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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?"
Eleanor Shellstrop

The Good Place is a 2016-2020 NBC philosophical Fantastic Comedy series created by Michael Schur (who wrote for The Office (US) and co-created both Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine), starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson.

After being killed by an oncoming truck, Eleanor Shellstrop (played by Bell) wakes up in an unfamiliar and idyllic world. She is greeted by Michael (played by Danson), the "architect" of this world, who tells her that as a reward for her exceptionally virtuous life, she will now spend eternity within "The Good Place" along with the rest of the best of the best of humanity.

There's only one problem: Eleanor is not a nice person at all. She has been confused with someone else.

Eleanor confides in her system-designated "perfect soulmate" Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), a neurotic ethics and moral philosophy professor, and emotionally blackmails him into teaching her to become a good person who deserves to stay in The Good Place; lest her rottenness be discovered, which would result in her being tortured for eternity in "The Bad Place".

Complicating matters are Eleanor and Chidi's next-door neighbors: humanitarian socialite Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil) and her soulmate, the silent Buddhist monk Jianyu Li (Manny Jacinto). Finally, there's Janet (D'Arcy Carden), a humanoid resource interface containing all of the information in the universe designed to provide anything that the residents desire.

The show is also available on Netflix, and as such, is labeled as a Netflix Original in some countries. Episodes aired on NBC first, then on Netflix the following day. On June 7, 2019, it was announced that the fourth season would be the show's last. A six-episode web series titled The Selection was released as a bridge to the end of the third season and the beginning of the fourth season. The series ended on January 30, 2020 with a 75-minute Grand Finale.

