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Series / The Good Place

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"Why do bad things always happen to mediocre people who are lying about their identity?"

The Good Place is a 2016 NBC comedy series created by Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation), starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson.

Bell stars as Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who ends up in a "Good Place" after being killed by an oncoming truck. Told by Danson's Michael that it's her reward for being a good Samaritan in her mortal life, it turns out there was a mix-up — Eleanor is actually not a very nice person, and her spot belongs to someone else.

Surrounded by nice townies who deserve to be there, Eleanor turns to her system-designated soulmate Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), a neurotic ethics and moral philosophy professor, to help her become a good person who deserves to stay in the Good Place. Also in the mix are her next-door neighbors, the condescending humanitarian socialite Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and her soulmate, the quiet Buddhist monk Jianyu Li (Manny Jacinto), along with Michael himself, who appears incredibly impressed by Eleanor's supposed goodness. Hijinks ensue as Eleanor is forced to hide the truth of her past, or else she'll be sent to the dreaded "Bad Place" reserved for such people.


The show is also available on Netflix and is labelled as a Netflix Original in some countries.

Despite being a comedy, the show is highly serialized and each episode directly follows from the one before. Therefore, beware of spoilers that may be unmarked.

The Good Place provides examples of the following tropes:

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  • 108: Subverted. Given that it's a series about the afterlife, the hundredth and eighthnote  iteration of the "Groundhog Day" Loop is seen. However, it seems to have been one of the least successful, as Eleanor accidentally overhears Michael recording his thoughts about the experiment while waiting for her orientation meeting in his office. The only iteration we hear about that's shorter apparently happened as the equivalent of a butt-dial.
  • Accent Interest: In "The Burrito", Judge Gen agrees to help the heroes in part because she's amused by Tahani's British accent.
    Gen: ...I just learned everything about you, but keep talking. I am, like, obsessed with your accent.
    Tahani: We have made so much progress and all we ask is an audience with you to prove it.[...]
    Gen: Say 'aluminum'.
    Tahani: Alyuminnium.
    Gen: *giggles* I love that!
  • Actor Allusion: Michael's brief appearance as a bartender alludes to Ted Danson's role of Sam in Cheers, complete with plaid shirt and signature bar towel sling.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In "Best Self" Chidi starts pontificating in this exchange:
    Chidi: And how do I know that this version is the best version of myself? How do I know it's not version #85, or 322, or 558?
    Jason: Or 69, or 420?
    (Eleanor high fives Jason for it, whilst Chidi is oblivious.)
  • An Aesop: Unsurprisingly, given how much the show discusses morality and philosophy, there are a lot of lessons to be learned.
    • Being a good person, especially in today's world, is hard, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
    • But, on that note, nobody and nothing is perfect. Expecting absolute moral purity isn't just unrealistic, it's unhealthy and unfair to everyone.
    • As we see with Tahani and her parents, and to a lesser extent Eleanor and her old friends, you shouldn't let other people's negativity and apathy drag you down. That will only stand in the way of you becoming the best person you can be.
    • Real friends encourage you to be better and give you support when you need it. This is illustrated through Eleanor's relationship with her old friends vs. her relationship with Team Cockroach. (And Michael's relationship with Shawn vs. his relationship with the humans.)
    • In Season Three, Jason actually manages to get a very valid and relevant lesson across to the Judge: don't be so quick judge other people, because you don't know what they might be going through. Jason makes his point by telling a story about a member of his dance crew who was always late to rehearsal... because he was working three jobs to care for his grandparents. After spending some time on Earth, the Judge realizes he's completely right.
    • People can change. It's difficult, and you're not obligated to forgive their past actions right away (or ever), but they can become better people.
  • Aesop Amnesia: A rare justified example, since actual memory loss is involved. Every time the experiment gets rebooted, the Main Characters' memories get reset, wiping out any lessons they may have learned in the most recent iteration.
  • Afterlife Express: A variant. In the afterlife, trains are used to travel to and from the Good, Bad, and Medium Places.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: In the eyes of the Bad Place, everyone there merits to be tortured regardless of exactly how minor their transgressions were on Earth, or if they were just jerks instead of actually being evil: Jason was a petty criminal who dealt drugs and would frequently burn things down with Molotov Cocktails to avenge himself against those who "wronged" him, and died trying to rob a restaurant. Eleanor was unbelievably rude and selfish as well as lying sick, elderly people out of their money. Chidi, while a decent fellow, made everyone around him miserable with his dithering. And Tahani did good things, but not for altruistic reasons — it was her way of proving to her parents she was just as good, if not better, than her sister. It's implied that the demons don't really care about a person's actions at all, they just take pleasure in torturing whoever the system sends their way.
  • All There in the Script: Almost every speaking character, however minor, has a name though many only appear in the end credits.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Strictly speaking, we know nothing about the gender of any non-human character, or even whether afterlife beings have such a thing as gender.
  • Amnesiac Lover: In the season 3 finale, Chidi decides to have his memories of Simone erased so that he won't ruin the experiment by being awkward around her. Unfortunately, this also erases his entire relationship with Eleanor.
  • Amnesia Loop: In Season 2, no matter how many times the four humans have their memories erased, somebody (usually Eleanor) always manages to figure out that they are actually in the Bad Place. It takes 802 iterations before Vicky forces Michael to give up. As she threatens to overthrow him he decides to let the four humans retain their memory in order to work with them for their mutual survival.
  • Arc Words: "What We Owe To Each Other." It's the name of a S01 episode, Eleanor rips out a page from that book to write a note to herself, and in the S02 finale, Michael brings it up to Eleanor when she's seeking motivation to be good after her death was turned into a near-death experience.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • People get an eternity in the Bad Place for murder, arson, sexual harassment... and taking their shoes and socks off on an airplane.
    • One description of the Bad Place includes "flying piranhas, lava monsters, college improv."
    • When Janet is rebooted and falls in love with Jianyu/Jason, she also comes to hate things, such as "genocide and leggings as pants."
    • Among the many terrible things that Eleanor has done to warrant being sent to the Bad Place is... a brief Instagram flirtation with Kid Rock.
    • Tahani when she finds out that "Jianyu" is actually Jason: "You have some nerve asking me for favors when you have spent weeks deceiving me, making a fool out of me, and bringing snack food into my house!"
  • Ass Shove: In Season 2, the Bad Place is said to have started testing "Butthole Spiders". They're enormous.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Among the things that go wrong the first time the neighborhood goes haywire is the appearance of giant ladybirds and frogs.
  • Badass Finger Snap: Michael resets the versions of the Good Place by snapping his fingers.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: When Eleanor unintentionally throws the Good Place into chaos, Michael ends up working himself into a frenzy as he tries to figure out what has caused his carefully balanced neighborhood to go off-kilter. It later turns out that Michael was orchestrating this all along, but he's still the Beleaguered Bureaucrat in his dealings with Shawn.
  • Bears Are Bad News: When Eleanor and Chidi are played an audio clip of what is currently going on in the Bad Place, they hear one of the damned screaming about being menaced by a bear with two mouths. Later on, there is a mention of bears with four heads that fly.
  • Being Good Sucks: A central theme. The Good Place may have its perks and it is easy to want to be a good person, but it is difficult to be one, especially considering taking the bad route is often much easier. Even good deeds done in the name of selfish motives don't count for anything.
    • Eleanor often finds herself at odds with Chidi's teachings, considering she's used to being a self-centered loner; Michael also has difficulty adjusting to ethics class, considering his demonic background and all.
    • In "Somewhere Else" Eleanor talks about how being good is difficult because people don't care and she got slapped with additional hardships for trying. Of all people, Michael asks if she's looking for a reward, or a "moral desert".
  • Be Yourself: Deconstructed with Jason and Eleanor, but Reconstructed as the series goes on and Character Development sets in. They both dislike pretending being other people, but, as Eleanor points out, who they really are kind of suck. Eleanor decides to try and change for the better, with Chidi's help, and attempts to learn how to be good. Jason, however, isn't interested in improving himself, even when whether or not he gets tortured for eternity depends on it — at least, not until Eleanor hits him with a well-placed "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Then we find out, none of the main characters were good enough for the Good Place, and they could all use with some improvement. Even Michael starts to try and become better! So it's not so much "just be yourself" or "don't be yourself," but rather, "be the absolute best version of yourself you can be, and push yourself to become better, even if it's hard."
  • The Big Board: Played with. Michael has one but it looks like a small desk-sized map of the neighborhood. However, since he sees in nine dimensions, it's apparently much much bigger and messier to him.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: In Chapter 26, Chidi finally lays one on Eleanor. Since they've hooked up in previous reboots (not that they can remember), they've obviously kissed before, but this is the first one in this reboot and the first time the audience gets to see it. Also occurs in Chapter 32, where we see the timeline Mindy told Eleanor about in Chapter 15. Eleanor quietly declares that Chidi's "amazing" before laying one on him. Happens again in Chapter 36, where Chidi decides to embrace his past self's romance with Eleanor and snap her out of her Heroic BSoD at the same time.
    Eleanor: Hot diggity dog!
  • Big Fancy House: Tahani and Jianyu live in a humongous, very fancy European-style mansion. It is big enough to house most of the neighborhood during a lockdown crisis and apparently has thirty-six tennis courts. Given that she lives in a far smaller house, Eleanor is rather unsubtle about her jealousy regarding it.
  • Big Red Button: There's a Big Red Button situated in a remote corner of the Good Place that is used as an emergency shut-off switch for Janet. As a measure of last resort, Janet is designed to tearfully beg for her life whenever someone goes to press it.
  • Bilingual Bonus: In S 3 E 6, Tahani visits her sister who's having an exhibition in Budapest, Hungary, at a museum called "A Fontos Művészeti Múzeum" — which literally translates to "The Important Museum of Art".
    • Later in the same episode, Chidi reads an article written by László Újságíró, literally "Leslie Journalist".
  • Black and White Insanity: This seems to be the criteria for judging people into the afterlife, there is no "grey"; when Michael reads Les Misérables he concludes all the characters are going to the Bad Place. Jean Valjean stealing bread to feed his family? Stealing the bread outweighs the reasons he stole it for. There's also the matter that being French automatically sends you to the Bad Place ... even Victor Hugo is there.
