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Good Speculation: Non-Spoilered Thoughts About What's Really Going On

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I'm beginning to think that the entire place was created just for Eleanor & everyone else (if they're actually real) is just there for her to learn from & become a good person.

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1 hour ago, GaT said:

I'm beginning to think that the entire place was created just for Eleanor & everyone else (if they're actually real) is just there for her to learn from & become a good person.

I think that's a variation of a theory that's been around for a bit, that Eleanor is the chaotic catalyst basically, but they're all there to be fixed. The only difference between her and them is that her problems are overt and theirs aren't. 

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Jason said he thought they were in an alien zoo and I think he might be on to something. Michael acts more like an alien than an angel, albeit the stupid Third Rock kind. Maybe all these people had their consciousness uploaded to some orbital mainframe and everything in the Good Place is a simulation/construct. It is the sort of idea a 70's stoner tripping on shrooms  would dream up.

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On 10/7/2016 at 3:05 AM, Kromm said:

I think that's a variation of a theory that's been around for a bit, that Eleanor is the chaotic catalyst basically, but they're all there to be fixed. The only difference between her and them is that her problems are overt and theirs aren't. 

Agree with the "they're all there to be fixed" or, maybe, be given the opportunity to fix themselves to earn a spot in a true "Heaven".  Eleanor so far seems unique in her self-awareness of unworthiness and her striving to improve herself.  The crises so far do seem to revolve around her, which may point to this neighborhood being all about her proving/improving herself, but as we start to see others' feelings of inadequacy be revealed, there seems to be a common need to find the best part of themselves.

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It occurs to me that "good" is a fairly mild descriptor for something like "heaven"-- maybe this is the good place, but "real heaven" is the spectacular place or the blissful place or at least the great and wonderful place.

If you think about it, it really is a good place. I wouldn't mind living there.

Maybe Michael is suffering from the Peter Principle. He's middle management material, and they gave him the job of neighborhood CEO. Or everything is working perfectly for a good neighborhood, and he doesn't know that there are great, stupendous, spectacular neighborhoods for those who don't need to be challenged, so he's upset because he thought good was the best, and he knows this isn't that.

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On 10/7/2016 at 1:05 AM, Kromm said:

The only difference between her and them is that her problems are overt and theirs aren't. 

I'm on board with this theory.  I have been mulling it over for the past couple of episodes and think that everyone is here to overcome their flaws.  The chef needs to learn to be less angry (even while she's happy doing what she loves).  Chidi needs to learn not to be so single-minded and to enjoy life and pull his head out of academia (or learn to write better!).  Tahini needs to learn to be happy with herself, and with her own accomplishments, and not be so judgmental.  Then again, there are several holes in my theory, the least of which is not that Michael also needed to be taught how to have fun.  Well, maybe not that so much as to take breaks and decompress. 

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I'm thinking this is a bit of a way station for everyone including Michael.

They all have JUST enough flaws to prevent them from 'heaven', but not enough to condemn them to "hell".

SOOOOOO, here is the place to see if they are redeemable.

And I am having such a great time watching it happen!

Loving The Rocky Horror Picture Show as I do, I will still watch The Good Place instead.......that's commitment folks!

Edited by kaygeeret
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On 10/19/2016 at 3:14 PM, Cowgirl said:

Michael also needed to be taught how to have fun.  Well, maybe not that so much as to take breaks and decompress. 

I think Michael needs to learn about being human.  Not so much the inhabiting a body thing (sweating!) as things like "life's not all about work" and "to err is human" .  He has to learn about dealing with his and others' imperfections if he is to build a "good place" for them.

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I'm thinking of it like The Bad Place, but not the Worst Place.  After all, nobody is genuinely happy:  Chidi is at his wit's end.  Tahani is still haunted by her sister's success.  Eleanor hates her house and feels responsible for everything going wrong.  Jianji has to go around mute.  Not my idea of anything close to heaven.

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Off-the-wall theory here:  Jianyu/Jason's presence in the Good Place obviously has a cause different from Eleanor's.  Could it have anything to do with reincarnation?   Though why would a Buddhist monk have been reincarnated as Jason and subsequently, upon his demise, go to the Good Place rather than another life?

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So here's my overarching theory: The Good Place is not for people who have been "good" but for people who have lived their lives intending to end up in The Good Place. The only common thread we've seen from the residents of the place is the idea that they've been good, and therefore have a level of superiority over everyone else. I mean, a good person wouldn't hold Fake Eleanor's attempt to stay against her -- they'd have the necessary amount of compassion to see it was reasonable. They would forgive her transgressions, because none of Eleanor's sins have really been that bad. They'd dive quickly into soulmates -- and the idea of soulmates -- because they've lived their lives with the expectation of eventual reward (I mean, didn't Real Eleanor's proclamation of love come early? Didn't Tahani's expectations of Jiyanu fit into that category -- love is my reward for my good life?)  

But the neighborhood residents don't do that. Because of their self-perceived "goodness," they hold themselves in higher esteem than the rest of the world, and are, for the most part, douchebags. Michael's questionnaire fits that idea, doesn't it? That you'd be eternally penalized for your choice of music or vanity plates (of course, the sock/airplanes thing is universal, but still). But if you're someone who thinks they are a good person making all the good choices, then those things would matter. 

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Interesting theory! And the one thing I see that Original Eleanor and Jason have in common is that they were un-self-consciously not trying to be good before they got to The Good Place. They were authentic, and true to their impulses, much like the "Bad People" and Trevor. Maybe it's Superego vs Id dominance that defines Good vs Bad Place designation.

I think New Eleanor is the one person who so far seems to be completely good in both senses. She's not judgmental, she seems to be authentic, she's caring of others, she's sincere, she's likable, she's empathetic, patient, pretty much perfect so far, and not in an annoying way.

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This could have definitely been a misdirect because Schur has been cautious about showing his hand, but early in the season he explained Tahani's apparent superiority complex (which we now know is rooted in an inferiority complex?) and name-dropping as more than balanced by her good deeds. (Lotta consequentialism there compared to the deontological bent of ep 11 though...)

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On 1/13/2017 at 3:02 PM, possibilities said:

I think New Eleanor is the one person who so far seems to be completely good in both senses. She's not judgmental, she seems to be authentic, she's caring of others, she's sincere, she's likable, she's empathetic, patient, pretty much perfect so far, and not in an annoying way.

She's too good to be true.  I hope she's some sort of double agent working for Adam Scott's Trevor.

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I've been thinking, could Fake Eleanor & Jason be some kind of test for the other people? Maybe this isn't "The Good Place" (all my theories seem to revolve around this), maybe it's a waiting room where people are tested to see if they're really good, or just pretend good, or maybe it's for people who are not quite good enough, so they give them a learning experience. How they react to Eleanor & Jason determines whether or not they get into the real "Good Place", and Eleanor & Jason may not know that they're the test. Or they do know & at some point we're going to get a big "Gotcha!" 

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On 10/21/2016 at 9:33 AM, Qoass said:

I'm thinking of it like The Bad Place, but not the Worst Place.  After all, nobody is genuinely happy:  Chidi is at his wit's end.  Tahani is still haunted by her sister's success.  Eleanor hates her house and feels responsible for everything going wrong.  Jianji has to go around mute.  Not my idea of anything close to heaven.

I feel like you should get an award or  something. 

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My (probably wrong) theory is that it's The Whatever You Make of It Place. Eleanor, Jason, Chidi, and Tahani were told it was The Good Place but weren't ready to truly accept it as such - Eleanor and Jason because they thought they were frauds, Chidi because he was too hung up on what good meant philosophically, and Tahani because she was too self-absorbed and was trying to be good for all the wrong reasons. 

As soon as Eleanor said it was the bad place, and the others bought into it, it became the bad place for them, and Michael became malevolent.

I still think it has the potential to become The Good Place if E/J/C/T can shed the behaviors and attitudes which prevent it from being Good for them. Maybe they're all each others' soul mates.

I don't really know how the Bad and Medium Places fit into this, except I expect the Bad place doesn't really exist, and maybe the Medium Place doesn't, either. Also don't know about Janet, but I agree with others that she is key to resolving this whole thing.

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19 hours ago, Babalu said:

As soon as Eleanor said it was the bad place, and the others bought into it, it became the bad place for them, and Michael became malevolent.

Including retroactively, as seen in his flashbacks about being promoted and making his presentation about his afterlife design, complete with not caring about making the human afterlife fun "for the people we're torturing" because "who cares about those dummies"?

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Maybe? Ok, maybe not? Time isn't really a thing in the afterlife, so "past" motivations could be adjusted based on "current" perceptions. Or, as I said, I'm probably wrong.

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On 10/21/2016 at 0:33 PM, Qoass said:

I'm thinking of it like The Bad Place, but not the Worst Place.  After all, nobody is genuinely happy:  Chidi is at his wit's end.  Tahani is still haunted by her sister's success.  Eleanor hates her house and feels responsible for everything going wrong.  Jianji has to go around mute.  Not my idea of anything close to heaven.

As someone else said, we have a winner here. Not to put the pressure on, QOASS, but what's going to happen next season?

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I was thinking of doing a wild speculation post on the episode thread of the Season 2 opener, but thought it'd be better on a Speculation thread. And lo and behold, one exists!

With the setup we have at current, the writers have a wide range of things they could do. They also have set a pace that is very fast and hard to keep up with, with V2.0 crashing and burning in a day. The whole of season 1 had one status quo. Eleanor didn't belong, and it threatened The Good Place. I kind of think they need to settle on a status quo to last through season 2.

My speculation: We see Eleanor and the gang ruin the illusion again. Michael is despondent, and says he'll have to wipe their memories again. One of them says "We've done this before?"  Michael says "We've done this 173 times and you keep screwing it up! I can't hide this from Sean anymore!" Michael explains "retirement", and the four + Janet hatch a scheme. They have to work with Michael and pretend to be tortured by The Good Place in order to prevent an eternity of "old fashioned" torture in The Bad Place. This will last until the end of Season 2. Then something will blow up the status quo again.

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8 hours ago, Fukui San said:

I was thinking of doing a wild speculation post on the episode thread of the Season 2 opener, but thought it'd be better on a Speculation thread. And lo and behold, one exists!

With the setup we have at current, the writers have a wide range of things they could do. They also have set a pace that is very fast and hard to keep up with, with V2.0 crashing and burning in a day. The whole of season 1 had one status quo. Eleanor didn't belong, and it threatened The Good Place. I kind of think they need to settle on a status quo to last through season 2.

My speculation: We see Eleanor and the gang ruin the illusion again. Michael is despondent, and says he'll have to wipe their memories again. One of them says "We've done this before?"  Michael says "We've done this 173 times and you keep screwing it up! I can't hide this from Sean anymore!" Michael explains "retirement", and the four + Janet hatch a scheme. They have to work with Michael and pretend to be tortured by The Good Place in order to prevent an eternity of "old fashioned" torture in The Bad Place. This will last until the end of Season 2. Then something will blow up the status quo again.

I like this idea! It also avoids the 'groundhog day' set up that I hate so much.

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I like this idea, and at first I thought this would totally work. But then I wondered how do the demons fit in? Something needs to be done to get them on board, too. They don't like their roles right now, so they could probably be persuaded, but I'm not sure what incentive would work, since I doubt actually letting them bite and twist would be on the table. Also, how would it look to have Sean being faked out? Does he check on them and they have to act tortured? Do they just enjoy their time when he's not around doing a check? Doesn't he have the ability to tell if they're lying, like Michael had that thing he used during the interviews last season?

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In my idea the humans and Michael would be fooling the demons into thinking that they are correctly torturing them. So Michael will be running back and forth instructing the demons on how to torture the humans, and instructing the humans on how to trick the demons.

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It'll also be interesting to see how Janet fits into everything. We've already been told that she was a stolen good-place Janet, so we can assume that Bad Janets are (like the good ones) too literal-minded to be deceptive; a Bad Janet wouldn't be able to pretend to be a good one convincingly. "Our" Janet must have been instructed not to reveal that the four are in the Bad Place, and probably was just given that Bad Place audio snippet to play for anyone who asked about that subject.

But the thing about her being literal-minded is that Michael & co. can't just tell her to help them with the torture project; they'd have to give explicit instructions on what she can and can't do for the four. Any gap in those instructions is room for Janet to actually be helpful to Eleanor and her "cellmates." I think this is what happened when she brought Jason to Eleanor after he confessed to her and hugged her (and also what happened when he proposed to her in the 1.0 version of their afterlife -- she explicitly told him that nothing in her programming prevented her from marrying him).

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On 9/22/2017 at 11:28 AM, Fukui San said:

I was thinking of doing a wild speculation post on the episode thread of the Season 2 opener, but thought it'd be better on a Speculation thread. And lo and behold, one exists!

With the setup we have at current, the writers have a wide range of things they could do. They also have set a pace that is very fast and hard to keep up with, with V2.0 crashing and burning in a day. The whole of season 1 had one status quo. Eleanor didn't belong, and it threatened The Good Place. I kind of think they need to settle on a status quo to last through season 2.

My speculation: We see Eleanor and the gang ruin the illusion again. Michael is despondent, and says he'll have to wipe their memories again. One of them says "We've done this before?"  Michael says "We've done this 173 times and you keep screwing it up! I can't hide this from Sean anymore!" Michael explains "retirement", and the four + Janet hatch a scheme. They have to work with Michael and pretend to be tortured by The Good Place in order to prevent an eternity of "old fashioned" torture in The Bad Place. This will last until the end of Season 2. Then something will blow up the status quo again.

I made a similar guess in the episode thread. I think Michael's interests could align with the interest of the 4 at some point. He needs to not be sent to retirement, they need to not be tortured at the "real" bad place. I'm not sure the demons would put up with that many reboots. They seemed agitated at the start of round 2. I agree Michael probably have to lie to the demons unless he has some unknown leverage over them.

I wonder if Michael's fascination with all things "human" is real. I think it might be since he did propose living in this neighborhood in human form where he gets to interact with him. I could see that also being a hook for him to work with the 4.

 

6 hours ago, wilnil said:

It'll also be interesting to see how Janet fits into everything. We've already been told that she was a stolen good-place Janet, so we can assume that Bad Janets are (like the good ones) too literal-minded to be deceptive; a Bad Janet wouldn't be able to pretend to be a good one convincingly. "Our" Janet must have been instructed not to reveal that the four are in the Bad Place, and probably was just given that Bad Place audio snippet to play for anyone who asked about that subject.

But the thing about her being literal-minded is that Michael & co. can't just tell her to help them with the torture project; they'd have to give explicit instructions on what she can and can't do for the four. Any gap in those instructions is room for Janet to actually be helpful to Eleanor and her "cellmates." I think this is what happened when she brought Jason to Eleanor after he confessed to her and hugged her (and also what happened when he proposed to her in the 1.0 version of their afterlife -- she explicitly told him that nothing in her programming prevented her from marrying him).

 

I think most of Janet's programming is as a general good neighborhood mainframe. My sense is Michael only gave her very limited instructions (bring me this, go there, etc) and she is not in on the ruse at all. Wasn't she rebooted when the memories were wiped? That poses a danger to Michael too since she gains new abilities. 

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On 9/29/2017 at 5:03 PM, secnarf said:

I wonder if Michael is somehow being "tortured" too.

I think it is borderline possible Michael is an angel who is being rehabilitated. 

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So rewatched the S1 finale. I know it was all a ruse but Shawn said this was the third case like this. Assuming Mindy St Claire was case 001 and Eleanor was 003, I wonder what the second case was. 

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4 hours ago, Samsnee said:

So rewatched the S1 finale. I know it was all a ruse but Shawn said this was the third case like this. Assuming Mindy St Claire was case 001 and Eleanor was 003, I wonder what the second case was. 

Doug Forcett?

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Does anyone else think The Good Place really is The Good Place?...or at least purgatory. Even with the reboots its as though the four main characters are learning lessons....I'm super interested to know how it plays out without reboots and the knowledge they are in The Bad Place ("Bad Place"?) and have to help each other with Michael there (as a guide?)

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On 10/7/2017 at 7:37 PM, JayTab said:

Does anyone else think The Good Place really is The Good Place?...or at least purgatory. Even with the reboots its as though the four main characters are learning lessons....I'm super interested to know how it plays out without reboots and the knowledge they are in The Bad Place ("Bad Place"?) and have to help each other with Michael there (as a guide?)

I was raised Catholic (not currently practicing but I was raised like super duper hardcore Catholic) so I've been worried about my own religious education shadowing how I watch the show.

But to me this seems very much like purgatory! The whole idea is most people don't go straight to heaven because they are still stained by sin. But that most of those people don't deserve to spend eternity in hell. A lot of people think purgatory is just like God's waiting room. But it isn't. It's torture. It's fire and brimstone. It's a bad place. Just not the bad place. That's why the infamous indulgence scams in the Middle Ages worked so well. People would pay a lot of money to take years off of their loved ones being literally tortured.

But eventually you could work off your sins and be purified for heaven.

And I think it's entirely possible that Michael wouldn't even know the deal. He was fairly low down on the totem pole until recently. And even now his only job is to design torture.  All he and the other demons would necessarily know is they have to torture these people. The whole eternal schematics is above their pay grade.

I don't know if there is any merit to that theory. But I do think for sure that there is more going on than Michael is aware of. He is an office drone recently promoted to middle management. He doesn't have C-suite level knowledge.

I do still like the theory that Janet is a fragment of God, himself/herself/itself. And she's just having a blast playing along. 

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I was listening to a podcast about Harris Wittels and I am now certain at least one of three things will happen when we see the actual good place: Adolf Hitler will be there because of his vegetarianism, there will be an unlimited ice cream bar and Phish will be playing. 

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On 10/12/2017 at 3:03 PM, biakbiak said:

I was listening to a podcast about Harris Wittels and I am now certain at least one of three things will happen when we see the actual good place: Adolf Hitler will be there because of his vegetarianism, there will be an unlimited ice cream bar and Phish will be playing. 

That would be enough to convince me it's the Bad Place :)

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Wait a mother forkin' second.... Just a thought when listening to the latest Extra Hot Great.

Eleanor leaves herself a note in Janet's mouth on the first reset.

BUT Janet pleads for her life whenever she is reset.

Sloppy continuity, or very subtle clue?

Dun Dun DUUUUN!!!

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Quote

 There's an underlying shocking reality that these people are dead. They're not going to be restored to life - they're just going to wind up spending an eternity somewhere else. That's an extremely sobering thought, even for a comedy show trying to make light of the concept. 

I stole this quote from the episode thread because I thought my response belonged here more. 

I don't think they're really in the Bad Place. I think there's a shot that they aren't even really dead, but in comas or just asleep working through their personal issues. I also think there's a decent chance that Eleanor and Michael are the only ones whoa re really there. it's becoming sort of clear to me that Michael is Eleanor's "bad" side (which she had always thought of as good to justify her actions) and the other three were her "good" side -- Chidi, the inherent goodness she has in her but repressed, Tahani is the hot ways he's seen herself over her life, but always a bit jealous of someone just a bit hotter and Jason, her dopey but good natured self. if you think about it, all three of those are characatures -- none of them are really developed much beyond their log line, are they? We see lots of nuance in Eleanor, but the only other person we see any nuance in is Michael. The occasional switch of POV is problematic for this theory, but the whole thing could just be a story that Eleanor is being shown. 

I don''t know whether that holds water or not. What I'm pretty certain of is that this is not The Bad Place -- I think the final statement will be that there is not Bad Place nor any Good Place, there is only where you are. We're going to end up with Eleanor still alive. 

Just out of curiosity, have we ever seen her dad? If not, I'm betting he looks a lot like Sam Malone. 

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2 hours ago, whiporee said:

 

Just out of curiosity, have we ever seen her dad? If not, I'm betting he looks a lot like Sam Malone. 

We've seen her dad twice. Once last season (the finale maybe) her parents were arguing. We also saw his picture at his funeral a few weeks back in the episodes that featured Eleanor's mother.

It was super obvious that Michael was torturing them with the Trolley, so maybe it was too obvious. I'm wondering Michael is actually trying to teach them to be good people. He did get Chidi to finally stop his indecisiveness and take a stand. We've never seen Chidi so confident as he was after Michael pushed him.

For Janet's glitching, there's an interesting theory in the episode thread that it's whenever she says she's happy. I've also wondered if it's when she's showing emotions or acting human. I could also see the possibility that reading that much on human psychology affected her. Those all feel kind of basic though. Janet already theorized its because she's acting in a way that she's not meant to act. Maybe a real Good Place architect realized she was stolen finally and this is a mechanism to shut her down when stolen.

On 10/19/2017 at 3:41 PM, Fukui San said:

Wait a mother forkin' second.... Just a thought when listening to the latest Extra Hot Great.

Eleanor leaves herself a note in Janet's mouth on the first reset.

BUT Janet pleads for her life whenever she is reset.

Sloppy continuity, or very subtle clue?

Dun Dun DUUUUN!!!

When Michael checked for a note at the start of the third reset and showed he could reach his hand absurdly far. She's not human or even earthly, I don't think it's right to assume her mouth has the same physical properties as a human mouth.

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1 hour ago, Dots And Stripes said:

For Janet's glitching, there's an interesting theory in the episode thread that it's whenever she says she's happy. I've also wondered if it's when she's showing emotions or acting human.

It's been further posited that it's when she says she's happy for Tahani and Jason being together. Even though she's been rebooted 802 times, it's possible that she has some memory vestige of her time with Jason. It's also possible that was not the only time she and Jason got together, much like Eleanor and Chidi got together a number of times. Then, since she can't lie, her telling Tahani that she's happy for her might be causing the glitch. 

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End of Season Twist speculation:

The Fab Four and Michael do too good of a job at pretending the humans are miserable...

...and four MORE humans get added into the mix, as Shaun decides to try 'expanding' Michael's plan.

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On 10/20/2017 at 8:44 PM, Dots And Stripes said:

Janet already theorized its because she's acting in a way that she's not meant to act.

Like bringing real happiness to someone in the Bad Place?

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1 hour ago, LoneHaranguer said:

Like bringing real happiness to someone in the Bad Place?

She said it reference to acting as a therapist. She’s not supposed to be acting like a medical professional. 

She did say previously that her purpose was to make humans happy, so I don’t think her making the humans happy in the Bad Place is her problem exactly. I could see there being some complication from Janet being from the Good Place but working in a Bad Place neighborhood.

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This may not be the appropriate thread..but I'm a bit disappointed that they did away (seemingly) with the triangle between Tahani Chidi and Eleanor. At the least it would be nice to keep the friendship Tahani forged with the latter two. 

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