Follow TV Tropes

Following

Headscratchers / The Good Place

Go To

Remember that all spoilers are unmarked in Headscratchers.

New entries on the bottom.

    open/close all folders 

    Portland Trail Blazers 

  • Okay, I gotta know. Why is EVERY member of the Portland Trail Blazers in The Bad Place? I mean, it's not like the Yankees where so many of the rest of Baseball hates them and hence you lose good points for it. Why are the Trail Blazers of all teams barred from the good place?
    • The vast majority of the human race is in the Bad Place. Janet only brought it up as a random trivia fact. It seems like they were barred due to not being good enough, in contrast to Columbus, who was banned for committing heinous crimes.
    • In the early 00's, the Trail Blazers were nicknamed the "Jail Blazers" because they had a number of people with bad raps on the team and had a poor relationship with the community. This era ended with the trades of the 2003-2004 season (Rasheed Wallace's trade away from Portland led to a championship for Detroit that year) so it makes this a much less familiar touchstone of cultural knowledge and writers rooms usually liked to avoid that, so maybe they're not specifically referring to the Jail Blazers and it's a coincidence.
    • You get your answer in Ep 13. They're really in the Bad Place so all the points are probably meaningless or at least, highly suspect.
  • Simple: It's a Take That! from one of the writers
    • Yeah, the show is filled with this. "Staying loyal to the Cleveland Browns" is good while liking the Red Hot Chili Peppers is bad.
Advertisement:

    Theology 

  • The theology is interesting to say the least. Clearly the principle of Justification by Works applies and only the most spectacular works count. Just being honest, honorable and a good family person clearly is not enough. On the other hand if this 'Good Place' is any sample I'd rather go to the 'Bad Place' then spend eternity with this bunch of righteous folks.
    • That's not quite right. Every act is accounted for, from eating a sandwich to reading a trashy magazine. It seems that most people do enough good and bad in their lifetimes that it evens out and they don't make the cut. It usually takes extraordinary actions to get in. Chidi is evidence of an exception, however. He didn't do anything particularly special in life, he just did a lot of low-level good as a college professor and never did anything bad to drag his score down.
    • Real Eleanor seems to be one of the few folks in the Good Place who actually got down and dirty working with the poor in God forsaken corners of the globe. Most of these people seem to be limousine charity workers who 'raised consciousness' or raised money, like Tahani.
    • Chapter 13 clears up a lot of this: It isn't the real Good Place and everyone in it except for Chidi, Eleanor, Tahani, and Jason is fake. Everything we were told about how people are selected for The Good Place is suspect at best and an outright lie at worst, so who knows what the theology is really like?
  • Chapter 13 implies some things about the theology of who goes where: our four protagonists share the same basic flaw; extreme self centeredness. Apparently selfishness and lack of empathy are mortal sins.

    How did Bragging not bring Tahani down? 

  • If bragging is specifically listed as a fairly big negative (it says "never discussed veganism unprompted" is worth +9884.8), then how did Tahani make the cut? Tahani is a very good person but she does toot her own horn quite a bit and the number of times you repeat an action is multiplied by the value of the action, so that should have impacted Tahani's score quite a bit?
    • Being a vegan still gives a hefty bonus—not bragging just gives you more. Most likely, while Tahani's bragging brought her score down a bit, the massive amount of good she was doing more than made up for it. Besides, she did have the second lowest score in the neighborhood.
    • Depending on if they factor in context, situation, and intent, one must remember that Tahani spent most of her life being a front woman for charity. This necessitates some amount of 'bragging' and other actions if only to get other people to jump on board. You're not going to give money to someone who won't talk about where and how that money's going to be used, after all.
    • Developments in Chapter 13 show that her bragging did bring Tahani down. She did a lot of work for charity but only did it and relentlessly promoted herself because she wanted others, especially her parents, to acknowledge the work she was doing. Her impure intentions completely negated her actions.

    Why would ethical people not worry about the fact that most of humanity is being tortured? 

  • Michael says "don't worry about it" when explaining the fates to everyone who's not in Heaven. How could someone like Chidi just be content with eternal torture for everyone who didn't clear such an impossible bar as being the top 0.1% of humanity. As an ethics professor whose stomach squirms with Eleanor's sins, how could he not get worked up about that? For that matter why doesn't Heaven have a bit of a higher capacity?
    • Chidi is simply busy with Eleanor. It will be a miracle if he saves her and Jason, he doesn't have time to worry about everyone else. As for why no one else worries about it... yeah. It is odd. Most likely it's actually a plot point. Michael's dismissal seems like it's setting it up for later. It also feeds into his ridiculously horrific "retirement." On the other hand, when we finally do see people from the Bad Place, they don't seem that bad. Very very petty evil, yes, but not "rend the flesh from your bones because you were a bitch" kind of evil. Maybe there are different layers of the Bad Place, so Eleanor is going to a section that is basically like being alive but more annoying, while Hitler is in the deepest depths getting the worst tortures anyone can come up with.
    • Part of this might also be the band-aid of hell conundrum. Ok, so apparently all religions only got 5% right about how it works, but what I'm also going to go out on a limb for saying that there is also a theory of "forever" that this show borrows some from for when people go to the good or bad place. Namely, that it's not just about being blessed or punished for what you did in life, but about what those deeds will do to you if your character goes on forever in the same way at the point of death. The fact that Eleanor gets a chance to make herself better is already extraordinary in that sense, but more to the point, part of the reason the bad place IS is because more often than not, the people of the bad place want what they want forever, and will refuse being rescued from themselves. They won't change how they're acting or why they're acting how they're acting, so what else can the people of the good place do? Eleanor's "mix up" and work to become "most improved" is already problematic enough for her part of the good place. So what else could the people of the good place do for the bad place if the people in the bad place would keep hurting others forever? Sure, they could do visits, or exchange programs, but then the rules of this afterlife are a bit wonky as is, so it's hard to say why this hasn't come up at all.
    • The above only works if The Bad Place works on a series of levels, a la Dante's Inferno. As of Episode 9, it is confirmed that yes, they do in fact go out of their way to torture everyone there: both personalized torments and generic torments (four-headed bears, food that turns into spiders when ingested) alike. Since it's further confirmed from the start that the vast majority of people who would be quite amicable and open-minded by modern standards don't make the cut, it doesn't quite work to assume that people go to The Bad Place because they're just too set in their ways.
  • Chidi is actually terrible at ethics and really wants to believe the system is infallible. The fact it's highly-HIGHLY falliable is basically the show's premise.
  • You get your answer in Ep 13. They're really in the Bad Place and there is indeed a Medium Place.