    • It becomes a plot point in Season Three, where Shawn does some Evil Gloating on how he expects to see the main four's friends and families and even Doug in the Bad Place, even though they're still living and he shouldn't know their fates in advance; this clues Michael in that something is very wrong. Further investigation reveals that no human has made it to the good place in 521 years.
  • Blue and Orange Morality:
    • Occasionally played for comedy in the way the Good Place judges morality. "Staying loyal to the Cleveland Browns" gives you quite a lot of points, but enjoying the California funk-rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers gives you negative points.
    • How the Good Place itself operates. Swearing is forking impossible, but accessing porn is just fine. Though that appears to be a personal preference of the neighborhood, not a universal rule.
    • Through season 2, via interactions with Michael, we get a few glimpses into the mentality and morality behind the Bad Place. Being French is automatically bad, for no adequately explained reason.
  • Book-Ends:
    • Season 1 ends with Michael erasing Eleanor's memories and reintroducing her to his Neighborhood, similarly to how he did in the first episode, with some differences.
    • Season 2 begins with Eleanor being told to "FIND CHIDI" by a note written on a page torn from the philosophical work What We Owe to Each Other. In the Season 2 finale, Michael puts special emphasis on the phrase "what we owe to each other" in order to prompt Eleanor to Google it—and find Chidi.
    • Season 3 begins with Eleanor walking into Chidi's office. In the Season 3 finale, Chidi walks into Eleanor's office.
  • Bottle Episode:
    • Subverted with "Category 55 Emergency Doomsday Crisis", despite Michael enforcing that nobody should leave their homes, it uses several sets, and much of the supporting cast appears.
    • Downplayed in "Michael's Gambit". It takes place almost entirely in Eleanor's living room, with most of the plot being focused alone on the six leads, but it also has Michael's flashbacks and a few supporting cast, as well as Shawn being a prominent character.
    • "Team Cockroach" is a fairly straight example. Almost entirely in Eleanor's living room, with a few scenes at the backyard and no relevant action from anyone but the main cast, though there is Tahani's flashback of how she died in a party at Cleveland.
    • "Best Self" is another example, uses mostly the park set (and briefly the train), and nobody but the main six has any appearances or speaking lines.
    • "Janet(s)" is a partial example. Michael and Janet spend most of the episode in the afterlife's accounting department, while the humans are stuck in Janet's void. However, at the very end of the episode, everyone goes to the real Good Place.
    • "The Book of Dougs" takes place entirely within The Good Place mailroom.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Janet mentions that she doesn't really eat so when she reboots, which she considers to be as close to a birthday as she's got, she'll just smash cake around where her mouth is. When she and Jason get married, he does just that when cutting their wedding cake.
    • Eleanor is exasperated in the first episode by the lack of stairs to her bedroom. In episode 9, Real Eleanor arrives at the house and immediately knows where the button to move the stairs in place is.
    • The large clown print on the sliding door to Eleanor's bedroom makes a second appearance at a somber moment in the Season 1 finale.
    • In episode 2, Michael is forced to ban flying for 1000 years after a trash-storm unknowingly caused by Eleanor's lies leads to a flyer crashing into a turkey. In episode 11, when Eleanor hosts a focus group to address complaints against her, the first woman to speak up complains about the incident in graphic detail.
  • British Brevity:
    • Unusually for a US network TV show, creator Michael Schur placed a firm 13-episode cap for each season, due to the show's heavily serialized format.note 
    • Parodied by Deirdre and Margaret, a British sitcom that Tahani enjoys. It ran for 16 years on the BBC and broadcast nearly 30 episodes during that time.
  • The Bus Came Back: Trevor makes a return in the final moments of the Season 3 premiere.
  • ...But He Sounds Handsome: In "The Book of Dougs," one of the Good Place employees refers to all Bad Place employees as disgusting monsters. Michael argues that they aren't all bad, and some of them may actually be cool, handsome, man-about-town types.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Playing a set for a bunch of celebrities is Jason's dream, but it's Acid Cat's Tuesday.
  • Buxom Is Better: Tahani notes that her bosom is large more than once approvingly. Eleanor for her part calls Janet "busty Alexa" and notes her "rockin' bod".
  • Call-Back: In general, the highly serialized nature of the show and the necessary attention to detail required by the premise results in a lot of Callback material.
    • In the 5th episode of Season 1 Jason discusses his breakdancing crew and the way he framed someone for stealing boogie boards as a shockingly correct example of a lesson Chidi was giving on the greater good. In the second episode of Season 2, Jason brings up his breakdancing crew in an effort to calm down Michael who is suffering problems with his people.
    • Janet mentions in one episode that she can't actually eat anything. This becomes relevant in the finale of season 1 when Eleanor, needing a place to store her message for her future self, has Janet put it in her mouth, knowing she can't swallow it.
    • The outfit Tahani wears to the Buddhist retreat during the Season 3 premiere is the same as the one she wore during the Season 2 premiere when her life partner was a humble man.
  • Celestial Bureaucracy: Michael is actually a part of a giant hierarchy of supernatural beings. When we finally see where Michael used to work before Neighborhood 12358W, he is working in what looks to be a bank with endless rows of desks and a giant vault door leading to the heavens or hells.
  • Central Theme: What does it mean to be a good person?
  • Cessation of Existence: Michael is an immortal who cannot die under normal circumstances, although it's a possible punishment for a sufficiently disastrous screw-up. In one episode, he completely freaks out at the idea he might cease to exist someday, reducing him to a near-catatonia at first and then has the equivalent of a mid-life crisis over it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Early in the first episode, Michael explains that memories of particularly traumatic deaths are erased for the sake of easier transition into the afterlife. Michael's control over the memories of the heroes becomes an enormous obstacle that takes hundreds of years for them to overcome.
  • Chekhov's Gag: The sexy mailman picture Eleanor wants to hang up to replace one of her clown paintings. Her new "soulmate" is also a sexy mailman, or rather that's who he pretends to be.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Every time Chidi reacts to the realization that he might be in the Bad Place by blaming some incredibly minor "vice" like using almond milk even though he knows it's not the best alternative for the environment. In truth, it's this exact obsession with minutiae, and the indecision arising from that, that led him to the Bad Place to begin with.
    • Tahani's reaction to learning how she died (being crushed by the golden statue of her sister that she was trying to topple). She's more appalled that she died in Cleveland than anything else.
  • Contrived Coincidence: The way that people end up going to the wrong place. It's implied that part of the problem is Michael's inexperience, and that a more veteran architect would have been able to catch the mistakes.
    • "...Someone Like Me As A Member" reveals that the whole plot of the show is based on one: Two people with the exact same name, in the exact same place at the exact same time, both killed when one makes a desperate attempt to save the other's life. What are the odds of that? Michael and Trevor imply that this is the first time this has ever happened. Definitely the first time they've ever seen it, and possibly the first time it has happened in the history of the universe. Subverted when it is revealed that "Real" Eleanor turns out to be a Bad Place demon merely playing the role of Eleanor's name-doppelganger, leaving it unclear whether such a situation has actually ever happened before.
    • "What's My Motivation" reveals that Jason got in through a similar coincidence. Jianyu entered a meditative trance so deep that the system thought he died. At that exact moment, Jason (who had the same IQ as Jianyu) died, and the system accidentally took him since Jianyu wasn't available (due to still being alive).
    • The end of Season 1 reveals the coincidences are contrived In-Universe, by Michael; they are stories he made up to trick them into thinking they're in the Good Place. They have actually been in an experimental version of the Bad Place all along, with Michael pulling the strings to ensure they spend eternity driving each other crazy.
  • Costume Porn: A lot of the dresses, jewelry, and accessories the costumers put Tahani in are simply gorgeous, befitting her status as a wealthy socialite.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right:
    • An obscure early moment from episode 4 was the truth all along. Jason says that the "good place" might actually be an alien zoo, or a prank show. Well, as it turns out, he was right. The entire thing, everything that has ever happened in the show, was a giant prank set up by Michael to torture Eleanor, Jason, Tahani, and Chidi for a thousand years by getting them to torture each other. He's also right about the "alien zoo" part, as the Good Place is essentially a zoo for Michael and the Architects. This is even lampshaded by Jason when everything is revealed.
    • Not long after that, the cuckoolander has another idea. He also suggests stealing Michael's phone and using the secrets contained within to blackmail him. There are a few steps missing in his plan, but he's dead right about Michael having some very compromising secrets. And it's VICKY who does this!
    • The pilot reveals that each of the world's major religions got the afterlife about 5% right...and then there was Doug Forcett, a random Canadian who guessed a whopping 92% while he was high on shrooms in the early 70s.
      Michael: I mean, we couldn't believe what we were hearing. That's him, actually, right up there. (gestures to portrait on the wall) He's pretty famous around here. I'm very lucky to have that.
  • Continuity Reboot: Played with in-universe: The events of Season 1 still happened in the show's continuity, but Michael has wiped the main characters' memories so many times that for the most part, those events don't really matter and the Character Development that resulted from them is negated. However, there are exceptions: Even after over 800 reboots, Janet still feels the attraction to Jason that she developed in Season 1, which becomes a source of conflict in "Janet and Michael", since Janet's attempts to cover up her jealousy of Jason and Tahani is causing her to glitch out and pose a danger to the neighborhood.
  • Crapsaccharine World: The Good Place is very beautiful on the surface and looks like paradise, but it's very easy to mess things up and it has the same drama problems and interpersonal/intrapersonal conflict as Earth, perhaps even moreso. This is revealed at the end of Season 1 to be the plan all along as they find they're really in The Bad Place and in a simulation designed to torture them psychologically go through tons of reboots in Season 2. However when push comes to shove, the four of them would MUCH rather be in the crapsaccharine fake Good Place, flaws and all, than the real Bad Place.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: Season 1's first episode is titled "Everything is Fine". Season 2's first episode is titled "Everything is Great". Season 3's premiere is titled "Everything is Bonzer!"
  • Dead to Begin With: Eleanor is dead in the first episode, launching the show's plot, and everyone else in the Good Place aside from Michael and Janet are deceased as well.
