Saying goodbye to The Good Place

Looking back on a show that shaped my undergrad experience

Just like the characters in The Good Place

This week, NBC comedy The Good Place moved on to a better place—wink wink, nudge nudge—but only after imparting us with one final philosophical message. It taught us that sometimes, not having all the answers is part of the solution.

It’s hard to talk about the bittersweet finale episode without getting into spoiler territory. Since I’m still determined to get everyone I know to watch this incredible show, I’ll only say that it was just as thought-provoking and heart-wrenching as every episode that preceded it. From each individual character’s goodbye to each contemplative monologue to each joke about frogs, The Good Place proved that after four seasons, it was still able to surprise and delight its viewers endlessly.

The Good Place premiered back in September of 2016, when I had just moved into my tiny room in the McNeill House residence. I was stressed about all the new people and new situations surrounding me. When I heard there was a new show out from Michael Schur, the creator of The Office and Parks and Recreation, I thought I might be able to ignore my problems for half an hour every week.

Little did I know, The Good Place would become more than a distraction from my lacking social life and overwhelming academics. From underneath the show’s witty jokes and flawless acting emerged an uplifting message of perseverance and hope that, in my eyes, no other sitcom has been able to spread in the same way.

Despite focusing on a woman who starts her journey dying and going to the afterlife, the moral of The Good Place rests mainly in what we do while we’re living. It addresses philosophical quandaries about morality and justice through the characters’ stories, often explicitly. The show challenges its characters and viewers alike to reflect on how their choices impact the people around them.

As The Good Place progressed over the course of four seasons, I went through four years of university. When protagonist Eleanor, played by Kristen Bell, arrived in the afterlife in the premiere, I was in the midst of settling in at Queen’s. As Eleanor found friends and learned from them, I found my niche and made friends of my own. I progressed alongside the characters I’ve grown to love, looking forward to each and every new episode.

Now, as I wrap up my fourth year and stare down the barrel of graduation, I watch with a bittersweet feeling as Eleanor and her friends wrap up their stories, too.

For most of the characters in The Good Place’s finale, the end of their story meant facing the unknown and stepping boldly across its threshold. Now, pushing through those last few assignments and seminars, armed with the knowledge this show has given me, I’m confident I can do the same.


Netflix, TV

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