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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    A to E 
  • Absent Aliens: There's no mention of any intelligent life aside from humanity and the inhabitants of the afterlife, all of whom have randomized human bodies despite their true inhuman nature. Even the Judge, the personification of Hydrogen, who was the first thing to ever exist, makes no mention of any sort of life beyond Earth. Could be that it doesn't exist, could be that there's no intelligent life, could be that all or most lifeforms that evolve an understanding of ethics are essentially higher primates on every planet, or maybe aliens just have their own afterlives.
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Eleanor's parents were a pair of trashy, self-centered, alcoholic lowlifes who couldn't stand one another and generally left their daughter to take care of herself. This was the primary factor behind Eleanor's cynical view of people and dog-eat-dog mentality. The first flashback we see with them involves Eleanor emancipating herself from them on her fourteenth birthday. In Season 3, however, we do see that Eleanor's mother did later get her life together when she remarried and became the stepmother of her new husband's daughter, and the episode closes out with her and Eleanor reconciling as she acknowledges how badly she'd screwed up as a mom.
    • Tahani's parents constantly compared their two daughters' achievements to their faces, always favoring her sister, Kamilah. They would typically hold contests between the two, judging the results and condemning the loser, again, to her face. The worst incident occurs at the reading of their parents' will.
      Executor: Here, they spelled it as "Tahini" on the paperwork. Like the sauce.
    • Jason's mother died from cancer when he was a child, and while his father Donkey Doug wasn't abusive on purpose, his stupidity, laziness, neglect, criminal and irresponsible behavior ensured that his son grew up into a low-life criminal like himself. While they're shown to be friendly with each other, they don't even treat each other like father and son, acting more like a pair of frat boys together. The surprising reveal that Donkey Doug is his father will, once you get there, really explain a lot.
  • 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!
  • Accidental Truth: In the first episode, Eleanor states how unfair it is that a select few get to the Good Place while everyone else gets tortured for eternity, even if their "sins" were just being slightly selfish and anti-social, and there should be a Medium Place for everyone who weren't saints or straight up evil. There is a Medium Place, but due to how the afterlife works, it only exists due to a unique circumstance of its sole inhabitant, Mindy St. Clair, having her positive and negative actions completely cancel each other out, meaning that neither the Good Place or the Bad Place had a definitive claim to her. It doesn't actually have anything to do with being a "medium" person. Eleanor is also right that the afterlife is unfair, because the complexity of the modern world means that even positive actions have unintended negative consequences, which the points system wasn't designed to take into account, meaning that it's effectively impossible to be good enough for the Good Place, and has been for centuries.
    • Michael pairs Eleanor with Chidi as soulmates. Over the course of the series they come together over and over. Eleanor always seeks him out for help and Chidi always helps. In the end, "There is no answer. But Eleanor is the anser.".
  • Achievements in Ignorance: "The Good Place" was designed by Michael to be a cunning place of torture where rather than physical pain, the demons are perpetually putting these unredeemable humans through psychological and emotional torture. He hoped it would last at least a thousand years, but Eleanor figured it out after about six months. Through resetting the experiment and wiping their memories, Michael proceeded to make countless minor variations hoping to perpetuate this emotional torture but found them always improving their moral compass, even if only a little. This was something the entire afterlife system deemed impossible and through numerous other types of experiments the Good Place / Bad Place system became redefined, with Michael leading the revolution.
  • Acid-Trip Dimension: The Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes. Swirling colors, flying pancake-shaped portals, and neon green, inexplicably deadly slugs abound. Plus, there's something called the Time Knife that momentarily breaks poor Chidi's mortal brain.
    Chidi: I... Just... Saw a Trillion different realities folding onto each other, like thin sheets of metal forming a single blade.
    Michael: Yeah, yeah. The Time-Knife, we've all seen it. Let's get back on track, bud.
    Chidi: Yeah, okay, sure. What I was saying, um, before, you know, I SAW THE TIME-KNIFE?!
  • 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.
  • 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 3, Jason actually manages to get a very valid and relevant lesson across to the Judge: don't be so quick to 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.
    • Living your life to be famous for goodness is morally corrupt, but at the same time bending over backwards to live a strictly virtuous life without enjoying it makes one miserable and risk harm to oneself.
    • While it's true that a bad life isn't an excuse for poor behavior and people ultimately need to take responsibility for their own lives, it's equally wrong to dismiss such factors entirely, as growing up in a bad environment does cause long-lasting emotional damage that can be extremely difficult to recover from. Michael sums it up best that people grow and become their best selves when they get love and support and it's not fair to hold it against them when they never get it.
    • The series as a whole comes to an Aesop at the grand finale. What people, and demons, and other omniscient/omnipotent beings truly need is the chance to grow, learn, and become better people.
    • There is no one easy answer to morality. We have to explore and learn and actively try to be better people, and the people who love us can help us along the way, including by inspiring us.
    There is no answer. But Eleanor is the answer.
  • 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. It's even lampshaded by Chidi, who points out they're literally living a philosophical dilemma; they're being punished for their sins, but they have no ability to learn from the punishment since their memories are being erased.
  • Afterlife Angst: In the first episode, our protagonist finds herself in a generic but comfortable waiting room, complete with a reassuring banner that everything is fine. She then has an interview with "Michael", who reveals she has died and gone to "the good place." She takes a few moments to adjust to this information.
  • 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 being 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 conning sick, elderly people out of their money. Chidi, while a decent fellow, made everyone around him miserable with his indecisiveness. 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, and it seems to fuel commentary about the harshness of the way humans have judged actions throughout history.
  • All-Loving Hero: The first episode mentions that Florence Nightingale, who is usually considered an example of this trope, ended up going to The Bad Place, which serves as the first clue that something is seriously wrong with the way the afterlife works. Much later, we meet Doug Forcett, who found out about the point system during a drug trip, and is deliberately trying to be this trope to earn enough points. The Soul Squad then finds out that in spite of all this, Doug hasn't earned nearly enough points and is almost certain to go to the Bad Place as well. This discovery leads to them realizing the whole system is broken and culminates in the afterlife being redesigned in the final season.
  • All There in the Script: Almost every speaking character, however minor, has a name though many only appear in the end credits.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: In-universe during Season 2, Tahani says that Home Alone is actually a horror thriller where a Lonely Rich Kid has to fight off a home invasion, and Kevin is way out of his weight class to fend off two adult burglars. She still enjoys it and watches the movie with her parents in the real Good Place.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Strictly speaking, we know nothing about the gender of any non-human character, or if afterlife beings even have such a thing as gender. Janet even frequently specifies that she is not a girl. And the Bad Place demons are merely wearing skin suits that resemble human bodies to familiarize themselves with humans' weaknesses; the bodies don't necessarily correspond to whatever gender identity the demons might have. Plus, Beadie, a Good Place angel, states that it wouldn't be possible for her to be pregnant, which definitely means they aren't male or female by biological standards.
    Vicky: I am a strong, independent acid snake in the skin-suit of a strong, independent woman!
  • 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 (almost always 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.
  • Angst? What Angst?: The "Real" Eleanor is surprisingly chill about having been wrongly sent to The Bad Place and being tortured with electrocution and flying piranhas. This all gets justified at the end of the season, when it's revealed that everything "Real" Eleanor said was a lie. invoked
  • Arc Words:
    • "What We Owe To Each Other". It's the title of one of the books from Chidi's philosophy collection, is the name of a first season episode, Eleanor rips out a page from that book to write a note to herself, and in the second season 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. In the series finale, Eleanor cites the final passage of the book to finally accept that she needs to allow Chidi to walk through the final door as she realizes it's what she owes to him after countless Bearimies of time together.
    • "[Character name]? Come on in." Told by Michael to Eleanor, it's the very first line in the series, and it reappears multiple times being told to multiple different characters.
    • "Welcome! Everything is fine." It's written on Michael's wall and is the first thing the humans see when they wake up after their deaths. The first episodes of the first three seasons are titled after the phrase. In season four where they run the experiment, Michael once again writes it on the wall. When, after all their strife, the Soul Squad finally enters the actual Good Place, Eleanor tells Michael that, at the end of the day, he was right: everything is fine.
  • 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 (admittedly, that kind of little thing being enough to send you to the Bad Place no matter what else you do is part of the point).
    • 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!"
    • When the Judge was setting up the experiment, she said that Shawn could choose the new humans but they had to be the same general level of badness as the original four "No dictators, no serial killers, no one who ever managed a boy band."
    • When Bad Janet, who was imprisoned in Good Janet's void for six months by Michael, explains what's happening on Earth, she says "Wars, murders, women in $400 yoga pants refusing to vaccinate their children. Vindictive nerds at Apple are changing the charger cable shape again."
  • Artifact Title: The title of the series becomes this after the season finale in which it's revealed they're actually in the Bad Place. It isn't until the second to last episode of the entire series where the characters finally enter the actual Good Place.
  • Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence: What lies beyond the Final Door...sort of. We never do learn exactly what walking through it entails for a person's consciousness, and even Janet doesn't know, but it involves a person's soul dissolving into golden particles that positively influence others on Earth. Chidi's theory invokes the Buddhist concept of the wave returning to the ocean.
  • Ass Shove: In Season 2, the Bad Place is said to have started testing "Butthole Spiders". They're enormous. This is apparently one of their go-to tortures, there's several jokes about various things they like doing this with to the damned, such as hot dogs on vegans.
  • 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.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Michael's idea of the Good Place. It requires literally hundreds of demons all working together to torture just four people, and the torture that is produced is ultimately less satisfying for most demons than the traditional methods. Really, the only thing Michael's plan has going for it is its novelty. In the end, the novelty of it is why it works to fix the afterlife.
  • Awful Truth:
    • The Good Place has been the Bad Place all along.
    • No human has entered the actual Good Place for 521 years.
    • Everyone in the REAL Good Place is actually miserable, having become dulled by an eternity of paradise.
  • Back for the Finale: Several characters previously exclusively seen in flashbacks of the main characters' lives show up in person at various points in the series finale, having died and gotten into the Good Place, including Eleanor's old friends Brittany and Madison, Tahani's sister Kamilah and both their parents, and Chidi's childhood best friend Uzo.
  • Bad Is Good and Good Is Bad: The demons of the Bad Place run on this trope. However, because they don't really understand humans, they're all kind of lame about it (especially Michael).
  • Badass Finger Snap: In "Michael's Gambit", once Eleanor figures out that she and the humans are actually in the Bad Place and Michael, "Real Eleanor", Shawn, and the other residents are really demons who've been running a new experiment in subtly torturing them, Michael proceeds to snap his fingers to erase the humans' memories and restart the experiment.
  • Bag of Holding: The demons' human suits seem to work this way. No matter how large the demons are in their true form, they fit into a human-sized suit.
  • 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.
    • When the demons trying to learn how to make a fake Good Place in Season 4 one of them creates a chainsaw bear, a bear with chainsaws for arms who shouts its own name.
  • 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 far more difficult to actually 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. Michael, of all people, asks if she's looking for a reward, or a "moral desert".
    • In Season 3, the cast eventually realizes that the points system is completely incompatible with modern life and that almost all positive actions are unwittingly outweighed by the myriad possible negative effects they might tap into (like the act of buying flowers indirectly fueling child labor in a foreign country), meaning it is literally impossible to even try "being good" in the first place.
  • Be Yourself: Deconstructed with Jason and Eleanor, but also Reconstructed as the series goes on and Character Development sets in. They both dislike pretending to be different 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 do 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."
  • Big Bad: Michael in Season 1 and the start of Season 2. After he performs his Heel–Face Turn, this role is passed on to Shawn for the rest of the series.
  • 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!
    • The montage Michael plays for them before wiping Chidi's memory at the end of season three shows that they have a habit of this, with one planting a kiss on the other, usually a "Shut Up" Kiss. And then they just keep doing that in season four.
  • Big Fancy House: Tahani and Jianyu live in a huge, 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.
    • The situation is flipped in Version 2, with Tahani assigned a claustrophobically small cottage. The same fancy mansion is given to another resident and Tahani jealously demands that it be given to her when she gets drunk at the welcome party.
  • 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, hopefully psychologically disturbing the would-be saboteur with her impassioned pleas.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: Demons tend to be bad at insulting humans, especially Michael.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • In "Mindy St. Claire", a flashback of Eleanor's last moments on Earth sees her buy a bottle of tequila, with the brand being "Basurero"... which is Spanish for "garbage dump".
    • In "A Fractured Inheritance":
      • 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".
  • Bizarre Dream Rationalization: Being a rationalist, when Simone arrives to "The Good Place", Simone assumes the afterlife is simply her brain processing her death, and acts bizarrely for her own amusement. Eventually, Chidi convinces her to take things seriously, in case the setting truly is real.