  • Designated Driver: Flashbacks show that Eleanor usually conned her way out of being a group's designated driver. When her friends figured it out and forced her to be the evening's designated driver, she hooked up with a good-looking bartender and ditched the group after they were already too drunk to drive home themselves.
  • Devil, but No God: There's lots of demons in the afterlife, though no angels or other good counterpart beings so far. At best, some of the demons become good. The Judge is more neutral. That said, there is a good place to go along with the bad. It's unclear if God exists in this setting, though a Devil isn't mentioned either. Everything seems to be run by less powerful beings.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: While not particularly weak, most demons are annoying, obnoxious jerks with bad senses of humor and an overinflated sense of their own importance. The new "fake Good Place" plan repeatedly falls on its face, they're easily fooled by Team Cockroach, and their plan to make the team return to hell after getting a restart is hilariously ineffectual. Then Season 3 reveals that the Bad Place has somehow hijacked the entire point system without anyone being the wiser, preventing any humans from going to the Good Place for over 500 years; suddenly they're not looking so harmless anymore.
  • Doorstopper: Chidi's life's work is a 3,600 page book that tries to encompass the entirety of Ethics. For reference, Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics, considered one of the definitive works on the subject, doesn't even clear 200 and the only other books of any genres that are longer are all series with multiple volumes. Michael, who's near omniscient, had given up part way through because it was so convoluted that it made no sense, and Michael's boss, who is omniscient, can't understand it either. It even got a tenured professor at the Sorbonne to simply get up and walk away from his prestigious profession.
  • Double Entendre: Eleanor thinks that when philosophers talk about knowing yourself, they're talking about knowing yourself.
    Chidi: For the last time, none of these philosophers are ever talking about masturbation.
  • Eagleland: Type 2: The Boorish, for the most part.
    • It really says something that of the main cast, the only two that realize every time they don't belong in the Good Place from the start are both American.
    • In the very first episode, it is mentioned in passing that every single American president is in the Bad Place, except for Abraham Lincoln, and even then it's implied he only made it because he ended slavery in the USA.
      • Come season 3, it turns out that Michael was wrong: Not even Lincoln made it. In fact not a single American has actually made it into the Good Place, because the United States of America was founded after every person started going to the Bad Place because morality became too complex due to the unforeseen negative consequences of human life.
    • Phoenix, Arizona, from what the audience sees through Eleanor, subverts this. It does have some pretty terrible people (Eleanor's parents, her coworkers at the telemarketing scam firm, etc.), but everyone else is pretty average. Justified, since pre-mortem Eleanor would have no one to play off otherwise.
    • Jacksonville, Florida, on the other hand, plays the trope straight as an arrow. In Jason's arcs, most people are jerks, and every other supporting character is a criminal. Jason himself zig zags this: He's not really that bad of a guy, personality wise, but his multiple misadventures (onscreen or otherwise) always involve some sort of excess, or crime, or both (like the profoundly idiotic scheme that got him killed).
    • Exemplified in the America-themed restaurant seen in "The Brainy Bunch": it's got a tacky Western design complemented with trashy pop culture decor, a "Manifest Destiny" package where you can kick current customers out, a Florida table that smells like swamp, and seating being announced by guns going off. Even Eleanor calls it the world's worst restaurant.
    • Eleanor also expresses this sentiment in "Jeremy Bearimy", describing America as the result of a society of selfish people.
      Eleanor: Yeah, in America, everyone does whatever they want. Society did break down. It's terrible, and it's great. You only look out for number one, scream at whoever disagrees with you. There are no bees because they all died, and if you need surgery, you just beg for money on the Internet. It's a perfect system.
  • Easy Road to Hell: The Good Place only takes the very best; even Florence Nightingale wasn't good enough to make the cut apparently. It becomes explicit in the season finale when we learn that none of the Main Characters earned a spot in the Good Place. Tahani did extraordinary amounts of good deeds, but her motivations were selfish. Meanwhile, Chidi's motivations were pure, but he caused the people in his life a lot of pain through his inability to make decisions. Starting in Season 2, Michael starts to realize that the entire judgment process is fundamentally flawed, which is likely a major contributor. In Season 3, it's revealed that no human has made it into the good place in the last 521 years.
    • It turns out the explanation for this is that the point system never took into account how interconnected the world would become via technology. In the 16th century, buying flowers for your grandmother got you 145 points. In 2018, you'd lose points because you ordered off a phone made in a sweatshop for flowers sprayed with pesticides which make a carbon footprint via delivery and the CEO of the flower company is a racist pervert. Even the smallest acts now have widespread consequences and ramifications that didn't exist when the world was a larger place.
  • Eldritch Location: The eponymous Good Place, built by beings with nine-dimensional vision, that sells frozen yogurt in flavors that are literally abstract concepts (as well as regular flavors), and can be seriously warped by people's actions while there.
  • Empathic Environment:
    • Whenever Eleanor does something selfish, it affects the whole neighborhood. Subverted; season 2 confirms Michael staged this to torment her and Chidi.
    • Eleanor's negative reaction towards Tahani causes the plant Tahani gave her as a housewarming gift to suffer. First it wilts and whimpers in pain before spontaneously combusting when Eleanor's actions become too much. It revives and grows bigger when Eleanor begins to genuinely respect her.
  • The Ending Changes Everything: The entire show changes after the season 1 finale reveals that everything took place in The Bad Place from the start, and that the main four characters are all just being manipulated by Bad Place staffers who make up every other character we meet, except Janet and Mindy.
  • Enemy Mine: In Season 2 Michael realizes that the situation has gone completely out of his control and the only thing that might save him is to team up with Eleanor and the other humans.
  • Equal-Opportunity Evil: The Bad Place doesn't seem to discriminate regarding the ethnicities of its employees (or at least the human forms they present as), as shown by the diversity in Neighborhood 12358W. The demons seen include several people of color and at least one interracial gay couple.
  • Eureka Moment:
    • In the season finale, everyone is arguing as to which two go to the Bad Place. Eleanor sighs out on how this is all torture... and then it hits her that they've been in the Bad Place all along.
    • Michael has one in the flashbacks to him designing the neighborhood. He wants to do something more fun, but his coworker tells him "Don't worry about making it interesting, just do a good job." That gives him the idea to throw out his old design and make a Bad Place neighborhood where the residents think they're in the Good Place.
    • "Dance Dance Resolution" gives us a montage of those as Michael keeps putting Eleanor into different scenarios and yet each time she realizes that she is actually in the Bad Place. Apart from the time it was Jason who figured it out. That one really hurt Michael.
    • In "The Book of Dougs",Tahani complains that no matter what she does or says in a talk with Jason and Janet, she just makes it worse. Michael instantly realizes this is the problem with the entire point system, that any decision has massive ramifications and consequences due to how interconnected the modern world is.
    • Discussed in "Pandemonium", where Michael suggests that everyone have one of those brainstorming sessions where someone finally comes up with a brilliant idea.
  • Everyone Is a Tomato:
    • Michael: He is the architect, but he works for the Bad Place, and he's been orchestrating all of the "disasters" that have been plaguing the neighborhood.
    • Janet: She's actually what she appears to be, although Michael did steal her.
    • All the residents of Neighborhood 12358W: They're demons acting out the roles of "good people."
    • The main four: They're all "bad people."
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: When dealing with humans, the Bad Place crew routinely fails to account for people having basic decency, or being able to do the right thing against their own self-interest. For example, it never occurred to Michael that the four humans he chose specifically to torture each other might become friends and take care of each other, despite their differences.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Bad Place workers think that juvenile insults are the height of sophisticated comedy.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • Trevor and the other representatives of the Bad Place never miss a chance to be unnecessarily unpleasant, and the torments of the Bad Place involve a lot of persistent nagging inconveniences (e.g., the train going there makes a million unnecessary stops and the restaurant car is always closed) along with more traditional forms of Cold-Blooded Torture.
    • After Michael is revealed to be evil, he deliberately knocks over a small potted plant. It is a completely unnecessary action that was done simply to make a bit of a mess.
    • The entire basis of the series is that Michael thought it would be more fun to trick humans into torturing each other by making them think they're in the Good Place.
    • In the official The Good Place The Podcast, writers of the show state that this seeming pettiness is specifically a tenent of Michael’s (and by extension The Bad Place’s) philosophy: “No torture too small.”
  • Evil Laugh: Michael lets out a deliciously wicked one during The Reveal in the Season 1 finale.
  • Evil Twin: Bad Janet from the Bad Place. While Good Janet's wardrobe is reminiscent of kindly 60's flight attendants; Bad Janet's attire mimics Sandy's bad girl wardrobe from the end of Grease.
  • Exact Words:
    • When Eleanor comes clean about her mistaken presence in the Good Place, Michael panics and says that this kind of problem is unprecedented. He's telling the truth... except he's not talking about Eleanor being there—he's talking about Eleanor developing a sense of decency and confessing to the error, which completely derails his plans for the phony Good Place and forces him to hastily throw together solutions that end up with everyone learning what's really going on.
    • This is also how Michael communicates his Leap of Faith plan to everyone else when Shawn comes a-calling. That said, he also apparently dropped 11,996 other non-verbal clues.
  • Fantastic Drug: The demons from the Bad Place snort time... in cocaine form. They also consider snorting ground-up unicorn horn.
  • Fate Worse than Death: "Retirement" isn't a pleasant experience for architects.
    Michael: We call it "The Eternal Shriek". My soul will be disintegrated, and each molecule will be placed on the surface of a different burning sun. And then my essence will be scooped out of my body with a flaming ladle and poured over hot diamonds.
    Tahani: Oh, but the diamonds sound lovely.
    Michael: They're not! And then what's left of my body will be endlessly beaten with a titanium rod. Like a-
    Tahani: Like a pinata...
    Michael: Yes. Except you have the string around my waist, but it will definitely be around my genitals.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The objective moral standard of the universe apparently considers a number of fairly minor obnoxious habits to be sins. Sometimes justified in that sins are weighted, so you have to jaywalk a very large number of times before it becomes as bad as a single murder, but other times it seems to be fully this trope - for instance, if you've ever taken off both your shoes and socks on a public airplane, it is considered very likely that you're an irredeemably bad person, and the simple fact of being from either Florida or France earns you an automatic sentence to the Bad Place.
