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S03.E10: Janet(s)

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I just discovered this show.  I binged the first 2 seasons on Netflix then the current episodes of season 3 via Xfinity On Demand.  It is awesomely funny.  Kristen Bell gives an exemplary performance as the bitchy woman trying to be better.  Ted Danson's character arc is the best though, since it hasn't been repeatedly reset. 

 

Ten episodes is the mid season finale?  Didn't seasons 1 and 2 only have 13 episodes?  Is this season going to be longer?

Edited by Ray Adverb
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5 hours ago, Ray Adverb said:

Ten episodes is the mid season finale?  Didn't seasons 1 and 2 only have 13 episodes?  Is this season going to be longer?

Nope. 13 episodes like the first two seasons. The creator (Mike Shur), as well as Ted Danson and Kristen Bell, want the shorter seasons. Which this year allows Bell to reprise her Veronica Mars character.

Last season also had most of the episodes ending in December, then the final few episodes aired in January.

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This show is endlessly entertaining. It just gets better and better. Oh, and I love Stephen Merchant (and the corner piece of a big cake). Can't wait for the next episode. 

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I love this show, and I love Ted Danson, but I missed the gang this week. I love they are in the Good Place. And there were posters here in season 1 or 2 who pretty much called this system out and guessed this plot, so kudos.

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4 minutes ago, cambridgeguy said:

If no one has gotten into the Good Place in 500 years then I look forward to seeing the gang interact with 16th century people.

I hadn't even thought of that. I also wonder if the residents of the Good Place have stagnated without a diversity of new perspectives and experiences. Or whether the residents have the ability to monitor and keep up modern society. If it's the latter, I'm speculating that we get a bunch of medieval and renaissance Eleanors because there's no way that you can observe hundreds or thousands of years human awfulness and stupidity and not develop a very jaundiced cynical view of the world.

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I thought that episode was absolutely amazing. Even though the main 4 were missing for the majority of the episode it didn’t even matter. D’arcy did an incredible job portraying each of them. I want to watch it again! 

Edited by srpturtle80
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That was forking brilliant. If D'arcy Carden doesn't win all kinds of awards for that, there really is a bad place.

Didn't Michael say back in season 1 that Abraham Lincoln is in the Good Place? Although I guess anything he said then is up for debate. And I have no idea when we are right now, so the whole, nobody in the last 500 years could be just about any time.

I was just at the point of being ok if Chidi/Eleanor didn't happen but that way of doing it was great. 

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2 minutes ago, JessDVD said:

Didn't Michael say back in season 1 that Abraham Lincoln is in the Good Place? Although I guess anything he said then is up for debate. And I have no idea when we are right now, so the whole, nobody in the last 500 years could be just about any time.

I thought back to the pilot too. Michael definitely indicated a few people had made it into the Good Place in the last 500. They may have to explain that away. Maybe Michael lied? I think we're about present day on the earth timeline. We went through Eleanor's first year relatively quickly and I think at least a year passed in Australia. 

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Best episode of the season!

 

Edit: if the last person to make it to the good place was 500 years ago, could we extrapolate to say the one person makes it every 500(+) years? That's a pretty empty afterlife. 

Edited by RainbowBrite
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I love that I never know what's going to happen with this show. D'Arcy Carden played Eleanor, Chidi, Jason, and Tahani so well that I instantly knew who was who. Her apathetic accounting department Janet was great, too. Also: "I can throw shade now. That's cool." Anyone who doesn't give her an award for this episode is going to the Bad Place. 

The slideshow of Janet and Jason playing "Digital Get Down" and Jason saying white people things had me rolling. "I got it on Etsy." 

I felt so bad for Janet!Eleanor when Janet!Chidi tried to tell her it wasn't him who had those memories so he didn't want to know about them. She was right when she said he was "vomiting Wikipedia" to avoid dealing with his feelings. And then by finally being honest, they were able to turn back into themselves and save Janet's void. That kiss. That hand-holding. <3

So no one has gotten into the Good Place for 521 years? Something is definitely screwy, there. I'm glad Janet was able to convince Michael to take the initiative to fix it. 