  • Black Comedy: So many examples, what with the series being literally set in the afterlife and all. Generally speaking, the series mines a lot of dark humor out of the implied acts of torture going on in the Bad Place, which are often so absurdly over the top (i.e., people being mauled by "butthole spiders," "bees with teeth," and angry bears with two mouths) that one can't help but laugh at it.
  • 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 (and if the bread you steal is a baguette, you get more negative points because it makes you more French). It becomes a plot point in Season 3, where Shawn does some Evil Gloating on how he expects to see the main four's friends and families and even Doug Forcett 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 precisely because the system operates on an extremely rigid system that has no room for nuance or grey areas.
  • Blank White Void: Every Janet has her own personal void with no boundaries and limits. For Good Janets, they are all white, empty, and brightly lit.
  • 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. Also, being vegan is good and gives out a handful of points, but never discussing your veganism without being asked gives triple as many 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.
    • Being French is automatically bad, for no adequately explained reason.
  • Book Ends:
    • Season 1 begins and ends with Michael greeting Eleanor in his office, welcoming her to "the Good Place", and introducing her to his Neighborhood.
    • Season 2:
      • The season begins with Eleanor being given the note she'd written to herself to find Chidi before she got her memories erased of piece of a page torn from the philosophical book 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, which leads her to find Chidi.
      • Michael both begins and ends the season with the same line: "Okay. Here we go."
    • Season 3 begins with Eleanor walking into Chidi's office. In the Season 3 finale, Chidi walks into Eleanor's office.
    • Like season one, season 4 once again involves four humans being in a pseudo-Good Place neighborhood, which is actually an experiment to test a new way to run the afterlife. Several elements from season one return, such as frozen yogurt shops and Jason pretending to be a Buddhist monk named Jianyu, and the experiment once again ends with the humans Spotting the Thread and concluding they're in the Bad Place (they're incorrect this time, but Michael and Eleanor don't tell them that).
    • The Season 4 premiere has Michael freak out and force Eleanor to take over his role as the Architect. In the finale he freaks out again and tries to follow her into nonexistence, but instead becomes human (which was her entire thing) so he can someday enter the gate for himself.
    • The entire series. The first episode begins with Michael opening a door, and the Series Finale ends with Michael closing one.
    From the bottom of my heart... take it sleazy.
    • The series also begins with Eleanor's very first moment in the afterlife, and ended with her very last moment in it, in which her fragmented soul impacted someone on Earth.
  • Born as an Adult: Janets are created already fully formed with the appearance of adult human women. Derek is also created as a fully grown man, albeit one who is far less functional than any Janet.
  • 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.
    • "The Book of Dougs" takes place entirely within The Good Place mailroom.
  • Break Her Heart to Save Her: Chidi has to break up with Simone because she might accidentally find out about the afterlife, in which case she would be doomed to go to the Bad Place herself because she won't be able to do good selflessly, unaware of the rewards, anymore.
  • 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 reveal of the stairs is also an effective little bit of the ongoing Bad Place torture.
    • 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 using exactly the same words Michael had.
    • Pillboi's nickname is introduced long before we learn its origin. It's set up to sound related to street drugs at first... but when we see more of his life, it turns out the nickname comes from his job distributing meds at a nursing home, with the suggestion that the elderly patients were the ones who first nicknamed him!
  • 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. The show also stuck to a planned ending with season four, meaning that there will only ever be 52note  episodes in the entire series.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, and sticks around for most of the following episode.
  • …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 Beauty Standard:
    • 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 soulmate was a humble man.
    • The cowboy boots Chidi forced himself to wear returns in Season 4's 'The Answer'.
    • You can see the horribly-drawn pony return in the background of one of the Janets' voids.
  • The Cameo: Nick Offerman in the Grand Finale has a brief scene where he commends Tahani on her craftsmanship on a wooden chair.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Two resulting from Michael mentioning having watched the entirety of Friends:
    • Firstly, for Michael himself, as one episode of Friends features Chandler watching Cheers, Ted Danson's breakout sitcom.
    • Then, in the penultimate episode, Lisa Kudrow portrays Hypatia. Coincidentally, Michael mentioned a few episodes earlier that of the 6 main characters, Phoebe is the least deserving to go to the Bad Place.
    • The episode "Janets" includes a reference to John Travolta's infamous mispronouncing of Idina Menzel's name at the Oscars, implying that the movie Frozen exists in this universe, despite also starring Kristen Bell.
  • 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.
    • Accounting is shown to be a drab cubicle farm containing billions of analysts who tabulate human point totals to determine who gets to go to the Bad Place or Good Place.
  • Central Theme: What does it mean to be a good person? Also, Humans Are Flawed.
  • Cessation of Existence: Averted, as there is an explicit afterlife in this series' universe, so this trope is only brought up to be considered in some way.
    • Michael is an immortal who cannot die under normal circumstances, although it's a possible punishment for a sufficiently disastrous screw-up. In the aptly titled episode "Existential Crisis", 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, having never feared the supernatural equivalent to death before.
    • Simone, being a neurologist and presumably an atheist as well, seems to believe this is what happens to people when they die. When she dies and is chosen as one of the test subjects for the Good Place experiment, she refuses to believe she's in the afterlife and thinks everything and everyone she's seeing is just an intense Dying Dream. Michael mentions having seen a few people that seemed to believe this as well; they usually began to realize the truth of their situation after a good few torture routines.
    • In "The Funeral to End All Funerals", the threat of this hangs over all of humanity, living and dead alike, when the Judge decides to reboot all of existence because the world and humans in general have become too complex for the points system to judge effectively rather than find some way to fix the system itself.
    • In "Existential Crisis", Eleanor says that, while most people go through life a bit afraid of death, it gives them an incentive to care about things and make use of the time which they have, contrasting this finality with how (as revealed in "Patty") eternal pleasure has turned the Good Place residents into bored and mindless hedonists over time. The solution to that problem is to give the inhabitants of the Good Place a way to leave when they're content to do so. In the Series Finale, the process is shown to end the person's conscious identity, but the way their soul scatters actually implies something closer to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence mixed with The Lifestream in practice.
  • Character Development: The entire point of the show. People aren't perfect, but with love and support, they can improve and become the best version of themselves.
  • Cheerful Funeral: The Soul Squad decide to throw these for each other in Season 4, after wondering how people back on Earth would have handled their deaths. And seeing as how they're already dead, none of them focus on mourning so much as celebrating each other's (after)lives and what they love about each other.
  • 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, and later recurs in a tragic one-two punch at the end of Season 3.
  • 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. Later, in Season 3, Chidi tries to fulfill Eleanor's mailman fantasy, and while overwhelmed by her current circumstances, she appreciates it. In the series finale, Chidi gifts her a sexy calendar of himself as all her favorite things, including professional wrestler and mailman... and just a picture of himself.
    • In Season 2, there are a couple of times when Tahani tries to get out of Michael's torture schemes by saying "I demand to speak to your manager". Talking to the manager ends up being the only way to get out of the Bad Place.
      Eleanor: (imitating Tahani) ..."Oh, hibbledy-dibbledy, this simply won't do! I demand to speak to your manager!
      Tahani: Of course! That's it! We should speak to the manager!
  • Children Are Innocent: We are never shown where dead children go, and none of the characters ever ask. Possibly their actions are not being scored.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: In the first season, flashbacks to Eleanor's life on Earth has a muted, grayish color palette in contrast to the Good Place's pastel colors. The Bad Place is dim, dark grays. The Medium Place is earth tones befitting of the late 80s/early 90s. Accounting is taupe, and so is Neutral Janet.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Every time a mind-wiped Chidi discovers that he's actually in the Bad Place, he immediately blames an incredibly minor vice: continuing to drink almond milk despite knowing it's bad 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. But then it's subverted in that these little "vices" really did play a role in him ending up in the Bad Place and why no human has gotten into the Good Place for 521 years - basically, even the most seemingly minor actions have all kinds of hidden negative consequences.
    • 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.
    • Jason, due to his... unique way of thinking frequently embodies this trope but perhaps the most obvious example comes after he nearly suffocates to death in the safe during his attempted robbery with Pillboi and he declares he needs to "change his life." He immediately looks to a nearby transformer box plastered with fliers, including one for a local community college declaring that it can "change your life." He promptly proceeds to instead grab a flier advertising a dance competition and declares that winning it is the thing that will "change his life." To top it off this is recounted in a flashback to an astounded Michael, asking if he really didn't see ANY other poster in that moment
    • This hits Janet in one instance, when Eleanor asks if anyone can access her 'search history' of what Janet has provided her to make sure her questions won't tip Michael off that she does not belong there.
      Janet: It is 100% confidential. No one can access what you ask me, including Michael... Now, what kind of pornography would you like to see?
  • 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.
  • 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 ground in 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, as befitting her status as a wealthy socialite.
  • Council of Angels: Both the Good Place and Bad Place have been run by something like angels (The Good Place Committee) and demons (The High Council) for millennia if not longer. The closest being there is to God seems like the Judge, who's largely content letting the two sides keep running things on their own, though she eventually intervenes when the system has been shown as wholly messed up. Strangely, unlike the Committee, the Council never actually appears, and Shawn is shown to have near-total authority over the Bad Place, especially during season 3 and 4. He's also the only demon who is invited to the discussion about how to fix the Points System.
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Each of the main four characters suffered pretty nasty fates on Earth to get them into the afterlife, though each are also played for as much Black Comedy as possible.
    • Eleanor: Drops a bottle of Lonely Gal Margarita Mix For One, gets shoved by a runaway row of shopping carts while picking it up out into a busy street and is then hit by a billboard truck advertising boner pills called Engorgulate, and the first EMT is her ex-boyfriend.
    • Chidi: Has his skull crushed by his own air conditioner falling out of his window a few minutes after he thumped it — giving him enough time to leave his apartment, stand on the sidewalk under it, and take forever trying to decide where to have lunch.
    • Jason: Suffocates to death inside of a safe trying to rob a restaurant while wearing a snorkle because he thinks it will help him breathe.
    • Tahani: Crushed to death when she lassos a golden statue of her younger sister and inadvertently brings it down right on top of herself.
  • 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 in the Bad Place 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!
    • He also figured it out in "Best Self" in season two. The pattern on the baloon is green-green-green-red, so just remember that. He's right; Michael is just stalling because he has no idea how to get to the Good Place and the balloon is a fake.
    • 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 1972.
      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.
  • 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 explicit torture of the more traditional Bad Place beyond.
    • In the final season, this also turns out to be the case with the real Good Place. The group finally arrives there, only to discover that all of its inhabitants eventually turn into jaded, apathetic zombies due to having all of their needs and desires magically fulfilled for all eternity. In short, as their lives have no challenge, they have no reason to care about anything. That being said, Team Cockroach manages to fix this by adding in an option for being Deader than Dead, which actually gives their actions weight again.
  • 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!"
  • Dating Do-Si-Do: Throughout the show, a lot of the major characters have been paired together in some way.
    • Tahani and Jason were paired together as soulmates, and get more seriously involved with each other in season two and three.
    • Chidi and Eleanor are paired as soulmates, but they end up always finding each other and sticking together.
    • Since Eleanor was there by mistake, Chidi has to reconsider who his soulmate truly is, with him believing it may be Tahani.
    • Very briefly in season one, Eleanor considers for a moment that her and Jason are actually soulmates.
    • Jason manages to get with Janet, the neighborhood's antrhopormorphic database system, and they actually end up sticking together.
  • Dead to Begin With: Eleanor is dead in the first episode, launching the show's plot, and every other human in the Good Place is deceased as well. The only nondeceased main characters are Michael and Janet, but they're both immortal beings, so it doesn't apply.
  • Death as Comedy: All of the Cruel and Unusual Deaths that the four main characters suffer through are Played for Laughs.
  • Defector from Decadence: Michael defects from the Bad Place in season two, but more surprisingly, near the end of the fourth season the beings in charge of the Good Place defect and leave Michael holding the bag for what turns out to be an incomprehensible nightmare of a "paradise".
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Shawn in "The Funerals to End All Funerals"
    Shawn: You're a choker, Michael. And you're about to choke for the last time. Except for the eternity you're going to spend in the Bad Place being choked by me, who will be doing the choking.
  • Denser and Wackier: An in-universe example occurs during the montage of reboots of the Fake Good Place experiment in the Season 2 episode "Dance Dance Resolution". Eleanor's assigned soulmates change, eventually cycling through Tahani and a golden retriever, a mysterious glowing obelisk is seen, and there are several shots of Eleanor and Chidi in bizarre circumstances when she makes the revelation.