  • First Installment Wins: In-universe, the demons preferred Attempt #1 to all others. When Vicky takes over, she tells Michael to set everything similar to the original attempt.
  • Foreshadowing: Has its very own page.
  • Five-Token Band: The main foursome. Eleanor is a white American, Tahani is British-Pakistani, Chidi is Senegalese, and Jason is Filipino-American.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The orientation video has a ton of stuff that counts for or against your getting into the Good Place, flashing by so fast that it's impossible to catch it all in one viewing.
    • In "Category 55 Doomsday Crisis", Michael adds a truly improbable number of new ice-cream flavors (full list). They range from the standard (like grape, cherry, and Neapolitan) to the technically-edible but bizarre (such as lobster and ham) to the more esoteric (a mother's love, candlelight, a second kiss after an awkward first kiss).
    • In the flashback at the beginning of "Michael's Gambit", right before Dave drops the "Project No. 12358W" file on Michael's desk, you can just catch the title of the file he was working on beforehand: "Flesh Ripping Lightning", a big sign that he doesn't really work for The Good Place.
    • In "Dance Dance Resolution", all the different resets seem to have different themed signs. In the same episode, there is the poster of all the plans they've tried, including "Stab with large knife," "Find Doug Forcett," and "Try to stuff Michael back into his magic lamp".
    • In "Everything is Bonzer!", Tahani starts deleting the contact info of people from her phone, and you can see the long list of celebrities there if you look fast enough.
  • French Jerk: Apparently, being French is an automatic ticket to the Bad Place.
  • Freudian Excuse: Deconstructed. Eleanor attempts to blame her parents's neglect of her and their divorce for her own terrible behavior, but Real Eleanor had an even worse Trauma Conga Line background and was a better person. Later, a flashback gives the audience a more serious look at the way Eleanor's parents' neglect and dysfunction affected her, but it's used to explain her behavior, not excuse it; she still must take responsibility for her actions.
  • "Friends" Rent Control: Discussed by Michael and Eleanor, the latter relating that in preparation to meet all of them he watched the entire run of Friends, while noting how it made no sense that they could afford the apartment, which Eleanor agrees was confusing.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": In a flashback, we see Eleanor's garbage mother showing up drunk to her ex-husband's funeral and hitting on her own daughter's boyfriend.

    G to L 
  • Genre Deconstruction: The first season is one for hackneyed misunderstanding-based sitcoms. Michael (who has the same name as the show's own creator) is forcing together a chosen few people specifically so they'll constantly get on each other's nerves, all for the amusement of himself and other demons, and occasionally stepping in directly to provide situations that will make them even more uncomfortable. After all, one of the first rules of comedy is that the characters don't find any of it funny.
  • Ghost Amnesia:
    • They erase memories of deaths that were traumatic and/or embarrassing. When Eleanor asks how she died, it turns out she was hit by a line of grocery carts that pushed her into the path of a truck carrying a billboard for male enhancement drugs.
    • Not quite death, but after Janet's kill switch is pressed, she "dies", then resurrects shortly afterwards, but with no memories. Until her memory backup is downloaded in a few days, all she is able to do is say "Hello, I'm Janet".
  • A Glitch in the Matrix:
    • Eleanor's presence causes things to go haywire whenever she does something really selfish. Then it turns out that it was all actually happening by design.
    • Janets have a tendency to cause these effects in their neighborhoods whenever they glitch out. Dealing with heartbreak over Jason and then lying to yourself and everyone else about it would do the trick.
  • Gone Horribly Right:
    • Michael's first attempt at making his own version of a Good Place worked a tad too well. He makes Eleanor feel so guilty that she decides to just confess to everyone.
    • Michael's second attempt ended up applying the lessons from the first failure a little too well. The humans end up being truly miserable right away which quickly makes them suspicious of why the Good Place feels so bad.
    • Eleanor's Batman Gambit from the season one finale works brilliantly and she figures out the true nature of the Good Place within a day of the second iteration. It also means that when she ends up in the situation again, she will lack a crucial advantage. Subverted in the next episode when we find out that she'd have figured it out eventually anyways; the only advantages she really got were speed and the knowledge that they'd already been through it all before.
  • Good Is Not Nice: Eleanor is convinced the others in the Good Place can't be as great as they seem. It turns out that they are, all dedicating themselves to great deeds in life. However, Eleanor claims that many of them were doing such deeds for recognition and Tahani is rather self-absorbed and condescending, intentionally or otherwise.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: It's a forking physical law of the subsection of The Good Place where Eleanor lives. Any attempt to swear results in a bowdlerized version being said instead; for example a person might be invited to go fork themselves. This ends up being true of the real Good Place as well, and it's what convinces Eleanor that they actually made it there towards the end of Season 3.
  • Grammar Nazi: Eleanor notes that Chidi makes a particular groan when someone says "from whence it came" instead of the correct "whence it came."
  • Groin Attack:
    • The Bad Place apparently has a device called the Penis Flattener.
    • Denizens of the Bad Place apparently love to "ball tap" each other as a prank. Chidi uses it to enforce his bluff.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The second episode of the second season is involved with this as Michael does various attempts at do-overs with his experiment, each time ending with Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason finding each other, and someone (usually Eleanor, but, at one point, Jason, bewildering even Michael) deducing that they are actually in The Bad Place the whole time.
  • Heaven: The Good Place is effectively this. While the real one still qualifies, the first-season finale reveals that the one the characters have been living in definitely isn't.
  • Heaven Above: Not three minutes into the show, recently deceased Eleanor distinguishes between Heaven and Hell by pointing upwards to indicate Heaven and downwards to indicate Hell.
  • Heaven's Devils: Employees of the Good Place and the Bad Place might regard each other with disdain, but they're all part of the same system and aren't really enemies.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Eleanor was so self-absorbed that she never realized just how much of a jerk she was and thought of herself as a mildly good person. When she is confronted with her past actions, she finally realizes just how nasty and selfish she was.
    • In episode 13, Tahani realizes that all the good acts she's performed were meaningless, because she only did them for praise and recognition, rather than because they were good deeds. Shortly afterwards, Chidi realizes how much his obsession and indecisiveness over doing the right thing led to him hurting everyone in his life and got him sent to the Bad Place. Tahani has an extended one when she realises that the Bad Place's method of torturing her is through ordeals around event mismanagement, and it's working, which means she's a shallow, frivolous and arrogant person.
  • Hell: The Bad Place, which is apparently full of people screaming in torment. Except the "Good Place" we see is also a part of the Bad Place — a part far more clever in its torments.
  • Here We Go Again!: Invoked in the season finale, with Michael erasing the memories of the main four, rebooting Janet again, and resetting things to day one — with the one tweak that the four of them will be kept separate this time, influencing each other's lives less directly — in the hopes that this time it will work better.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In a throwaway line, Tahani reveals this is how she died. Subverted, "Team Cockroach" reveals that she didn't die this way, dying instead in an ironic, humiliating fashion.
    • Eleanor has no reservations about returning to face Shawn's judgement if it means Chidi and Tahani are spared. Pity they're all in the Bad Place anyway.
    • Michael of all "people" pulls the first proper legit one in the entire series by giving his portal access pin to Eleanor and pushing her through, ensuring her safety, but dooming himself in the process. He does so without hesitation.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Chapter 35, Shawn gloats that the gang's efforts to help their friends and family won't get the latter into the Good Place, and even Doug Forcett is bound for the Bad Place despite all the good he does. This tips Michael off that something's wrong with the judgment process, prompting him to investigate the accounting department where he learns that nobody has gotten into the Good Place for over 500 years.
  • Hollywood Law: In the third season, a police officer announces that Jason has "admitted to the robbery." However, a "robbery" means stealing something directly from a victim by force, threats or intimidation, such as holding up a bank or mugging someone. Given Jason's personality and the fact that he's free within a year, the show obviously meant "larceny," which is stealing things without this means.
  • Hope Spot:
    • The final ten minutes of the last episode of season 1 have quite a few pop up that could save one or more people from being shipped to the Bad Place to balance things out. They range from "Real" Eleanor stating she would take one of the two spots condemning someone to the bad place, to one lawyer resident who might have found an obscure precedent that could save everyone, to "Real" Eleanor coming back pleading her love to Chidi and for them to remain together. Actually invoked, as each one is a staged moment meant to up the anxiety as the four humans and Janet debate who should be sent to the Bad Place in place of the others.
    • The second season penultimate episode is full of them, as they keep thinking they're going to get into the Good Place, only to have another curve ball thrown at them.
    • The season two finale has a large hope spot where it looks like Eleanor is going to turn her life around, but then things go poorly and she reverts to her old ways... until another push in the right direction steers her back right.
    • Early on in Season 3, it appears as if Michael's nudges successfully manage to reunite the four humans and set them on the path towards self-improvement. Then Reality Ensues, as a variety of obstacles threaten to break the group up. Michael and Janet manage to subtly manipulate events to help the gang stay together, but they eventually push things too far and get discovered, forcing them to reveal the truth of the situation, which permanently ruins any chances of them ever getting into the Good Place.
    • Towards the end of Season 3, the gang decides to use Doug Forcett as a role model to help other people into the Good Place. Unfortunately, Doug's lifestyle is making him miserable, and an ambush by Shawn and some other demons ends up sending the group on a mission that reveals that not only is Doug almost certainly going to the Bad Place anyways, but nobody has made it into the Good Place in over 500 years.
  • Humans Are Bastards: According to Michael, only very few people rack up enough points to make it to the Good Place, with the great majority of humanity being subject to internal damnation in the Bad Place. It turns out that Michael was exploiting this trope with his vision for a new kind of Bad Place, where humans just make each other miserable for all eternity.
  • Humans Are Special: For all their faults (and there are many), humans can change, improve, and uplift each other. Michael surprisingly comes to believe this over the course of season two after seeing the main four humans do just that, and uses it to argue on their behalf in front of the Judge.
  • Hypocritical Humor: In a flashback, Jason says that he wants to show everyone what a beautiful soul he has, then firebombs Acid Cat's speedboat.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: All season premiers start with "Everything is...". In season 1 is "Fine", in season 2 is "Great" and season 3 has "Bonzer".