  • The finale reveals that the four main characters are actually in The Bad Place. We therefore have no objective idea of what the "real" Bad Place is like. All the information we receive comes from non-reliable sources. Even Trevor and his minions were playing a role — we never see them out of character. In fact, for all we know, Trevor could pass for as benign as RealEleanor or as harmless as Glenn. There is some mention to the traditional concepts of hell during Michael's flashbacks but that's about it. When Chidi argues that Eleanor has grown and become a better person from her time in "The Good Place," Michael initially dismisses this but he's evil so obviously wouldn't "really" believe people could change. It's possible that in the actual Good Place, there are regular arrivals from other Bad Places of people who have changed and deserve to leave. A consistent theme from the bad guys (especially Trevor when he had drinks with Eleanor) is that bad people can't change. Perhaps we'll see that they can and thus aren't doomed to an eternity of torture.
  • This has been an issue for as long as the idea of Heaven and Hell has been around. Classical Christian writers actually tried to say that watching damned souls suffer would be the primary entertainment in Heaven.

    Why are Chidi's actions treated as murder? 

  • It was heroic manslaughter at best.
    • Because no one knows the full circumstances. Janet's message was clearly pre-recorded, not an accurate summation of the situation, and everyone was going off of that. Chidi himself, of course, gets ulcers at the thought of lying, so of course he would see it in the worst possible light.
    • I imagine as well that in most normal circumstances, the only reason someone would even be near Janet's kill switch is to intentionally cause harm. After all, why would there even be any sort of unintentional killing in The Good Place.
    • In normal circumstances, there would be no one in the Good Place that would intend to cause harm. The kill switch was really meant more as a factory reset, since her manual shows that it was known that Janets could wind up eith glitches. Presumably, the prerecorded message would have been different (or wouldn't exist) in the actual Good Place.

    Why aren't Chidi and Eleanor cognizant of half-truths 

  • In the murder instance, they could say "we thought if we stopped Janet it could save you from leaving which is good for the community." In the episode with the garbage, Eleanor could have said to Michael, "It happened because I finished clearing out the trash too early and wanted to fly. Sorry, it won't happen again." You can say those things without revealing anything and everything.
    • Because it would draw attention to them, and when more problems occurred, Michael would zero in straight on Eleanor. Chidi also explicitly ascribes to the belief that all lying is bad. Eleanor was barely able to convince him to hide the truth, but he simply doesn't have enough experience lying to come up with half-truths like that.

Advertisement:

    Is Janet sworn to secrecy? 

  • I'm assuming either she is or Michael never thinks to interrogate Janet.
    • Yes, she is. Well, sort of. She explicitly says no one can see anyone's search history, so that makes it clear that there are some things she can't tell Michael. Maybe asking Janet questions about the neighbors is forbidden (outside of basic location data). Or maybe Michael is just terrible at asking the right questions.
    • One of the things that can make a dystopia [read the Bad Place] is surveillance (for example 1984). I find it interesting that Chidi's blackboard mention Jeremy Bentham as an example of Utilitarianism (although he did stated that it is not always optimal).
    • Good point; this idea of privacy/lack of surveillance is emphasized elsewhere too (Michael has to find out what the error is, for instance, and otherwise asks questions that you'd think an all powerful being could just find out) and it makes sense to avoid the idea of a dystopia.
    • In hindsight, Episode 13 makes it obvious why he never interrogated Janet: He never had to because there never was any mistake. His "investigation" was just a way to screw with Eleanor.
    • I'm trying to wrap my mind around why "Good" Janet isn't Bad Janet — I get the plot necessity for this, but when Michael says in his flashback that the Bad Place had "stolen" a Good Janet, I wondered why it was impossible to program Bad Janet to behave like a Good Janet. Why is that impossible? Michael and Vicky especially are able to pose as perfectly benign people, and Janet isn't even a "person," so Eleanor and the others would likely just dismiss any weirdness from her as She's a Weird Computer.
    • When Micheal asked Bad Janet to pretend to be a Good Janet, she malfunctioned and her face melted.
    • Regarding this point, recall Michael's attempts to reprogram Janet to have a different personality, as well as her own claims that she is constantly learning and growing as an individual (which turns out to be true when she gains the ability to love). Presumably reprogramming Janets is a very difficult prospect, to the point where stealing a Good Janet and simply putting in some security locks is an easier prospect than reprogramming a Bad Janet to seamlessly fit into a faux-Good Place.
    • Episode 7 of Season 2 expands on this, Michael did try to have a Bad Janet pretend to be good, the effort sends them into literal meltdown.