  • 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: Remarkably for a show that's focused on the afterlife and morality, nobody ever raises the question of whether or not there's a Big Good in charge of everything. Shawn capably fills the role of the devil, but on the flip side, the Judge has limits on her role and powers that put her on a (slightly) sub-deity level (She didn't create the universe, and she explicitly denies being omniscient). As the show goes on, it piles up subtle but consistent evidence that it doesn't have a God as we commonly understand it. The more we learn about the Afterlife system, the more broken it looks — and it's getting worse over time. This is not a situation that a worship-worthy deity would tolerate.
  • The Devil Is a Loser.: While not particularly weak, most demons are often annoying, obnoxious jerks with bad senses of humor and an over-inflated sense of their own importance. Michael himself goes through a long Humiliation Conga trying to make an innovative Bad Place section where the humans torture each other, only for said humans to end up Spotting the Thread repeatedly and forcing him to reboot his experiments again. When he and the humans pull an Enemy Mine to keep the other demons from revolting, they're easily able to fool everyone.
  • Died on Their Birthday: In the episode "Somewhere Else", it's revealed that Eleanor had died on her birthday. This becomes a running gag of sorts because Eleanor always claims it's her birthday when she goes to a bar in hopes of scoring a free drink. So almost any day she died could have subverted this trope.
  • Divine Misfile:
    • What appears to have happened to Eleanor in the first season, as she got confused with another Eleanor Shellstrop who died at the same time. Until the first season finale where it turns out to be part of the ruse.
    • Season 3 eventually reveals that the points system wasn't built to take into account of the interconnected nature of the modern world and because of it, nobody has gotten into the Good Place in 521 years.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": Janets are all called "Janet." There are also Bad Janets from the Bad Place, Neutral Janets in Accounting, and for a few years Disco Janets were popular.
  • Doorstopper: Chidi's life's work is a 3,600 pages long 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 partway 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.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The Reveal behind the points system being completely incompatible with modern life, as globalization has resulted in every seemingly good action having a myriad of negative bad results, can be seen as a reflection of the socialist argument that there is no ethical consumption under capitalism.
    • Janet "making people" for the new Good Place experiment, which includes strenuous grunting akin to being in labor. And then Derek enthusiastically offers to help her, while Jason watches on awkwardly as he smugly "gets down to business" with her...
  • Double Entendre: Eleanor thinks that when philosophers talk about knowing yourself, they're talking about knowing yourself.
    Chidi: (in a long-suffering tone) For the last time, none of these philosophers are ever talking about masturbation.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Downplayed as it's just the Tagline, but for season three the Tagline was "What on Earth?" This is an obvious reference to the common saying, along with the fact that the characters are once again literally on Earth since their deaths were reversed.
  • Downer Ending: "Pandemonium", the Season 3 finale. In order to make sure he doesn't jeopardize the experiment around Simone, who had her memory wiped of the season's events, Chidi decides to have his memories erased as well, causing him to forget about his past relationships with Eleanor - and by extension, everything that happened throughout the series up to that point. Add that to Tahani being forced to cope with John Wheaton, who made her life miserable on Earth, Jason struggling with his feelings for Janet, and Michael trying to work through his involuntary new role in the experiment indirectly caused by Shawn, and you have one of the worst season endings to a comedy sitcom in a long time.
  • Dreamville:
    • Mindy St. Clair's neighbourhood in The Medium Place appears to be quiet and idyllic from the outside, as a 1980-styled house in the middle of an empty grassland, however, everything in it is perfectly mediocre, not being either torture or gift. It is an extremely boring place to be, with Mindy St. Clair being initially desperate for human contact (and some cocaine).
    • Neighbourhood 12358W seems like an idyllic Good Place neighbourhood, but is actually an experiment by the Bad Place to determine whether it would be possible to make a bunch of humans torture each other for all eternity.
  • Dumbass Has a Point: Jason will frequently come up with an insane Jacksonville story that ends with a moral surprisingly perfectly suited to the situation at hand.
  • Eagleland: Played for Laughs with the show leaning towards Type 2 (aka The Boorish Flavor) for the most part, but more benign examples can have more of the Mixed Flavor going on.
    • 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. Eleanor is a selfish cynic who believes in a dog-eat-dog mentality while Jason is a complete idiot and a petty criminal. However, both are fundamentally decent people; they just needed a push in the right direction.
    • 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, is a Mixed Flavor. It does have some pretty terrible people (Eleanor's parents, her coworkers at the telemarketing scam firm, etc.), but everyone else (Eleanor's ex-boyfriend Sam, the nice customer service guy at the Bed, Bath & Beyond store, the environmentalist recruiter, and a few others) is pretty decent. Justified since pre-mortem Eleanor would have no one to play off otherwise. On the other hand, no one uses the library there, the only sex education in the state is from The Bible, and apparently, a lot of porn is made there.
    • Jacksonville, Florida, meanwhile, plays the Boorish Flavor straight as an arrow. In Jason's flashbacks, most of the people in his social circle are jerks and idiots, and every other supporting character is a criminal. Jason himself zigzags 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 ("I'm just a dope who died in a safe with a snorkel... who's only now realizing why that didn't work!").
    • The Type 2 Flavor is exemplified with the Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet America-themed restaurant seen in "The Brainy Bunch": it's got a tacky Wild Western design complemented with trashy pop culture decor, a "Manifest Destiny" package where you can kick the current occupant of a table off, a Florida table that smells like a swamp, and seating being announced by guns going off. Even Eleanor calls it the world's worst restaurant. However, the restaurant is in Australia, and the setpiece serves as a joke on how other countries perceive the U.S.
    • 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.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Chidi mentions in the first episode that he is apparently always speaking French in the Good Place and the language filter automatically translates it. This fact is never substantially brought up again besides the first episode, and in season three when they go to Earth, Chidi never speaks French again. All his flashbacks to his life on Earth showcase Chidi speaking perfect English, and it seems the writers basically just dropped it.
    • In the second episode, Michael is perplexed by the fact that he's sweating and claims it's because he's "not used to being in a human body." This would imply Michael having a human body is a recent thing, or that it's something he only started doing to interact with the humans, but all future depictions would go against this:
      • In the season one finale Flashback B-Plot, Michael is shown wearing his human skin suit well before the events of the series even began when he's in his headquarters, a place with zero humans in sight. And even in that depiction, he certainly seems to have gotten past the point of "getting used to" his human form. It's also later established that wearing a skin suit is standard practice for immortal beings, with only a handful having been shown not wearing their skin suit.
      • Future depictions also establish that immortal beings, even while wearing their skin suit, can't/don't need to perform any human bodily functions (such as defecation or sneezing), so the fact that Michael was even involuntarily sweating in the first place is a bit weird.
    • Early depcitions of the Bad Place had its demons wear more stereotypical "trashy" clothes, such as leather jackets and poofy faux fur coats. All other depictions give them more of a cold business attire, with the men wearing suits and the women wearing work dresses. Bad Janet, with her black leather clothes and dyed blond hair, is a remnant of the Bad Place's original attire. However, their original clothing choice could have been part of the pseudo-Good Place ruse, as it might have been suspicious if Michael and the Bad Place demons wore the same type of clothing.
    • In season one, flashbacks were frequently included, to the point where every episode pretty much had its own Flashback B-Plot. Eleanor was the most common, obviously, but Tahani, Chidi, Jason, and even Michael all got one as well. This pretty much stopped after season one.
    • In the first season of the show, it was heavily implied that people were going to the Good Place, even though in season three it would be revealed no one had gone to the Good Place in over 500 years. Michael mentions that Abraham Lincoln made it in the Good Place despite dying less than 200 years ago, and his map showcasing which humans go to the Good and Bad Place featured relatively few, but still numerous, green dots. This could be handwaved as being part of Michael's ruse, but less deniable ones are Mindy St. Claire (where it's heavily implied that, if she had made her charity herself, she would have gone to the Good Place), and Tahani and Chidi's flaws that are cited as being why they were sent to the Bad Place (which, again, implies that, if they hadn't had those flaws, they would have made it to the Good Place).
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: For the main cast, at the very end of the series. After all the danger, strife, heartbreak, and intense revelations they go through—including: discovering that they were in the Bad Place early on; constantly being mindwiped and put through torture over and over again; being brought back to Earth only to be condemned to the Bad Place again and being killed yet again; discovering that the point system was flawed and they never had a chance at The Good Place; stopping all of humanity from being wiped from existence; and making it to the real Good Place and saving everyone from living as a joyless husk for all of eternity—our heroes finally get to enjoy a peaceful, blissful existence. And when each of them decides that they've had enough, in one form or another for one reason or another, they finally get to rest easy. Eleanor, Chidi, and Jason return their essence to the universe, while Tahani works to become a Good Place architect, Michael lives as an actual human, and Janet watches over everyone as best as she can with new perspective and understanding.
  • 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 reason why is that the point system never took into account how interconnected the world would become via technology. For an example, in the 16th century, giving a bouquet of flowers to your grandmother got you 145 points because you had to go outside, pick the flowers from a field and hand-deliver them to her yourself. In 2018, you'd lose points because you ordered that bouquet with a phone made in a sweatshop from a company run by a corrupt CEO who sexually harasses his female employees, the flowers themselves were grown with toxic pesticides and picked by exploited and underpaid workers, and the delivery method dumped a bunch of pollution into the atmosphere. Even the tiniest acts now have widespread consequences and ramifications that didn't exist when the world was a smaller 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. Then it's subverted when it turns out the main characters were actually in the Bad Place all along, and the weird things going on were supposed to be unique punishments meant to make Eleanor feel bad.
    • The dimension making up the afterlife and the Celestial Bureaucracy running it has weird things like Alien Geometries and a very loopy Timey-Wimey Ball way of how time passes.
    • The Interdimensional Hole Of Pancakes as revealed in "Chidi Sees The Time Knife" is an Acid-Trip Dimension Portal Crossroad World with portals to every dimension that vaguely resembles pancakes flying around constantly, Alien Geometries, and strange creatures. Chidi falls through a portal at one point and witnesses every dimension folding upon each other like the layers of a blade. This is the titular Time Knife; all the non-humans have already seen it.
  • Empathic Environment:
    • Whenever Eleanor does something selfish, it affects the whole neighborhood, which isn't capable of handling negativity. Subverted in Season 2, which confirms that Michael staged this aspect, among others, 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.
    • An extreme example in the series finale. The main characters quite literally change how the universe and afterlife system works, ensuring that most people eventually have a shot of getting into the Good Place, even after being tortured for a bit in the Bad Place. On top of that, people now have the ability to relinquish their consciousnesses to the universe if they've had enough of paradise, which Eleanor, Chidi, and Jason do, while Michael is made a human and lives on Earth.
  • 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 first season finale, everyone is arguing as to which two go to the Bad Place. Eleanor sighs and think on how it feels like 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 them both feel worse. Michael instantly realizes this is the problem with the entire point system—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 to prevent Chidi from having to be rebooted, which would erase his memories of everyone. Unfortunately, there is no eureka to be had, and the hard solution is the only one, and is carried out.
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Shawn is not happy when Vicky is implicated in sabotaging Michael's neighbourhood experiment, imprisoning her in a cocoon.
    Shawn: You aided the humans to spite Michael. You're not a demon, you're a jerk.
  • 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, and like the humans, she wasn't aware of where she was or who she was surrounded by.
    • 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. He is genuinely dumbstruck when Eleanor voluntarily gives herself up.
  • 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, the restaurant car is always closed and only serves one terrible meal anyway) along with more traditional forms of Cold-Blooded Torture.
      Trevor: Now you'll notice it is very hot in here and it will get one degree hotter every time you think about how hot it is. Oops! You just thought about it.
    • 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.
    • The demonic inhabitants of the Bad Place even do this to each other, shown when the main characters go there in disguise on their way to see the Judge, and they arrive at the train station. The conductor announces that all the trains are delayed for no reason, then calls all the passengers fat losers and says she hates them.
    • In the official The Good Place The Podcast, the show's writers explicitly state that this seeming pettiness is specifically a tenet of Michael's (and by extension the Bad Place's) central philosophy: "No torture too small."
    • Shawn continues to meddle with the Medium Place experiment in Season 4 and tries to damn the main cast despite being personally warned by the Judge and his plans all repeatedly blowing up in his face.
  • 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 helpful and kind with a wardrobe reminiscent of a 60's flight attendant, Bad Janet's unhelpful and rude and wears a leather jacket and tight black pants.
  • 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, ruining the entire facade.
    • 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.
  • Exercise Excuse: In early Season 2, Eleanor's new soulmate (actually a demon helping to torture her) keeps saying "I'm going to the gym!" and ripping his shirt off whenever she tries to bring up the subject of her identity. Michael told him this as an example of the type of thing he could say, and assumed he'd know not to use it nine times in one day.
  • Existential Horror: Chidi has an existential crisis over learning that the eternal now, and also Tuesdays, are separate from the rest of time. Everyone else just runs with Jeremy Bearimy, but Chidi, who has spent his life honing his ability to overthink everything as a moral philosophy professor, is broken by it.
  • Eye Open: Used repeatedly when people awaken in the Good Place. Also used to show Eleanor being rebooted to Earth at the end of season 2. Her squint in the Arizona sun shows that this is not the typical Good Place reboot.