  • Insistent Terminology :
    • It's still a little nebulous what Janet is, but she's quick to correct anyone using the wrong terminology.
      Jason: I don't want to lose you, girl.
      Janet: I'm not a girl.
    • "Fake" Eleanor to distinguish our misanthropic protagonist from "Real" Eleanor, the human rights attorney.
      Eleanor: Um, ahem, could you please just say "Eleanor," and maybe point to whichever one of us you're addressing?
      Bambadjan: Well, actually, the fake/real distinction helps me.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Jason notes that he's actually Filipino, not Taiwanese like the Buddhist monk he's been mistaken for, and says it's racist people assumed that he was.
  • Intimate Hair Brushing: Eleanor and Tahani become friends despite their initial distrust. Eleanor suggests they take their bonding to "the next level" by braiding Tahani's hair. She braids a blond streak of fake hair in Tahani's gorgeous black hair. It looks tacky, but Tahani is good-natured enough and lets her. She even seems to enjoy Eleanor's attention.
  • Ironic Hell:
    • The Bad Place seems to be a combination of Fire and Brimstone Hell and this. As beside the torture and attacks by dangerous animals, more "mundane" punishments are mentioned, such as having to organize a baby shower or attend a test you didn't study for.
    • In the ending of season 1, when Michael's neighborhood turns out to be an experimental type of torture in Bad Place, invoking this. In Eleanor's case, Michael is tricking her into thinking she's the sole bad person among good people, and creating "problems" in the neighborhood based on her bad behavior to make her feel guilty and scared that she'll be found out and sent to the Bad Place. For example, when Eleanor steals shrimp from Tahani's party, giant shrimp go flying through the air the next day, and when Eleanor fails to help clean up, there's a trash storm.
    • "Everything is Great", the first episode of season two, gives us a few examples.
      • Michael has Tahani live the "humble life" she claimed to want, living in a crappy small house with a short "soulmate", dressed in cargo pants and finding out why Crocs have holes. He then butters her up by claiming that this reflects her true spirit before casually mentioning that he'll have plenty of time to handle any requests she might have since everybody else is perfectly satisfied with what they've been given, pressuring her to smile and bear it because she doesn't want to admit that she's selfish, shallow, and ungrateful.
      • Chidi's ironic hell is just as miserable: Since making decisions is torturous for him, he is forced to choose between two women to be his soulmate. Then, when he finally forces himself to make a decision, Michael steps in and decides for him anyway, even though the other choice is obviously supposed to be Chidi's actual soulmate. Chidi must now watch in lovesick agony from afar, struggling against his own paralysis.
      • Social, friendly, outgoing Jason still has to pretend to be stoic, silent Jianyu the monk. Only this time, he's stuck with his "soulmate's" constant company, without the refuge of his season 1 "bud hole".
  • Irony: Michael reboots the neighborhood over and over again so he can find a way to effectively torture the humans without being found out... but in the end, this ends up being torture for him. When Vicky threatens mutiny, he's forced to team up with the humans just to break out of what would otherwise be an eternal stalemate.
  • It's All About Me:
    • Eleanor is unbelievably selfish, which is her main flaw.
    • One character went to the Bad Place because their good deeds were out of selfish motives rather than genuine compassion and altruism.
    • Another character ended up in the Bad Place thanks to a narrow focus on his own personal morality and a disregard for how his hair-splitting and indecision affected those around him.
    • Jason is also laser-focused on himself.
  • Judgement of the Dead: While there is no singular 'judgement' that happens per individual, the idea of judging people based on the good or bad they did on Earth and sending them to an appropriate afterlife is an essential part of the premise. Each action has a positive (good) or negative (bad) point value. Only the people with the highest positive scores get into the titular Good Place, with everyone else save one person sent to the Bad Place. Season 3 reveals the process has somehow become corrupted to the point where nobody has made it into the Good Place in over 500 years.
  • Just a Machine: Janet has absolutely no self-preservation (except briefly simulated whenever someone approaches her self-destruct), and repeatedly encourages the characters to treat her as an emotionless tool. She still develops emotions over the course of the show. Celestial beings can also create facsimiles of people and animals that act exactly like the real thing, but are just hollow copies... probably.
    Michael: They're not real, but their pain is real. Does that make sense?
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Jason and Janet have a kind-of romance toward the end of season one. A surprisingly sweet example, as both parties are so innocent it comes across as a sort of Puppy Love.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The ads for season 2 quite clearly showed Michael scheming about how to make the main cast miserable. Ironically and also subverted as while this spoils Season 1, it doesn't spoil the fact that he promptly teams up with the humans very early into Season 2.
  • Lie Detector: Michael uses a cube which flashes green when someone tells the truth and red when they lie when investigating Eleanor.
  • Long Title: The book Chidi spent his life writing. Its title starts: Who We Are and Who We Are Not: Practical Ethics and Their Application in the Modern World; a Treatise on the..., and then Michael interrupts Chidi before he can finish it.

    M to R 
  • Massive Multiplayer Scam: The entire first season, because they're not actually in The Good Place. Everyone who isn't Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi, or Jason (or Janet) are demons who take far too much pleasure in fooling with the poor humans.
  • Meaningful Name:
    • Chidi is an Igbo name that means "God Exists". Eleanor had no real exposure to the concept of a person living life focused on trying to do what was good, with Chidi introducing her to it.
    • Eleanor is most likely derived from the Occitan phrase "alia Aenor", "the other Aenor" (a nickname for Eleanor of Aquitaine, to distinguish her from her mother also named Aenor). She is referred to as the other/fake Eleanor at the end of Season 1, and it could also be said that by trying to improve herself, she's trying to become another, better version of herself.
    • Janet is the feminine form of John, meaning "God is Gracious". She literally bestows upon the residents of the Good Place whatever they desire.
    • Jianyu is a Chinese name meaning "Building the Universe" or prison, depending on the tone.
    • Michael is the name of a Biblical archangel and is the Hebrew name meaning "who is like God". Archangel Michael leads the war of the good angels against the bad and is commonly prayed for to "defend us in battle" against fallen angels. Becomes an Ironic Name after the twist. In Season 3, it cycles back around into being a straight example, since Michael has not only been trying to help humans get into the Good Place, but he also decides to reveal and fix the corruption that has affected the afterlife's judgement process.
    • Tahani Al-Jamil is an Arabic name that means "Congratulations Beautiful." Lampshaded by herself (as a beautiful, accomplished socialite). It's also meaningful in another way — said accomplishments were merely self-congratulatory and a way of making herself feel good.
    • Her sister, Kamilah? That's Arabic for "Perfect". It also has implications of completeness, which completely shuns Tahani's existence. It holds this meaning in at least four languages and the Holy Qur'an, too. However, it is mentioned only twice in the Qur'an, the first of which describing how people will be weighted by their sins in death.
    • Even the neighborhood name, 12358W, is loaded: 12358 is a Fibonacci sequence, correlating with the Golden Ratio. In other words, 12358W is code for Perfect World.
  • Metaphorical Marriage: In "Chidi's Choice", Jason and Janet decide to get married. Janet is a walking talking user interface for the celestial mainframe and Jason is a guy who died. Eleanor and Tahani attend the wedding and voice both their concerns and objections, as well as appreciation of their unusual romance. The two exchange marriage promises, and Janet declares them married. In a later episode, Janet says it was not a legal ceremony, but they consider themselves married. At least until Jason's memory is intact.
    Michael: And by the way, Janet is not your wife, or your soul mate. There's a Janet in every neighborhood.
    Jason: Well, I'm in love with this Janet. We did a bunch of amazing, awesome stuff which almost turned out to be sex, and we were married in a legal ceremony.
    Janet: It was not legal.
  • Mid-Season Twist:
    • Episode 7: After an incident of trying to help Michael by "killing" Janet temporarily and seeing Chidi's guilt over the act, the episode ends with Eleanor confessing in front of everyone that she doesn't belong in The Good Place.
    • Episode 21: The midseason finale of Season 2 is also pretty eventful. Janet creates a rebound guy named Derek to get over Jason, Tahani and Jason almost get married, and Chidi learns about the videotape. The biggest twist is at the very end of the episode, with Michael walking into his office only to find Shawn is sitting at his desk.
  • Mistaken Identity: Somehow Eleanor's past got mixed up with someone much nicer - Michael got her name right, but not much else.
  • Morton's Fork: Eleanor promised to help Michael find what is disrupting the neighborhood, knowing full well that she herself was the root cause. However, reneging on her promise would cause further disruptions which would likely be traced back to her. She desperately searches for a way to Take a Third Option.
  • Mundane Afterlife:
    • Michael made his section of the Good Place look like pleasant Everytown, America. Other sections are implied to have varying degrees of quirkiness, depending on the tastes of their caretakers and residents.
    • The Medium Place is intentionally built to be "just okay," which means it's a nice house in the desert filled with lukewarm beer, old magazines and a VHS copy of Cannonball Run 2.
  • Mushroom Samba: Doug Forcett, a stoner from Canada, once took a handful of hallucinogenic mushrooms and got so high that he managed to make a guess about the afterlife that was 92% accurate. By comparison, most of the world's religions are about 5% accurate about it. The feat was so impressive that the keepers of the Good Place have enshrined him for all eternity. Michael is downright proud just to have a portrait of the guy in his office.
  • Mysterious Note:
    • Jason's note to Eleanor saying that she doesn't belong in The Good Place.
    • In Chapter 13, Eleanor wrote herself a note telling her to find Chidi after Michael erases her memories.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: It's forking impossible for anybody to swear in The Good Place, which Eleanor finds out for herself:
    Eleanor: Somebody royally forked up... Why can't I say fork?
    Chidi: If you're trying to curse, you can't here.
    Eleanor: That's bullshirt.
  • The Needs of the Many: Chidi gives Eleanor a lecture about utilitarianism, and the issues which it faces, such as if torturing one person to death so a hundred more are saved is moral. Jason puts in his own more selfish scenario - framing an innocent person who would otherwise break up a band and cause more (supposed) unhappiness.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The show's sizzle reel made it seem like a quirky comedy where Eleanor gets to enjoy the Good Place with little consequence while trying to keep her secret. The actual show, while quirky and humorous, has Eleanor's mere presence in the Good Place causing far-reaching chaos and sets up a greater mystery to play out over its run. For fork's sake, even the name itself is unreliable after The Reveal. It's accurate only in the sense that that's the name of Michael's pet project.