    The Bad Place 

  • Whyyyyy? Just why? We've learned precious little about the cosmology of the show thus far, but as of episode 9, we know that everyone who goes there is actively tortured by the asshole equivalents of Michael and Janet. Unless the "Immortals" are in no way supernatural, but instead Sufficiently Advanced Aliens operating on Blue and Orange Morality, I can't wrap my head around why the people in The Good Place are there while literally everyone else—99.99% of all people who have ever existed— has to endure an eternity of torture at the hands of stereotypical (and sadistic) frat people.
    • Then again like the good place there are variations of it and perhaps a mild annoyance once in a while ( similar to Limbo and flies in Dante's Inferno)
    • You get your answer in Ep 13. They're really in the Bad Place. Your whole point was intended to be Chidi and Eleanor's Hell for all Eternity.

    Why not just have Janet procure a new bed? 

  • Minor nitpick but when the two Eleanors and Chidi (along with Trevor) and they all argue about who should sleep in which bed, and all three are heroically offering to sleep on the couch (or the floor or bathtub), why not just ask Janet to procure a new bed? If she can procure a cactus or hot wings, is it that much harder for her to procure a bed? For that matter, why didn't Eleanor ask Janet to rearrange any of the elements she didn't like about her house?
    • For the latter point (change the house), I imagine at first it was to avoid suspicion. It was supposed to be designed to be her perfect house so she may have though changing something would look odd. For the former, probably just habit (such as it is); it's not like they're use to the idea that their every need will be catered too (by an all powerful computer thing no less), never mind instantly.
    • You get your answer in Ep 13. They're really in the Bad Place so they would have probably figured out a way to avert that to cause them harm.

    Why is resetting a bad thing? 
  • By the opening episode of season 2, Shawn, the overseer of the Bad Place makes it clear to Michael that "there will not be a 3rd attempt". After Michael has already done a second reset. Why is mind wiping 4 bad place residents such a big deal? Wouldn't it be a good idea to occasionally reset people even in a "regulation" bad place with physical torture. After all, wouldn't resetting someone once in a while make them freshly terrified of the tortures, instead of having them get used to the torture at some point?
    • There's nothing wrong with the act of resetting. The problem is the reason for resetting and what it means. Michael is trying to convince everybody not only that his "Good Place" experiment will work, but also that it will actually be a better than the traditional methods. His scheme is very delicate, with lots of moving parts and potential complications, requires hundreds of demons actively working to torture only four people, and uses a slow burn approach where the initial parts of the torture aren't much worse than a bad day on Earth while the targets still live in relative comfort. If everyone believed Michael's idea would work and would be worth it in the long term, a few resets would be no big deal. With everyone being unconvinced, especially after the first failed iteration, each reset just comes across as time that would have been better spent with traditional torture as well as evidence that Michael won't be able to pull off what he promises.
    • The resets, by themselves aren't a problem in terms of The Bad Place itself; the problem is that Shawn, as the boss, said there won't be anymore attempts and the project will be scrapped. Micheal ignored the directive and kept resetting, if Shawn found out that his order was violated, it will result in everyone (demons and humans) being tortured.
    • Plus, resetting torture victims means they're no longer tormented by the memories of their torture, which the Bad Place would see as a huge waste.
    • On this point there's actually a SCP Foundation article that uses the "memory reset" trope as part of a containment procedure for an eldritch horror, where a young woman has to be tortured to a certain level of fear to prevent the horror being born. By resetting the memory of the young woman who is stopping the horror from escaping, her fear of the unknown & the dread after the first few "new" tortures far outweigh the level of fear after she goes through the torture procedure again and again for months on end.
    • If you have to reset something once, that's a tacit admission that what you were trying to do didn't work and you have to start over. The more times you have to reset to try again, the more it looks like either you're incompetent, what you're trying to do simply isn't worth the effort you're putting into it, or that what you're trying to do simply isn't going to work.
    • Also, Shaun unambiguously says that he wants Michael to fail in order to show that the old ways are better. He could give Michael unlimited attempts until he gets everything right, yes. But he doesn't want to.

     Tahani/Knowledge gaps 
  • Tahani was friends with Kanye West, Taylor Swift and Beyonce; and seemed like she reasonably kept up on pop culture, so how does she not know who Ariane Grande is? For that matter, how does she not know what Wal-Mart is? Even her being rich doesn't excuse never hearing of a billion dollar corporation.
    • A possible reason for this is that Wal-Mart doesn't exist in England.
    • Paris Hilton didn't know about Walmart at one point, it's probably a Take That! at her
    • She might have heard of Ariana Grande but just wasn't able to recognize her from a photograph.
    • She might be lying about how close she is to pop cultural icons and just parrots the most famous names she can remember.
    • Secondly, with all due respect to Ariana Grande, she is not quite on the same level of fame & celebrity as the three mentioned above, so Tahani may be telling the truth and still not know who Ariana is.
    • Lastly, how much do we know about when they all died? Beyonce has been popular since the late 90's, Kayne since 2003, with the 2009 VMA incident making both him and Taylor Swift globally recognised. Ariana Grande has only been globally popular since mid 2015, Tahani may have died before she became a household name.
    • So, the day Eleanor died, there was a magazine in the grocery store checkout line with Tahani on the cover, and the headlines implied that she was still alive. So even if she had already died, it wouldn't have been earlier than the magazines had gone to print, which probably wouldn't have been more than a few weeks before. Also, Eleanor made it at least to October 14, 2015, because that's when her "29th" birthday was (according to what she'd been telling people), and her coworkers surprised her with a cake. So it's maybe possible, but a bit of a stretch.
    • Neither Wal-mart or Ariana Grande are very well known outside of the US. I'm Australian, and I wouldn't even know what Ms Grande looked like if I hadn't seen The Good Place. I only know Wal-mart because I used to live in the US. Tahani is English.
    • I'm English. Walmart and Ariana Grande are well known in England. I'm English and everyone I know has heard of both. Tahani hasn't heard of Walmart because she's too posh to care about supermarkets. Ariana Grande is the one who was playing at Manchester Arena before the bombing.
    • The Manchester Arena bombing during Ariana Grande's concert happened May 2017, and the show premiered September 2016, which means Tahani died before the bombing. Tahani asks who the girl on the poster is, and once Jason says Ariana Grande, Tahani doesn't ask for further clarification beyond that. Tahani knows the name Ariana Grande but can't recognize her on sight.
    • I think this is a legitimate continuity error