    F to J 
  • Fantastic Drug: The demons from the Bad Place snort time... in cocaine form. They also consider snorting ground-up unicorn horn.
    • To a lesser extent, all the celestial beings drink antimatter like coffee.
    • If you make it to the Good Place, you get milkshakes made of starstuff.
    • The Judge uses the concept of envy as a condiment on her Mexican food.
  • Fantastic Measurement System: The time in the afterlife isn't linear like it is on Earth, instead constantly looping back on itself in a twirling scribble. It's known as "Jeremy Bearimy", because it happens to sort of look like the name Jeremy Bearimy written in cursive English. The dot over the "i", which is separate from the rest of the timeline, is sometimes July, and sometimes Tuesday, and sometimes never. As a result, you can spend a very, very long time in the afterlife with no time at all passing on Earth.
  • Fantastic Racism: A minor example. When Eleanor asks if she could use the word demon to refer to Michael and his species, he responds saying that "it's not really accurate, and we consider it a little bit racist, but alright".
  • 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 piñata...
    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.
  • Fictional Color: Michael's favorite color is "pleurigloss," which is imperceptible to humans and defined as "the color of when a soldier comes home from war and sees his dog for the first time." As this was in the first, deceptive iteration, we don't know whether pleurigloss is real or if Michael made it up to be as unhelpful as possible — Tahani was just looking for decorating guidance.
  • File Mixup: Eleanor and Jason were sent to the Good Place because their files were mixed up with those of other people who actually deserved to go there. At least this is why they are told they are in the Good's actually the setup for their torture in the Bad Place, which from the get-go, makes them feel like they're outlaws in the "Good Place" they're told they're in.
  • Firing Day: Michael's description of what happens when Architects "retire" is absolutely hellish (something people would literally describe as like hell), and it is looming over his head from the middle of the first season when he can't figure out what's wrong with his system design. When his boss, Shawn, shows up, he threatens that retirement is "on the table" if they can't resolve the situation. Michael wasn't actually at risk of being retired at the start of the season, he was just trying to make the main characters feel bad by putting his pain on them. When things begin to really fall apart, Shawn puts the threat in play for real.
  • First-Episode Twist: The basic premise of the series is laid out without much issue in the first episode, but over the course of the first season layers and layers of the setting are revealed until it reaches the finale. All subsequent seasons are built on this revelation, which makes anything past the first season difficult to discuss without spoiling that development.
    • The first episode has Eleanor being shown around the neighborhood with sickeningly sweet and wholesome environment and people. At the very end of the episode, Eleanor turns to Chidi and confesses that she doesn't belong here, as her backstory given by Michael did not belong to her and she has just been playing along the entire time.
    • "Jianyu Li" not actually being a silent Buddhist monk and instead the pre-successful Floridan DJ Jason Mendoza is hard to avoid considering The Reveal happens in the third episode and Jason becomes one of the four main characters.
    • In a Mid-Season Twist Eleanor confesses to Michael and the neighborhood that she doesn't belong there. This turns the story into a scramble for her and Michael to figure out what happened and how she can possibly earn enough points to earn her place there.
    • In the season one finale, it's revealed that the Good Place we've seen in has actually been the Bad Place the whole time. Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason were all carefully selected by Michael to annoy and infuriate each other for a millennia. All other people in the neighborhood were demons playing a role. It is then revealed that Michael can reset their memories at a whim, and makes plans to start the system over again with some differences. This revelation shatters the status quo, and becomes the key to the tone of later seasons.
  • First Installment Wins: In-universe, the demons preferred Attempt #1 of Michael's Good Place to all the others that followed. When a disgruntled Vicky takes charge via blackmail, she tells Michael to set everything similar to the original attempt.
  • First Girl Wins:
    • Eleanor and Chidi are paired as soulmates in the first attempt of Michael's fake Good Place. Despite a few bumps along the road and various reboots, they end up staying together.
    • Janet was the first (not a) girl Jason showed legitimate interest in under his real identity. While he did have multiple flings with Tahani after his memory of his and Janet's relationship was erased, he eventually decides Janet to be the better fit for him and they remain a couple for the rest of Jason's existence.
  • Fisher King: Invoked. The first few hundred iterations of Neighborhood 12358's bad occurrences are passed off as a direct result of there being people there who don't belong.
  • Five-Token Band: The main foursome. Eleanor is a white American, Tahani is British-Pakistani, Chidi is Senegalese-Australian, and Jason is Filipino-American.
  • Flashback B-Plot: Used in the first two seasons, but eventually dropped. While the A-story would show what was happening to the characters in the afterlife, the B-story would use flashbacks to show what the characters were like while they were still alive.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: Upon entering the afterlife, Simone initially believes that she's suffering from an intense hallucination as her brain is shutting down and everyone else is a figment of her imagination. Michael relates that some people sent to the Bad Place would also claim this, although they eventually realized the truth of their situation after a few torture sessions. Her refusal to recognize the reality in front of her unfortunately results in her acting like a Jerkass Cloudcuckoolander For the Lulz, endangering the experiment's chances and her (and the rest of humanity) being forever condemned to Hell. However, Simone gradually accepts that it's real over time after Chidi gives her a pep talk... though she does later figure out that the "Good Place" they're in is really an experiment (though she seems to be of the belief that they're really in the Bad Place).
  • Flat "What": Chidi, especially in Season 1, gets to deliver some spectacularly bewildered 'whats'.
  • Foreshadowing: Has its very own page.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: All the demons wear "skin suits", which are basically costumes they wear to look like normal humans. Underneath their costumes are their natural, true forms, which are described as horrific monsters, ranging from 6000-foot tall fire squids to acid snakes. Humorously, one particular Bad Place demon, Todd the lava monster, dislikes his skin suit the most because they're "really itchy" and is never seen with his on.
    • Although it's never stated, it's possible this applies to all other afterlife entities, such as the Judge and the Good Place committee.
  • 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 small knife", "Find Doug Forcett," "Stab with large knife," 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.
    • When Eleanor Googles the phrase "what do we owe to each other" in "Somewhere Else", her briefly seen search results include gems like 'wedding fail nip slip', 'what's a good excuse to skip a baby shower?', 'what is this gross thing on my foot?', 'what time is it?', 'what do weasels eat?', 'what does Trump eat?' 'what do white people do for fun?' and 'what do we say to the god of death?'
  • French Jerk: Apparently, being French is an automatic ticket to the Bad Place.
  • Freudian Excuse: Deconstructed. Eleanor attempts to blame her parents' 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: Conversed 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.
  • From Zero to Hero: This is the arc of at least the first two seasons. Eleanor starts off as a scrappy scammer in telemarketing (she specifically had the job of scaring old people into buying fake medicine), with no interest in academia or helping others. When she dies, Chidi has to help her learn philosophy so that she can improve herself and deserve a spot in the Good Place. She eventually becomes good enough by the Judge's standards to get into the Good Place (but opts not to go without her friends, who didn't pass their tests), the leader of the team that figured out nobody had entered the Good Place in over five centuries, and convinced the Judge to reevaluate the judgment system.
  • 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.
  • Funny Background Event: After the Time Skip in "Mondays, Am I Right?", when demons are arriving in the fake Neighborhood, you can briefly spot a certain magic panda appear in the crowd.
  • Gagging on Your Words: In "Mondays, Am I Right?", Shawn has trouble admitting that he and Michael are about to work together on the new afterlife system in front of the demons they plan to make the first Bad Place architects.
  • Gender-Equal Ensemble: The Soul Squad consists of three men (Chidi, Jason, and Michael) and three women (Eleanor, Tahani, and Janetnote ).
  • 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 directly stepping in 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:
    • The afterlife erases 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, while reaching for a dropped bottle of "Lonely Gal Margarita Mix for One." The kicker was the EMT to first find her corpse was an ex-boyfriend.
    • Not quite death, but after Janet's kill switch is pressed, she "dies", then reboots 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.
  • God and Satan Are Both Jerks: There's apparently no version of the traditional God, but the closest thing in the show, The Judge, has complete jurisdiction over both physical reality and all three afterlives. She considers herself True Neutral, but takes it to an extreme, refuses to consider things like extenuating circumstances or motivation, and changing her mind is incredibly difficult. Even once it's been comprehensively proven to her how flawed the Points System is and how complex human existence is, she decides to completely reboot the universe, wiping out every human soul in the process, rather than try to fix what's wrong with the system. There doesn't seem to be a Lucifer either, but Shawn, who runs the Bad Place, is basically Satan in all but name. He not only takes delight in torturing human souls, but is a perfect example of Evil Is Petty too.
  • 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 1 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 anyway; the only advantages she really got were speed and the knowledge that they'd already been through it all before.
    • The reason Michael's Good Place was always a disaster. For a while, he would succeed in torturing them. However, the torture eventually culminated into the humans noticing that they feel as if they're being tortured. They then question why the hell the "Good Place" feels so miserable, which makes them finally catch onto the ruse.
    • In the third season, Michael comes to believe that the Bad Place is tampering with the point system to keep all humans out of the Good Place. He eventually realizes that, mechanically speaking, the system is working precisely as intended; the Bad Place is just the only faction who pay enough attention to notice that the increasingly interconnected nature of modern life leads to too many unintended consequences, making it much easier to lose points than it is to gain them.
    • In Season 4, the group, despite less-than-perfect results from their experiment, manages to convince the Judge that the points system is inadequate for judging human behavior. Unfortunately, her approach to the problem is to start Earth and humanity all over again rather than fix the system, and the gang has to keep the reboot device out of her hands so they can try to come up with an alternate solution.
  • Good Behavior Points: The entire afterlife is dictated by a system based on this principle. Performing a high enough number of good deeds in life will land you a spot in the Good Place, an eternal paradise for only the most righteous humans, while everyone else will end up in the Bad Place to be tortured for eternity. The series later explores just how flawed and needlessly cruel this system actually is, especially once it's revealed that no human has made it to the Good Place in centuries, as the interconnectedness of humanity in the modern age means that even actions intended to be good will end up harming somebody else.
  • Good is Not Nice: Eleanor is convinced the other residents 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. Eleanor's dead-on about Tahani, but misses that it's a sign they're all in the Bad Place unawares.
  • 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, recognizing the swear filter from the memories of past reboots Michael showed her.
  • 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, as part of the series' demons being a parody of stereotypical frat-bro culture. Chidi uses it to enforce his bluff.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: In "Dance Dance Resolution", 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.
  • Halfway Plot Switch: Each season has its initial premise be radically altered near the midway point.
    • Season one's initial premise was Eleanor having to hide that she had been sent here by mistake. Episode seven has her confess she doesn't belong, and the rest of the season is devoted to avoiding her being sent to the Bad Place.
    • Season two's initial premise was the humans banding together with Michael in secret while Vicky runs the neighborhood. Episode eight has Shawn arrive, subsequently scrapping the neighborhood concept.
    • Season three's initial premise was the humans being back on Earth after their deaths were reversed. Episode eight has them die again, returning to the afterlife.
    • Season four's initial premise was the main group running an experiment to base the afterlife system off of. By episode seven, the experiment has already ended, and the rest of the season focuses on the aftermath.
  • Hard Truth Aesop:
    • From "The Snowplow": You can't force people to stay together, even if they are good friends. Everyone has their own life and want to live it outside of a group. Michael's attempts to keep the four humans together on Earth ends up exposing them to the truth about the universe and condemning them to the Bad Place.
    • Morality is complicated, and judging it in a black and white context means you get a forked up view of the world and people while harming them in turn. This eventually becomes the overarching aesop of the series. The Judge gets a Jerkass Realization when she spends thirty years as a human and understands that it is hard to live a moral life when you are on Earth with a lot of mitigating factors. What's more, thanks to the black and white system imposed on a gray world, no one has gotten into the real Good Place for 521 years.
      • Chidi's rigid adherence to Kant's equally rigid ethics frequently causes real trouble and emotional distress for himself and the people around him. The show provides a good example of the arguments for why Kant's categorical imperative works better as a general principle than as a strict rule for every action.
    • Courtesy of season three's "A Fractured Inheritance": acknowledging the damage that your parents did to you if they were emotionally abusive is healthier than pretending it didn't happen or that you were to blame. Eleanor gets closure if not happiness when she confronts her mother about the latter being a better parent to another girl, and Tahani realizes she can't get through to her sister if she apologizes for their rivalry; acknowledging their parents were "wankers" is the only thing that makes Kamilah embrace Tahani in turn.
    • Courtesy of the episode "A Chip Driver Mystery". People of color can't be expected to excuse mediocre white men's feeble attempts to become a better person when the men in question are racists and sexists who put in the bare minimum for basic decency. Doing so is insulting to the POC in question, especially when they have accomplished a lot. Simone says as much when Eleanor asks her to try and make peace with Brent. Meanwhile, Tahani, as an accomplished writer who wrote a great book, takes offense at how racist and sexist Brent's book is, and at his refusal to realize it. It says something that Chidi, an anxiety-ridden Nice Guy who sometimes borders on being an Extreme Doormat, punches out Brent for calling Simone a "bench" and then shoving him for knocking a book into him by accident.
  • Hate Sink: Most of the demons are bad guys you love to hate; they're over the top, ridiculous stereotypes of villainy. Enter our fourth season character, Brent. Nope. This guy has no redeeming qualities. He's just a racist, sexist, entitled asshole who "was born on second base thinking he invented baseball". Even All-Loving Hero Chidi hates him. This is deliberately set up by the demons of the Bad Place to fork with the experiment and is a defining feature of the final season. In the series finale, we learn that he's had more than 15,000 attempts and is still struggling with basic concepts... but even he isn't irredeemable. He may need a few dozen thousand more attempts, but the new system will keep plugging away.
  • 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 Chapter 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. She has another extended one in Season 2 when she realizes 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.
    • Brent, one of the humans chosen for the new Fake Good Place experiment, constantly refused to stop and think about how his general obliviousness and lack of self-awareness hurt everyone else around him. It's not until the episode "Help is Other People" where he undergoes a Humiliation Conga, is made to believe that he's in the Bad Place and gets a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Chidi that he finally realizes what a jerk he is.
  • 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.
  • Hell of a Heaven: It turns out that some people in the Good Place find it's this way for some. Hypatia of Alexandria, for instance, a brilliant mathematician and philosopher while alive, can hardly remember what either was now. It turns out that being given whatever you want for centuries will turn them into dull, mindless hedonists with no drive or purpose. In a jarring moment of lucidity, Hypatia desperately begs Chidi to help her escape.
  • 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 BSoD: Eleanor and Chidi each experience one in "Jeremy Bearimy" after learning the truth about the afterlife (again-ish). His is worse; she goes and has a few drinks, he freaks out, goes on a shopping spree, rants at his students about the pointlessness of existence, and binges on really truly terrible chili made with peeps and jelly beans.
  • 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.
    • At the end of Season 3, things are running smoothly as Michael's experiment is being repeated with new subjects for non-malicious reasons to evaluate if people are being unfairly sent to the Bad Place. A lot rides on the results, which Gen will judge. Unfortunately, Shawn has chosen the subjects to torture the leads, and for Chidi, sent in Simone, his ex. Knowing he can't be around her without compromising the experiment, even after her memory was wiped, Chidi asks to be rebooted, knowing he'll lose his relationship with Eleanor and his friendships with the others. His request is fulfilled, as there are no other options.
  • Hide Your Children: There are no children shown in this afterlife. Absolutely none anywhere whatsoever. At any point in the series. So you don't need to worry about children being tortured in the Bad Place!
  • 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.
  • Hold Your Hippogriffs: Demons in the Bad Place say "what the here?" instead of "what the hell?".
  • Hollywood Board Games: In "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy", Janet having been replaced by an evil doppelganger is foreshadowed not by giving life to a terribly-drawn horse in a Pictionary game, but by the way she gives life to it. Normally, Janet would recognize the intent behind the illustration and materialize a normal horse. Bad Janet, however, materializes as-is, creeping everyone. Also, she gruesomely kills it off-screen afterward — Janet wouldn't have been that messy with her powers nor tried to describe the deed.
  • 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 the fact that he's free within a year, the show obviously meant "larceny," which is stealing things without these means.
    • In a flashback scene showing how Jason had died in a failed robbery, a police officer is seen explaining to Pillboi that he would likely get off with probation. In fact, because Jason died in the commission of a felony, Pillboi would likely be charged with felony murder and potentially face the death penalty.
  • 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...since this argument is meant to carry on forever, since they're already in the Bad Place, being tortured.
    • 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 2 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 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.
    • In the Season 3 finale, Chidi is convinced that he should have his memories be erased, losing his relationships with the cast, after Simone is brought into the experiment to torture him. The group tries to think of things, and Michael even tries to strike up a brainstorming session with the express goal to find something that can prevent them from needing to reboot Chidi, but nothing comes up.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: This is explicitly the case for Michael, but it's also implied with other supernatural figures like Shawn, the Judge, and the Doorman over the course of the show.
  • 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 eternal 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. Subverted though as it's shown that the standard is so high, and more importantly, nearly every action that results in a positive points gain is tied to a net loss of points, due to numerous factors that extend far beyond the actor's knowledge or control, even renowned philanthropists like Florence Nightingale went to the Bad Place, along with a vast number of "sins" like "being French", etc. So unsurprisingly many people destined for there like the main cast are really not that bad and definitely capable of doing good.
    • Shawn and the rest of the Bad Place residents believe this unequivocally.
      Shawn: Counterpoint, humans are terrible. Slavery, Limp Bizkit... The prosecution rests.
      The Judge: Gotta say, that's a solid rebuttal.
    • Glenn, being one of the demons, starts out believing this, but after he thinks he finds out Vicky was impersonating Michael using a Michael suit since the second Good Place experiment started, he becomes skeptical and does a Heel–Face Turn.
  • 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 2 after seeing the main four humans do just that, and uses it to argue on their behalf in front of the Judge.
  • Human Outside, Alien Inside: Janets and the Immortal Beings in the show look identical to average humans, but it's made clear that their human appearance is just skin deep. They don't have any human organs such as hearts, and they can't or don't have to perform any biological functions such as defecation and eating. With the demons, it's even stated that their human forms are fake and underneath their skin suits they have real forms that definitely don't look human.
  • 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.
    • Michael claims humans are really dense, such as when he claims to have dropped 1200 clues but is glad the humans caught four or five of them, as though demons are super-perceptive, although they tend to miss really obvious things, such as the humans they are looking for walking around at a party they're throwing.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: The first three season premiers start with "Everything is...". In Season 1 it's "Fine", in Season 2 it's "Great" and Season 3 has "Bonzer". This is based on the "Welcome! Everything is fine." message in Michael's Good Place waiting room. The final season premiere, "A Girl From Arizona," subverts this convention, possibly because Eleanor has taken Michael's place in the new Good Place experiment.
  • Immediate Sequel: Most of the episodes follow immediately on the heels of the episode before.
  • Immortal Genius: Most the beings in the afterlife are far more intelligent than the humans they oversee, and the closest they come to death is Retirement, which is more akin to eternal torture. They are also nearly omniscient and can perform almost any task perfectly, but unfortunately, this gap in ability means they don't understand humans and can't comprehend the passage of time as humans do. This results in the points system gradually becoming outdated as human life becomes more complicated, leading to every person who has died in the past five hundred years being sent to the Bad Place for punishment.
  • In Spite of a Nail: No matter what Michael tried, in every version of the Neighborhood, Eleanor always found Chidi and he always helped her.
  • Inappropriate Pride: In the first episode, Eleanor describes her old job to Chidi, which was to market bunk medicine to elderly people. Eleanor boasts that she was the top salesperson five years in a row. Chidi lampshades that she shouldn't be so proud:
    Chidi: Okay, but that's worse. I mean, you... you do get how that's worse, right?
  • Infernal Fugitives: Multiple times throughout the series, Team Cockroach had escaped Michael's neighborhood via the train to the Medium Place. Later in the series, Shawn has his demons hunt for the humans on Earth.
  • 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.
      —->Eleanor: You know, for a robot, you'd make a pretty good girlfriend.
      Janet: I'm only one of those three things. (meaning "friend")
      *** This trope is later Invoked by Jason in "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy", when he uses it to reveal that "Janet" was really Bad Janet in disguise, and that their real Janet had been captured.
      Tahani: Jason, how did you know that was Bad Janet?
      Jason: I called Janet "girl," but she didn't say, "Not a girl." The real Janet always says, "Not a girl."
    • "Fake" Eleanor to distinguish our misanthropic protagonist from "Real" Eleanor, the human rights attorney.
      "Fake" 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!
  • Intentional Mess Making: In the Season 1 finale, Michael is revealed to be a Bad Place Architect. After this bombshell is dropped, he vents some frustration by deliberately knocking a vase off a table for absolutely no reason than to be a dick.
  • 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. This is actually Foreshadowing for the Neighborhood really being the Bad Place.
  • 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 like flying bears with multiple mouths and swarms of bees or natural disasters like erupting volcanoes and tornadoes, 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 the 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.
      • In a more general way, the manner in which the 'Good Place' is set up to torture Eleanor. We find out early on that she responds badly when she perceives that someone either is, or simply thinks, they're a better person than her. She'll convince herself that the other person is bad in some other way, and thereby absolve herself of the guilt of being confronted with her moral failings. In 'The Good Place', she can't do this - the other residents are empirically better than her, and she can't lash out like she usually does, because this would expose the fact that she isn't supposed to be there.
    • "Everything is Great", the first episode of Season 2, 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 and 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.
    • Characters can be sent to the Bad Place because their good deeds were out of selfish motives rather than genuine compassion and altruism.
    • Another character (that is, Chidi 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.
    • Even Tahani qualifies. Despite raising billions of dollars for charity, she didn't actually care about the people she was helping and was only doing it to boost her own image.
  • It's All My Fault: Michael goes through this a couple of times.
    • Halfway through the first season, Michael wrongly concludes that the thing causing the neighborhood to go haywire is himself, as he was never supposed to live in the neighborhood he designed.
    • Subverted after Janet is rebooted/murdered.
      Michael: ...Janet has never been killed before. Only today, here, on my watch, while I was distracted with a party that Tahani was throwing for me, which I didn't want.
      Tahani: Michael, you mustn't blame yourself!
      Michael: I'm not. I'm blaming you.
    • When Janet starts glitching in Season 2, Michael determines that the glitches are caused by her "processing or disseminating information that it is incompatible with objective truth", i.e. lies. Michael then sadly declares that this is caused by all the lies he told to make Janet help him torture the humans.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: The Good place stars Kristen Bell and Ted Danson, reuniting the two after they previously worked together on Big Miracle.
  • Jerkass Gods:
    • Gen "The Judge" is shown to be a bit of a jerk who is a bit vain and egocentric. She is willing to destroy humanity and restart the universe on a whim which the group has to stop, and later still continues to not like the group at the end of the show even after they have made a better system for the afterlife.
    • "The Good Place" Committee trick Michael into taking charge of the Good Place and run away, washing their hands of the responsibility and disappear before Michael can do anything to stop them and they aren't seen again...
  • Jerks Use Body Spray: While infiltrating the demons in The Bad Place, Shawn tosses newly reformed Michael (who's pretending to still be evil) a can of body spray and tells him to "Axe up" for their next openly evil act.
  • The Journey Through Death: The protagonists journey throughout the afterlife during the series. In the end, they create a new system in which a deceased person must endure torture, which is personally tailored to cause the subject to improve as a person until they have improved enough to enter paradise. Once they have had enough of paradise, they are allowed to end their existence and their essence returns to the universe.
  • Judgement of the Dead: While there is no singular 'judgment' 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, even though she's not a machine or person... technically? She still develops emotions over the course of the show, as she does get rebooted, which seems to come with a supernatural "software update" each time. Celestial beings can also create facsimiles of people and animals that act exactly like the real thing, but are just hollow copies... probably.
    Michael: The people are fake, but their pain is real. Does that make sense?
  • Justified Trope: The wedding cliché of the bride and groom smearing each other with the wedding cake when feeding each other the first slice is justified by the fact that Janet doesn't eat so just stands there while Jason tries to figure out how to feed her and ends up just mashing it around her mouth. Doubles as a Call-Back to her saying when she gets rebooted, she smears cake around where her mouth is.

    K to O 
  • Karma Houdini: In the end, when the afterlife is redesigned and the Bad Place is abolished, the demons don't face any punishment aside from being unable to torture people any more. While it's true that they were basically punch clock villains, considering how much they enjoyed torturing people, and how they brought unimaginable amounts of sufferings to billions of human souls, it still seems rather odd that nothing bad happens to them.
  • Karmic Reform Hell: The solution they come up with in the end. The traditional Heaven and Hell remain, but Hell presents inhabitants with tests that they can pass to go to Heaven.
  • Killed Mid-Sentence: A variation. Right as Brent apologizes to Chidi after he finally has a My God, What Have I Done? moment, the experiment ends and the subjects get placed into stasis by Janet.
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Jason and Janet get married towards the end of Season 1. A surprisingly sweet example, as both parties are so clueless it comes across as a sort of Puppy Love.
  • Lame Comeback: After Shawn insults Michael in "The Funeral to End All Funerals":
    Michael: Well, you're glue!
    • He also at one point tells Shawn he's basic.
    Michael: It's human insult. It's devestating. You're devestated.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler:
    • The ads for Season 2 quite clearly showed Michael scheming about how to make the main cast miserable, spoiling the reveal that the characters are actually in the Bad Place and that Michael is a demon.
    • Jianyu the monk is actually a Floridan named Jason (revealed in the third episode).
  • Later-Installment Weirdness: Midway through season one, Janet is murdered, and reboots with a new lavender and dark green outfit. The second half of season one is the only time she wears a different outfit for a significant period of time, because in season two, she returns to her traditional dark purple, light blue spotted clothes.
  • Lie Detector: Michael uses a cube which flashes green when someone tells the truth and red when they lie when investigating Eleanor. Tahani is so good with Double Speak that she confuses the Celestial Lie Detector. When asked if Tahani thinks Eleanor should be kicked out of the Good Place, Tahani's answer straddles the fence so well, the poor machine can only make a strange grinding noise. Then:
    Michael: Thank you Tahani, you've been most helpful. (The cube turns red indicating a lie as Michael quickly scoops it into a drawer)
  • Literal Metaphor: When Michael and the humans go the Judge, Michael says the humans might be able to improve if they were given "a push in the right direction." This inspires the Judge to allow Michael to go down to Earth and give the humans a second chance at their lives, which, in the case of Eleanor, Chidi, and Tahani, means literally giving them a push in the right direction that prevents them from dying.
  • Love Revelation Epiphany: Happens in Season 3.
    • Eleanor learns from Michael that she and Chidi were together in one of the multiple reboots, which causes her to develop nebulous feelings for him, although she resists accepting this at first. When Chidi finds out, he is also in denial about it, but later reciprocates.
    • When Jason finds out that he and Janet were once married and that Janet is in love with him, he starts to want to date her as well.
  • Love Transcends Spacetime: Seasons 3 and 4 show that sparks flew between Eleanor and Chidi in quite a few of the reboots, hence their becoming an Official Couple.
  • Magical Profanity Filter: Anyone who attempts to curse in The Good Place will find themselves saying words like "fork" and "shirt."
  • The Masquerade Will Kill Your Dating Life: In Season 3, keeping the secret of the truth about the afterlife leads to Chidi having to break up with Simone, since Simone is alive and has no idea about the Good Place and Bad Place, but if she were to find out, she would automatically go to the Bad Place since her motivations would no longer be innocent and organic.
  • Massive Multiplayer Scam: In "Michael's Gambit", it's revealed that the characters are in the Bad Place. Almost all the residents are demons whose goal is to psychologically torture the only four real humans. Arguably also applies to season four, only now it's the main characters running a fake "Good Place" as a social experiment to prove that people can improve themselves.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • Chidi at one point describes his constant inner turmoil to Eleanor as feeling like the sound of a fork caught in a sink's garbage disposal. In "The Answer", when his girlfriend breaks up with him and leaves him at his most confused, he drops a fork in the garbage disposal and then turns it on and watches it grind.
    • Eleanor's hypotheses for what happens when you walk through the final door in the afterlife include the possibility of becoming the little voice for goodness people hear in their heads. When she walks through herself, we see a piece of her essence touch someone on Earth to make him reconsider a bad action, proving her partially correct.
  • 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. Ultimately, she and all the other Janets are key to tranforming the nature of reality, because even a Bad Janet is a Good Janet.
    • Jianyu is a Chinese name meaning either "Building the Universe" or prison, depending on the tone. Jason means "the lord is salvation". Jason is the childlike aspect of the typical presentation of the Buddha, and he's one of the four aspects of salvation.
    • 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. It may also be a reference to his behind-the-scenes nature likening him to Mike Schur, the show's creator.
    • 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. Of the four humans, she is the one to become an Architect and sheperd the rest of humanity to their best selves. She will get to tell every other human, "Congratulations, beautiful." for as long as she wishes.
      • 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.
    • Norovirus - also known as Norwalk virus - causes nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea within a day or two of exposure. Brent Norwalk is a deeply unpleasant man who everyone rapidly becomes sick of.
    • 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.
  • Memetic Mutation: What Team Cockroach believe ethics are. They argue that being taught ideas about ethics can transform you into a more ethical person.
  • Memory Gambit: Chidi erases his own memories so he won't give away the truth about the second neighborhood through his reaction to Simone being there.
  • Menacing Museum: the Bad Place has a torture museum where people who commit an infraction (such as flossing in an open plan office or calling ultimate frisbee "ultimate") are displayed. We only see "The Chamber of Low Grade Crappiness". According to Michael, other rooms have exhibits with potential to traumatize the humans for life.
  • 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.
    Tahani: And by the way, Janet is not your wife, or your soulmate. 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, "The Eternal Shriek": 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, "Derek": 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.
  • Mirror Character: Eleanor notes that Michael screwing with Chidi when he's struggling in Chidi's ethics class during Season 2 is exactly the same way she'd react when feeling inadequate. Then she wonders what it says about her that she's so similar to an actual Demon.
  • Mistaken Identity: Somehow Eleanor's past got mixed up with someone much nicer - Michael got her name right, but not much else. However, this was all a fake story to make Eleanor feel like she was placed in the Good Place by mistake, when she's actually been in the Bad Place. The "good" Eleanor is a demon in a role.
  • Morton's Fork: Eleanor promises to help Michael find what is disrupting the neighborhood, knowing full well that she herself is 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.
    • In a much, much more serious example, it's revealed the afterlife itself runs on this. Either accidentally/intentionally do bad things (which means in the 21st Century, interact with anything at all) and be sent to the Bad Place, or mull over the ethical consequences of the interaction, trouble everyone around you, and get sent to the Bad Place anyways.
  • Motive Decay: A significant aspect of the points system is your motivation for doing good. Therefore, if you are doing good deeds for the purpose of scoring points, you won't get any points.
  • Mundane Afterlife:
    • Michael made his section of the Good Place look like a 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.
      • There is a second VHS tape in Mindy's Medium Place: The Making 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 writes herself a note telling her to find Chidi after Michael erases her memories, which of course confuses the rebooted Eleanor during the second attempt.
  • Naked First Impression: When Eleanor, Jason, and Janet encounter Mindy St. Claire for the first time in the episode of the same name, they find her gardening naked, which they all appropriately freak out over (except Janet, who just introduces herself like she would to anyone else).
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: It's forking impossible for anybody to swear in the Good Place, which Eleanor finds out for herself in the series premiere:
    Eleanor: Somebody royally forked up... [stops, listening carefully to herself] Somebody forked up... [frowns] Why can't I say "fork"?
    Chidi: If you're trying to curse, you can't here. I guess a lot of people in this neighborhood don't like it, so it's prohibited.
    Eleanor: [snorts] 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 title of the show itself is unreliable after The Reveal. It's accurate only in the sense that it'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. Michael is actually more of an antagonist to her desire to stay undercover and cheat her way into belonging in the Good Place.
  • 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.
    • At the end of "Don't Let the Good Life Pass You By", Shawn gloats to the Soul Squad that he expects to see their friends and family members in the Bad Place when their time comes in spite of the improvements they made to themselves and even Doug Forcett himself. This clues Michael in that the problems with the points system run deeper than he originally thought, a suspicion that turns out to be true and gets the Soul Squad to successfully appeal their case to the Judge, ultimately threatening the status quo that Shawn enables for more than five centuries.
    • In "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy" Jason figures out that Janet was replaced with a Bad Janet right as the second experiment started, which is why she was egging Tahani to be more aggressive towards John in getting him to come to Chidi's ethics class. However, if Bad Janet hadn't been there, Tahani would've never realized how much she and John actually had in common, and therefore wouldn't have made any progress with him.
  • Nice Mean And In Between: The three realms in the afterlife are the Good Place (which is for pleasing and rewarding humanity), the Bad Place (which is for punishing humanity), and the Neutral Zone (which tries to judge humanity from an unbiased and purely objective standpoint). The personalities of the beings from each realm also generally adhere to being "nice, mean, and in-between."
  • 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 Animosity in the Afterlife:
    • John and Tahani. John was a gossip blogger who often wrote degrading things about Tahani on his blog and he was chosen by the Bad Place as one of the test subjects for the new experiment specifically to torment her. However, Tahani is determined to not let the past get in the way of the experiment (which is justified, considering the stakes at hand), and extends an olive branch out to John. After an initially bumpy start, they find they a Commonality Connection and become friends.
    • Present in the final episode. Since you can only reach heaven once you have cleared out all your emotional baggage, virtually all animosity is wiped out by default. The biggest case is definitely Tahani and her family who all become very close with each other. Eleanor and her mother also count.
  • 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.
    • John Wheaton is an unflattering parody of the infamous celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton.
    • Brent Norwalk is a thinly-veiled Take That! towards U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, complete with Brent listing a long string of ludicrous nicknames for his friends.
  • No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction:
    • This seems to be the problem with the Good Place for some residents. With everything they want at their command, true fulfillment and purpose are both steadily dissolved over time until they're left in a mindless pleasurable haze. After all, they can get everything they could ever want, but they can never leave or find any challenge in any of it, since they're stuck there for eternity.
    • The employees of the Bad Place don't have it much better. Yes, Evil Feels Good to the demons who run the Bad Place, but there's really no point to endlessly torturing humans besides inflicting pain for its own sake. Even though the demons might want to inflict pain and misery, such satisfaction has its limits when there's no end goal for it. The reformation to the point system at the end of the series means that it turns into a Karmic Reform Hell, which gives the demons humans to torture while also giving it a reason, which improves their moods about the whole thing quite a bit.
  • 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 negative, consequence. For example, buying flowers for your grandma might cost you points because you ordered the flowers from a company that uses exploited migrant laborers and is run by a Corrupt Corporate Executive using a cellphone that was made in a sweatshop and the delivery process to ship the flowers to Grandma's home left behind a carbon footprint. In other words, the road to Hell is literally paved with good intentions.
  • No Such Thing as Alien Pop Culture: The Judge, the Bad Place demons, and apparently even the occupants of the actual Good Place itself 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.
  • Non-Protagonist Resolver: Downplayed at the start of Season 2 - Eleanor is directly responsible for ruining almost all of Michael's torture attempts, but she is never able to do anything to stop him from rebooting everything and trying again. It ends up being Vicky who puts an end to the cycle.
  • Noodle Incident: Many are present in the show, most of them concerning the stuff the main humans did before dying. These include:
    • Eleanor being banned from Build-a-Bear for life.
    • Neil deGrasse Tyson considers Eleanor an enemy.
    • Tahani inspired Elon Musk to send his car into space.
    • Donkey Doug is banned from Disneyworld for biting Buzz Lightyear
    • Several of the resets in "Dance Dance Resolution" fit this model, showing out-of-context situations like Chidi being chased by a swarm of bees and the gang dressed like European monks.
    • At one point, Elenaor started teaching Chidi about the Kardashian-Jenner family tree
  • 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:
    • Eleanor publicly admits that she doesn't belong in the Good Place seven episodes into Season 1 and ends up inadvertently playing Spanner in the Works for Michael's designs.
    • At the end of Season 1, 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 2, the neighborhood is destroyed and the human characters are given a second chance to earn their spot in the Good Place by being brought back to life.
    • Midway through Season 3, 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. But then the newly christened Soul Squad discover that the points system itself is massively broken and no human has gotten into the Good Place in 521 years, leading them to find a way to fix it. They present their case to the Judge, who comes up with an experiment to see how well humans can continue improving in the afterlife without the pressures of modern life compromising their progress. The Bad Placers, determined to undermine the experiment in whatever way they can, send in Chidi's deceased ex-girlfriend Simone as one of the test subjects, forcing Chidi to erase his own memories so he won't compromise things.
    • Season 4 revolves around the Soul Squad trying to run the experiment with varying degrees of success on each subject. Once it's over, the Judge agrees that the system is flawed and humans are too complex to be judged effectively by it. Unfortunately, her solution to the problem is to wipe the slate clean and reboot existence, forcing the Soul Squad to find another solution.
    • After the finale, the entire afterlife system had been completely overhauled. Staffers of both the Good Place and the Bad Place work together to ensure that all humans can eventually get into the Good Place after becoming better people. Some people may go to the Bad Place at first, but after psychological and emotional torture—rather than the crude physical methods the demons usually favored—they're forced to confront their flaws and overcome them. People in the Good Place may then decide that they've gotten their fill of paradise and exit through a door that Michael built, that allows them to dismantle their consciousness and return to the universe. And Eleanor, Chidi, and Jason do just that, while Tahani becomes a Good Place architect and Michael becomes a human and lives on Earth.
  • 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.
  • 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 to the guilt tripping at all.
  • Odd Couple: Jason and Tahani have a brief - though loving and meaningful - relationship.
    Tahani: Jason, I never guessed we'd be where we are today. Me, a prominent British philanthropist with award-winning legs, set to marry you, a swamp dweller who once asked me if the presidents on Mount Rushmore have butts on the other side.
  • Off to See the Wizard: The main cast of characters all have several parallels with the main characters of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
    • Eleanor Shellstrop is Dorothy Gale, a young female protagonist serving as the primary POV character who is whisked off to a faraway, foreign land that operates at least partway on dream logic (the Good Place and Oz). It's made very clear that she's a stranger in a strange land, and Dorothy's struggle to return home is contrasted with Eleanor's struggle to stay in the Good Place (and later find a way into the real Good Place). Additionally, Eleanor never really had a family, having had to basically raise herself due to being saddled with two completely incompetent Abusive Parents, and so her Character Development is centered around her learning to let herself be vulnerable as part of her quest to find a family and home (in this case, Team Cockroach and the Good Place, respectively).
    • Chidi Anagonye is the Cowardly Lion, having spent basically his entire life constantly terrified of making the wrong ethical choice to the point where he made everyone around him miserable. His Character Development is centered around him gaining the courage necessary to be more decisive and outspoken, not just serving as a dithering Extreme Doormat.
    • Tahani Al-Jamil is a gender-flipped version of the Tin Woodsman, having a noticeable (albeit unintentional) Lack of Empathy and ending up in the Bad Place because all of her supposed good deeds were done out of a selfish desire to one-up her sister and gain fame and attention. Her Character Development involves her getting a heart — or, in this case, becoming a more loving, kind, and empathetic person towards others along with striving to make the world a better place out of genuine selflessness and not just the attention.
    • Jianyu Li/Jason Mendoza is the Scarecrow, being a dumb but lovable imp in desperate need of a brain. Part of his Character Development is him learning greater impulse control and showing off how he's wise, not clever (much like how the Scarecrow was ultimately revealed to have had a brain all along).
    • Michael is the Wizard, being the leader of Oz/Good Place Neighborhood 12358W who is a benevolent demigod/wizard who in reality isn't at all what he seems. Additionally, behind the proverbial curtain he's shown to actually be a pretty pathetic loser and No-Respect Guy, and Michael's Character Development driving him into a Heel–Face Turn results in him (much like the Wizard of Oz) actually assisting the Soul Squad in resolving their character flaws and finding their way back to where they really belong (as in, the real Good Place).
    • Janet is Glinda the Good Witch of the North, being a benevolent and friendly demigoddess with incredible magical power who helps guide and assist the protagonists on their journey into the Good Place.
  • Offscreen Villainy: Despite all our trips to the Bad Place, we never actually see anyone being tortured outside Michael's neighborhood.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • The Soul Squad have a major one in the first season finale, after Michael reacts to Eleanor realising the truth by saying that he knows what to change for next time, and that he's going to erase their memories.
    • A demon gets one when fighting Janet on Earth and trying to push her through a door to Hell. The moment Janet's head touches the portal, she notes her powers come back then. One of the demons pushing her exclaims "They do?!" before being thrown across the room by a shockwave generated by Janet.
  • Older Than They Look: All the non-human inhabitants of both the Good and Bad places, since they're just wearing random human bodies to disguise their true appearances. Even the ones like Shawn or Michael, who look like humans in late middle-age are eons older than they appear.
  • Once More, with Clarity: In Chapters 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.
    • This is done after the Season 1 reveal of Michael creating a fake Good Place to torture the main 4 humans, showing how he knew what multiple characters were up to all along and showing him conspiring with the other residents to make the 4 miserable.
  • One Head Taller: Tahani is exactly this to Eleanor, as seen while they hug in the last episode. Eleanor's head literally is right up to Tahani's chin.
  • 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, and that real Eleanor was a demon playing a part in an elaborate Bad Place torture scenario.
    • Averted with the name Doug. We have Doug Forcett, a stoner who turned hermit when he gave the most accurate description of the afterlife in human history. Doug is also the name of both Eleanor's and Jason's fathers.note  The Doug situation is later taken up to eleven when the cast gets their hands on "The Book of Dougs", which describes the afterlife status of every person who has ever been named Doug.
    • There have also been two one-scene characters named Gloria, two Todds, two Daves, two Patricias plus a "Patty", 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 aren't a thing.
  • Only in Florida: Jason's stories of his life in Florida tend to match the trope.
    "Possession of a non-fried vegetable is a felony in Jacksonville."
  • 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 (and "a little racist") 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.
  • Out-of-Character Alert:
    • In "The Burrito," Eleanor is told she passed her test to go to the Good Place, as did Chidi, but she will have to leave Tahani and Jason behind as they failed. Eleanor contemplates the ethics of leaving her friends behind, and then Chidi tells her to forget about ethics for a second and focus on the utilitarian side of things. Of course, Eleanor knows that the real Chidi would never put ethics aside for anything, and correctly deduces that this must be the test.
    • In "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy," Jason figures out that their Janet is actually Bad Janet in disguise because she doesn't correct him when he calls her "girl."
  • 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 cynical, evil 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.

    P to T 
  • 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: Eleanor is quick to find out that 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. Invoked as it turns out they're all demons who are pretending to be Good Place inhabitants to make Eleanor miserable.
  • 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.
  • Parental Savings Splurge: One of the reasons Eleanor became an Emancipated Child is because her father blew half of her college fund trying to frame her mother's boyfriend, while her mother spent the other half bailing him out of jail.
  • Pineapple Ruins Pizza:
    • In "Most Improved Player", the various Demons from the Bad Place prank Michael by ordering dozens of Hawaiian Pizzas — "the worst pizza" — and leaving them in Michael's office.
    • In "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent", Hawaiian Pizza is used as one of the confections at a Bad Place party in the Museum of Low-Grade Crappiness.
    • In Version 2 of Michael's neighborhood in "Everything Is Great!", all of the restaurants that were Frozen Yogurt places in the first season are replaced with pizza parlors that only serve Hawaiian pizza.
  • 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.
  • Poke the Poodle: The entire concept of the fake Good Place neighborhood is built on Michael's theory that an eternity of this trope will cause humans just as much misery as traditional torture, albeit emotional misery instead of physical.
  • Precision F-Strike: They can't actually swear, but the point still gets across.
    • 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.
    • Among the pile of objects that Janet tried to summon in "The Brainy Bunch" is a "Paunch Burger" brand bucket of soda, a popular fast-food chain in Pawnee.
      • When the failure of the point system is examined, an example act shown on-screen is buying a tomato from "Food and Stuff" in Indiana (but not in Pawnee). Apparently Ron's favorite store has expanded into a chain.
    • Additionally, Shawn planning on torturing Michael by leaving him alone in a room for the rest of eternity with only continually-arriving copies of The New Yorker (despite the fact that he'll never read them) is likely a reference to Kevin torturing Jake in Brooklyn Nine-Nine by discussing the same magazine.
    • Overlapping with both Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Parks and Recreation, in The Good Place acupuncture is only viewed as a form of torture and which only increases stress rather than relieving it.
  • Protagonist-Centered Morality: In season three, Michael and Janet interfere to prevent Tahani and Jason from getting together on Earth on the dubious grounds that it might tear the group apart. Setting aside the fact that this is likely untrue, given that it did no such thing when they were together in the previous season, it also comes across as being motivated by selfish motives on Janet's part, as she had previously argued against interfering when it came to Chidi and Simone starting a romantic relationship.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: invoked 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 an Ironic Hell and find it an in-universe case of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
  • Purgatory and Limbo:
    • The simple view taken in the series of goodness, though progressively getting more complex, is also applied to the names of various afterlives — the Good Place and the Bad Place. Originally, the architects' system was so cut-throat that it was one or the other, no matter how bad or good, until Mindy St. Claire died with a perfectly neutral score and so they invented the Medium Place. Here she lives the most solidly average life all alone.
    • A different version is applied when the main characters, who are in the Bad Place at the start, have become good enough that had they died then, they'd be in the Good Place. This shakes the architects' simple belief that people can't inherently change, which could break their entire system. So the Judge sends the group back to Earth the moment they died as a holding situation to allow them more time — they'd all died young — to prove that they can be good people and that change can happen if you let it.
    • Eventually, the main cast discovers a serious problem: the interconnected nature of the world has inadvertently created a situation where — due to the rippling unforeseeable consequences of almost any action — no one has qualified for the Good Place in more than 500 years no matter how "good" they might have been in life. This, combined with the aforementioned issue of people being able to improve even in the afterlife, ultimately results in them convincing the Judge to fully reform the system in a way that turns the Bad Place into a sort of makeshift Purgatory: those condemned to the Bad Place will be subjected to certain forms of torment based upon the more negative attributes of their personalities and they will be periodically tested in exams overseen by both Bad and Good Place Architects to both determine if they have changed for the better and encourage them to improve as people. If and when they do so — and the series' philosophy is that pretty much everyone's capable of this kind of improvement — they are allowed to enter the Good Place.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: Eleanor and Jason do this with Mindy St. Claire when the former two find her gardening naked.
  • Real Life Writes the Plot: While Bad Janet was pretending to be our Janet, she tortured Jason by not only breaking up with him, but informing him that Blake Bortles was cut from the Jacksonville Jaguars immediately afterward. It's a bit of Foreshadowing that could have never been done if Bortles wasn't actually cut from the team in real life, as having Janet make such a blatant and cruel lie would have been a dead giveaway.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The immortal beings in every realm have existed since the beginning of time, yet they all look like normal adult humans. Justified as those aren't their real forms and they're all wearing skin suits.
  • Reasonable Request Rejected: The humans and Michael race against the clock as the Judge aims to reset Earth and humanity as a solution to the dysfunctional points system. They manage to come up with an alternate plan for the afterlife to avoid this outcome, but need Shawn's approval. Despite Shawn admitting their plan is sound and benefits all parties, he rejects it since he'd rather wait around for millions of years than let Michael have his way. Luckily, they are able to convince him when Shawn realizes that fighting Michael made him happy and it would come to an end if the Earth was reset.
  • 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.
  • Red Is Violent: In contrast to the lively green of the series title card, the Bad Place is frequently associated with red. Negative points, dots symbolizing people going to the Bad Place, and the introductory sign to the Bad Place is all red.
  • Reel Torture: After Shawn is caught in his attempt to sabotage the second neighborhood, The Judge threatens him with being forced to watch heartwarming videos of soldiers returning home to their dogs. This actually freaks out Shawn.
  • 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.
    • Season 3 eventually reveals that because of the increasing complexity of the modern world, literally no one has gotten into the Good Place in the past 521 years.
  • 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 (emotional) 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 and Roll Hall of Fame and tries to tear down the statue of her sister - which does come down, but straight onto Tahani.
    • "Janet(s)" reveals that nobody's gotten into the Good Place in over 500 years.
  • Rhyming Names: Jason used to go to a school called Lynyrd Skynyrd.
  • Right Behind Me: A fairly brutal example when Tahani gets to hear what her parents really think of her. She overhears them discussing how much they prefer her sister, and when they see her, they cheerful repeat exactly the same thing to her face.
-—> “Oh, Tahani. We were just discussing what a disappointment you are compared to your sister.”
  • 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, by having Michael's neighborhood experiment be repeated with new subjects to show that the leads' situation can happen again.
    • This turns out to be true of the villains, who Heel–Face Turn one by one. By Season 4, Vicky, Bad Janet, and even Shawn are working to build a better afterlife. When the last episode rolls around, the show has fully embraced A No Antagonist status.
  • Rule of Funny: Michael claims that "demon" is a somewhat offensive term that the Bad Place beings consider to be inaccurate and "a little racist". This notion is never addressed or alluded to anywhere else in the show. Demons refer to themselves as demons all the time, even in more "formal" settings, so it's not being used as slang. No other label for what to call Bad Place residents besides demon is ever mentioned in the show. It honestly seems the only reason that line was even included was solely to make that joke.
  • 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 incredibly bizarre stories about his dance crew in Florida — all of 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. This becomes important in Season 4 when Jason spots the fake Janet when he calls her 'girl' and she doesn't say that she isn't one.
    • "This is why everyone hates moral philosophy professors."
    • The immortal beings drink antimatter, and it's treated identically to how humans drink coffee.
    • Todd, a giant humanoid lava monster, is the only recurring demon never shown with his skin suit on. He frequently pops up in scenes involving the Bad Place crew.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: Anxious philosophy professor Chidi acts as the brain of the group (at least at the start), while bouncy, self-professed Arizona Dirtbag Eleanor acts as the emotional driver.
  • 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.
    • The Bad Placers use clunky and chunky 1980s-style computers in their search for the humans.
    • Everything in Accounting seems to be 70s themed (except their books), down to Neutral Janet having a very old style computer you have to plug a big tape drive into.
    • The Judge's Reset Button is a garage door opener.
    • The way in and out of 12385W is via coal-powered locomotive.
  • Secret-Keeper: This is a fundamental staple for much of the series. Initially it's Chidi hiding the fact that Eleanor doesn't belong in the Good Place, later they add that Jason doesn't belong there either. In the second season, it all gets turned around when Michael joins the team and they all try to figure out how to get to the Good Place. Then it gets inverted in the fourth season when Chidi is the only one of the team who doesn't know anything, having gotten most of his memories erased.
  • 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 the fake appointment, letting Uzo know he wasn't a good choice after all.
    • 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.
  • Self-Inflicted Hell: Discussed multiple times throughout the series. However, demons just don't understand humans, so the tortures we see/hear are just painful and scary, and an Ironic Hell is only ever described.
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Though not a fatal one: Chidi breaks up with Simone because if he doesn't, he might inadvertently sentence her to the Bad Place. But then it turns out that every human is going to the Bad Place anyway, as nobody's gotten into the Good Place for over 500 years.
  • Servant Race: All variants of Janets are designed to hold all knowledge, provide assistance, and obey any order given to them.
  • Sequel Reset: Each season features the main human cast getting their memories wiped and continuing from roughly the same point of their lives (right before their deaths), but with some alteration to the underlying Status Quo of the show. This means the characters don't retain any knowledge of previous seasons, but through the different variations there is still fundamental aspects to their personalities and relationships that remain consistent, even though each season basically has the characters meeting for the first time in different circumstances.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • The entire journey of season one, ranging from Eleanor improving as a person to her outsmarting Michael and figuring out they're in the Bad Place is all outdone with a snap of Michael's fingers.
    • The main characters spend Season 2 trying to find a way to get to the Good Place, via getting to the Judge and pleading 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, not because of the Bad Place hacking the system, but just because of the way the system is set up, so the gang never stood a chance in the first place.
    • From the end of Season 3 and the first half of Season 4, the main characters try to prove to Gen that people can become better after death, to prove the points system is broken. After a year's testing, it's determined that the test subjects did improve, but just not enough... so Michael uses examples from the humans' lives on Earth, which shows they did have a positive impact there, which convinces Gen the system is wrong. And her immediate takeaway is to reboot Earth, which will completely wipe out all humans, alive and dead.
  • Short Title: Long, Elaborate Subtitle: 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.
  • Shout-Out: Has its own page.
  • 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.
  • Sickeningly Sweet: Everyone else has done so many inhumanly good things before they died that Eleanor gets wasted just to cope.
  • 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 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.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Abraham Lincoln is the only U.S President to have made it to the Good Place according to Michael, heavily implied to be due to the Emancipation Declaration as "ending slavery" is shown as one of the biggest possible ways to gain "points" for entrance to the Good Place. This is revealed to be a lie after The Reveal. Lincoln, along with every other President, as well as every single U.S citizen to have ever lived are all in the bad place, due to the flawed Points system not letting anyone into the Good Place for longer than the U.S has existed as a nation. That said, this trope still applies as it's revealed that several famous ancient philosophers are all in the Bad Place because they supported slavery as part of their writing. Hypatia of Alexandria is one of the few who made it to the Good Place.
  • Slobs Versus Snobs: Of the main four humans, Eleanor and Jason are the lowerclass American slobs, while Tahani (and to a lesser extent Chidi) are the snobs. It's even an Invoked Trope as Michael had chosen them to torture each other specifically because of their wildly differing social and economic backgrounds.
    • Eleanor being the slob to Tahani's snob is a plot point. Eleanor was born to a pair of Lower Class Louts and had to claw her way through life to get a comfortable living while Tahani was born to a rich family and enjoyed all the perks of being a socialite.
    • Eleanor is also the slob to Chidi's snob, although Chidi is much more patient about it. Eleanor is a boorish ladette scammer who doesn't do chores, Chidi is a professor who picks up after her.
    • Jason is the slob to Tahani's snob. When she discovers that her supposed soulmate Jianyu is really the immature petty criminal Jason, she's horrified. However, later on in the show they turn this into something of an Uptight Loves Wild relationship.
  • Smug Straight Edge: Being vegan gives you good points. Not bragging about it gives you even more.
  • Snobby Hobbies: Tahani is a British socialite from the highest of upper classes. She got into the Good Place by hosting several posh fundraising events, which raised a lot of charity money. She also mentions an interest in art, playing croquet, and watching dressage growing up. This is in contrast to her supposed "best friend" Eleanor and "soulmate" Jason, who are Lower Class Louts with trashy hobbies and who initially find it difficult to relate to her.
  • Socially Scored Society: Everyone on Earth is observed at all times by the Celestial Bureaucracy, and in theory, every single action is graded according to Good Behavior Points. Once you die, your score is totaled to decide where you go. The best people end up in The Good Place, a saccharine paradise. Most people end up tortured for eternity in the Bad Place. It turns out that the 'algorithm' that scores one's actions hasn't accounted for how interconnected modern-day humanity is, leading to ostensibly good actions harming other people indirectly — the system is so broken that even someone who knows exactly how it works and is trying to game it to get the best score possible still doesn't qualify for heaven.
    Michael: During your time on Earth, every one of your actions had a positive or a negative value, depending on how much good or bad that action put into the universe.[...] You know how some people pull into the breakdown lane when there's traffic? And they think to themselves, "Ah, who cares? No one's watching." We were watching. Surprise!
  • Something Only They Would Say: In Season 4, Michael is put under serious suspicion of actually being Vicky in a Michael suit after things have taken a suspicious downturn, with it being possible he was swapped out during an incident where a demon impostor had to be taken back to the Bad Place. Part of Michael's frustration is that there's no specific thing he can say to prove he's the real deal... but Jason spots an inversion of this- an absence of something the real person should always say when Janet doesn't correct him by saying "not a girl" when he says "I love you, girl". Because of this omission, Jason correctly deduces that she's the saboteur who got swapped over: a Bad Janet pretending to be the good one. Michael's talk of this trope was what made Jason realize how suspicious Janet's omission was.
  • 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 day. Because the note told her to look for 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.
    • Neighborhood 12358W ultimately wound up becoming this for the Bad Place, Shawn in particular. 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 built a genuine friendship with the main four humans to the point that he pulled a Heel–Face 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 no human has made it to the Good Place since 1497 due to a bunch of problems inherent to the afterlife's point system. Shawn knew of this the whole time and gleefully enabled it because it gave the Bad Place a near infinite supply of fresh new humans to torture, and when the Judge is made aware of the problem and proposes an experimental solution, he wastes no time trying to find any way that he can to make sure it fails because he absolutely will not let anything threaten the status quo he's maintained for over 500 years.
  • 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.
    • "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy" has Jason outing Janet as the spy impostor despite Michael being the one under suspicion because she didn't correct him with her customary "not a girl" when he said "I love you, girl."
  • Steamrolled Smart Guy: Chidi overthinks every decision. Whenever he suggests a logical course of action, Eleanor or Jason act impulsively instead, leaving Chidi with a stomachache.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Tahani mentions a British "saying" about not letting anyone know when you're sad.
  • 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 Good: The inhabitants of the Good Place. They're too good for their own good, much less anyone else's, being naïve and trusting to an idiotic extent (leaving the Good Janet warehouse unlocked because they don't believe anyone would steal a Janet), and are unable to even take a stance against things they consider horrific because they don't want to upset others. This is later complicated after it's revealed that the Good Place is actually a hellish Crapsaccharine World thanks to being too perfect (it basically suffers from the issue that Victory Is Boring lasts for all eternity), and so the inhabitants of the Good Place were invoking this trope because they had long since run out of any ideas for how to make the Good Place worthwhile again and were trying to help prevent more people from coming in.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Whenever Eleanor is complaining about Tahani, it tends to devolve into going on about how hot she is.
  • Subverted Sitcom: The first season is a straightforward sitcom with philosophical aspects (given they are in the afterlife): six Sitcom Character Archetypes mesh in a brightly colored world. However, the finale reveals it to be a Genre Deconstruction: all the hijinks have just been Michael pitting the main four characters against each other in various cruel situations as a form of torture.
  • Sugar Bowl: Played with. The setting is 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 Our Word for It: Being a network sitcom, the series cannot show the Bad Place Demons' horrific torturing as doing so would be too graphic. As such, the tortures in the Bad Place can only be described and reacted to by the characters and the Bad Place demons come across more like Evil Is Petty Jerkasses.
  • Take That!: Now with a page.
  • A Tale Told by an Idiot: It's a Running Gag throughout the show that Jason will often tell a personal anecdote in which the general message actually is pretty relevant to the conversation. But the thing is, all the "personal anecdotes" from Jason's life are so utterly bonkers that you eventually get so caught up in the craziness it's impossible to keep track of whatever point he's trying to make. It also doesn't help that Jason typically gives way more details than are necessary to understand his argument. A notable example is when Jason was supplying an example of utilitarianism. He recounted a story in which Shelia (who was a black market alligator dealer with a pierced jawbone) tried to marry his boy Donkey Doug and get him to move to Sarasota. But Donkey Doug was a part of Jason's sixty person dance crew (he was the best pop-and-locker) and him leaving would have ruined the whole thing. So he hid a bunch of stolen boogie boards in Shelia's garage and called the cops. So, in other words, he framed one innocent person to benefit sixty people.
    Chidi: Shockingly, that is a relevant example of the Utilitarian dilemma.
  • Tastes Like Purple: Food and drink can taste like concepts and colors, demons can snort time, the Judge uses the concept of envy as a hot sauce, and the Good Place smells like whatever makes you happiest, including absolute moral truth. The Bad Place also gives us Ax Body Spray that smells like how the Transformers movies make you feel. Then there's the color pleurigloss, which looks the way a soldier feels when he comes home and sees his dog for the first time.
  • Teens Are Monsters: The kid who bullies Doug Forcett around is referred to as "a local sociopath".
  • 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 are apparently given so many negative points that they're basically doomed if the wedding'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 and Peeps.
    • Several title cards in the fourth season run with this, announcing that some number of Bearimies has passed.
  • 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, it's Michael when he teams up with the humans to avoid retirement, though by Season 3, he's progressed and is pretty much the Michael he pretended to be in Season 1.
  • Tom the Dark Lord: The celestial beings seen so far all have rather mundane names like Michael, Trevor, Shawn, and Todd. The Judge is a slight aversion. Her name is Gen, short for "hydrogen" but it sounds like "Jen", short for "Jennifer".
  • 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 keep improving.
  • Trademark Favorite Food:
    • Eleanor loves shrimp, to the point that Michael gave her an Infinte Shrimp Bar (with several different sauces in soda dispensers) as an apology gift at one point.
    • Chidi enjoys almond milk, which causes him anxiety because of its negative environmental impact. There's actually a Running Gag that Chidi thinks it's the reason he's in the Bad Place. Due to the afterlife points system, he's partially right — it had an effect, but nowhere near the main reason he's down there.
    • Jason's favorite food is jalapeno poppers.
  • 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.
  • "Truman Show" Plot: Michael as demonic director to an entire neighborhood full of "actors" designed with the specific goal of fooling four humans.

    U to Z 
  • 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. And he did a bunch of whippets in there, which couldn't have helped.
      Pillboi: At least he died doing what he loved... a bunch of whippets.
    • 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. Tahani also had to disguise herself as a waitress to get in, which she explicitly calls out as embarrassing while talking to afterlife simulations of her parents: "I died dressed as someone in the service industry."
  • Unfortunate Search Results: To prove the points system is flawed, Michael uses the example that even buying tomatoes can lose someone a chunk of points due to all the unintended consequences. The Judge is unsympathetic and argues that people should just do the research before purchasing. When she goes to Earth herself, the first thing she does is look up "big, juicy, natural tomatoes", only to find herself on a porn site for people with a sunburn fetish. It helps convince her human life is far more complicated and difficult than she had believed.
  • Unnaturally Looping Location: While being tested by Judge Hydrogen, Eleanor keeps walking through a door in one wall only to stride into the same room she started in.
  • Unseen No More:
    • In the first episode, Michael mentions Doug Forcett, the only man who has figured out how the afterlife actually works. He finally appears in Season 3.
    • The Judge is mentioned several times before she makes her proper first appearance in the Season 2 episode "The Burrito".
    • Early on, there is a brief mention of a Disco Janet, who appears in "The Funeral to End All Funerals" as part of the army of Janets who come to stop the Judge from rebooting all of existence.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Eleanor was not a good person in her life, and once she finds herself in the Good Place she is fully aware she does not belong with the other people. This sets her up as being one of the more naturally flawed characters, if only because she recognizes her flaws and seeks to improve even if she struggles against her nature. Flashbacks to her life show that while she could be selfish and meanspirited it never reached true cruelty, Michael even goes down a list of truly bad things (which includes getting a vanity license plate) and she didn't do any one. When it's revealed that Chidi, Tahani and Jason are all with her in the Bad Place, Chidi remains the more morally sensible one but Tahani is actually an Upper-Class Twit ignorant of her selfishness and Jason, despite seeming the most likable and laid back character, has probably done the more objectionable actions including drug smuggling (and a vanity license plate).
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Eleanor's mom keeps cash hidden in her bra. Eleanor herself stuffed cocktail shrimp down hers.
  • Virtual Sidekick: Janet is a very Benevolent A.I. whose job is to make the humans' lives easier, although she also largely acts as a sidekick for Michael, who is a demon. She moves between trying to help Michael build the neighborhood and to help the humans. "Bad Janet" also functions as a similar Evil Counterpart to Janet, acting as the sidekick and The Heavy for Shawn and the other demons. However, when the two Janets meet, Bad Janet shakes off this role and begins to understand on her own.
  • Virtuous Vegetarianism: Invoked. Being a vegan gives you points to enter The Good Place. Not bragging about it gives you even more points.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: A Discussed Trope with the concept of the 'moral desert' — one mustn't do good things because they expect a reward for doing them.
  • 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.
  • Weird World, Weird Food:
    • It's common for the denizens of the afterlife to eat things that are closer to concepts than food.
      • Janet's frozen yogurt store features such flavours as "full cell-phone battery".
      • Gen likes to season her burritos with envy.
    • The Bad Place demons enjoy eating food that humans would consider toxic, disgusting, or inedible, such as teeth, babies, and scalding-hot expired New England clam chowder.
    • The architects of the afterlife, in both the Good and Bad Places, drink antimatter, their equivalent of coffee.
      Tahani: To wit, would anyone like a cup of antimatter?
      Beadie: Sure. I take mine with non-dairy neutrinos.
  • 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 and Team Cockroach successfully manage to convince Gen that the sorting system is flawed, so she brings in Shawn so they can all discuss how to fix the system. They decide to build a new neighborhood in Mindy St. Claire's Medium Place, similar to the one from Season 1, and bring in four recently-dead humans 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 if the new neighborhood fails. 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. His request is granted because there's no other solution.
  • 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!"
    • "521 years." The amount of time since any human has been admitted to the Good Place. Suddenly, the main cast's problems are part of a much larger issue.
    • "As for how we proceed from here, obviously, Earth is cancelled." Said by Judge Gen, after judging that humanity and not the points system is flawed.
    • In "Patty", when the gang finally makes it to the Good Place, and are meeting Hypatia of Alexandria (Patty for short), one of Chidi's philosophical heroes, she tells them, "Listen carefully before I forget how to say this: you gotta help us. We are so screwed!"
  • 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 new neighborhood is Simone. This happens again at the end of the episode, only this time, the person sitting on the couch is the freshly-rebooted Chidi.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: It was never explained who the douchebag demons that accompanied Trevor in Chapters 8 & 9 were. And we never see anybody like them in the actual Bad Place.
  • White Void Room:
    • The Good Place's storage room for Janets, called the 'Janet Warehouse', as revealed in "Michael and Janet". Michael calls it a "neutral pocket dimension beneath a shapeless time void." It's right next to Accounting. Michael accesses the bright white void room through a door.
    • All Janets also have a "void" inside them, which is also depicted as a white void room.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever?: Toward the end of the fourth season, we learn the Good Place is soul-crushingly boring, and everyone there is desperately happy for the possibility to leave. This even applies to some of the beings in the Afterlife. Shawn and other demons indicate that an eternity of torturing people is boring and actually want a change, too, with Shawn confessing that struggling against Team Cockroach is the first time he's had fun in ages. Michael gets this on his own, with a monologue comparing himself to Sisyphus and terrified at no longer having purpose, and ultimately being granted the same escape clause as humans. We see hints of this throughout the series.
    • Shawn: His response to Michael's proposal is interest, and his response to its failure is extreme. He finally admits that this weird cat and mouse with Michael is the most fun he's had in an eternity of torture.
    • Vicki and the other demons on her level: They are all far too invested for it to be a personal grudge with Michael. Vicki genuinely wants to express herself. Trevor seriously wants to punish people.
    • Gen: She's entirely checked out, has no idea what's going on with Earth except for the invention of the burrito. Team Cockroach showing up and providing her something to do is a delight. She's a little unacceptably weird about expressing that delight...
    • The Doorman: He's spent an eternity loving frogs. He just likes frogs. It's not until Team Cockroach shows up and starts giving him gifts that he finally gets to experience joy. He was just sitting there. Alone. Thinking about frogs.
    • The Angels: They spent an eternity of Jeremy Bearimy-s trying desperately to keep the good people happy, and failing. They were lost in a nightmare as infinite as the people they were supposed to be rewarding. They handed the keys to Michael and ran away because infinity is a math everyone struggles with.
    • In the end, the show gives us an answer. The wave returns to the ocean.
  • A Wizard Did It: Jeremy Bearimy (the timeline by which the afterlife operates by) pretty much allows the show to do whatever the hell it wants with the timeline. It functions so differently from our earthly, human perception of time, and trying to wrap your head around it is pointless because the entire joke is how INSANELY confusing and nonsensical it is. It allowed Michael to go down to Earth and save the lives of the main four even though their deaths had occurred three hundred years prior.
  • Writing Lines: In "The Trolley Problem", when Chidi is teaching the gang about ethics, he forces Michael to write "People = Good" on the other side of the blackboard every time Michael acts as if humans are evil by expressing a desire to torture and/or kill them.
  • You Do Not Want To Know:
    • What the Bad Place in general 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!
    • The main characters do get to see one part of the Bad Place - The Museum Of Torture's Hall Of Low-Grade Crappiness; an exhibit of the people who committed a minor obnoxious sin first, such as the first unsolicited dick photo or the first white guy to have dreads (he also invented ultimate frisbee). Michael tells them to not under any circumstances look into any of the other halls, because the things they might see there would literally haunt them for eternity.
  • Your Magic's No Good Here: Most afterlife magic does not work on Earth. When Janet and Michael go down to Earth, Janet has a hard time adjusting to not being able to teleport and instantly conjure items.
  • You Never Did That for Me: Eleanor discovers that her mother she thought was dead is actually alive and now has a new family and another daughter. Though she's there to help make sure her mother is reformed and wants to be happy that she is so much kinder than Eleanor remembered, she can't help but feel resentful that her mother never treated her the way she treated her new child.

"Holy motherforking shirt balls!"


"That's bullshirt."

Eleanor tries to cuss, only to find that the Good Place censors curse words.

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Main / GoshdangItToHeck

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