    • Official descriptions of the show's premise cast Michael as Eleanor's "mentor" in her quest to become a better person. That's actually Chidi's role.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: Although Michael only got the best out of Janet when he himself Took a Level in Kindness in Season 2, he dooms his own plan to failure by bringing a Good Place Janet into The Bad Place. Janet rescues the four humans so many times over the course of the show, but the clearest example of this trope in action for Michael and Janet specifically is when Janet holds onto Eleanor's note and finds Eleanor again telling her to "Find Chidi" after Michael wipes Eleanor's memory and resets the Good Place. This enables Eleanor to find Chidi and (slowly) discover the truth again.
  • Ninja Prop: In this case, the use of sitcom conventions redirects attention from why everyone is having such a bad time in what is supposedly Heaven.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Acid Cat, an EDM musician/DJ who performs in a helmet-mask shaped like a cat's head, is a pretty blatant reference to deadmau5.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Like you wouldn't believe. The morality points system is on Black and White Morality, but, of course, that's not how the world works. The world has become so complicated and interconnected that nearly every action has an unintended, often unknown negative consequence on somebody. For example, buying flowers for your grandma might cost you points because you ordered the flowers on a cell phone that was made in a sweatshop, the shipment the flowers came in caused a carbon footprint, and your money went to a Corrupt Corporate Executive. In other words, the road to Hell is literally paved with good intentions.
  • No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: The judge, and the Bad Place demons, seem to derive their pop culture entirely from late 20th century and early 21st century America. The lack of any pop culture of their own may partly explain why Michael is so obsessed with trying to understand humans.
  • Non-Ironic Clown: Played with. The other Eleanor (the one who was supposed to come to The Good Place) really liked clowns, presumably seeing them in a lighthearted and innocent way, and the house is decorated to reflect her tastes. However, both Eleanor and Chidi (as well as a couple other residents) find this element of the decor creepy and disturbing. Given that this is actually the Bad Place, they really were meant to be disturbing.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • The review of Eleanor's life contains a ton of this, with bizarre references to things like being banned from Build-a-Bear for life.
    • Several of the resets in Chapter 15 fit this model, showing out-of-context situations like Chidi being chased by bees.
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: The show is famously the antithesis of Status Quo Is God, regularly introducing massive shakeups to its premise and setting:
    • At the end of Season One, it's revealed that the "Good Place" is actually the Bad Place, and the characters are meant to torture each other for all eternity.
    • In Season Two, the neighborhood is destroyed and the human characters are given a second chance to earn points by being brought back to life.
    • Midway through Season Three, the humans learn the truth about their past with Michael and Janet, thereby losing the opportunity to earn afterlife points. After two seasons of trying to improve themselves, they accept that they're destined for the Bad Place and decide to use their knowledge to make other people better instead.
  • Not So Above It All: By the second episode, Eleanor's neighbor Tahani is clearly (to the viewers, anyway) starting to get frustrated that her soulmate Jianyu is continuing his vow of silence even in the afterlife.
  • Not So Different: Eleanor notes that Michael screwing with Chidi when he's struggling in Chidi's ethics class is exactly the same way she'd react when feeling inadequate. Then she wonders what it says about her that she's Not So Different to an actual Demon.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Michael's effusive praise for Eleanor's noble life on Earth and her generous help in fixing the Good Place's glitches cause Eleanor much grief. And as it turns out, Michael's not actually oblivious at all.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: In Chapter 14 and 15, we basically follow the day of each of the main characters separately, with the times they interact having an out-of-context predicament also going on.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • Averted and a central plot point. The pilot establishes that Eleanor Shellstrop, the protagonist, was mistaken for a different, much nicer Eleanor Shellstrop. The latter appears in "Most Improved Player", having been sent to The Bad Place. And then played straight, as it turns out there never was another Eleanor Shellstrop at all.
    • Averted with the name Doug. Michael's office has a prominent portrait of Doug Forcett, a stoner who provided the most accurate prediction of the afterlife in human history. Doug is also the name of both Eleanor's and Jason's fathers.note 
    • There have also been two one-scene characters named Gloria, two Todds, two Daves, two Patricias, and two Jessicas.
  • One True Love: Everyone has one, and in the Good Place you get to be with that person forever. In theory. Michael made it up as part of his plan to torture the main four, soulmates don't actually exist.
  • Only Good People May Pass: The main purpose of the season 2: After the revelation that The Good Place is revealed to be the Bad Place the whole time, thanks to a scheme of Michael who planned to have the four Main Characters (Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason) torture each other. The four main characters all tried to be good by performing good deeds to get into the real Good Place.
  • Opposites Attract: Every major relationship and Ship Tease in the series so far falls into this:
    • Eleanor, who's flighty, somewhat impulsive, and (at least in her backstory and at the start of the series) amoral, and Chidi, who's terribly indecisive and gets stomachaches over doing anything wrong.
    • Eleanor also crushes on Tahani, who is substantially more gregarious and altruistic, but also very proud and pompous (whereas Eleanor, if nothing else, is aware of her moral failings and relatively humble).
    • Tahani — who is, again, gregarious, proud, and status-obsessed — and her attraction to/fascination with Jianyu, a simple, silent, and presumably poor-while-alive monk. Subverted when she finds out about who "Jianyu" really is; Tahani, a rich and well-educated woman with significant artistic skill and loads of celebrity connections, shows little to no interest in Jason Mendoza, the less-than-intelligent failed DJ who seems to have burned every bridge he ever crossed. But it's Double Subverted in "Existential Crisis." She knows who Jason really is, but because he consoles her after her failed party, she has sex with him.
    • Jason and Janet: (an always-enthusiastic dimbulb gets married to what is essentially a nigh-omniscient magic computer.)
  • Our Demons Are Different: Michael says that it's not exactly correct to call denizens of the Bad Place "demons," but it's close enough. Their true forms seem to vary, but are often horrible monsters or giants made out of lava. They can make themselves look like humans, which is apparently done by getting inside suits of skin that are often much smaller than their true form. They behave mostly like regular humans, with some behaving like standard office drones and many others like frat boy assholes. Michael recruits a number of them to act in his experiment, which some of them hate doing.
  • Outside-Context Problem:
    • Eleanor's presence in The Good Place. When she reveals the mistake, Michael panics because there is no system to deal with it - a mistake like this has never happened in the history of the universe. Played with later as while Eleanor is actually in the Bad Place, her selfless act completely threw Michael's machinations for a loop.
    • Mindy St. Claire presented such a unique problem that The Good Place and The Bad Place wrangled over her fate and eventually created The Medium Place just for her.
  • Overly Pre-Prepared Gag: When William Jackson Harper was asked in an interview for hints to what happens in Season 2, his response was "acupuncture and pigs". Both are references to throwaway visual gags that took ages to set up for seconds of screen time.
  • Paranoia Gambit: The entire first season is one for Eleanor and Jason. Both are so afraid of being found out and sent to the Bad Place, they torture themselves by acting counter to their natures. The finale reveals they were already in the Bad Place and that was how they were being tortured.
  • Parody Sue: Everyone else in the Good Place is absurdly kind and selfless, to the point that nearly every detail we hear about them is some selfless, successful humanitarian act.
  • Parental Neglect: Eleanor's parents. They forgot her birthday, her mom blew half her college fund on bailing out her new boyfriend, her father blew the rest trying to frame said boyfriend, and were incredibly self-absorbed jerks who left Eleanor to fend for herself.
  • Playing Gertrude: Leslie Grossman plays Donna Shellstrop (Eleanor's mom), and is only nine years older than Kristen Bell playing Eleanor.
  • Plot Twist: Eleanor reveals her secret - that she's not supposed to be there - in order to protect the rest of the crew after a season of trying to be better. Which is all well and good except the actual plot twist is that they're actually in The Bad Place.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Michael lands one on Trevor in Chapter 8.
    • Chidi lays one on Michael in "The Trolley Problem."
  • Production Foreshadowing: An episode of The Good Place podcast mentioned an on-set visit by the guy who "played" Doug Forcett, with Ted Danson acting in-character as Michael and treating him as a hero. Season 3 has exactly that happen, with Michael believing Doug to be an exemplary human and visiting him.
  • Production Throwback: In Somewhere Else, the back cover of Celebrity Baby Plastic Surgery Disasters magazine has an ad for a champagne produced by Jean-Ralphio Saperstein from Parks and Recreation. Although Jean-Ralphio's move into champagne took place offscreen, a bottle was seen in Craig and Typhoon's flashforward in the Parks & Rec Grand Finale.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The afterlife works as a sort of Celestial Bureaucracy, with its own Mooks. These include the other residents of the "Good" Place, most of whom don't share Michael's new vision of Hell and find it an in-universe case of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
  • Recycled In Space: The first season is Sartre's No Exit... as a wacky American sitcom!
  • Redemption Equals Death: Mindy St. Claire was a cocaine addict and a pretty nasty person in life. However, she had an epiphany on how she could help people and actually tried to follow up on it by withdrawing all her money in order to form a charity. Right after that, she died in an accident. She then crossed into Death Equals Redemption since her sister found out what Mindy's plan was and was so inspired that she actually founded the charity in Mindy's name and helped millions of people. If she stayed alive, Mindy would have likely failed in her plan and backslid back into being a bad person. By dying when she did, she accidentally accomplished a lot of good.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Michael explains that the major religions only get the afterlife about 5% right. The closest anyone got to getting the whole truth was when a Canadian stoner got high on mushrooms and accidentally got it 92% right. His portrait is in Michael's office; he's quite proud of it.
  • Rejecting the Inheritance: Tahani rejects her half of the inheritance upon finding out that her parents didn't care enough about her to spell her name right on their will.
  • Rerouted from Heaven: Zig-zagged.
    • Initially inverted with Eleanor and Jason, who were meant to go to The Bad Place but were mistakenly taken to The Good Place instead. Because of this, however, the trope is played straight with the other Eleanor Shellstrop, who was sent to The Bad Place.