Advertisement:

    Chidi, French, and "bud hole" 
  • Chidi apparently understood "budhole" as "butthole" like Eleanor did, even though he's allegedly speaking French. Is there any way this could have been translated into French that would make sense both ways? If not, maybe he just switches to English sometimes — he's an academic, so he's likely to know English even if it's not his primary language.
    • In the first episode, Chidi says "I'm actually speaking French. This place just translates whatever you say into a language the other person can understand." If we go by Exact Words, "a language the other person can understand" doesn't necessarily mean "the language the other person is speaking." It's plausible he knows English well enough that the neighbourhood doesn't have to translate for him even though he's speaking in a language he's more comfortable with. Though the "sacrebleu, I peed in m' pants" from The Trolley Problem seems to imply he wasn't primarily speaking French for at least that line, so him switching to English sometimes is certainly possible.
    • As revealed in "The Eternal Shriek", Chidi worked in Australia for several years (the hospital in the episode is Sydney General). He is definitely fluent in English.
    • In "Someplace Else," Eleanor finds Chidi in Sydney and speaks to him in English without trouble. So yes, he definitely speaks English.

     Chidi speaking French 
  • In the first episode, when Chidi and Eleanor meet for the first time, she tells him his English is really good (he said he was from Senegal and had been all around the world). But in later flashbacks to Chidi's life (the boots, the best man situation) he's speaking English when talking to his friends and co-workers.
    • It is possible for humans to learn more than one language. French just happens to be the one Chidi is most comfortable with.
    • Yeah, but there's a flashback of Chidi as a young kid playing football in Senegal. He should have spoken French in that flashback, right?
    • This is simple Translation Convention. The show is filmed in the US and written by English-speakers. We are meant to assume that Chidi and his friends are speaking French (the official language of Senegal) or Wolof (the actual most-spoken language). In other flashbacks, he's probably speaking French to his friends as well. Translation Convention.
    • Of course, no explanation given for either this or the previous Headscratcher explains why he speaks English with a flawless American accent.
    • To make Eleanor "comfortable". It is Lampshaded that Tahani is the only one with an accent, to make her annoying.
    • Given that I don't recall Chidi's language ever being brought up outside of the pilot, it's likely that the writers simply forgot or chose to ignore the concept of Chidi speaking French.
    • Explained. He learned English in America, moved to Australia later. Chidi being Chidi, he of course learned to speak the language perfectly at least as defined by the people teaching him, resulting in an American accent.

     What does The Bad Place use their Janets for? 
  • The Bad Janets obviously aren't any kind of assistant like the Good Janets, since they are programmed against being helpful in any way (as shown in "Janet and Michael"). Are they part of the tortures? Because so far, all we've seen them do is be needlessly rude to people, which probably isn't much of a torture compared to having spiders shoved up your butt, being chased by two-headed bears, or whatever else The Bad Place does to people who aren't the main cast. It raises the question: What are The Bad Janets for?
    • It's mentioned that while the good Janet's does act as assistants to humans they also run the entire neighborhood and the bad Janet's do take orders just not from humans safe to assume that they serve the same purpose in that they make the torture happen
    • Have you ever gone somewhere, say a hotel without wifi? It’s annoying right (and very much a first world problem, but hey). Now have you ever stayed in a hotel with terrible, slow wifi that sometimes loads and sometimes disconnects just in the middle, you start to watch a video and you’re getting into it, then it stalls. I would argue that is more of a torture than no wifi! I imagine that is the thought behind Bad Janet.
    • Janets are the only ones who can call a train, so there is at least one functional use for them. And Bad Janets do sometimes follow instructions, seen when Michael ordered one to scan the neighborhood for the main characters in "Leap to Faith". We only see a Bad Janet directly disobeying an order when Michael is pretending to be a Good Place architect, so maybe they're programmed to listen to Bad Place people and not someone they think is from the Good Place. This troper's theory is that the Good Place came up with the concept of Janets first, and the Bad Place, being full of petty and jealous demons, demanded to have their own version. (The fact that they're called "Janets" and "Bad Janets" implies that the Good Place ones came first and the Bad Place ones were modeled after them.)
    • And as we seen more of TBP, it's suggested that Bad Janets actually do much of the same things as Janets. They just do it rudely and poorly such as making all the trains 3 hours late and insulting waiting passengers (demons). It's possible that while they can openly defy humans and twist the wishes of lower ranking demons, they still have some high level cosmic rules that they have to enforce much like regular Janets, almost like inverse three laws.

     Bicycles 
  • Why do the bicycles in Chapter 14 have chainwheels on the front wheels? Jason removes the front wheel from his soulmate's bicycle and the useless chainwheel falls off too, which he subsequently gives to Eleanor. Why was it there in the first place?
    • Plot convenience, and maybe in the good place the bikes have front wheel drive.

     What the fork? 
  • Since Ep 13. reveals that They're really in the Bad Place, shouldn't all characters be allowed to say 'fuck' and 'shit'? Profanity is allowed in the Bad Place, right? So why resort to 'fork' and 'shirt'?
    • The place is supposed to be torture. Being unable to swear ever sounds pretty forking torturous to me.
    • Also, it would have ruined the deception and illusion.
    • The swear-filter seems to be designed to torture Eleanor specifically. When they can finally swear again, she expresses relief, and she's the only one who bothers to swear from then on out.

    Chidi, why?? 
  • Chidi, who is incapable of so much as selecting a soup at a restaurant, chooses to study ethics and morality of all things. There are no cut-and-dry answers in ethics, no "This is the right thing to do for everyone, so do it". Every ethical conundrum has a HUGE amount of factors that determine what the right and moral course of action is...so why on Earth is that what Chidi chose to study? Why would the man who can't make a single decision study a field of philosophy that's nothing but choices and their consequences???
    • Because he is teaching the why part of the philosophy. He is teaching the how part of the philosophy. Why do we act in a moral way? What motivates us to act in moral way? Why we should act in such a manner to another human being. Who taught that method of morality or ethics and what they based it upon. He is not choosing , or being forced to choose. He is teaching whys of thought and the whys therein.
    • It's because he needs that understanding simply to have some sort of methodology to base his decisions on, otherwise he'd be even more paralyzed. Framing a problem as a question of ethics gives him some kind of basis to approach the decision from. When he can't consider something as an ethical issue, that's when he gets into trouble.
    • It's precisely because he is an indecisive overthinker that he went into ethics and morality. The flashbacks show that he's been thinking like an ethics professor since he was a child, so really he chose the perfect career for himself. Sure, it wasn't healthy, but his own well-being is obviously not a priority to him.
    • The way I see it, the study of ethics made Chidi crazy. He was an overthinker already and then he learned to see the world in an overly complex way

    Were the souls originally intended to have lived and died at different times? 
  • In her early appearances, Tahani makes a number of references to the 90s - working with Princess Diana, her friendship with the Spice Girls. Later, her namedropping is more contemporary. Mild sort of retcon?
    • Maybe she was born in about 1980, making her an appropriate age to associate with the people in both periods.

    Cacti 
  • Seriously, why so many cacti in the neighborhood? Maybe because Eleanor is from Phoenix and cacti will remind her of how shitty her life was, but they're also pretty cool and could be happy nostalgia. And it's for everyone else, too, not just her.
    • It might not have a point and just be set design, possibly a result of filming in Southern California. It also might be a subtle indication that that place isn't a nice as it's supposed to be. The neighborhood was designed to seem like the Good Place but be secretly frustrating and uncomfortable. Just like frozen yogurt is something that people think they like but really don't, the show might be saying that people think they like spiky plants but they're really not that great. Like most things in the show, this would be based on the writers' prejudices (Beyonce good, Portland Trailblazers bad, etc.)
    • When Janet is resetting, she produces huge numbers of them. So it's possible they're her "perfectly generic object" and the thing she produces when she lacks more specific instructions - if you tell her to create a town, she'll fill any areas you didn't give specific instructions about with cactuses.
    • Another possibility is that, like frozen yogurt, cactuses are something that fits Michael's goals - when used for landscaping, they seem high-class and beautiful, so people can't complain about them without seeming petty, but they're also annoying and prickly.

    How did Jason stock his "budhole" without speaking? 
  • Jason confirms that they very first time he's spoken since arriving at the "Good Place" is when he confronts Eleanor. However, he later says he had Janet give him all of his budhole toys and furnishings. How did he ask Janet for anything without speaking?
    • He wrote it down on a piece of paper.
    • It's also possible that he realized that Janet would never blow his cover after watching other people use her and realizing that she's basically a robo-genie. So he called her and spoke when he was sure they were alone.
    • Not a robo-genie.

    Why would a Buddhist monk be brought to that version of the good place? 
  • The crux of Jason's cover story is that Jianyu died, but didn't die, the same moment he did. So why would a monk be brought to basically an upper class effete middle-American suburbanite version of heaven instead of one more in keeping with his own philosophical background? No other characters are shown to have the same social differences, despite presumably coming from all over the world, There weren't people depicting other religions, or cultures aside from himself and Chidi. I am aware the cover was designed to torture both himself, and Tahani, but even before then made the character seem like an odd fit for the neighborhood.
    • A drawback to this being version 1 perhaps. Everyone else getting a far bigger and nicer house than Eleanor's would torture her and knowing at least one person with a smaller house might ruin the effect. Michael does lean to correcting this in attempt #2 and others by giving Jason a yurt and another silent monk for a soulmate.

     Misplaced Soulmates 
  • In the conceit of the good place, it states that not only is person A a high ranking good person but so is Person B, who is their soulmate. but what if, as experienced by Chidi and the 2 Elinors, a good person's soulmate doesn't actually qualify to be in the good place either by just missing the bar, or because they weren't actually deserving? or, are soulmates basically just roulette spins after death?
    • After the first season finale, it's likely that soul mates don't actually work as they were described early on, if they exist at all.
    • It's confirmed in a flashback in "The Worst Possible Use of Free Will" that soulmates don't actually exist. Presumably the logic was like the frozen yogurt shops; something that sounds good but is actually a bummer.

     Why did Michael ever think his scheme would fool them forever? 
  • Even the dumbest, most self-centered person imaginable would figure out such a basic Twilight Zone episode scenario eventually. His scheme needs to work literally forever. It was always obviously doomed.
    • Because Michael doesn't really understand humanity, and also has a very low opinion of humans. Him learning that is his character arc over the course of the show.

     Rules for the Middle Place 
  • Mindy resides in The Middle Place due to her sister fulfilling an idea for a charity that helped people across the world and after she passed, though she herself would've probably ended up in The Bad Place. Tahani worked for charities and tried to be a philanthropist, but her motivations for her "selfless" acts qualified her for The Bad Place. Why are these cases treated differently? The Middle Place seems to be a real thing not developed for Michaels trick, so what's the deal?
    • Mindy's epiphany and planning was done out of a genuine desire to do good, not for revenge or fame the way Tahani's efforts were.
    • Which is part of the deconstruction of morality the show engages in. Mindy briefly becomes a highly moral person because she's stoned out of her mind, and manages to mostly mitigate a life of selfishness. Tahani performs a lifetime of moral acts, but does so out of communal-narcissism and goes to the Bad Place.
    • Mindy being sent to the Medium Place was also not because her good points balanced the bad, but because the system couldn't decide whether or not she should get points for events that happened after her death. Tahani's actions were all carried out while she was alive, so Mindy's exception doesn't apply to her.

     Chidi and the philosophers in the Bad Place 
  • In Attempt #2, Chidi's first reaction on being told that he's going to the Good Place is excitement at the prospect of getting to meet all his favorite philosophers, and he's disappointed when Michael tells him that they're all in the Bad Place being tortured. Chidi being Chidi, it seems likely that some version of this conversation happened during the initial attempt. Either way, why does he maintain his faith in ethics and attempt to teach Eleanor to be worthy of the Good Place using the writings of people he believes are burning in Hell?
    • Plenty of philosophers had their eccentricities, vices or were just plain cynical. Chidi's knowledgeable enough to know of several philosophers whose views conflict so the why of ending up in eternal torture seems more an unfortunate circumstance than a condemnation of the study of ethics. It's a bummer a given philosopher is in eternal torment but that doesn't mean they were wrong.

     Chidi's degree 
  • Chidi was a professor of ethics and moral philosophy; before he died, he was writing a book (not thesis) which he never finished his book because he was constantly revising and adding to it; and he once compared Eleanor to mean kids who told him he'd never get tenure. All this implies that he already had his doctorate. However, in season three, he's working on his thesis. Does he have his PhD or not?
    • On a similar note, is Simone actually Chidi's new thesis advisor, or did it just come across that way because of the transition between him saying he had to meet his advisor and him talking to her? If she is, why is she advising someone in a different department?
    • He's working on an additional thesis after the one that got him the PHD, and he's meeting someone outside his department for peer review as advising, who would be able to point out issues that someone in the department would simply gloss over. it does happen in academic circles.
    • It's likely the writers thought "thesis" is exchangeable with "research paper" (both work the same but papers are done by official academics/researchers and get published, whereas theses usually specifically refer to papers students write and get assessed on for their academic degree). People working in academics/research like Chidi are most certainly expected to write at least a couple of papers throughout their career.

     what happens to babies/small children? 
  • What happens to those who die before they could possibly have developed any morality? Do they all go to the bad place?
    • "Original Sin" and as such are used to torture those who can't stand kids in the bad place. or it could be based on the age of one's soul. with spirits just manifesting as 20-40 somethings.
    • If the system is FAIR...you start with a net positive points. If not? It's unfair and that might be a plot point.
    • Chapter 36 implies that the score needed for entering the Good Place depends on age. It also, however, confirms that no one has earned the Good Place in the last 521 years.
    • It never implies any such thing. The line about Doug's point total being awful and him being doomed works equally well if the score depends on age OR if there's one static threshold that is just way higher than Doug's point total.
    • It's possible that people who die particularly young reincarnate. Michael mentioned that every religion was "about five percent" right, and several modern religions believe in reincarnation, so that might play some part that we haven't seen yet. Of course, if they live long enough they'd just fail to get into the Good Place anyway, but it's still better than dismissing them altogether because they never had a chance.

     Who's older? 
  • Is Tahani older than Kamilah, or the other way around? This troper thought Tahani was supposed to be the over-shadowed older sibling upstaged by her younger sister?
    • Tahani is older. Some people probably get confused because it's usually the older sibling that upstages the younger one in fiction, instead of the other way around. Doesn't help that Jameelah Jamil (Tahani) is 9 years younger than Rebecca Hazlewood (Kamilah).

     What happened to the reset buttons? 
  • Both Janet and Derek's reset plungers? did his get put on the train in case Mindy needs to reset him? or do they no longer exist, meaning they can't be upgraded further? and if so, how did that not severely damage Janet's functionality? (like removing a laptop's power button.)
    • It's not the equivalent to a power button. It's equivalent to taking out the battery for a hard reset, or the equivalent to that little area you can put a paper clip in to reset your computer. You can weld that shut without damaging the computer, or you can have an irremovable battery. (Which my laptop has)
    • It's been revealed that the reset spot is behind janet's ear, not the beach plungers though. which rasies further questions of what the plungers are for in the first place, and if they still have functionality?
    • The spot behind her ear is for killing her permanently (or marblizing her indefinitely), not resetting her. The reset plungers are likely just deployed when she makes a neighborhood and undeployed afterwards. She could make another one if she wanted, but she probably doesn't - it's likely she's developed enough that she can now make progress without having to be reset.

     Walking the train tracks? 
  • It's shown that the train tracks take you to "The Good Place" "The Bad Place" and "The Medium Place" so why cant the denizens just use them to walk out? I get that distance is a factor, making the train necessary, but the tracks would seem to still exist. if Stand by Me taught me anything is they can be easily traversed. Just watch out for trolleys.
    • Who says the tracks are always there? Maybe they only materialize when in use, and Janets have to make them form. If they are always in existence, maybe it's like that long bridge leading up to the door and the doorman: surrounded by a blank void, except without handrails, and you run the risk of falling off into nothingness.
    • It's a metaphysical train track. Chances are, you could walk as far as you wanted and not actually get anywhere.

    Jason got arrested 
  • ...And then left the country. He admitted to attempted robbery in front of the police, so there's no way those charges were dropped. He has mentioned going to court before in "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent," so he almost definitely has prior convictions, which means he won't get off with a light sentence. His year recap to Michael ends with getting bailed out of jail, not with a trial or finishing up serving prison time, so he hasn't had his trial yet. Is it even possible for him to make it out of the country with a pending trial? Wouldn't they deny his application for a passport? And is he ever able to go back to America?
    • The subplot of the episode is how much Michael is meddling. Take it from there.
    • Michael doesn't have any of his powers, and has to do things like take the bus to get around. He can't exactly convince a judge to drop all charges.
    • Immigration and customs enforcement AFAIK doesn't mull over everyone's arrest record when you enter the country?
    • Maybe not their past arrest records, no, but upcoming felony trials, yes. There's a reason most parole agreements stipulate that you can't leave the country, and passports do get denied or suspended. Jason might have been able to leave, but he would've been immediately arrested upon his return.

    How is Eleanor pronounced? 
  • Most characters say "ell - eh - nurr". Maybe a few times it's been said "ell - eh - nor". Which one is it?
    • It's a regional thing. To-May-toe, To-Mah-toe.

    Wasn't Tahani famous? 
  • If her friends included Kevin Costner, Elon Musk, Taylor Swift, Ben Affleck, and Matt Damon, wouldn't Tahani be somewhat well-known to some of the people she's encountering on Earth or the good place? Maybe not Chidi but Chidi's S3 girlfriend, Eleanor and possibly Jason might have known her from tabloid magazines.

     Jeremy Bearimy plot holes 
  • If time doesn't move forward in the first place, isn't that contrary to Michael's progression of getting his very first neighborhood and facing real consequences for it?
    • Time does move forward—and back, and in loops. It's in comparison to Earth's timeline; on its own, the afterlife moves in a fashion that is linearly understandable, and would result in Michael facing real consequences.

    Why are Michael and Janet doomed in Season 3 
  • Judging by his misunderstanding of human anatomy in the episode where Eleanor visits her mother, I don't think Michael or Janet are human in any sense. So who's to say they will die and end up back in the afterlife?
    • They're not worried about dying. But sooner or later they'll have to go back (either when the humans die or when the Judge comes after them), and then they'll be punished.

    What are the rules for mentally disabled people in the good or bad place 
  • In the U.S. legal system, if you're too disabled to account for your actions, then you don't get fully punished. Doesn't Jason Mendoza fit that description?
    • Jason is aware that his actions are illegal, which is more than enough for culpability in the US legal system. The afterlife is slightly weirder since part of the point is that people don't know the exact way the points system works, but he's been shown several times to be aware that what he is doing is wrong, he's just too shorted to rethink his actions.

     Lack of Communication and Completely Westernized Pakistani Family? 
  • Writing this from the POV of a Westernized Indian woman who's on Season One of the Good Place. It's revealed that Kamilah felt the pressure from her parents to be the better sister, even as she and Tahani suffered, and implied to the audience that she must have felt horrible about causing her sister's Freak Out! that indirectly led to Tahani's death. (Not to mention the bad publicity of her insulting her sister in front of her friends and then witnessing her die in a preventable accident.) In Indian culture, there's a clash between the younger and older generations that's fairly common, and Pakistani-English culture may be the same regarding expectations of growing children reaching their potential. Why didn't she and Tahani just talk it out, ideally over a couple of drinks, or with a therapist after their parents died?
    • The social stigma of therapy in that family might have been too high.
    • The family looks to be highly Westernized after immigrating from Pakistan; the parents praise Kamilah and ignore Tahani for doing Western style art as children. If Tahani wanted to step out of her sister's shadow, why didn't she try to get back in touch with her family's roots and try to be her own person on that front? And why didn't she realize earlier that her parents were emotionally abusive and that she would never please them?
    • Re: the last point, without trying to spoil anything else, Tahani does eventually get some closure/epiphany of sorts with her parents later on in the show.
    • By the time their parents died, Tahani and Kamilah had been so conditioned into seeing each other as rivals that they didn't know how to behave otherwise. Again, no spoilers, but this is addressed later in the show.
    • Keep in mind that we don't know how long the family has lived in Britain, though certainly at least since the parents since they have British accents. Given this plus the few times that Tahani describes herself as British, we can't say how much - of any - they retain of Indian culture. As soon as third generation immigrants (so grandchildren of immigrants depending on how you measure) have been shown to lose much if not all of their association and connection with their historical background, identifying as being of the country of their birth.

     Chidi not realizing he has an anxiety disorder? 
  • Speaking as someone who is indecisive, usually anxiety is the root of wanting to make the right decision. Chidi seems to have an anxiety disorder, which means that he'd be suffering from a mental illness. This obviously doesn't excuse the harm he's caused, especially with how many people call him out for it but why didn't he realize and get help for it, especially since he was a university professor with access to the campus counseling?
    • Chidi's main flaw isn't just that he's indecisive, but that his indecisiveness hurts others without him noticing it. He may not realize it's evidence of a disorder because his anxiety doesn't manifest in more obviously harmful ways—after all, he's an accomplished academic and is overall pretty high-functioning despite his anxiety.
    • One of the themes of the show starting in the third season is that existing concepts of Heaven and Hell are flawed. The idea that Chidi's a terrible person because he was indecisive and doesn't deserve redemption or happiness in the afterlife are challenged.
    • This isn't about if Chidi is good or terrible. It's that he's not well. Therapy isn't a cure-all, unfortunately, but it does help with tracking, with being aware of your triggers and such. I'd like to think that Chidi would have been happier at least if he got help for his anxiety.
    • This assumes a number of things about mental illness and the people that have them that may or may not be true. And we'll leave it at that.
    • Dude. I'm the OP of this question and I have general anxiety disorder. I need therapy because otherwise my fears and worries would not allow me to function.

     Abraham Lincoln (Chapter 36 spoilers) 
  • Early in Season 1, we learn that Abraham Lincoln is the only US president to make it into the Good Place. However, late into Season 3, we find out that nobody has made it into the Good Place for over 500 years, and Lincoln was only born about 200 years ago. Was this a retcon, yet another one of Michael's lies, or something Michael actually believed?
    • Given that he's shown to have no access to the accountants' records, it's most likely that he was making it up.

     Aliens? 
  • The existence of Gen, the Demons from the bad place, the Accountants, and good place denizens leads to a question: Do extraterrestrials exist in the dimension of The Good Place? and do they also subscribe to Western philosophical mores even if they've never fully come in to contact with humans? or do they have a different moral code that still would qualify them for TGP/TBP?

     "Good" people 
  • If no one has made it into the Good Place in 521 years, those who made it to the Medium Place should have been the best people to exist. Why did Mindy get in to the Medium Place when she'd done numerous bad things if even the absolute best people are condemned to the Bad Place?
    • Mindy didn't get to the Medium Place by her point total. She got there because her case went in front of the Judge. As we saw in The Burrito, the Judge isn't necessarily bound to the usual system and can be more lenient.
    • The accountants imply that age has something to do with point goals, when he said Doug Forcett was on track until he saw his age. Mindy died relatively young (Maribeth Monroe is forty), and then got points for her sister following her plans after her death. So she sort of accidentally cheated the system, getting credit for decades of good deeds without any possibility of bad deeds to drag her score down. That, presumably, is why her case went in front of the Judge instead of just being given the points and being allowed into the Good Place.
    • The accountant's statements don't imply that age is a factor. Say there's a static point goal of 1,000,000 that you need to reach before you die and you're told somebody alive currently has a score of 500,000. Is that good or bad? Well, if they're near the beginning of their life, being halfway there is amazing! If they're about halfway through their expected life, they're on track. If they're near the end of their expected life, halfway is not nearly good enough. That's presumably what happened when the accountant looked at Doug's file: he initially assumed Doug was younger and thus on track to reach the threshold, but then saw his actual age and realised that it's unlikely for Doug to reach the appropriate threshold with his relatively few remaining years.
    • Also keep in mind the late season reveal of S3 that because the world is more interconnected and thus making unintended consequences increasingly count for/against you. Mindy coming up with a great plan to save a lot of people and then IMMEDIATELY dying means that she NEVER had to deal with any of the consequences of that one great other than inspiring her sister to start the charity. Any bad stuff would have been 'passed along' to other people. This is probably what happened to get her point total zero-ed out - that one act had so few, if any, negative consequences for her directly and so many good ones that it was probably one of the few positive point additions to her score. And possibly some of her bad actions beforehand may have even become 'good' because of the unintended consequence of inspiring her to write the original idea for the charity.

     Doug Forcett and Tahani 
  • It's obvious that Doug's motivations are similar to Tahani's, albeit taken Up to Eleven. Tahani only did good actions because of the fame it would bring her. In a similar way, Doug makes it clear that he only started doing good actions because of an epiphany he had about the afterlife, which made him aware that doing said actions would bring him to the Good Place. Both only tried to be "good" people because they expected being rewarded for it, not because they felt it was the right thing to do, which means that their motivations are corrupt. Why Michael didn't considered all that about Doug Forcett? Why nobody (Janet, Shawn, the Accountant, the Judge) pointed this out to Michael? It's even more jarring considering that Michael personally selected Tahani to Neighborhood 12358W because her pretension of being "good" would play along with the other characters issues.
    • Doug isn't pretending to be good. He is a good person, doing the most good he possibly can, just with a rather screwed up understanding of what that means due to his brief vision of the afterlife.

     "Apparently I'm Black" 
  • After the Judge goes to Earth, she says, "Apparently I'm Black, and they do not like Black ladies." The thing is... she looks really Caucasian. Is she supposed to be mixed race?
    • The actor who plays the judge, Maya Rudolph, is of mixed race African-American/Ashkenazi Jewish background (Jewish father and African-American mother). Looking at her out of makeup and costume picture on her wikipedia page then it is quite obvious that she has African American ancestry.

     The Ages of the Dead People 
  • Why are all of the dead people between the ages of 25 and 50? I know that they're technically actually almost all demons, but still, why do none of the four mention all first season how WEIRD it is that no old people went to heaven? Michael Schur kind of addressed it in an interview, but the interview was from before the S1 finale aired so it was obviously BS to cover up the fact that most of the people in the "Good Place" weren't actually people... I also didn't like his reason (that most of the big red-letter things that get people into the Good Place are more impressive when done by younger people0.
    • It's possible that they simply made a few assumptions based on various movie depictions of what a heaven might be like. For instance, they might have assumed that heaven puts people at an age in one's prime that one felt most accomplished and comfortable as being over 70 and potentially in physical decline to one degree or another would hardly be pleasant for eternity.
    • There are only 322 "people" in the neighbourhood, so the assumption wouldn't be that no old people went to the Good Place, but just that no old people ended up in that neighbourhood. That's not too unreasonable, especially if people were supposedly chosen to be compatible in some way.

    Babies 
  • What if someone's greatest wish in life was to have a child, and they never got to while on Earth? As described, in the Good Place you can have anything you want, but would that be something people would just have to accept as not being possible?

Top

Example of:

/
/

Feedback