people on other sites still continuing to repeat it) that he had the entire show planned out all along, which doesn't make sense to me.

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Fake heaven Good Place was so obviously artificial -- that's what made it fun. But when we got to real Hell and real Heaven, those too seemed artificial. The fact that we were meant to take them as the real thing made them seem phony and unsatisfactory.

Also unsatisfying was the final transformation of the characters into light, or whatever. There was no philosophical groundwork laid.

Why do people in real heaven have physical bodies in the first place? Do they have digestive systems? Do they have brains? Are their brains composed of neurons, dendrites, and axons? Etc.

If Chidi had shown some curiosity about the implications of embodiment as it relates to eternity, then the characters leaving their bodies behind to transform into something else might have been prepared for.

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10 hours ago, marina707 said:

That's a good point. I don't have kids and don't want them, but I don't think they're necessary to still be interested in humanity and seeing how things are going on earth. Like you mentioned, were war/famine/racism ever eradicated? Were the effects of climate change somehow reversed? Did they ever find a cure for cancer and all the other diseases? What kind of energy do people use now? How has government evolved? What systems of commerce do various countries run on? What do people look like now? What kinds of animals are there? What were the effects of automation? How has technology progressed? How have different countries' cultures evolved with globalization? Has humanity colonized other planets? Is there time travel? Who knows, maybe after some time, humans have invented a way to travel to the afterlife and back? (I read a book once based on the theory that the afterlife is actually just another dimension that exists alongside our own and that when people die their consciousness just travels to this other dimension...I don't necessarily find it particularly likely, but still find it interesting.) Not to mention being able to travel to any place and period in time and watch literally anything that's ever happened. The idea of getting bored when you can experience literally anything possible is just unfathomable to me.

 

Thanks. I can't help but imagine scenarios and keep having trouble with the decision presented. Like, every time some new people get into the Good Place, they don't seem to care about meeting them? "A whole bunch of new people just showed up. Ghandi, the first guy to walk on Mars, some guy who figured out how to let us talk to dogs and cats, Elon Musk, the first female president of the planetary federation government, the doctor that cured all cancer, and the first post-modern human to get in who was born after the year 100,000AD when we all have clear skulls, four arms, and can see infrared and hear sunshine. Wanna go meet them and talk to them about their lives and experiences?" "Well, honestly, since I just finished reading all of the Jason Bourne novels, I think I'm just gonna peace out." 

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3 hours ago, metalgirl said:

I would love to watch a spin-off about Michael's time on earth. 

 

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. 

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The idea of getting bored when you can experience literally anything possible is just unfathomable to me.

Not to me. It's all a simulacrum, not real. I think after the amount of time they portrayed, getting content with all the already completed looking at things and fake doing things and meeting new people-who-honestly-aren't-going-to-be-that-different from old people makes sense.

To me it's about suicide and portraying it as if it's a wonderful thing, and that makes me angry and sad.

But it's not. I understand where that interpretation comes from, but there's nothing in the show that suggests we're supposed to view the afterlife as a symbolic representation of earth life. The premise is literal. The characters are all dead people, who have existed as dead people for a length of time that we cannot fathom. 

I think the show bit off more than it was willing to chew. It was too hard for it to both be a sitcom and a serious exploration of an afterlife system. 

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1 hour ago, Charlesman said:

Thanks. I can't help but imagine scenarios and keep having trouble with the decision presented. Like, every time some new people get into the Good Place, they don't seem to care about meeting them? "A whole bunch of new people just showed up. Ghandi, the first guy to walk on Mars, some guy who figured out how to let us talk to dogs and cats, Elon Musk, the first female president of the planetary federation government, the doctor that cured all cancer, and the first post-modern human to get in who was born after the year 100,000AD when we all have clear skulls, four arms, and can see infrared and hear sunshine. Wanna go meet them and talk to them about their lives and experiences?" "Well, honestly, since I just finished reading all of the Jason Bourne novels, I think I'm just gonna peace out." 

Haha, yeah. It doesn't make sense to me, but I'm definitely in the minority when it comes to my interpretation of this episode.

33 minutes ago, Zuleikha said:

Not to me. It's all a simulacrum, not real. I think after the amount of time they portrayed, getting content with all the already completed looking at things and fake doing things and meeting new people-who-honestly-aren't-going-to-be-that-different from old people makes sense.

But it's not. I understand where that interpretation comes from, but there's nothing in the show that suggests we're supposed to view the afterlife as a symbolic representation of earth life. The premise is literal. The characters are all dead people, who have existed as dead people for a length of time that we cannot fathom. 

I think the show bit off more than it was willing to chew. It was too hard for it to both be a sitcom and a serious exploration of an afterlife system. 

I kind of had the thought last night about it not being real but can't remember where that thought went...I think my thought was that even though it's not real, it's still better than just nothingness. (I've been out sick and am just returning to work so my schedule is all screwed up right now and I'm sleep deprived...normally I'm more coherent than I am right now!) It's crazy how much thought I've put into this finale...as much as I didn't like it, I will say at least it's made me think!

As for the suicide, yeah, I know that other people don't see it that way. I know I'm in the minority, but I just can't see it any other way. Like I said before, I've always seen it more as a metaphor than literal for whatever reason, and wouldn't have watched it if I'd realized how it would turn out. What the show ended up being is just not for me.

I will agree with that! A topic like this is just too huge and complex and polarizing for it to be done in a way that would satisfy everyone, but I guess it doesn't need to. From what I've seen, most people loved it, so I guess that's good enough...nothing can please everybody.

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As for the suicide, yeah, I know that other people don't see it that way. I know I'm in the minority, but I just can't see it any other way.

I don't think you're in the minority, I think opinion is pretty split.

The very nature of religion, or simply a belief in the afterlife, lies in its interpretation. There are those who are going to see something like this as sad and depressing while others see the exact same thing as uplifting and positive. Things I find horribly depressing and even macabre in certain beliefs others take comfort in. That's just how religion works.

It's kind of like when you go into the Addams Family house and they have giant stuffed polar bears and swordfish trophies with legs sticking out of the mouth and you think it's weird and creepy and they just think that's normal. I guess one man's poison is another man's comfort food.

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 From what I've seen, most people loved it, so I guess that's good enough...nothing can please everybody.

I think the finale was emotionally satisfying but I don't personally believe it was intellectually satisfying. And I think those who really loved it did so because of the former. It hit the emotional beats and tugged at the heartstrings and all that. 

I just thought it was sad, so there you go.

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There aren't many good endings to tv shows, but I'd say this was fulfilling, and  sweet, and not dragged out too long. Could it have ended last episode? Maybe. But I enjoyed the after afterlife.

Did we ever see where Mindy ended up after she was convinced to try?

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6 minutes ago, iMonrey said:

I don't think you're in the minority, I think opinion is pretty split.

The very nature of religion, or simply a belief in the afterlife, lies in its interpretation. There are those who are going to see something like this as sad and depressing while others see the exact same thing as uplifting and positive. Things I find horribly depressing and even macabre in certain beliefs others take comfort in. That's just how religion works.

What's craziest to me is how much anger I've seen on other sites. Luckily everyone here, at least that I've seen, is pretty nice and respectful of differing opinions, but I've seen some pretty intense arguments with all kinds of name calling and insults elsewhere online, which is bizarre to me. I've watched some other shows that had divisive endings that led to lots of drama, but nothing quite like this.

Yeah, you're right. Religion is such a personal thing, and a lot of people are really...I want to say protective of their beliefs, but I feel like that's not quite the right word (like I mentioned before, I'm sleep deprived and my brain isn't working the greatest right now lol) which maybe explains my previous paragraph. None of those other divisive endings had anything to do with religion, so I guess it makes sense this one would lead to more vigorous debate.

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1 hour ago, marina707 said:

It's crazy how much thought I've put into this finale...as much as I didn't like it, I will say at least it's made me think!

As much as I didn't like it, I'll say something nice...I liked the "Take it sleazy" ending 🙂 

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Though, as I've expressed, I wasn't at all happy with the ending, I don't think the fact that TGP couldn't satisfy them is problematic, because TGP isn't actually heaven. Yes, if this were a heaven created by the Judeo-Christian omnipotent, all-powerful Creator it could presumably ensure that no one ever got bored or felt unfulfilled. But TGP isn't that. It is a reward for good people operated by very, very powerful, but fundamentally imperfect beings. They can supply any number of physical needs, and perhaps could do a reasonable job of anticipating and addressing emotional needs, but there's no reason, within the show's world, that TGP must be by definition perfect.

As for the ongoing suicide discussion, I really think the disconnect comes from what I mentioned earlier: the choice isn't presented in a way that would make it comparable to human suicide, but the idea of permanently annihilating yourself if you don't feel great despair doesn't compute for a lot of us. And I do think that there's at least a risk of someone taking it as a glorification of suicide, even though I think its a distortion of what the writers were actually doing.

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On 1/31/2020 at 10:08 AM, luna1122 said:

Is this the fundamental difference in all of our reactions, do you think? Those who believe in a soul, and those who do not? I don't, so it read as nothingness. Eleanor, as a person, ceased to exist...or she momentarily became a firefly or a white twinkle fairy light, and then was gone again. Or maybe the fairy lights continue to exist, but are they at all sentient? Aware? I don't know. Since I don't personally believe along those lines, it's not comforting or soothing to me, although becoming part of the ocean is cool! But I guess I can see how it is for those who do have that sort of belief system.

 

On 2/1/2020 at 10:26 AM, Dani said:

Those inclined to see “death” as an ending will see it one way and those who view “death” as a transition will see it another way.

On the other hand, I'm an atheist, and I believe that death is the end, but that's not my interpretation of what went on here.  They said you go through the door and rejoin the universe like a wave in the ocean, so...that's what happens.  I don't know if that's a shallow view of the episode or what.  I mean, I'm already suspending my disbelief regarding what happens when you die by accepting the premise of the show, so that is extended to my understanding of what happens when you go through the door.  You don't cease to exist, just like sugar doesn't cease to exist when it dissolves in coffee.  

Also, it looked to me like that sparkle of Eleanor that landed on that guy was absorbed, so you really do rejoin the universe, rather than continue to spark good deeds.

I think what throws me off is that yes, they are dead and their bodies are long gone by the final episode, but their consciousness still existed.

Although I think this is a good point.  I think "existence" has two meanings which are at odds here.  No, they no longer exist in that their consciousness is no longer in existence, but they do exist in that their sparkles get distributed into the world.  So I think one's point of view of whether you become "nothing" upon going through the door depends on what type of "existence" you're referring to. 

On 1/31/2020 at 1:34 PM, LavenderLove said:

I loved the finale, except I stuggled with Chidi's decision because I imagine myself and husband in that position and I don't think either of us would leave the other like that, it'd make more sense to me that if you felt at peace and ready to move forward through the door, you'd wait for the other person to also feel that way so you could do it together. I don't know, I guess I struggled with spending eternity with someone but also being at peace about leaving them.

Yeah, and you wouldn't want them to feel pressured to be ready.  I'm sure Chidi never would have said anything if she hadn't gotten wise.  They would have gone through together once she was ready.

On 2/2/2020 at 11:11 AM, Dani said:

I also echo the sentiment from earlier in the thread that Jason calling out to a Chidi

who had already stepped through the door was disturbing to me, since it would imply he didn't really understand the consequences of what he was doing.

Based on his goodby speech Jason did understand what he was doing. To me his last line was just a very Jason think to say. A sweet and simple if slightly illogical wish to dissolve into the universe with a friend.

I agree. But also, no one really understood the consequences, since no one 100% knew what was going to happen.  And I'd also say that once they experienced the feeling of doneness, it probably didn't matter what would happen on the other side of the door, because they were ready for whatever it was.

6 hours ago, clack said:

Why do people in real heaven have physical bodies in the first place? Do they have digestive systems? Do they have brains? Are their brains composed of neurons, dendrites, and axons? Etc.

To be honest, not having to use the bathroom would be heaven enough for me!

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14 hours ago, marina707 said:

What exactly does your second option entail? Because if you don't have a consciousness or independent thought, and you don't get to be with the people you love, that is what's sad and depressing to me. If you do have those things, and you're not hanging out and eating your favorite foods and enjoying your favorite hobbies, then what are you doing? Just floating around in space without a body and looking at planets and having conversations by sharing your thoughts telepathically? To me that's way more boring than being able to travel all over the world in an instant and see/do anything and everything you've ever wanted to see/do. A non-specific "peace and paradise that we cannot currently comprehend because our imaginations are limited by our humanness" is not something I want any part of if I can't know what specifically it means. I like being a human and having a mind and thoughts, and the idea of being something other than human is not something that appeals to me at all. If I can't have the things that make me human, to me it's the same as no longer existing, and I would take just hanging out with loved ones and doing mundane things over that any day.

I’m not @Jessa but I believe in something like her second option. To me it’s leaving the physical behind but not necessarily individual consciousness or relationships. As for the details I have literally no clue. It just shows how different people are because to me the physical world is so limiting that the idea of existing beyond that is exciting. 

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Years ago I saw a panel discussion on the afterlife with a mix of people and their beliefs (rabbi, traditional Christian and atheist).

The comment that has stayed with me is the idea that human imagination is limited to what we know.  The afterlife is completely unknowable to us.  As a result we tend to imagine it to involve things we imagine would make us happy.....peace, knowledge, contentment, music - -whatever.  

Even as a child that is what I thought of (and that I would be able to ace every test w/o studying) heaven and then, even as I was imagining that - - why I would get bored.

SO as humans our limits prevent us from understanding what TGP would really be like and we cannot ever imagine an accurate vision because of our limitations......

And thus the afterlife was and is now unknowable and will always remain so to those of us alive on earth.

To me the ending perfectly demonstrated that.

I hope I accurately represented this point of view.

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So, taking a brief break from the existential questions about the finale (which I am still trying to wrap my cockroach brain around and what my thoughts are) I had a fun show related incident this weekend! I was at a get together this weekend for people who are new to the area (which I am) at a bar, and I was making a bit of small talk with another woman there, and while I was trying to decide on my drink order, I joked about how indecisive I an be about silly things, she said "So your basically Chidi!" and then started explaining the reference, only for me to of course be like "OH MY GOD YES!" and we sat down and had a whole long talk about the show and the finale and now we are having lunch next week!

A happy universe spark that decided that both I and this other recent transplant needed a new friend?!

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3 hours ago, Dani said:

I’m not @Jessa but I believe in something like her second option. To me it’s leaving the physical behind but not necessarily individual consciousness or relationships. As for the details I have literally no clue. It just shows how different people are because to me the physical world is so limiting that the idea of existing beyond that is exciting. 

You nailed it. 👍🏻

2 hours ago, kaygeeret said:

Years ago I saw a panel discussion on the afterlife with a mix of people and their beliefs (rabbi, traditional Christian and atheist).

The comment that has stayed with me is the idea that human imagination is limited to what we know.  The afterlife is completely unknowable to us.  As a result we tend to imagine it to involve things we imagine would make us happy.....peace, knowledge, contentment, music - -whatever.  

Even as a child that is what I thought of (and that I would be able to ace every test w/o studying) heaven and then, even as I was imagining that - - why I would get bored.

SO as humans our limits prevent us from understanding what TGP would really be like and we cannot ever imagine an accurate vision because of our limitations......

And thus the afterlife was and is now unknowable and will always remain so to those of us alive on earth.

To me the ending perfectly demonstrated that.

I hope I accurately represented this point of view.

Yes!!! This is exactly how I’ve been thinking about it. 

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I was disappointed with the ending. I can’t see why anyone bothered stopping Judge Gen from rebooting the Universe when the ultimate end of everyone was...nothingness. Existential Nihilism doesn’t appeal to me. I liked Tahani’s end best of all. I wish the whole team had taken on the role of Good Place architects. I agree with the poster who said the Good Place should have been about finding a new purpose. 

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9 hours ago, janie jones said:

I'd also say that once they experienced the feeling of doneness, it probably didn't matter what would happen on the other side of the door, because they were ready for whatever it was.

THAT is bliss. True freedom. To be ready for the unknown!

It seems like if they had told us that what was through the door was something wonderful, and we knew what it was, everyone would understand why Our Friends would choose to go through it. There would be more trust and less comparison to suicide.

They did try, by having Chidi talking about the wave rejoining the ocean and Jason talking about the air both inside and outside his lungs being the same. They didn't say it was boredom, they didn't say it was annihilation. They portrayed it more like rebirth in another form, and implied it was a natural process, not forced.

But if you don't feel that oneness, you wouldn't be ready to go through, and it WOULD feel like annihilation, rather than expansion or transformation of self.

I like to think about how, when I die, my body will become worm food, and the molecules that were me will become fertilizer for whatever grows next. To me, that is a kind of wave/ocean, eternity/one-ness. I don't feel like it's a choice, though. You die, your body rots. You don't get to decide whether or not to rot, and ultimately you don't get to choose not to die (death happens whether you like it or not).

Likewise, with whatever the afterlife versions of Our heroes were, they eventually went on to a different form, a less individuated one.

I think it's just really hard to imagine oneself into that readiness, because it goes against everything most of us experience in our lives, and so through that lens it can look like loss, or nothingness, rather than expansion or rebirth. None of us is probably anywhere near sated with existence, which I think is great because we aren't dead and we're kind of hardwired to crave life. It's actually a lot of work in this state, to let go, let along genuinely feel we've had enough. Even suicide is an active act, not a letting go. People who know they're dying soon, and people who make it a practice to meditate, usually have to work hard to get peaceful with the concept. We don't get Bearimy after Bearimy to work it all out, so it's really tough.

Or maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there are some Enlightened Ones in the forum, who live in that place all the time and just don't talk about it. Hello! I will try not to be envious.

Years ago, someone I knew who was a hardcore athiest who told me that he tried to imagine what it would be like to believe in "spirituality" or "God" or any kind of religion, and he said it was amazingly blissful, and he wished he could believe it. I think this show is asking us to imagine it, not to believe it.

I also think the show was trying to have it both ways, saying the door was a choice, but after a certain point, it seemed like they were saying it was actually inevitable, like the wave re-joining the ocean. That's kind of a hedged bet there, and I think it does muddle things a bit and makes it easy to project our own biases, and then react for or against them.

When I was watching, I felt really mixed about it. Maybe it's not bad to have mixed feelings, though. Something to chew on and keep me turning around and around rather than just a spoonfed simple easy story that doesn't make me think.

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Overall, I think the show did some things well and others not as well, and I like a lot of the ideas people have for what it would have been nice to see. I think the show COULD have been funny and interesting showing us the group's adventures in TGP, and maybe looking at Earth and either cringing or cheering, or just generally reacting to what they see happening. There were plenty more conversations to be had about ethics and ways Our Heroes might have spent their time, which would have continued to be funny and thought-provoking. I also like the idea of them all becoming architects, or finding new purposes. But it's also easier to take that route, it would have been satisfying, but would it have left me ruminating? No.

I wonder, too, about if people in TGP should have been shown more like ghosts, or energy, like Derek-- shimmery, or something like that, to emphasize that they are not exactly the same as when they were in their bodies. It would have been less jarring to see them disappear if they had already been shown to be less solid once they reached TGP.

 

Ultimately, shows die for lots of reasons-- ratings, boredom by writers, actors wanting to do something else. At some point, the show for whatever reason was determined to end, so they didn't do everything that maybe could have been done. I'm grateful they did as much as they did, though.

 

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I just read an interesting Slate interview with the two primary philosophers who worked on the show - and who disagreed about the finale on philosophical grounds! One believes that mortality is indeed necessary to give human life meaning; the other thinks that helping others would be enough, and sees Tahani's decision to become an architect as most in the spirit of the show. So, we're in pretty good company. 

Link here: https://slate.com/culture/2020/02/the-good-place-finale-ending-explained-philosopher-cameos-analysis.html

To move on from the fundamental, and fundamentally irresolvable philosophical issue, I agree with Hieronymi (the second of the two philosophers) that the idea of 3/4 ending their existences (or at least their conscious, individual existences) is less in keeping with the themes of the show as a whole than an ending in which it turned out that the job of helping others, if not of personal self-improvement, was endless. Yes, there was a call-back to the one (wonderful) episode in which Michael had an existential crisis and Eleanor told him that coping with mortality was part of being human. But even within that episode, I would argue that "life without mortality is therefore meaningless" wouldn't be a necessary corollary to that conclusion, and outside of it, the show's overwhelming focus was rather on a)the endless potential of humans to grow and change and b)the need to become less self-directed and fulfill one's moral obligations to others. 

Now, I'm not saying that the ending we get negates these ideas, because one could logically believe that these things are true on any kind of human or quasi-human time-scale, but would break down after however-many millenia. But in terms of narrative satisfaction, it seems odd to have a show that is so concerned with humans' perpetual capacity for moral improvement, expressed in our behavior toward others, end with an emphasis on completing one's personal journey toward fulfillment.

My own personal idea for an ending would be one in which everyone made it to The Good Place - but with the understanding that whether that place were a hell or a heaven to any individual person would depend on the person him or herself. 

Let's pretend our four actually had gotten to TGP immediately after they died. Would they have been happy? In the long run, I'd say no -- unless they underwent some serious personal improvement.

Eleanor would have continued to be stand-offish and resistant to making real emotional connections as a defense mechanism. She would have enjoyed trivial comforts like endless shrimp and alcohol, but she wouldn't have been any less lonely than she was during her life--unless she had done the hard work of breaking through her barriers and seeking legitimate connection. 

Chidi, we actually know wouldn't have been able to take full advantage of paradise until he worked out crippling anxieties. Sure, Michael's and then Elinor's neighborhood created actual tortures for him, namely the ethical torment of having to either keep a secret or betray a friend, but even without this, he plainly hadn't gotten past his hang-ups - he was afraid to do even something as innocuous as going to a lakehouse, let alone anything really adventurous. And even if Michael hadn't created an artificial moral dilemma, at a certain point, I do think Chidi's stomach-aches would have returned anyway. A real version of an afterlife neighborhood would be populated by other people who still possess the essential characteristics of living people - denizens of the afterlife can still desire, feel disappointment, fall in love, etc. As such, there are still going to be moral dilemmas over what constitutes ethical behavior to other people - and hence, stomachaches.

Tahani, in life, was beautiful and successful, and it still wasn't enough to satisfy her pathological desire for approval. As long as she thought anyone might be in any way better than she was, she couldn't be happy. This would have held as true in the actual good place as it did in Michael's version.

As for Jason - well, I think for a long time he would have been quite happy with TGP, but he actually would have gotten bored unless he learned to want and pursue things more than the simplest and most trivial pleasures. There might be ways of avoiding burnout even in an eternal realm - but not through endless games of Madden, jalapeno poppers, and EDM. 

So basically, in order to enjoy the Good Place, you'd have to become a better, more compassionate person living a less self-oriented life.

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See, Chidi teaching his ethics class is more like what I thought The Good Place would be. People who were so inclined discussing big ideas forever.

Zora Neale Hurston was a complicated person and a wild choice to upgrade to The Good Place so quickly. I guess same for Alexander the Great though that was considerably more Bearimys.

I'm glad they remembered that Tahani wanted to figure out how to really be a good person and to have skills other than throwing parties. I'm glad we got that resolution with her family but it would have been nice to see more of it onscreen than just having everyone show up when they had been "fixed." It was a great ending for her to train to be an architect.

I mean, I know getting the right actors is part of it, but it is surprising that Doug is the only one we've met who chose to live in The Good Place in his younger body.

I'm not sure how much I buy some of these people being the way they are after going through the system. Unless people just stayed in their own groups, I think people's idiosyncrasies and beliefs would have still led to conflict and hierarchy in The Good Place. People in The Good Place haven't been purged of their desire to make fun of others, gossip, be materialistic, etc. I don't know that the show addressed at what point you truly become a "good" enough person. To problematize it, I feel like depictions of the perfect afterlife usually end up being a bland zone where people aren't allowed to be mean or critical of each other and everyone dresses in neutral ways.

Do people actually get tired in the afterlife? How do Bearimys work? Why sleep?

I know there are practical issues about hiring actors and such but it feels a little weird that everyone is so focused on their tight friend circles. Really, they have no curiosity about meeting anyone else? At least Eleanor finally checked in on Mindy.

Michael becoming human was a perfect ending for that character. I'm glad he's having fun on earth but it seems like he knew he was a demon? And he was put in Ted Danson's body. It would have been nice if he had gotten to start from the very beginning and live a full human life.

I feel like I still wouldn't be thrilled with everything in this episode but I would have felt a lot better about it without the previous episode. This episode was all about checking in with our friends and reaffirming those relationships that gave this show all the warm and fuzzy comforting feelings that felt like a Good Place even when they weren't in the actual Good Place. I would have been fine with them not having a well-developed vision of the afterlife if they had taken a longer victory lap and just let us enjoy watching a show that made us feel good. Basically, I wish this episode had been spread over two episodes. 

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For the ending to be satisfying, Chidi should have pivoted away from his ethics classes into seminars on such other philosophical subjects as identity and ontology (nature of reality).

All of Chidi's questions about the nature of existence, unanswerable while he was still alive, can now potentially be answered. There is mind/brain duality (Decartes was right)! The universe is partly immaterial (Spinoza was right)! There are souls, demons, angels, presumably a god (Aquinas was right)!

Is there a multiverse? Does intelligent life exist on other planets? Are there an infinite number of Chidis in an infinite number of universes? Are they all in different afterlives? Are there other heavens? 

There is a whole universe to explore. Chidi can spent eternity acquiring knowledge and understanding. Why is he bored?

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I still reject last week's premise that the door was necessary. I still see it as eternal suicide. Eleanor feeling abandoned by Chidi wrecked me.

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Anyway, but I could deal with that being the ending, if maybe we could have explored that concept for a few episodes instead of basically one episode with a long epilogue. 

I think part of the problem is we've been based in very Western ideas of the afterlife (point totals, Good vs. Bad Place, etc.) and ethics and morality. Yes, we've had reincarnation but the show hadn't gotten away from depicting individuals with idiosyncrasies and moving us towards embracing bigger picture of the universe. So to suddenly introduce a little more of a Buddhist philosophy of oneness with the universe was a little jarring and didn't feel earned. I do think this final session has been a little messy and could have been better plotted. With more time to establish it, I don't think this ending would be as unsatisfying. The pacing was off. Knowing they had this last season, they should have spent more time developing certain things and less time with filler. Though I do feel like they ultimately thought about how to fix The Bad Place but ironically didn't know what the actual Good Place should be. 

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Fare thee well, The Good Place.  Overall, I do think this was the right time to end it since I felt like the overall season was more hit or miss compared to the others, but I can safely say that this was one of my favorite sitcoms of all time, and I will definitely want to rewatch this several times in the future. 

This seems to be an unpopular opinion but I didn't love season 4 so I'm happy for the show to end. There were some great moments but I don't think they stuck the landing. However, I'm very excited for what the cast does in the future. Kristen, Ted, and D'Arcy will be fine. But with the love for the show, I hope William, Manny, and Jamila get an opportunity at the kinds of roles that are rarely as available to POC actors without a lot of clout or the money to finance their own projects.

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Most unexpected thing was that they took us through the final door, and it leads back to Earth, where apparently you become the spark of inspiration for others to "do something good", the voice in the back of their head.  So Eleanor became a good deed that helped Michael Realman.

I totally didn't catch that! That's wonderful.

Even though we got to check in on all of our favorite characters, I think part of my problem with the set up was that it felt very individualistic. When they got in the balloon to go to The Good Place, that seemed to affirm that relationships and friendships are important. But for the show to say goodbye to us, the audience, I feel like they splintered everyone off. Even though the show is saying that walking through the door is returning back to the larger fabric of the universe, what it actually depicted felt more like a bunch of singular persons going their own ways. I feel like there was a better way of depicting going through the door so it would feel like you stop being as an individual but the best of you (kindness, warmth, humanity) gets absorbed into this abstract collective. 

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The ending seemed like a strong endorsement of suicide. And as for the “oh it’s not about suicide, the door is a metaphor for human mortality” argument, the comparison falls apart because most of us don’t die by choice or wish to die by choice. Most of us will be dragged from existence kicking and screaming.

This is part of the reason I wish we had seen more of them being happy and making the most of their time together. I feel like we were told about Eleanor and Chidi falling in love more than we were shown it. And so many other things were also established that way. I think a lot of my problems with the back half of season 4 are rejecting what the writers were TELLING us vs. my interpretation of what we were being SHOWN. We should have seen more of them finding contentment in the afterlife if they were supposed to eventually walk through the door. As an atheist, I'm not choosing death. I'm trying to make the most of my time on earth because I believe this is all we get. Being depressed, I don't fantasize (at least healthily) about suicide. I want to be able to live as many days as possible without my depression negatively affecting my life. Basically, show more of their lives in The Good Place and then maybe walking through the door won't seem as nihilistic. 

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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. 

I think this is part of my problem with everyone staying so individualistic and having so many opinions as close as they were to walking through the door. They didn't feel like they'd gotten past their materialistic and human desires at all. They were still judge-y and gossip-y and had specific opinions about pop culture and what not. 

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I still find it ambiguous.  All I can go on is what was shown, not what the producer said outside the show itself.  I saw Eleanor dissolve into little golden lights that floated down to earth and caused a stranger to do something nice but small to make Michael slightly happier for a second.  

I do wish they had been more careful in some of their choices instead of assuming that everyone would get it or listen to the podcast/read interviews after it aired. I also think it matters how they depicted the good deed/inspiration. Would we feel differently if that character wasn't Kurt Braunohler not throwing out his mail but, for example, a non-white little girl being inspired to apologize to her friend on the playground? Would that good deed have worked better if the show hadn't felt the need to end on Michael? Maybe Eleanor's fireflies could have inspired another girl from Arizona. I get that the writers probably wanted to tie things back to our actions on earth being the most important thing (because who knows what the afterlife will actually be) but Eleanor working to set Mindy on her journey to self-improvement was more meaningful than the whole mail thing with Michael. Maybe hit that beat harder and then just have Eleanor walk through the door. 

I agree with everyone who enjoyed the endings for Michael, Mindy, and Tahani the best. Even if we didn't see much of it, those three characters were on the way to earning that feeling of contentment. Part of the reason the door didn't work is we sped through the other characters working through the character growth that would make them able to walk through the door. I mean, I didn't need to see every moment of Jason meditating but there was a way to depict it on screen that would have been interesting. We never got to see Kamila and her parents work through their issues. Again, it just felt a bit too rushed. 

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I've noticed a lot of writers have a hard time writing about happiness, and thus the media is full of stories about conflict and struggle.

I don't think they just ran out of time. I think they maybe genuinely didn't think it would be interesting, which I disagree with and which makes me sad, but I think it's a very common problem with fiction generally. I remember being taught that all stories must have conflict. We have a huge negativity bias, which I definitely think colors what gets put into stories.

100% agree. The show did manage to show happy couples but I do think some of its issues towards the end were similar to that issue with will they/won't they couples where shows would rather have banter and bickering than depict happy relationships because the writers find it boring and think the audience would find it boring. I think there's strength in showing what working for and achieving true happiness and contentment should look like. And it should be beyond tiramisu and trips to Paris. 

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1 hour ago, aradia22 said:

I mean, I know getting the right actors is part of it, but it is surprising that Doug is the only one we've met who chose to live in The Good Place in his younger body.

Most likely he’s not the only one who chose a younger body but the show just didn’t have very many older characters. The only other ones they could have replaced with younger actors are Tahani’s parents. Although it would have been funny to throw in a line about Donkey Doug choosing a younger body even though he looks exactly the same. 

1 hour ago, aradia22 said:

Basically, I wish this episode had been spread over two episodes. 

It was. This episode was the equivalent of 2.5 regular episodes. 

4 hours ago, companionenvy said:

My own personal idea for an ending would be one in which everyone made it to The Good Place - but with the understanding that whether that place were a hell or a heaven to any individual person would depend on the person him or herself. 

Let's pretend our four actually had gotten to TGP immediately after they died. Would they have been happy? In the long run, I'd say no -- unless they underwent some serious personal improvement.

....

So basically, in order to enjoy the Good Place, you'd have to become a better, more compassionate person living a less self-oriented life.

What your described sound very similar to the first stage of the afterlife. My question is what would come after that? This episode focuses on what happens after all of that.


From reading all the posts it seems like a lot of the disagreement is the same as it is over every finale. Is it better to give a sense of finality or the sense that the world of the show is continuing on as is? Personally I see both sides. I like the feeling of completion that comes from knowing how these characters end their journey even if it’s not the ending I would have chosen. But I also kind of wish that I could imagine them living happily ever after for all of eternity. 

16 minutes ago, clack said:

There is a whole universe to explore. Chidi can spent eternity acquiring knowledge and understanding. Why is he bored?

I assume that he did. I think that it would have been nice if we had a scene with each of the characters like the one with Tahani checking things of her list. 

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I fear two things:

1. That with death comes the end of consciousness

AND

2. Living forever.

These two things seem paradoxical, but they both require one to grapple with the eternal. And trying to imagine eternity unnerves me. If I had the power to choose between the two, and the choice were definitive (no take backs), that would be my version of the trolley problem. If reincarnation is a thing, I believe the fact that you don't remember your past lives is protective. Otherwise, you would be trapped in a version of Nietzsche's eternal return, to reference Chidi's fear in "Dance, Dance Resolution." I realize that this is not the philosophical/spiritual underpinning of reincarnation. It's just my emotional response to the idea, which, as aradia11 points out, is informed by my Western point of view and perhaps the fact that I'm an atheist.

I like the fact that the ending is open to interpretation. For me, it addresses both my fears, in that you may choose eternity in TGP or take a step toward the unknown. I think I need the possibility of mystery.

On 2/1/2020 at 8:29 PM, Ailianna said:

“Now it is a strange thing, but things that are good to have and days that are good to spend are soon told about, and not much to listen to; while things that are uncomfortable, palpitating, and even gruesome, may make a good tale, and take a deal of telling anyway.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or There and Back Again

This reminds me of Tolstoy's "all happy families are alike; every unhappy family is happy in its own way." I don't think that the ending would be better or worse for me if I spent more time watching team cockroach experiencing happiness in various ways.  It's not that I find happiness or contentment boring, but it is hard to write about in a captivating way. There's a reason why genre fiction ends with the couple getting together, the murder solved, the world saved from the wicked witch.  Some of my favorite episodes involve the team soldiering on together when faced with adversity: Eleanor asking Janet for a million bottles of her best booze, when they can't get on the balloon; or the team trying to figure out what to do when they think Michael might have reverted back to demon. When I find myself lapsing into despair or wanting to give up, I remind myself that it won't just affect me. I think that's part of my conception of what it means to be a good person. I like to think we're all in this together.

Many years ago, I attempted suicide and nearly died. Everyone experiences moments of crisis differently, but in my case, I wasn't motivated by the hope death would bring contentment. I just wanted the pain to end, which is not what motivates Chidi, Eleanor, and Jason. I feared that the future would never get better for me, and the idea of a life of endless misery and failure terrified me. I was 21 at the time, and I'm now an early old. I'm not sure exactly what pulled me out of that, but I think it may have been just a glimmer that the future is a mystery and you gotta try.

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1 hour ago, aradia22 said:

I think this is part of my problem with everyone staying so individualistic and having so many opinions as close as they were to walking through the door. They didn't feel like they'd gotten past their materialistic and human desires at all. They were still judge-y and gossip-y and had specific opinions about pop culture and what not. 

Yeah, I think that's a great point, and ties into what I was saying earlier about the difficulty of representing something that might theoretically be true. Yes, conceivably, if people could live eternally, they'd evolve into something so detached from our current state of being that they would no longer have ordinary desires or a conventional sense of self at all, in which case choosing to turn into ineffable sparks of light might not seem like that much of a jump. But by definition, you can't show something beyond human comprehension on screen, which means we got characters who still seemed too human for that kind of choice to make sense as a positive rather than negative thing.

 

27 minutes ago, AD55 said:

I like the fact that the ending is open to interpretation. For me, it addresses both my fears, in that you may choose eternity in TGP or take a step toward the unknown. I think I need the possibility of mystery.

I still find the idea that it is presented as open to interpretation kind of a cop out on the part of the showrunners. It isn't like some higher power came down and told them that they had a choice between staying in TGP and moving on to an unknown outcome. Team cockroach itself created the doorway as a form of extinction. You don't get to do a "death is the next great adventure" ending when your characters are literally the creators of this new cosmic order. If the light is a metaphor for the influence we leave after us, then fine, but the idea that there's literal existence of any kind afterwards seems to me like a cheat. Even Chidi's wave speech seems to make less sense in a context in which everyone's physical bodies are long gone and returned to the Earth.

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I read about an experiment where two parrots had the opportunity to earn tokens to exchange for food, but only one parrot actually earned tokens. The parrot gave the other parrot a token so she could have food, too. Another study where toddlers (about19 months) would give a piece of fruit to an adult who indicated they were hungry and could not reach the fruit.

What we owe each other. I don't know if I am very good at it, but the show has made me think about it a lot, in my day to day life.

I do think all of team cockroach had an infinite amount of time to satisfy their needs. Even Jason, with Madden and dancing at the end learned to be quiet with himself. Eleanor received and learned to give unselfish love.

I have thought about watching the last episode over, I usually watch them more than once, but I haven't. Someday I will.

Edited by Affogato · Reason: Wrong word
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23 minutes ago, companionenvy said:

I still find the idea that it is presented as open to interpretation kind of a cop out on the part of the showrunners. It isn't like some higher power came down and told them that they had a choice between staying in TGP and moving on to an unknown outcome. Team cockroach itself created the doorway as a form of extinction. You don't get to do a "death is the next great adventure" ending when your characters are literally the creators of this new cosmic order. If the light is a metaphor for the influence we leave after us, then fine, but the idea that there's literal existence of any kind afterwards seems to me like a cheat. Even Chidi's wave speech seems to make less sense in a context in which everyone's physical bodies are long gone and returned to the Earth.

I will have to rewatch the last two episodes, as I don't recall that going through the doorway was necessarily synonymous with extinction. I thought Janet said they don't really know what will happen when they go through the green door, except that it will be peaceful. I hear people describe death that way all the time, and I always think to myself, "if you don't know what happens, how do you know it's peaceful?" I guess I feel the same way about team cockroach's projecting that peace lies beyond the green door. How do they know? That's just how it resonated with me.

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I still find the idea that it is presented as open to interpretation kind of a cop out on the part of the showrunners. It isn't like some higher power came down and told them that they had a choice between staying in TGP and moving on to an unknown outcome. Team cockroach itself created the doorway as a form of extinction. You don't get to do a "death is the next great adventure" ending when your characters are literally the creators of this new cosmic order. If the light is a metaphor for the influence we leave after us, then fine, but the idea that there's literal existence of any kind afterwards seems to me like a cheat. Even Chidi's wave speech seems to make less sense in a context in which everyone's physical bodies are long gone and returned to the Earth.

I think a lot of my dissatisfaction with the finale is episode 12 displeasure. I fundamentally reject this capitalist, individualistic idea that the end reward is the pursuit of pleasure without thought of others and that having all your needs met will lead to creative stagnation and paralysis. I think that's an easy concept to have when you're a powerful person with wealth and privilege. Vampires are not just immortal creatures, they're often coded as jaded aristocrats. I think that, as much as the immortality, is why they fall into ennui. I don't need suffering and struggle and the specter of death to motivate me to be creative or to do things with my life. They do more to inhibit me than motivate me. 

I think it would have helped to throw out this idea of happiness zombies/ennui and create some outside pressure to move on. Like maybe we see the Soul Squad live happy afterlives in the real Good Place. You could still have Tahani reconnecting with her family and Eleanor convincing Mindy she deserves more than the Medium Place. But then Vicky does such a good job reforming people that a lot of people are sent to The Good Place all at once and whatever magical infrastructure is in place can't support the sudden influx. We never see an authority higher than the judge so we don't know that anyone could solve the problem if a Good Janet wasn't able to fix it. Maybe there's a mysterious door with an ordinary-looking exit sign that no one has ever gone through. And the cockroaches choose to step through the door TOGETHER as a way of relieving the burden on The Good Place. Maybe through the door they exist as voices in a void and without corporeal form they just have the sensation of being held in a long, but not uncomfortable hug and snuggling puppies. To me, that's a better way of representing reconnecting with the essence of the universe. For a joke, maybe the void is Derek's void because Mindy has rebooted him so many times that he is now one with the universe and has no physical form (not even a floating head) anymore. This emphasizes that beyond the Good Place and Bad Place and Sean and the judge and the Good Place committee that the universe always had a plan for humans to ascend to peace and enlightenment. And it would do it without having to introduce any god or higher power. However, the writers would have to give up jokes about the Jaguars and margaritas and snarking on other people. I think it would feel like less of an end to existence than being firefly lights. But there would have to be a way of establishing that their individual consciousnesses will fade in the void but their friendship, intelligence, compassion, love, etc. will expand infinitely to fill the void. 

The new afterlife still works so well that Michael isn't needed to troubleshoot. So he's given a chance to start life as a human baby with no memories of ever being a fire squid. And yes, there's a chance that Sean will get bored and stage a coup and the afterlife will be different when his human life is over. Having no memories of being a demon, this Michael would truly be taking a chance on the unknown with no guarantees of the afterlife and meeting Janet again. It would be a better way of emphasizing that there are no guarantees after we die and it's our lives on earth that matter. If they really wanted to show Ted Danson and have a Mary Steenburgen cameo, all they would need to do is have a time jump in human Michael's life. 

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8 hours ago, aradia22 said:

I think a lot of my dissatisfaction with the finale is episode 12 displeasure. I fundamentally reject this capitalist, individualistic idea that the end reward is the pursuit of pleasure without thought of others and that having all your needs met will lead to creative stagnation and paralysis. I think that's an easy concept to have when you're a powerful person with wealth and privilege. Vampires are not just immortal creatures, they're often coded as jaded aristocrats. I think that, as much as the immortality, is why they fall into ennui. I don't need suffering and struggle and the specter of death to motivate me to be creative or to do things with my life. They do more to inhibit me than motivate me. 

I think it would have helped to throw out this idea of happiness zombies/ennui and create some outside pressure to move on. Like maybe we see the Soul Squad live happy afterlives in the real Good Place. You could still have Tahani reconnecting with her family and Eleanor convincing Mindy she deserves more than the Medium Place. But then Vicky does such a good job reforming people that a lot of people are sent to The Good Place all at once and whatever magical infrastructure is in place can't support the sudden influx. We never see an authority higher than the judge so we don't know that anyone could solve the problem if a Good Janet wasn't able to fix it. Maybe there's a mysterious door with an ordinary-looking exit sign that no one has ever gone through. And the cockroaches choose to step through the door TOGETHER as a way of relieving the burden on The Good Place. Maybe through the door they exist as voices in a void and without corporeal form they just have the sensation of being held in a long, but not uncomfortable hug and snuggling puppies. To me, that's a better way of representing reconnecting with the essence of the universe. For a joke, maybe the void is Derek's void because Mindy has rebooted him so many times that he is now one with the universe and has no physical form (not even a floating head) anymore. This emphasizes that beyond the Good Place and Bad Place and Sean and the judge and the Good Place committee that the universe always had a plan for humans to ascend to peace and enlightenment. And it would do it without having to introduce any god or higher power. However, the writers would have to give up jokes about the Jaguars and margaritas and snarking on other people. I think it would feel like less of an end to existence than being firefly lights. But there would have to be a way of establishing that their individual consciousnesses will fade in the void but their friendship, intelligence, compassion, love, etc. will expand infinitely to fill the void. 

The new afterlife still works so well that Michael isn't needed to troubleshoot. So he's given a chance to start life as a human baby with no memories of ever being a fire squid. And yes, there's a chance that Sean will get bored and stage a coup and the afterlife will be different when his human life is over. Having no memories of being a demon, this Michael would truly be taking a chance on the unknown with no guarantees of the afterlife and meeting Janet again. It would be a better way of emphasizing that there are no guarantees after we die and it's our lives on earth that matter. If they really wanted to show Ted Danson and have a Mary Steenburgen cameo, all they would need to do is have a time jump in human Michael's life. 

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. 

Edited by whiporee
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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. 

I see your point but I disagree about this following the narrative plotline of the show. To me, it's more like reading Moby Dick as a book about homoerotic whaling and having an obsessive goal. And then the end of the book is about how he realized catching the whale would never be fulfilling and he settles down with a nice woman for a life of cozy domesticity. I'm left feeling "OK, I guess, but this was very poorly established." More aptly, I think it's like the end of The Wizard of Oz. I don't think they fully cashed out a concept about The Good Place or the committee. The mushy brained residents did not feel like a logical extension of what they had established. And then that was all quickly resolved and in the finale The Good Place was running fine? Put in a door and all is well? I wanted my moment where the wizard is just a man behind a curtain and then to have them deal with that. 

Also, just because something is a pattern of the show, it doesn't mean it isn't a flaw, in my opinion. And that flaw (lack of establishing certain plot points) that I could mostly deal with was glaring in the finale because what needed to be established was so important. I couldn't just take it for granted because they told me. And I think it's too easy to let them off the hook. Because they have established a lot of things well on the show. Eleanor as problem solver and savior... Michael and Eleanor's supportive relationship... Chidi's anxiety... Tahani's name dropping... They've found time for the things they wanted to develop so I think it's fair to call them out on the places they've fallen short.

I would have liked better answers about The Good Place but I guess it's fine if they wrote a check they couldn't cash. My bigger issue was the finale wasn't emotionally satisfying. As someone else said, it was a good way of saying goodbye to the characters individually and of saying goodbye to the show. But I don't think it was a satisfying conclusion for most of the characters and I don't agree with the group ending up separated. For a show about relationships, everyone ended up apart. You can tell me that they all have their places in the universe but what I see and feel is that they are all separated. 

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7 hours ago, aradia22 said:

They've found time for the things they wanted to develop so I think it's fair to call them out on the places they've fallen short.

This...

7 hours ago, aradia22 said:

I don't think it was a satisfying conclusion for most of the characters and I don't agree with the group ending up separated. For a show about relationships, everyone ended up apart.

...and this. 

Not only did I find the finale bad, I found the "wrapping up" sloppy.  So much so that it makes me wonder if the show really was canceled, but the showrunners were allowed to say it was their decision (like when someone "resigns" from a job when in reality they were fired).

11 hours ago, whiporee said:

You encapsulated my growing frustration with people who are critical of the finale.

Everybody has different opinions, not all people will agree.  

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I'm really surprised by the amount of dislike expressed for the finale. Not that there is anything wrong with those opinions -  Everyone is more than entitled to their own opinion and if a piece of entertainment doesn't entertain you then, for you, it failed. - It's just that I felt like this was the proper ending for the series; it made me tear up, it was occasionally funny, and it fit with the philosophical ideas they played with throughout the series.  To the extent I had issues with the finale it was little things like Eleanor seeming less at peace than the other three at the end, or Tahani not being shown to ever have a boyfriend/girlfriend that she vibed with, or there being relatively little surprising in it. 

As for whether the time in the good place was insufficiently set up or too rushed, the show kept burning through plot faster and faster throughout its seasons so less time in the Good Place made a lot of sense. Honestly, I half expected them to never show the good place because it's more challenging to depict heaven than hell on screen. Also, they never showed the true tortures of hell so they also never showed the really sybaritic pleasures of heaven -- just the emotionally important moments for the characters.  That felt ... balanced ... to me.

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I'm trying to plow through my to-read shelves and piles (yes, plural) and imagine my amazement at reading this from Ursula K. Leguin's "The Farthest Shore" mere days after the finale:
 

Quote

You will die. You will not live forever. Nor will any man nor any thing. Nothing is immortal. But only to us is it given to know that we must die. And that is a great gift: the gift of selfhood. For we have only what we know we must lose, what we are willing to lose… That selfhood which is our torment, and our treasure, and our humanity, does not endure. It changes it is gone, a wave on the sea. Would you have the sea grow still and the tides cease, to save one wave, to save yourself?”
— The Farthest Shore, 1972 (Earthsea Cycle #3).

Wave!

One thing that startled me is that Eleanor's house in the true Good Place was the primary-color, small clown house (though I'm not sure it still had clown art) with the trip-hazard bed platform etc.  I wonder if it grew on her after all those reboots with it being the site for her and Chidi's relationship to blossom so many times.

Perhaps this was explained and I totally missed it; I definitely missed that the shower of sparks was more than a visual effect, and that one followed the mail-throwing-out guy.  Luckily you all set me straight and my son confirmed it.  

I was relatively happy with the ending.  I don't call myself a theist or a nontheist, but I am a Quaker with a lot of nontheist Quaker relatives, and theist ones too.  My feeling is that what's important is that trying (even through our human fallibility) to make a positive difference in the here and now, and if there is something after, I hope that we can do the same, but if there isn't, at least we will have done our part when we knew we could.

My step-grandmother hoped for oblivion because she said she would not want to "look down and see her loved ones getting in the soup!"  I don't know why she had so little faith in us that she felt it inevitable that we "get in the soup," but hey.  

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2 hours ago, Jobiska said:

One thing that startled me is that Eleanor's house in the true Good Place was the primary-color, small clown house (though I'm not sure it still had clown art) with the trip-hazard bed platform etc.  I wonder if it grew on her after all those reboots with it being the site for her and Chidi's relationship to blossom so many times.

It wasn’t addressed in this episode but she explained last season when the experiment started. 

Chidi- This house was built to torture you. Why did you have Michael re-create it exactly?
Eleanor- Well, in the memories I watched, this was where we fell in love. So I figured, why mess with success? 

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On 2/3/2020 at 11:02 PM, Rumsy4 said:

I was disappointed with the ending. I can’t see why anyone bothered stopping Judge Gen from rebooting the Universe when the ultimate end of everyone was...nothingness. Existential Nihilism doesn’t appeal to me. I liked Tahani’s end best of all. I wish the whole team had taken on the role of Good Place architects. I agree with the poster who said the Good Place should have been about finding a new purpose. 

It’s a very different ending. With judge Gen erasing the earth, the decision is removed from all the many billions of humans who have ever lived or ever will live. With the shows’ solution , humans are given the option of living their lives on earth, being allowed to take tests until they can enter the good place and then staying there for as long as they want until THEY decide they have reached a point in their universal existence where they are ready to again become one with everything.

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On 1/30/2020 at 10:14 PM, Quilt Fairy said:

I didn't like it.  I found it very depressing. 

I'd rather go back 2 episodes and let that be the finale.  That left me upbeat.  This did not. 

I didn't like it either.   It seemed like they got bored with their "existence" and "checked out".   It seemed selfish to me.  They all had each other and that wasn't enough for them to stay.

Edited by icemiser69
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.  So much so that it makes me wonder if the show really was canceled, but the showrunners were allowed to say it was their decision (like when someone "resigns" from a job when in reality they were fired).

The show ending this season was announced sometime during the 3rd season, so that's definitely not it.

But I do wonder if the writers pitched a lot of ideas for the experiment part last season but then couldn't actually make them work once they had to flesh them out. Because that whole part of the season ended up feeling like spinning wheels in place and not really mattering. (it also still bothers me that Simone seemed to become a worse person and that this also never mattered)

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9 hours ago, icemiser69 said:

They all had each other and that wasn't enough for them to stay.

Exactly, which contradicted the points that they were trying to make every season.

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On 2/5/2020 at 4:15 AM, aradia22 said:

And then that was all quickly resolved and in the finale The Good Place was running fine? Put in a door and all is well?

We saw Chidi and Michael attend a committee meeting and then some amount of time passed before Michael found out from Judge Gen that the committee had been scrapped. I inferred that the committee had spent time solving additional issues before things got stable enough for them to disband. We also know that there was enough going on that Tahani had the opportunity to become an architect and that she expected it would be fulfilling for her rather than rote drudgery.

 

 

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On 2/5/2020 at 4:30 PM, whiporee said:

You encapsulated my growing frustration with people who are critical of the finale.

People have different opinions?

Honestly a week later, after not a small amount of thought, I dislike the ending even more than I did then - to the extent that I'm just going to try and forget the show, which is a shame.  It's just making me too depressed.

Happy for those who were satisfied or thought the ending was appropriate, but it's not for me at all.

Edit: something that did occur to me during the week.  The entire concept of the afterlife was so...limited.  They never even went anywhere other than a facsimile Earth (that we saw or heard).  Why wouldn't you ask Janet to recreate what it would be to float through the atmosphere of Jupiter? To stand next to a quasar?  Or a black hole?  Wouldn't you want to know if there was life on alien worlds, and visit (copies) of them?  Sure this might have all happened off-screen, but they could have at least mentioned it.

Edited by pootlus
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They did mention it:

"See those Green Doors? You can use them to visit any time or place, real or imagined. Just think about where you wanna go, and what you wanna do, and walk on through."

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12 hours ago, pootlus said:

Honestly a week later, after not a small amount of thought, I dislike the ending even more than I did then - to the extent that I'm just going to try and forget the show, which is a shame.  It's just making me too depressed.

I used to have this show on Netflix in the background to fall asleep, but not anymore.

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