    • Subverted as the first season finale reveals that this has been the Bad Place all along and except for the four main characters and Janet, everyone else (including "real" Eleanor) have been part of the Bad Place group.
  • Reset Button: Subverted. There's a literal reset button in-universe, but it's not a reset button for the show itself, as each reset actually moves the show on rather than enforcing Status Quo Is God.
    • Not a literal button, but after the season 1 finale twist, and into the first two episodes of the second season, Michael shows that he can reset everyone's afterlife memories with a snap of his fingers.
  • Retcon:
    • A minor one. In chapter 13, Michael tells Shawn he has stolen a Good Place Janet and explains his idea. In "Michael and Janet", it shows that Michael had already shown the Good Place Janet to Shawn and he knew the details of the project, meaning he stole her after the meeting.
    • "A Fractured Inheritance" reframes the dynamics of the al Jamil family by painting Tahani's parents as being equally cold to both their children and pitting them against each other. Before, it had been shown repeatedly that they much preferred Kamilah, offering her effusive praise and barely acknowledging Tahani's existence. Similarly, Kamilah went from being portrayed as a spoiled daughter to equally damaged. Kamilah's coping mechanism might have been her superiority over Tahani masking a pain even she wanted to deny.
  • The Reveal:
    • The first season finale shows that this has been the Bad Place all along, designed solely for Eleanor, Chidi, Jason and Tahani as torture. Except for Janet, everyone else in the neighborhood is part of the scheme and Michael is a demon who's been planning this all along.
    • Tahani's cause of death is revealed in 'Team Cockroach' - having been upstaged by her sister yet again, she gatecrashes her sister's induction into the Rock Hall of Fame and tries to tear down the statue of her sister - which does come down, but straight onto Tahani.
    • Nobody's gotten into The Good Place in over 500 years.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Essentially the show's premise, having a person completely unworthy of The Good Place actively working to earn it. The core cast consistently shows that they always will come together, and bring out the best in each other, no matter how they are muddled about. Season 3 runs with this, as the humans get a second chance on Earth to prove that they were capable of realizing the good inside themselves, and eventually extend that chance to others.
    • Season 4 is set up with the idea of Eleanor and the others proving the same is true of most humans.
  • Running Gag:
    • Eleanor frequently proclaims in the first season that she deserves to be in a Medium Place, until she actually finds it.
    • The clown door to Eleanor's bedroom playing cheery music at inappropriate times.
    • Janet appearing behind whoever's summoning her, usually startling Eleanor.
    • Jason telling stories about his dance crew in Florida, which somehow relate perfectly to the situation at hand.
    • Janet helpfully pointing out that she isn't whatever she was just described as - e.g., she is not a "girl," a "woman" or even a "person," nor is she a "robot" or a "computer." Towards the end of Season 2, she even denies being a "Janet" anymore, saying she's not sure herself what it is that she's become.
    • "Everyone hates moral philosophers"

    S to Z 
  • Scenery Porn: The Good Place is very pretty, with everyone living in designer houses in a neighborhood that looks like a pleasant American town surrounded by lush nature. Justified, as it's supposed to be paradise.
  • Schizo Tech: Michael and Janet monitor the humans' progress during "Somewhere Else" using a ticker tape recorder, instead of, say, visual monitors or even audio recordings.
  • Secret Test of Character:
    • Chidi speculates Eleanor being sent to the Good Place is one of these, and that she'll be allowed to stay if she admits she shouldn't be here. Eleanor's too afraid of being sent to the Bad Place to try. He was partially right. She was picked just for him... but to torment him for eternity instead.
    • A flashback reveals Chidi's friend Uzo subjected him to one of these before Chidi died. Chidi insisted he could handle the pressure of being Uzo's best man, so Uzo pretended to accept and gave him a date one month earlier than the actual wedding. Sadly, Chidi completely bombed it.
    • The Judge outright says that she will test all of them, but Jason, who had to beat Madden against his favorite team using their bitter rival, still "figures" out that it was a test. Eleanor's test zigzags this, as she goes through a door just to return to the lobby and be told there is no test and she can go straight to the good place. She figures out that she's still really in the test and refuses to leave without the others, in part because the false Chidi says to forget about ethics for a minute.
  • Secretly Selfish: It's revealed that good actions and deeds can be negated if they're performed for less-than-altruistic reasons. Hence why Tahani is in the Bad Place - she may have raised a lot of money for charity and humanitarian causes, but only because she wanted to one-up her sister and get everyone's attention. Overlaps a bit with Wants a Prize for Basic Decency, as the Judge herself says that being good is meaningless if it's being done with the expectation/desire for a reward at the end.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: The main characters spends season 2 trying to find a way to get to the Good Place, via getting to the Judge and pleading for their case. After travelling through the Bad Place and nearly getting caught, they reach her... and she almost immediately rejects their case. They try to have another test to see if they can get in, and fail that too. At Michael's suggestion, the Judge agrees to give them a second chance on Earth, to see if they can get into the Good Place that way, which is where season 3 starts. But then, thanks to Michael "nudging" things, he and Janet get stuck on Earth, and inadvertently get caught by the team, forcing them to reveal the whole truth, dooming all four to be sent to the Bad Place once again. Chapter 36 then reveals that nobody has gotten into the Good Place in over 500 years, apparently thanks to some tampering by the Bad Place administration, so the gang never stood a chance in the first place.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Michael watched Friends to learn about human friendship. In one episode, there is a coffee place named 'Celestial Perk', a parody of Central Perk from Friends.
    • Michael also references the theme song to The Golden Girls.
    • "Real" Eleanor uses "yadda yadda" several times in conversation and then notes she learned English from watching Seinfeld.
    • At one point, Eleanor describes Jason as "Tragic Mike".
    • When Trevor asks Michael what he is willing to offer in exchange for Eleanor staying in the Good Place, Michael tells him "You get nothing!"
    • Flashbacks to when he was alive showed that Chidi had dinner with his friend Uzo at a restaurant named "Eating Nemo".
    • When trying to convince Jason to let them leave the Medium Place so they can save Tahani and Chidi, Eleanor says "We have to go back."
    • In the season two finale when Michael bartends, he adopts some of the mannerisms of Ted Danson's legendary character from Cheers. Also, the bar he's tending is briefly shown to be named "Sting's Desert Rosé".
    • Jason is a huge fan of Madden NFL, to the point where The Judge uses it as his test of character.
    • Possibily coincidental, but the short chime that accompanies the title card sound like the loading music from The Sims. Pretty appropriate, given that's a video game series involving the creation and maintenance of a perfect neighborhood but also infamously allowing players to torture the residents.
    • In season 3, when Janet is trying to figure out if Trevor can be killed; she mentions dropping a steamroller on him.
    • The "Everything Is Fine" logo on Michael's waiting room wall is a reference to the David Lynch film Eraserhead, in which one character sings a song that proclaims "In heaven everything is fine."
  • Sibling Rivalry: Tahani had this with her sister Kamilah, feeling she was always second best in comparison. Her desire to prove herself came up again when she learned she was second to last ranked in the Good Place neighborhood.
  • Sitcom Character Archetypes: The main cast initially fits into these, but the show plays with them when it's revealed that besides Michael, the main four were specifically picked to clash with each other for eternity.
    • Michael is the Square. While not the protagonist, he's the hapless but sincere boss of The Good Place trying to keep all the antics caused by the other main characters under control. Subverted when it's revealed that it was all an act, and he was just playing the role of the clueless boss while manipulating everyone else. Then double-subverted in that his actual personality isn't that far off from the one he was playing at.
    • Eleanor is the Wisecracker. Cynical and bitter, she can barely resist cracking a side comment or two at the expense of other characters, and is an actual thorn in the side of the Good Place, as her presence causes it to go haywire.
    • Tahani is a mix of the Bully and the Bigmouth. Although an accomplished philanthropist, it's clear that she thinks very highly of herself, expresses disdain for those that don't meet her standards, and gleefully lords her life experiences over others. She and Eleanor even get off on the wrong foot, although it's subverted when Eleanor realizes that Tahani is a genuinely kind person despite her ego and has self-esteem issues due to her absurdly accomplished sister.
    • Chidi is the Dork. A neurotic, indecisive Hollywood Nerd and the group's loyal and intelligent teacher. His kindness and dithering often makes him the Butt-Monkey. He also has some traits of the Square, as he's often the voice of reason and reacts with shock and disbelief to everyone else's antics.
    • Jason is the Goofball. A childish, stupid man who is nonetheless optimistic and nice.
  • Smug Straight Edge: Being vegan gives you good points. Not bragging about it gives you even more.
  • Spanner in the Works:
    • Eleanor is this to Neighborhood 12358W. Her selfishness causes the Empathic Environment to go haywire - leading Chidi to compare the other residents to a Swiss watch, and Eleanor to a hammer smashing the works. Double subverted. In the season finale, we discover that the chaos was planned by Michael, but there was an actual spanner — Chidi's lessons being more effective than the Bad Place thought they would be, causing Eleanor to confess her identity as the "mistake." That broke Michael's Batman Gambit down and caused him to have to improvise everything afterward.
    • Eleanor's note to herself in the beginning of season 2 totally derailed Michael's second attempt at torturing the group within the first night. Because the note told her to re-find Chidi, Eleanor spent most of the party focused on doing that instead of getting drunk like she was supposed to. Instead, she gave the drinks she was going to have to Tahani, who wound up giving the drunken speech Eleanor was meant to delivernote , creating a huge distraction that Eleanor, Chidi and Jason used to slip away from their demon minders. From there it all spiraled out of control, culminating in Jason "breaking character" early to complain about his soulmate, making it impossible for Michael to continue the ruse and forcing another reset.
    • As of Season 3, Neighborhood 12358W as a whole is shaping up to be this to the demons of the Bad Place. Michael's experimental new torture method went so poorly that he was driven to work with the humans to stave off a mutiny by the other demons. During the process, he became so attached to the main four humans that he pulled a Face–Heel Turn and started trying to help them and eventually other humans gain entry into the real Good Place. This put him on the path of discovering that the Bad Place had tampered with the afterlife's judgment process, which has been preventing people from going to the Good Place for over 500 years.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Tahani mentions a British "saying" about not letting anyone know when you're sad.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • In "Someone Like Me as a Member..." Tahani sees how Jianyu knows how to pump a keg and then leaves snack bags all over the house. It makes her suspicious and she breaks into his "meditation room" to finally discover his secret.