Holy forking shirtballs, they're in the real Good Place! I love that the show isn't afraid to breeze through storylines. On any other show, this would be the season finale, not the mid-season finale. I can't even imagine what they have up their sleeves for the end of the season.

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From Variety's Schur interview:

Quote

“We chose roughly 500 years because we figured once the world was sort of closed as a loop — once exploration moved from Western Europe across the ocean — that basically after that moment it was essentially impossible for anyone to live a life to get in by the criteria we’ve set up,” Schur says, noting that the writers’ room kicked around names like Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman and Jonas Salk early on (the latter two made it into the final cut of the episode), but people like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington were dismissed. “What gave us wind in our sails for this idea, which is like go try to find the incontrovertibly great person in history who never did anything [bad]. Anyone antebellum is screwed in America, pretty much.”

So I would guess they're going to have to go with "Michael was lying" as the explanation for Lincoln being mentioned back then. (edited: Or I'll go with HunterHunted's explanation below, which makes sense too.)

Boy, between training for the fight scene in the last episode and playing her co-stars in this one, they threw plenty of challenges at D'Arcy Carden over a short period of time, and she pulled them off. Hopefully the show getting more awards attention is happening at just the right time for her to finally get some Emmy (and other award) love.

Edited by TheOtherOne
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5 minutes ago, vibeology said:

The most impressive moment for me was when Janet!Eleanor was pretending to be Janet!Jason because D'Arcy played it just a little off. Not so much that it was obvious right away but the accent wasn't exactly the same and she held her face and body differently. The amount of work she must have done to get that just right is astonishing.

Yes!  D'Arcy truly was amazing in this episode!

Did anyone else have a Buffy flashback during the kiss? (Season 7 - Kennedy kissing Warren/Willow who turned back into Willow during the kiss?)

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45 minutes ago, JessDVD said:

That was forking brilliant. If D'arcy Carden doesn't win all kinds of awards for that, there really is a bad place.

 

Absolutely. She was amazing and then some. Kudos to the show's computer team as well for all the digital manipulation, which was pretty neat.

So assuming that someone is in charge of the (real) Good Place, did he/she/it not notice that humans had stopped showing up there in recent centuries? And is the Judge in on the Bad Place scam too?

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Well that was a lot of fun and a fantastic performance by D'Arcy. Kristen Bell is probably the hardest to copy and even that was really good.

A lot of us had expected that nobody gets in, but I surely would have thought that meant "no one ever", not "no one in 500 years". It could be very interesting if that means the "Good Place Committee" is stuck in the mindset of 1500. But assuming the show sticks with the tradition of not following any one specific culture/religion, I'm not sure how that would translate.

(I mean if Schur decides to blame it on the Renaissance I won't be that disappointed, but it's far more Euro-centric than they usually go.)

All things considered, 4 humans with Janet powers were very restrained.

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Safe to say that this was definitely D'Arcy Carden's episode.  Her playing versions of the core four while they were stuck as Janet was brilliant, and she nailed all of them.  If I had to pick a favorite, I'd probably go with her version of Eleanor since there where times I honestly thought Kristen Bell was doing the voice, but her Tahani was also pitch-perfect as well.  But, again, all four of them were hilarious.  Special bonus to the "bored, mundane Janet from accounting" as well.  In a just world, she'd get an Emmy nomination out of this (but that depends on voters doing more than just tossing a nomination to Ted Danson only, even though he's totally deserving as well.)

I see Mike Schur's love for making fun of accountants hasn't gone away!  Stephen Merchant was another great casting choice as the Head Accountant.  As was the poor guy that was stuck with "sex acts" duty.  Yeah, that would be a task only the strong can handle!  But the reveal that no one has made it to the actual Good Place in over five hundred years is interesting.  Are the demons from the Bad Place meddling, after-all?  Or is someone up in the Good Place not want anymore people in?  Or is something else at play, here?

I was about to say that the main cast had it a bit easy here, but then I read that article above that they actually performed the scenes for D'Arcy to study.  It would be cool if we could have see some of those moments as a bonus feature or something.

Looks like they finally made it to The Good Place!  And not only is this season still not done (hell, we aren't even in mid season finale mode yet), we will be getting a th one as well!  I really can't wait to see what insanity this show unleashes next!

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1 hour ago, Dots And Stripes said:

I thought back to the pilot too. Michael definitely indicated a few people had made it into the Good Place in the last 500. They may have to explain that away. Maybe Michael lied?

Is this even a question? We know that Michael was lying like crazy. Even if he didn't have omniscient knowledge of who had and hadn't made it in, he certainly wasn't above making stuff up.

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22 minutes ago, Rinaldo said:

Is this even a question? We know that Michael was lying like crazy. Even if he didn't have omniscient knowledge of who had and hadn't made it in, he certainly wasn't above making stuff up.

They've already made it clear that he didn't lie about everything. Janet was real, and a lot of what he has said about the point system was real. Being able to explain away everything inconvenient as a lie feels cheap. I like @HunterHunted's idea up thread. Shawn is Michael's boss, so it seems plausible that he could have more knowledge about Bad Place schemes than Michael.

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1 hour ago, Dots And Stripes said:

I thought back to the pilot too. Michael definitely indicated a few people had made it into the Good Place in the last 500. They may have to explain that away. Maybe Michael lied? 

Did he say they were in the good place, or did he simply say they were not in the bad place? Either could be explained away, but the latter leads to even more interesting possibilities.

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Didn’t Gen indicate Eleanor had passed her test and was eligible for the good place. If Eleanor with some ethics education can get there, 500 years is way too long. Unless Gen doesn’t know that it’s been 500 years. 

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Where does Mindy St. Claire fit into all of this? If she was such a fuck up in her life, how did her one good deed push her over the top to get her into the medium place? Why isn't there one for people like, say, FDR or MLK or the members of the resistance during the Holocaust who gave their lives to save people?

 

Am I just reading too much into this?

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1 hour ago, HunterHunted said:

Holy Forking Shirtballs! D'Arcy was amazing. I didn't even need the gang as Janet to change clothes because it was so obvious by the writing and D'Arcy's performance who was who.

She was phenomenal. 

1 hour ago, JessDVD said:

That was forking brilliant. If D'arcy Carden doesn't win all kinds of awards for that, there really is a bad place.

Didn't Michael say back in season 1 that Abraham Lincoln is in the Good Place? Although I guess anything he said then is up for debate. And I have no idea when we are right now, so the whole, nobody in the last 500 years could be just about any time.

I was just at the point of being ok if Chidi/Eleanor didn't happen but that way of doing it was great. 

Michael clearly has no actual knowledge of who is in the Good Place. Agree with others that he was making it up.

1 hour ago, Linny said:

 

Jason eagerly volunteering to go through the tube ("oh hell yeah, I love getting in stuff!") cracked me up. And Eleanor looked so genuinely happy to be in the Good Place that I hope she won't be let down by whatever happens there.

(End of conversation.)

I particularly loved that he basically died because he hoped into a small space without thinking and still did it.

59 minutes ago, vibeology said:

The most impressive moment for me was when Janet!Eleanor was pretending to be Janet!Jason because D'Arcy played it just a little off. Not so much that it was obvious right away but the accent wasn't exactly the same and she held her face and body differently. The amount of work she must have done to get that just right is astonishing.

Agreed. She was just slightly off.

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51 minutes ago, festivus said:

Let's say white people stuff. "I got it on Etsy." I can't find any parking." "Did you refill the Britta?"I can't remember the first one but that was brilliant.

"Billy Joel!" 

D'Arcy was amazing. 

Now, Tahani and Jason know that he had married Janet. I loved that it was sometime in the "e" of the Bearimy. Now we know when in the afterlife the first attempt took place. 

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Tahani was kind of back-seated here.  But I guess she got to shine a little more in the earth-bound episodes.  

Was that a dumbwaiter through which they entered the Good Place?  Or just a cabinet?  At first I thought it was the safe Jason had died in...  And why was no one in the office to greet them?

Of course, no one had arrived there in 500 years... But in a Jeremy Bearimy time-lineloop, does that mean anything?

I can say that once again I really don't know what to expect from upcoming episodes of this show.  What does a "good place" for people from the 1400's look like?  (Are there food puns?) And what kind of interactions do the Soul Squadron have with people from the middle ages?  I guess some of the action will be Michael interacting with After-life management types rather than Good Place denizens.

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2 minutes ago, rwlevin said:

Where does Mindy St. Claire fit into all of this? If she was such a fuck up in her life, how did her one good deed push her over the top to get her into the medium place? Why isn't there one for people like, say, FDR or MLK or the members of the resistance during the Holocaust who gave their lives to save people?

 

Am I just reading too much into this?

So here's a theory: What if your points are adjusted with a basis on what percent of the population they affect? Easy for a caveman to get 10,000 points.  Nearly impossible for anyone once we reached half a billion. (Which would be around 500 years ago.) Mindy's unstated idea might have helped literally everyone.

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6 minutes ago, ThoughtAFool said:

Was that a dumbwaiter through which they entered the Good Place?  Or just a cabinet?  At first I thought it was the safe Jason had died in...  And why was no one in the office to greet them?

It looked like a mailbox/mail-chute, located in a mail room, which probably explains why nobody was there to greet them.  They probably don't receive people through there.

Edited by AnnaRose
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2 minutes ago, AnnaRose said:

It looked like a mailbox/mail-chute, located in a mail room, which probably explains why nobody was there to greet them.  They probably don't receive people through there.

I'm guessing they don't get a lot of mail, either.

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As an accountant, I really enjoyed all the stereotypical “accountant” stuff. Bland Janet, Billions of accountants in their cubicles, “the numbers are the numbers, so of course there’s no errors”, and even being excited about a little birthday cake. And now I feel that Stephen Merchant represents my people!

Loved this episode so very much.

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2 hours ago, tominboston said:

And is the Judge in on the Bad Place scam too?

I doubt it, she mostly seems to sit in her chambers watching tv. Someone has to come to her to request a ruling and if the good place angels don't press the issue she has no reason to get involved. When our four showed up she didn't know who they were for example, she had to look at their files so she doesn't have automatic knowledge of everything that's going on and when you're as old as the universe 500 years is really just a short moment.

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2 hours ago, Amarsir said:

A lot of us had expected that nobody gets in, but I surely would have thought that meant "no one ever", not "no one in 500 years". It could be very interesting if that means the "Good Place Committee" is stuck in the mindset of 1500. But assuming the show sticks with the tradition of not following any one specific culture/religion, I'm not sure how that would translate.

500 years is such a monstrous callous timeframe. In fact, "no one ever" is actually a little less cruel. During the past 500 years, the earth has experienced such a number of massive mortality events: the 2nd and 3rd plague pandemics, decimation of native populations in colonized lands, the slave trade, the Russian Revolution, the Communist Revolution in China, WW1, WW2, the Spanish Flu, the Chinese Japanese War, the Napoleonic Wars, all of the Chinese wars (Qing/Ming, Han, Taiping), the 30 Years War, the Great Irish Famine, and more. Not to mention the tens of millions of people who die every year just because. Fifty-five million people died last year. And we've only had half decent medicine for the last 100 years or so. People had tons of kids because only a handful would make it to adulthood. The infant mortality rate was astronomical. We're talking billions upon billions of people. At least 40 billion. So out of the last 40 billion people who have died, none have qualified for the Good Place and Mindy got into the Medium Place.

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Someone needs to get word back to Doug that he's doomed, so he might as well start partying at the bar, peeing on the police car, and giving that snotty kid a fist sandwich.  What are they gonna do?

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That episode was so good. Looks like it comes back January 10th, so we don't have that long to wait, at least it isn't as long as Season 1's mid season finale - that was torture.

D'Arcy Carden needs an Emmy.

Ted Danson needs an Emmy.

 

and An Emmy For Megan.

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So this is The Good Place!

I have always suspected that the system itself was a mess, but, oh my god, its been over 500 years since anyone got into The Good Place?! And everyone in the afterlife (at least, the accountants) was just cool with that? I have always hoped that the system itself would be totally rewritten, and it looks like that might be what happens! Our hero Michael is here! So, has The Bad Place been gaming the system, is The Good Place corrupt, or is the whole system a mess?

Michael realizing that he has to be the one to save the day, and Janet looking at him really gently was super sweet as he realized it. Loved seeing the Accountants (and poor Mike in Weird Sex Things), and more and more hints as to how this universe works, or fails to work. 

 D'Arcy is just so amazing. That is all. I am starting her Emmy campaign as we speak. She is just an absolute treasure in a show that is a never ending treasure trove. 

Eleanor and Chidi finally get their Big Damn Kiss! It was weird, and super in character, and just great. 

Just so much great stuff."Lets say things that white people say!" The return of Digital Get Down in Janet's memory of her marriage to Jason! The side piece of cake! So much forking greatness!

And now they finally found The Good Place, for real! Holy short!

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Loved, loved, loved the episode. D'Arcy Carden was fantastic playing the four humans. That being said, the episode did raise some conceptual concerns.

The biggest one is that while it was clear that the points system was forked up for a long time, now that it is confirmed that no one has gotten into the Good Place for centuries, it is kind of hard to avoid the nightmare-fuel thought of what that means for specific, real-world people. Before, there was some plausible deniability where theoretically, we could assume that at the very least young children or great heroes of history were in TGP. But now, we're dealing with a narrative universe in which, canonically, every single person who has existed for half a millennium has been subjected to potentially centuries of horrific torture. That's...really grim.

I also think it dilutes something of the show's premise. The original problem with the points system was that it was excessively rigid, too unforgiving of human frailty and dismissive of people's continual power to change. By most people's moral systems, Eleanor would be deserving of a bad place, but we see that she is capable of genuine transformation under the right circumstances, which argues against the premise of consigning someone like her to eternal torture. Then, there's someone like Chidi, who may have had deep flaws that prevented him from really contributing to the happiness of others, but who was a more or less decent person; it isn't that the system has totally misjudged him, but that a system in which a Chidi winds up in the bad place is pretty merciless. 

That's undermined by the realization that no one gets in, because now we know that a) even if all four of these people had been their best selves, they were completely doomed; being an Arizona trashbag and being Mother Teresa makes no difference and b) the point system isn't just un-nuanced, it is completely broken. And I find the idea of fighting against a system that is just without being merciful a lot more interesting than fighting against a system that is transparently rigged. 

As others have noted, it also makes Mindy St. Clair's existence kind of baffling; her consignment to a medium place made sense only when we thought there were also people getting into the good place.

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8 hours ago, rwlevin said:

Where does Mindy St. Claire fit into all of this? If she was such a fuck up in her life, how did her one good deed push her over the top to get her into the medium place? Why isn't there one for people like, say, FDR or MLK or the members of the resistance during the Holocaust who gave their lives to save people?

 

Am I just reading too much into this?

I tend to ignore lines in pilots as unimportant an easily back tracked when necessary.  Michael simply has no idea that no one has gotten into the good place.   The accountants weren’t even aware until they checked.

Mindy was important to the plot if no one has gotten into the Good Place in 500 years how dies she fit in?  

Edited by Chaos Theory

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For me the line that assured me that the whole system is forked up has to be about Doug Forcett. I just rewatched the scene on Hulu to double check that I heard it right. The accountant states how Doug has an excellent point score, but then because of his age (68) he's screwed. This started making me wonder about babies and children who have yet to even amass a point total.

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