    • In "Michael's Gambit", Eleanor realizes that everything that has happened to her, Chidi, Tahani and Jason is a form of psychological torture and that they are actually in the Bad Place.
    • "Dance Dance Resolution" reveals that Eleanor is extremely good at this and she is able figure out the truth in over 800 different scenarios Michael puts her through. This is probably due to her extremely cynical nature and belief that people are always hiding something.
  • Stepford Suburbia: Very subtle, but even before Eleanor starts wrecking things there are hints things aren't as perfect as they seem. Jianyu really seems to find Tahani insufferable, but is too polite to say anything. Given what we later learn, it might have been Jianyu/Jason just trying to avoid giving himself away.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: "Hot diggity dog!" is both Eleanor's immediate reaction when Chidi kisses her and Michael's immediate reaction upon learning that Chidi kissed her.
    Eleanor: That's what I said!
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Whenever Eleanor is complaining about Tahani, it tends to devolve into going on about how hot she is.
  • Sugar Bowl: Played with. The setting was clearly intended to be one, what with its exaggeratedly pleasant smalltown America vibe filled with ridiculously good people, but it starts to fall apart almost immediately.
  • Take That!: Now with a page.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: In-Universe, everyone else has done so many inhumanly good things before they died that Eleanor gets wasted just to cope.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Michael and the four humans are forced to team up after 802 failed iterations. Michael needs the humans to pretend the experiment is working so Shawn won't find out about the 801 unauthorised attempts and force him into retirement. In return, the humans avoid going to a traditional Bad Place, plus Michael promises to try to get them all into the real Good Place.
  • Themed Wedding: The higher-ups in the Celestial Bureaucracy seem to have a distaste for this trope. A couple gets negative points for having a themed wedding, and even more if it's The Lord of the Rings-themed.
  • This Isn't Heaven: The Season 1 finale reveals that the main characters have actually been in the Bad Place the entire time and the whole scenario was designed to get them all to drive each other nuts.
  • Title-Only Opening: No theme song, just the title in unassuming font over a green background.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: While time on Earth is linear, time in the afterlife loops around and winds up looking like the name "Jeremy Bearimy" in English cursive. The dot of the "i" is both Tuesdays and July, and sometimes never.
    • This concept causes a Heroic BSD for Chidi. He states that the dot "broke him", and he proceeds to spend the next little while having a massive freakout, including making chili with M&Ms.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Jason lives and dies this trope, quite literally. He died attempting to rob a Mexican restaurant by hiding in a safe which didn't have airholes.
    I'm just a dope who died in a safe with a snorkel... who's only now realizing why that didn't work!
  • Token Evil Teammate: Ostensibly Jason and/or Eleanor, given that they're not supposed to be in the Good Place. Except not really since they're all in the Bad Place and, cosmically speaking, they're all technically bad. By season 2, though, it's Michael when he teams up with the humans to avoid retirement.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The celestial beings seen so far all have rather mundane names like Michael, Trevor, Shawn, and Todd.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Played with, especially with Eleanor. Eleanor's old friends on Earth were truly vile. (Seriously, she was the nicest of the lot, even at her worst.) Once she starts hanging around the rest of Team Cockroach, however, she improves exponentially, and she even comments that, if she'd known them all along, she might've gotten into the Good Place for real. It's also shown that Chidi, Jason, Tahani, and even Michael are significantly better people due to hanging out with each other. Tellingly, when the gang is sent back to Earth in Chapter 26, Michael nudges Eleanor towards Chidi in order to help her improve.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Light example, but the NBC website's thumbnail for the season 2 finale "Somewhere Else" shows Michael as the bartender when he goes to Earth to talk to Eleanor.
  • Translation Convention: The Good Place automatically translates the various languages spoken by its inhabitants so that the listener will hear the language they are most comfortable with. For example, Eleanor hears everything in English while Chidi hears everything in French. One side effect is that Chidi has to ask if Eleanor is trying to swear, as it just sounds like nonsense to him. It also works for accents, causing Eleanor to figure that Tahani is deliberately putting on her plummy British accent.
  • "Truman Show" Plot: Michael as demonic director to an entire neighborhood full of "actors" designed with the specific goal of fooling four humans.
  • Undercover as Lovers: Eleanor and Chidi have to pose not only as a couple but as soulmates to hide the fact that Eleanor is not supposed to be in the Good Place.
  • Undignified Death: If a person's death is particularly humiliating, the celestial beings erase it to make the transition easier.
    • Eleanor's memory of her own death was erased because it was "traumatic and embarrassing". She bent over to pick up a bottle of "Lonely Gal" Margarita Mix for One in a parking lot, and a long column of shopping carts plowed into her. She was carried into the street and struck by a billboard truck advertising an erectile dysfunction pill. Funnily enough, the first EMT to arrive was an ex-boyfriend of hers. However, it's possible her memory was really erased to hide the fact that the "Real" Eleanor (who supposedly was trying to save her) wasn't really there, because she's really a demon from the Bad Place named Vicky, and Eleanor remembering her death could have given that away. And indeed, when she dreams of her death on her way to the Medium Place, we don't see "Real" Eleanor and in fact, barring the initial details, there's little to confirm Michael's version.
    • Chidi was crushed by a falling air conditioner while being distracted by his utter inability to make a single decision about even which bar to go to with his friend.
    • Jason tried to stage an extremely poorly-thought-out robbery that ended with him suffocating to death in a fake safe because neither he nor his accomplice thought to put air holes in it.
    • Tahani tried to pull down a statue of her sister during a party being thrown for the latter by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, only for the statue to come crashing down on Tahani herself. And to make it more embarrassing (for Tahani anyway), she died in Cleveland.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Eleanor's mom keeps cash hidden in her bra.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: The concept of the 'moral desert' comes up — one mustn't do good things because they expect a reward for doing them.
  • We All Live in America:
    • The Bad Place demons, and the Judge, constantly reference American pop culture, and no other.
    • The supposedly Australian setting of season 3 is basically California with added Finding Nemo puns.
  • Weaker in the Real World: In season 3, Michael and Janet lose their otherworldly powers when on Earth, though Janet still knows everything up to the point when she left due to the nature of her existence.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 7. Overlapping with Mid-Season Twist, at the end of the episode, Eleanor confesses to everyone that she doesn't belong in The Good Place.
    • Chapter 13. We've been in the Bad Place the entire time! Michael is actually a demonic architect who specifically designed his neighborhood to be a never-ending torture chamber for Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason. In fact, the four of them were carefully chosen because they would get on each other's nerves and aside from them, every other resident is actually a member of the evil Celestial Bureaucracy going along with Michael's plan to torture the four Main Characters. And the "good" Eleanor is also a part of Michael's Evil Plan and is actually named Vicky.
    • Chapter 26, the season 2 finale. Michael and Gen agree to a plan to test the idea that people can change, if given a push. That plan? The main four are brought back to Earth, where their deaths are narrowly averted. However, Michael decides to break the rules and encourage the humans to meet up once they begin regressing.
    • Chapter 38. Michael manages to convince Gen that the sorting system is flawed, so she brings in Shawn to help make a decision. They decide to build a new neighborhood, similar to the one from Season 1, and bring in four new people to test and see if they can become better people. However, before the test subjects arrive, Michael learns that Shawn is planning to torture Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason with a clone of himself. As a result, Michael freaks out and collapses, leaving Eleanor to take care of the first test subject.
    • Chapter 39, the season 3 finale. Michael's anxiety forces Eleanor to take over as "The Architect" of the neighborhood. Shawn attempts to sabotage the experiment by sending humans who would be ideal for making things as miserable as possible for the Soul Squad, including Simone, who has died off-screen. This causes Chidi to freak out and request to be rebooted, fearing that he'll let something slip and ruin the experiment, ending his relationship with Eleanor.
  • Wham Line:
    • "I've been waiting for you." A wham line because it's said by Jianyu who follows it up by saying "I'm not supposed to be here, either!"
    • One in the form of an Internal Reveal: "The problem in the neighborhood is me. I was brought to The Good Place by mistake. I'm not supposed to be here."
    • "Most Improved Player" ends with a number of them. Including: "Hi, I'm Eleanor Shellstrop."
    • "Someone Like Me For A Member" ends with Jason entering his "bud hole" only to find Tahani waiting with "So, let's chat, shall we?"
    • "Michael's Gambit" has Eleanor having a revelation and silencing everyone by saying: "This is the Bad Place!"
  • Wham Shot:
    • At the end of Chapter 2, somebody slides a note under Eleanor's door saying "You Don't Belong Here", meaning somebody else knows her secret.
    • In Chapter 4, Michael mentioned that the Good Place repairs itself in due time so he's not worried about the Sinkhole Eleanor created. However, at the very end of the episode, Tahani hears a sound coming from where the sinkhole was created. She goes to investigate, only to discover the hole is growing rather than shrinking.
    • In Chapter 13, after being confronted by Eleanor, Michael's normally kind face suddenly splits open into a Slasher Smile as he reveals his true evil self.
    • The neighborhood disintegrating into nothingness as the train pulls away at the end of Chapter 23.
    • In Chapter 39, Eleanor opens the door to the waiting area and reveals that the next test subject being added to the neighborhood is Simone.
  • White Void Room: The Good Place's storage room for Janets, as revealed in "Michael and Janet". Michael calls it a "neutral pocket dimension beneath a shapeless time void." It's right next to Accounting.
    • Janet has her own personal void that is also all white. When the four humans get taken in there, they temporarily turn into Janet.
  • You Do NOT Want to Know: What the Bad Place is like, to the point that people are forbidden to access information about it. Some Bad Placers reveal that there's also various forms of twisting, burning, and butthole spiders. The most a resident of the Good Place can get is live audio of what's going on - which invariably involves wails and screams of terror.
    Bad Place Audio Recording: (harsh metallic screeching) OH GOD, THE BEAR HAS TWO MOUTHS!

"Holy motherforking shirt balls!"

Example of: