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Everything is fine.Note 

"Why do bad things always happen to mediocre people who are lying about their identity?"
Eleanor
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The Good Place is a 2016-2020 NBC comedy series created by Michael Schur (Parks and Recreation), starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson.

After being killed by an oncoming truck, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) wakes up in an unfamiliar and idyllic world. She is greeted by Michael (Ted 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's 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".

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Complicating the mix 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 bank 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 air on NBC First, then on Netflix the following day. On June 7, 2019 it was announced that the fourth season would be the final one. 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.

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The Good Place provides examples of the following tropes:

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    A to E 
  • 108: Subverted. Given that it's a series about the afterlife, the hundredth and eighth iteration of the "Groundhog Day" Loop is seen. However, it seems to have been one of the least successful, as Eleanor accidentally overhears Michael recording his thoughts about the experiment while waiting for her orientation meeting in his office. The only iteration we hear about that's shorter apparently happened as the equivalent of a butt-dial.
  • 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 invoke this almost to a painful degree. They 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 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.
    • 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.
  • Aesop Amnesia: A rare justified example, since actual memory loss is involved. Every time the experiment gets rebooted, the Main Characters' memories get reset, wiping out any lessons they may have learned in the most recent iteration.
  • Afterlife Express: A variant. In the afterlife, trains are used to travel to and from the Good, Bad, and Medium Places.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: In the eyes of the Bad Place, everyone there merits to be tortured regardless of exactly how minor their transgressions were on Earth, or if they were just jerks instead of actually being evil: Jason was a petty criminal who dealt drugs and would frequently burn things down with Molotov Cocktails to avenge himself against those who "wronged" him, and died trying to rob a restaurant. Eleanor was unbelievably rude and selfish as well as 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 There in the Script: Almost every speaking character, however minor, has a name though many only appear in the end credits.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Strictly speaking, we know nothing about the gender of any non-human character, or even whether afterlife beings have such a thing as gender. For example, Janet frequently clarifies that she's not, strictly speaking, a girl.
  • 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 Eleanor said was a lie. invoked
  • Arc Words: "What We Owe To Each Other." It's the name of a S01 episode, Eleanor rips out a page from that book to write a note to herself, and in the S02 finale, Michael brings it up to Eleanor when she's seeking motivation to be good after her death was turned into a near-death experience. In the series finale, Eleanor uses the final passage of "What We Owe To Each Other" to finally accept that she needs to allow Chidi to walk through the final door - as she firmly believes it's what she owes to him after countless Bearimies of time together.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • People get an eternity in the Bad Place for murder, arson, sexual harassment... and taking their shoes and socks off on an airplane.
    • One description of the Bad Place includes "flying piranhas, lava monsters, college improv."
    • When Janet is rebooted and falls in love with Jianyu/Jason, she also comes to hate things, such as "genocide and leggings as pants."
    • Among the many terrible things that Eleanor has done to warrant being sent to the Bad Place is... a brief Instagram flirtation with Kid Rock.
    • Tahani when she finds out that "Jianyu" is actually Jason: "You have some nerve asking me for favors when you have spent weeks deceiving me, making a fool out of me, and bringing snack food into my house!"
  • Ass Shove: In Season 2, the Bad Place is said to have started testing "Butthole Spiders". They're enormous.
    • Fun Fact: The Butthole Spiders were originally scripted as "Toilet Spiders", but they found "Butthole Spiders" to be funnier.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Among the things that go wrong the first time the neighborhood goes haywire is the appearance of giant ladybirds and frogs.
  • Badass Finger Snap: Michael resets the versions of the Good Place by snapping his fingers.
  • 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 difficult to be one, especially considering taking the bad route is often much easier. Even good deeds done in the name of selfish motives don't count for anything.
    • Eleanor often finds herself at odds with Chidi's teachings, considering she's used to being a self-centered loner; Michael also has difficulty adjusting to ethics class, considering his demonic background and all.
    • In "Somewhere Else" Eleanor talks about how being good is difficult because people don't care and she got slapped with additional hardships for trying. Of all people, Michael asks if she's looking for a reward, or a "moral desert".
    • In Season 3, the cast eventually realizes that the points system is poorly adjusted to 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 very difficult and numerically not worth it to try.
  • Be Yourself: Deconstructed with Jason and Eleanor, but Reconstructed as the series goes on and Character Development sets in. They both dislike pretending being other people, but, as Eleanor points out, who they really are kind of suck. Eleanor decides to try and change for the better, with Chidi's help, and attempts to learn how to be good. Jason, however, isn't interested in improving himself, even when whether or not he gets tortured for eternity depends on it — at least, not until Eleanor hits him with a well-placed "The Reason You Suck" Speech. Then we find out, none of the main characters were good enough for the Good Place, and they could all use with some improvement. Even Michael starts to try and become better! So it's not so much "just be yourself" or "don't be yourself," but rather, "be the absolute best version of yourself you can be, and push yourself to become better, even if it's hard."
  • The Big Board: Played with. Michael has one but it looks like a small desk-sized map of the neighborhood. However, since he sees in nine dimensions, it's apparently much much bigger and messier to him.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: In Chapter 26, Chidi finally lays one on Eleanor. Since they've hooked up in previous reboots (not that they can remember), they've obviously kissed before, but this is the first one in this reboot and the first time the audience gets to see it. Also occurs in Chapter 32, where we see the timeline Mindy told Eleanor about in Chapter 15. Eleanor quietly declares that Chidi's "amazing" before laying one on him. Happens again in Chapter 36, where Chidi decides to embrace his past self's romance with Eleanor and snap her out of her Heroic BSoD at the same time.
    Eleanor: Hot diggity dog!
  • Big Fancy House: Tahani and Jianyu live in a humongous, very fancy European-style mansion. It is big enough to house most of the neighborhood during a lockdown crisis and apparently has thirty-six tennis courts. Given that she lives in a far smaller house, Eleanor is rather unsubtle about her jealousy regarding it.
  • Big Red Button: There's a Big Red Button situated in a remote corner of the Good Place that is used as an emergency shut-off switch for Janet. As a measure of last resort, Janet is designed to tearfully beg for her life whenever someone goes to press it, hopefully psychologically disturbing the would-be saboteur with her impassioned pleas.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • In S1E12, 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 S3E6, Tahani visits her sister who's having an exhibition in Budapest, Hungary, at a museum called "A Fontos Művészeti Múzeum" — which literally translates to "The Important Museum of Art".
    • Later in the same episode, Chidi reads an article written by László Újságíró, literally "Leslie Journalist".
  • Black and White Insanity: This seems to be the criteria for judging people into the afterlife, there is no "grey"; when Michael reads Les Misérables he concludes all the characters are going to the Bad Place. Jean Valjean stealing bread to feed his family? Stealing the bread outweighs the reasons he stole it for. There's also the matter that being French automatically sends you to the Bad Place ... even Victor Hugo is there.
    • It becomes a plot point in Season 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.
  • Blank White Void: Janet has her own personal void with no boundaries and limits. It's all white and brightly lit. When the four humans get taken in there, they temporarily turn into Janets.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality:
    • Occasionally played for comedy in the way the Good Place judges morality. "Staying loyal to the Cleveland Browns" gives you quite a lot of points, but enjoying the California funk-rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers gives you negative points.
    • How the Good Place itself operates. Swearing is forking impossible, but accessing porn is just fine. Though that appears to be a personal preference of the neighborhood, not a universal rule.
    • Through season 2, via interactions with Michael, we get a few glimpses into the mentality and morality behind the Bad Place. Being French is automatically bad, for no adequately explained reason.
  • Book-Ends:
    • Season 1 ends with Michael erasing Eleanor's memories and reintroducing her to his Neighborhood, similarly to how he did in the first episode, with some differences.
    • Season 2 begins with Eleanor being told to "FIND CHIDI" by a note written on a page torn from the philosophical work What We Owe to Each Other. In the Season 2 finale, Michael puts special emphasis on the phrase "what we owe to each other" in order to prompt Eleanor to Google it—and find Chidi.
    • Season 3 begins with Eleanor walking into Chidi's office. In the Season 3 finale, Chidi walks into Eleanor's office.
  • Bottle Episode:
    • Subverted with "Category 55 Emergency Doomsday Crisis", despite Michael enforcing that nobody should leave their homes, it uses several sets, and much of the supporting cast appears.
    • Downplayed in "Michael's Gambit". It takes place almost entirely in Eleanor's living room, with most of the plot being focused alone on the six leads, but it also has Michael's flashbacks and a few supporting cast, as well as Shawn being a prominent character.
    • "Team Cockroach" is a fairly straight example. Almost entirely in Eleanor's living room, with a few scenes at the backyard and no relevant action from anyone but the main cast, though there is Tahani's flashback of how she died in a party at Cleveland.
    • "Best Self" is another example, uses mostly the park set (and briefly the train), and nobody but the main six has any appearances or speaking lines.
    • "Janet(s)". Michael and Janet spend most of the episode in the afterlife's accounting department, while the humans are stuck in Janet's void. However, at the very end of the episode, everyone goes to the real Good Place.
    • "The Book of Dougs" takes place entirely within The Good Place mailroom.
  • 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 and 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.
  • 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 52 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 Is Better: Tahani notes that her bosom is large more than once approvingly. Eleanor for her part calls Janet "busty Alexa" and notes her "rockin' bod".
  • Call-Back: In general, the highly serialized nature of the show and the necessary attention to detail required by the premise results in a lot of Callback material.
    • In the 5th episode of Season 1 Jason discusses his breakdancing crew and the way he framed someone for stealing boogie boards as a shockingly correct example of a lesson Chidi was giving on the greater good. In the second episode of Season 2, Jason brings up his breakdancing crew in an effort to calm down Michael who is suffering problems with his people.
    • Janet mentions in one episode that she can't actually eat anything. This becomes relevant in the finale of season 1 when Eleanor, needing a place to store her message for her future self, has Janet put it in her mouth, knowing she can't swallow it.
    • The outfit Tahani wears to the Buddhist retreat during the Season 3 premiere is the same as the one she wore during the Season 2 premiere when her soulmate was a humble man.
  • 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.
  • 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?
  • 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 implies something closer to Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence mixed with The Lifestream.
  • 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 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!
  • 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.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • Every time a mind-wiped Chidi discovers that he's actually in the Bad Place, he rationalizes it by blaming some incredibly minor "vice" like 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.
    • 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.
    • 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: No, your desires and interests are completely confidential. Now, what kind of porn do you want to watch?
  • 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, befitting her status as a wealthy socialite.
  • Council of Angels: Both the Good Place and Bad Place have been run by something like angels (though not called that) and demons (who do get that name) 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.
  • 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!
    • The pilot reveals that each of the world's major religions got the afterlife about 5% right...and then there was Doug Forcett, a random Canadian who guessed a whopping 92% while he was high on shrooms in the early 70s.
      Michael: I mean, we couldn't believe what we were hearing. That's him, actually, right up there. (gestures to portrait on the wall) He's pretty famous around here. I'm very lucky to have that.
  • 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 turn into jaded, apathetic zombies due to having all of their needs and desires magically fulfilled for all eternity.
  • Cross-Referenced Titles: Season 1's first episode is titled "Everything is Fine". Season 2's first episode is titled "Everything is Great". Season 3's premiere is titled "Everything is Bonzer!"
  • Dead to Begin With: Eleanor is dead in the first episode, launching the show's plot, and everyone else in the Good Place aside from Michael and Janet are deceased as well.
  • 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.
  • The Devil Is a Loser: While not particularly weak, most demons are 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.
  • 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.
  • 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?: 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: For the last time, none of these philosophers are ever talking about masturbation.
  • Eagleland: 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, that 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 Type 2 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).
    • 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.
  • 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. In the 16th century, giving flowers to your grandmother got you 145 points because you had to go out, pick the flowers from a field and hand deliver them to her yourself. In 2018, you'd lose points because you ordered off a phone made in a sweatshop for flowers sprayed with pesticides which make a carbon footprint via delivery and the CEO of the flower company is a racist pervert. Even the smallest acts now have widespread consequences and ramifications that didn't exist when the world was a larger place.
  • Eldritch Location: The eponymous Good Place, built by beings with nine-dimensional vision, that sells frozen yogurt in flavors that are literally abstract concepts (as well as regular flavors), and can be seriously warped by people's actions while there. 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 resemble 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Evil Has a Bad Sense of Humor: Bad Place workers think that juvenile insults are the height of sophisticated comedy.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • Trevor and the other representatives of the Bad Place never miss a chance to be unnecessarily unpleasant, and the torments of the Bad Place involve a lot of persistent nagging inconveniences (e.g., the train going there makes a million unnecessary stops and the restaurant car is always closed) along with more traditional forms of Cold-Blooded Torture.
    • After Michael is revealed to be evil, he deliberately knocks over a small potted plant. It is a completely unnecessary action that was done simply to make a bit of a mess.
    • The entire basis of the series is that Michael thought it would be more fun to trick humans into torturing each other by making them think they're in the Good Place.
    • In the official The Good Place The Podcast, writers of the show state that this seeming pettiness is specifically a tenant of Michael's (and by extension The Bad Place's) philosophy: "No torture too small."
  • Evil Laugh: Michael lets out a deliciously wicked one during The Reveal in the Season 1 finale.
  • Evil Twin: Bad Janet from the Bad Place. While Good Janet's 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 quite racist, but okay".
  • Fate Worse than Death: "Retirement" isn't a pleasant experience for architects.
    Michael: We call it "The Eternal Shriek". My soul will be disintegrated, and each molecule will be placed on the surface of a different burning sun. And then my essence will be scooped out of my body with a flaming ladle and poured over hot diamonds.
    Tahani: Oh, but the diamonds sound lovely.
    Michael: They're not! And then what's left of my body will be endlessly beaten with a titanium rod. Like a-
    Tahani: Like a pinata...
    Michael: Yes. Except you have the string around my waist, but it will definitely be around my genitals.
  • Felony Misdemeanor: The objective moral standard of the universe apparently considers a number of fairly minor obnoxious habits to be sins. Sometimes justified in that sins are weighted, so you have to jaywalk a very large number of times before it becomes as bad as a single murder, but other times it seems to be fully this trope - for instance, if you've ever taken off both your shoes and socks on a public airplane, it is considered very likely that you're an irredeemably bad person, and the simple fact of being from either Florida or France earns you an automatic sentence to the Bad Place.
  • 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 Place...it'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 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.
  • Five-Token Band: The main foursome. Eleanor is a white American, Tahani is British-Pakistani, Chidi is Senegalese, and Jason is Filipino-American.
  • 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 got over it as the torments started. Simone gradually admits it's real over time after Chidi gives her a little talk.
  • 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 "human-suits" and some aren't even that used to it. Apparently, the true form of Michael's a 6000-foot tall fire squid while Vicky's "literally an acid snake". Although it's never stated, it probably also applies to The Judge and all the other afterlife entities.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The orientation video has a ton of stuff that counts for or against your getting into the Good Place, flashing by so fast that it's impossible to catch it all in one viewing.
    • In "Category 55 Doomsday Crisis", Michael adds a truly improbable number of new ice-cream flavors (full list). They range from the standard (like grape, cherry, and Neapolitan) to the technically-edible but bizarre (such as lobster and ham) to the more esoteric (a mother's love, candlelight, a second kiss after an awkward first kiss).
    • In the flashback at the beginning of "Michael's Gambit", right before Dave drops the "Project No. 12358W" file on Michael's desk, you can just catch the title of the file he was working on beforehand: "Flesh Ripping Lightning", a big sign that he doesn't really work for the Good Place.
    • In "Dance Dance Resolution", all the different resets seem to have different themed signs. In the same episode, there is the poster of all the plans they've tried, including "Stab with large knife," "Find Doug Forcett," and "Try to stuff Michael back into his magic lamp".
    • In "Everything is Bonzer!", Tahani starts deleting the contact info of people from her phone, and you can see the long list of celebrities there if you look fast enough.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Genius Bonus: While a lot of the philosophy mentioned in the show is 101 style, a few things do get snuck past that aren't so obvious. One example is Michael talking in season 4 about rolling a rock up a hill over and over and worrying about not having a real job any more, a reference to The Myth of Sisyphus.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 Is Not Nice: Eleanor is convinced the others in the Good Place can't be as great as they seem. It turns out that they are, all dedicating themselves to great deeds in life. However, Eleanor claims that many of them were doing such deeds for recognition and Tahani is rather self-absorbed and condescending, intentionally or otherwise. 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. 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.
  • Heaven: The Good Place is effectively this. While the real one still qualifies, the first-season finale reveals that the one the characters have been living in definitely isn't.
  • Heaven Above: Not three minutes into the show, recently deceased Eleanor distinguishes between Heaven and Hell by pointing upwards to indicate Heaven and downwards to indicate Hell.
  • Heaven's Devils: Employees of the Good Place and the Bad Place might regard each other with disdain, but they're all part of the same system and aren't really enemies.
  • Heel Realization:
    • Eleanor was so self-absorbed that she never realized just how much of a jerk she was and thought of herself as a mildly good person. When she is confronted with her past actions, she finally realizes just how nasty and selfish she was.
    • In episode 13, Tahani realizes that all the good acts she's performed were meaningless, because she only did them for praise and recognition, rather than because they were good deeds. Shortly afterwards, Chidi realizes how much his obsession and indecisiveness over doing the right thing led to him hurting everyone in his life and got him sent to the Bad Place. 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. Hypatia begs Chidi to help her escape in a lucid moment.
  • Here We Go Again!: Invoked in the season finale, with Michael erasing the memories of the main four, rebooting Janet again, and resetting things to day one — with the one tweak that the four of them will be kept separate this time, influencing each other's lives less directly — in the hopes that this time it will work better.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In a throwaway line, Tahani reveals this is how she died. Subverted, "Team Cockroach" reveals that she didn't die this way, dying instead in an ironic, humiliating fashion.
    • Eleanor has no reservations about returning to face Shawn's judgement if it means Chidi and Tahani are spared. Pity they're all in the Bad Place anyway.
    • Michael of all "people" pulls the first proper legit one in the entire series by giving his portal access pin to Eleanor and pushing her through, ensuring her safety, but dooming himself in the process. He does so without hesitation.
    • 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.
  • High Concept: What if you were sent to heaven by mistake and had to hide to avoid going to hell?
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Chapter 35, Shawn gloats that the gang's efforts to help their friends and family won't get the latter into the Good Place, and even Doug Forcett is bound for the Bad Place despite all the good he does. This tips Michael off that something's wrong with the judgment process, prompting him to investigate the accounting department where he learns that nobody has gotten into the Good Place for over 500 years.
  • Hollywood Law: In the third season, a police officer announces that Jason has "admitted to the robbery." However, a "robbery" means stealing something directly from a victim by force, threats or intimidation, such as holding up a bank or mugging someone. Given Jason's personality and the fact that he's free within a year, the show obviously meant "larceny," which is stealing things without these means.
  • Hope Spot:
    • The final ten minutes of the last episode of season 1 have quite a few pop up that could save one or more people from being shipped to the Bad Place to balance things out. They range from "Real" Eleanor stating she would take one of the two spots condemning someone to the bad place, to one lawyer resident who might have found an obscure precedent that could save everyone, to "Real" Eleanor coming back pleading her love to Chidi and for them to remain together. Actually invoked, as each one is a staged moment meant to up the anxiety as the four humans and Janet debate who should be sent to the Bad Place in place of the others...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 Reality Ensues, as a variety of obstacles threaten to break the group up. Michael and Janet manage to subtly manipulate events to help the gang stay together, but they eventually push things too far and get discovered, forcing them to reveal the truth of the situation, which permanently ruins any chances of them ever getting into the Good Place.
    • Towards the end of Season 3, the gang decides to use Doug Forcett as a role model to help other people into the Good Place. Unfortunately, Doug's lifestyle is making him miserable, and an ambush by Shawn and some other demons ends up sending the group on a mission that reveals that not only is Doug almost certainly going to the Bad Place anyways, but nobody has made it into the Good Place in over 500 years.
    • 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.
  • 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.
      [...]
      The Judge: Gotta say, that's a solid rebuttal.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I Always Wanted to Say That: In the last moments of the series, Michael announces to his neighbor he's going to say something he always wanted to say:
    Michael: Take it sleazy!
  • 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.
  • 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.
      Eleanor: Um, ahem, could you please just say "Eleanor," and maybe point to whichever one of us you're addressing?
      Bambadjan: Well, actually, the fake/real distinction helps me.
  • Interchangeable Asian Cultures: Jason notes that he's actually Filipino, not Taiwanese like the Buddhist monk he's been mistaken for, and says it's racist people assumed that he was.
  • Intimate Hair Brushing: Eleanor and Tahani become friends despite their initial distrust. Eleanor suggests they take their bonding to "the next level" by braiding Tahani's hair. She braids a blond streak of fake hair in Tahani's gorgeous black hair. It looks tacky, but Tahani is good-natured enough and lets her. She even seems to enjoy Eleanor's attention.
  • Ironic Hell:
    • The Bad Place seems to be a combination of Fire and Brimstone Hell and this. As beside the torture and attacks by dangerous animals, more "mundane" punishments are mentioned, such as having to organize a baby shower or attend a test you didn't study for.
    • In the ending of Season 1, when Michael's neighborhood turns out to be an experimental type of torture in Bad Place, invoking this. In Eleanor's case, Michael is tricking her into thinking she's the sole bad person among good people, and creating "problems" in the neighborhood based on her bad behavior to make her feel guilty and scared that she'll be found out and sent to the Bad Place. For example, when Eleanor steals shrimp from Tahani's party, giant shrimp go flying through the air the next day, and when Eleanor fails to help clean up, there's a trash storm.
      • 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.
  • 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.
  • Judgement of the Dead: While there is no singular 'judgement' that happens per individual, the idea of judging people based on the good or bad they did on Earth and sending them to an appropriate afterlife is an essential part of the premise. Each action has a positive (good) or negative (bad) point value. Only the people with the highest positive scores get into the titular Good Place, with everyone else save one person sent to the Bad Place. Season 3 reveals the process has somehow become corrupted to the point where nobody has made it into the Good Place in over 500 years.
  • Just a Machine: Janet has absolutely no self-preservation (except briefly simulated whenever someone approaches her self-destruct), and repeatedly encourages the characters to treat her as an emotionless tool, 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: They're not real, but their pain is real. Does that make sense?

    K to O 
  • Kiss Me, I'm Virtual: Jason and Janet have a kind-of romance toward the end of Season 1. A surprisingly sweet example, as both parties are so innocent it comes across as a sort of Puppy Love.
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: The ads for Season 2 quite clearly showed Michael scheming about how to make the main cast miserable. Ironically and also subverted as while this spoils Season 1, it doesn't spoil the fact that he promptly teams up with the humans very early into Season 2.
  • Lie Detector: Michael uses a cube which flashes green when someone tells the truth and red when they lie when investigating Eleanor.
    • 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)
  • Long Title: The book Chidi spent his life writing. Its title starts: Who We Are and Who We Are Not: Practical Ethics and Their Application in the Modern World; a Treatise on the..., and then Michael interrupts Chidi before he can finish it.
  • 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.
  • Massive Multiplayer Scam: The entire first season, because they're not actually in the Good Place. Everyone who isn't Eleanor, Tahani, Chidi, or Jason (or Janet) are demons who take far too much pleasure in fooling with the poor humans.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • Jianyu is a Chinese name meaning "Building the Universe" or prison, depending on the tone.
    • Michael is the name of a Biblical archangel and is the Hebrew name meaning "who is like God". Archangel Michael leads the war of the good angels against the bad and is commonly prayed for to "defend us in battle" against fallen angels. Becomes an Ironic Name after the twist. In Season 3, it cycles back around into being a straight example, since Michael has not only been trying to help humans get into the Good Place, but he also decides to reveal and fix the corruption that has affected the afterlife's judgement process. 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.
    • Her sister, Kamilah? That's Arabic for "Perfect". It also has implications of completeness, which completely shuns Tahani's existence. It holds this meaning in at least four languages and the Holy Qur'an, too. However, it is mentioned only twice in the Qur'an, the first of which describing how people will be weighted by their sins in death.
    • Even the neighborhood name, 12358W, is loaded: 12358 is a Fibonacci sequence, correlating with the Golden Ratio. In other words, 12358W is code for Perfect World.
  • 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.
  • 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.
    Michael: 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: It's forking impossible for anybody to swear in The Good Place, which Eleanor finds out for herself:
    Eleanor: Somebody royally forked up... Why can't I say fork?
    Chidi: If you're trying to curse, you can't here.
    Eleanor: That's bullshirt.
  • The Needs of the Many: Chidi gives Eleanor a lecture about utilitarianism, and the issues which it faces, such as if torturing one person to death so a hundred more are saved is moral. Jason puts in his own more selfish scenario - framing an innocent person who would otherwise break up a band and cause more (supposed) unhappiness.
  • Never Trust a Trailer:
    • The show's sizzle reel made it seem like a quirky comedy where Eleanor gets to enjoy the Good Place with little consequence while trying to keep her secret. The actual show, while quirky and humorous, has Eleanor's mere presence in the Good Place causing far-reaching chaos and sets up a greater mystery to play out over its run. For fork's sake, even the name itself is unreliable after The Reveal. It's accurate only in the sense that that's the name of Michael's pet project.
    • Official descriptions of the show's premise cast Michael as Eleanor's "mentor" in her quest to become a better person. That's actually Chidi's role. 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.
  • 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 are Not So Different and become friends.
    • 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 are all very close to 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.
    • Brent is a thinly-veiled version of Brett Kavanaugh, complete with 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, like Hypatia of Alexandria. 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.
  • 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:
    • The review of Eleanor's life contains a ton of this, with bizarre references to things like being banned from Build-a-Bear for life.
    • Several of the resets in "Dance Dance Resolution" fit this model, showing out-of-context situations like Chidi being chased by a swarm of bees or the gang dressed like European monks.
  • 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.
  • Not So Above It All: By the second episode, Eleanor's neighbor Tahani is clearly (to the viewers, anyway) starting to get frustrated that her soulmate Jianyu is continuing his vow of silence even in the afterlife.
  • Not So Different: Eleanor notes that Michael screwing with Chidi when he's struggling in Chidi's ethics class is exactly the same way she'd react when feeling inadequate. Then she wonders what it says about her that she's Not So Different to an actual Demon.
  • Oblivious Guilt Slinging: Michael's effusive praise for Eleanor's noble life on Earth and her generous help in fixing the Good Place's glitches cause Eleanor much grief. And as it turns out, Michael's not actually oblivious to the guilt tripping at all.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: In Chapter 14 and 15, we basically follow the day of each of the main characters separately, with the times they interact having an out-of-context predicament also going on.
  • One 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.
  • Opposites Attract: Every major relationship and Ship Tease in the series so far falls into this:
    • Eleanor, who's flighty, somewhat impulsive, and (at least in her backstory and at the start of the series) amoral, and Chidi, who's terribly indecisive and gets stomachaches over doing anything wrong.
    • Eleanor also crushes on Tahani, who is substantially more gregarious and altruistic, but also very proud and pompous (whereas Eleanor, if nothing else, is aware of her moral failings and relatively humble).
    • Tahani — who is, again, gregarious, proud, and status-obsessed — and her attraction to/fascination with Jianyu, a simple, silent, and presumably poor-while-alive monk. Subverted when she finds out about who "Jianyu" really is; Tahani, a rich and well-educated woman with significant artistic skill and loads of celebrity connections, shows little to no interest in Jason Mendoza, the less-than-intelligent failed DJ who seems to have burned every bridge he ever crossed. But it's Double Subverted in "Existential Crisis." She knows who Jason really is, but because he consoles her after her failed party, she has sex with him.
    • Jason and Janet: (an always-enthusiastic dimbulb gets married to what is essentially a nigh-omniscient magic computer.)
  • Our Demons Are Different: Michael says that it's not exactly correct to call denizens of the Bad Place "demons," but it's close enough. Their true forms seem to vary, but are often horrible monsters or giants made out of lava. They can make themselves look like humans, which is apparently done by getting inside suits of skin that are often much smaller than their true form. They behave mostly like regular humans, with some behaving like standard office drones and many others like frat boy assholes. Michael recruits a number of them to act in his experiment, which some of them hate doing.
  • 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.
  • Playing Gertrude: Leslie Grossman plays Donna Shellstrop (Eleanor's mom), and is only nine years older than Kristen Bell playing Eleanor.
  • Plot Twist: Eleanor reveals her secret - that she's not supposed to be there - in order to protect the rest of the crew after a season of trying to be better. Which is all well and good except the actual plot twist is that they're actually in the Bad Place.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • Michael lands one on Trevor in Chapter 8.
    • Chidi lays one on Michael in "The Trolley Problem."
  • Production Foreshadowing: An episode of The Good Place podcast mentioned an on-set visit by the guy who "played" Doug Forcett, with Ted Danson acting in-character as Michael and treating him as a hero. Season 3 has exactly that happen, with Michael believing Doug to be an exemplary human and visiting him.
  • Production Throwback: In "Somewhere Else", the back cover of Celebrity Baby Plastic Surgery Disasters magazine has an ad for a champagne produced by Jean-Ralphio Saperstein from Parks and Recreation. Although Jean-Ralphio's move into champagne took place offscreen, a bottle was seen in Craig and Typhoon's flashforward in the Parks & Rec Grand Finale.
    • 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.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: The afterlife works as a sort of Celestial Bureaucracy, with its own Mooks. These include the other residents of the "Good" Place, most of whom don't share Michael's new vision of Hell and find it an in-universe case of They Changed It, Now It Sucks!.
  • 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.
  • Recycled In Space: The first season is Sartre's No Exit... as a wacky American sitcom!
  • Redemption Equals Death: Mindy St. Claire was a cocaine addict and a pretty nasty person in life. However, she had an epiphany on how she could help people and actually tried to follow up on it by withdrawing all her money in order to form a charity. Right after that, she died in an accident. She then crossed into Death Equals Redemption since her sister found out what Mindy's plan was and was so inspired that she actually founded the charity in Mindy's name and helped millions of people. If she stayed alive, Mindy would have likely failed in her plan and backslid back into being a bad person. By dying when she did, she accidentally accomplished a lot of good.
  • Religion Is Wrong: Michael explains that the major religions only get the afterlife about 5% right. The closest anyone got to getting the whole truth was when a Canadian stoner got high on mushrooms and accidentally got it 92% right. His portrait is in Michael's office; he's quite proud of it.
  • Rejecting the Inheritance: Tahani rejects her half of the inheritance upon finding out that her parents didn't care enough about her to spell her name right on their will.
  • Rerouted from Heaven: Zig-zagged.
    • Initially inverted with Eleanor and Jason, who were meant to go to The Bad Place but were mistakenly taken to The Good Place instead. Because of this, however, the trope is played straight with the other Eleanor Shellstrop, who was sent to The Bad Place.
    • Subverted as the first season finale reveals that this has been the Bad Place all along and except for the four main characters and Janet, everyone else (including "real" Eleanor) have been part of the Bad Place group.
  • Reset Button: Subverted. There's a literal reset button in-universe, but it's not a reset button for the show itself, as each reset actually moves the show on rather than enforcing Status Quo Is God.
    • Not a literal button, but after the season 1 finale twist, and into the first two episodes of the second season, Michael shows that he can reset everyone's afterlife memories with a snap of his fingers.
  • Retcon:
    • A minor one. In chapter 13, Michael tells Shawn he has stolen a Good Place Janet and explains his idea. In "Michael and Janet", it shows that Michael had already shown the Good Place Janet to Shawn and he knew the details of the project, meaning he stole her after the meeting.
    • "A Fractured Inheritance" reframes the dynamics of the al Jamil family by painting Tahani's parents as being equally cold to both their children and pitting them against each other. Before, it had been shown repeatedly that they much preferred Kamilah, offering her effusive praise and barely acknowledging Tahani's existence. Similarly, Kamilah went from being portrayed as a spoiled daughter to equally damaged. Kamilah's coping mechanism might have been her superiority over Tahani masking a pain even she wanted to deny.
  • The Reveal:
    • The first season finale shows that this has been the Bad Place all along, designed solely for Eleanor, Chidi, Jason and Tahani as torture. Except for Janet, everyone else in the neighborhood is part of the scheme and Michael is a demon who's been planning this all along.
    • Tahani's cause of death is revealed in 'Team Cockroach' - having been upstaged by her sister yet again, she gatecrashes her sister's induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and tries to tear down the statue of her sister - which does come down, but straight onto Tahani.
    • Nobody's gotten into The Good Place in over 500 years.
  • Rousseau Was Right: Essentially the show's premise, having a person completely unworthy of The Good Place actively working to earn it. The core cast consistently shows that they always will come together, and bring out the best in each other, no matter how they are muddled about. Season 3 runs with this, as the humans get a second chance on Earth to prove that they were capable of realizing the good inside themselves, and eventually extend that chance to others.
    • Season 4 is set up with the idea of Eleanor and the others proving the same is true of most humans, 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 No Antagonist status.
  • Running Gag:
    • Eleanor frequently proclaims in the first season that she deserves to be in a Medium Place, until she actually finds it.
    • The clown door to Eleanor's bedroom playing cheery music at inappropriate times.
    • Janet appearing behind whoever's summoning her, usually startling Eleanor.
    • Jason telling stories about his dance crew in Florida, which somehow relate perfectly to the situation at hand.
    • Janet helpfully pointing out that she isn't whatever she was just described as - e.g., she is not a "girl," a "woman" or even a "person," nor is she a "robot" or a "computer." Towards the end of Season 2, she even denies being a "Janet" anymore, saying she's not sure herself what it is that she's become.
      • This finally 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."
  • 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 80s style computers in their search for the humans.
  • 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.
  • 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 It seems like every human is going to the Bad Place anyway, as nobody's gotten into the Good Place for over 500 years.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • The main characters spends season 2 trying to find a way to get to the Good Place, via getting to the Judge and pleading for their case. After travelling through the Bad Place and nearly getting caught, they reach her... and she almost immediately rejects their case. They try to have another test to see if they can get in, and fail that too. At Michael's suggestion, the Judge agrees to give them a second chance on Earth, to see if they can get into the Good Place that way, which is where season 3 starts. But then, thanks to Michael "nudging" things, he and Janet get stuck on Earth, and inadvertently get caught by the team, forcing them to reveal the whole truth, dooming all four to be sent to the Bad Place once again. Chapter 36 then reveals that nobody has gotten into the Good Place in over 500 years, 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.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The premise of Michael's carefully crafted Ironic Hell is much like the Hell portrayed in No Exit by Existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, where three unpleasant humans are locked in a room, each of them picked specifically to torment each other with each other's conflicting egos and complementary personalities, with Eleanor being like Inès Serranonote , Chidi like Joseph Garcinnote , Tahani like Estelle Rigaultnote and Michael as the Valetnote .
    • Michael watched Friends to learn about human friendship. In one episode, there is a coffee place named 'Celestial Perk', a parody of the Central Perk cafe the main characters frequented.
    • Michael also references the theme song to The Golden Girls.
    • "Real" Eleanor uses "yadda yadda" several times in conversation and then notes she learned English from watching Seinfeld.
    • At one point, Eleanor describes Jason as "Tragic Mike".
    • When Trevor asks Michael what he is willing to offer in exchange for Eleanor staying in the Good Place, Michael tells him "You get nothing!"
    • Another Willy Wonka shout-out comes in the episode "Chidi Sees the Time Knife" when Jason describes a friend of his who had to work three jobs to take care of all four of his grandparents, even namedropping the movie itself.
    • Flashbacks to when he was alive showed that Chidi had dinner with his friend Uzo at a restaurant named "Eating Nemo". Subsequent episodes that take place in Australia have other plays on the name, such as a bar called "Drinking Nemo".
    • When trying to convince Jason to leave the Medium Place with her so they can save Tahani and Chidi, Eleanor says "We have to go back."
    • In the Season 2 finale when Michael poses as a bartender, he adopts some of the mannerisms of Ted Danson's legendary character from Cheers. Also, the bar he's tending is briefly shown to be named "Sting's Desert Rosé".
    • Jason is a huge fan of Madden NFL, to the point where the Judge uses it as his test of character.
    • Possibly coincidental, but the short chime that accompanies the title card sound like the loading music from The Sims. Pretty appropriate, given that's a video game series involving the creation and maintenance of a perfect neighborhood but also infamously allowing players to torture the residents.
    • In season 3, when Janet is trying to figure out if Trevor can be killed, she mentions dropping a steamroller on him.
    • The "Everything Is Fine" logo on Michael's waiting room wall is a reference to the David Lynch film Eraserhead, in which one character sings a song that proclaims "In heaven everything is fine."
  • Sibling Rivalry: Tahani had this with her sister Kamilah, feeling she was always second best in comparison. Her desire to prove herself came up again when she learned she was second to last ranked in the Good Place neighborhood.
  • Sitcom Character Archetypes: The main cast initially fits into these, but the show plays with them when it's revealed that besides Michael, the main four were specifically picked to clash with each other for eternity.
    • Michael is the Square. While not the protagonist, he's the hapless but sincere boss of The Good Place trying to keep all the antics caused by the other main characters under control. Subverted when it's revealed that it was all an act, and he was just playing the role of the clueless boss while manipulating everyone else. Then double-subverted in that his actual personality isn't that far off from the one he was playing at.
    • Eleanor is the Wisecracker. Cynical and bitter, she can barely resist cracking a side comment or two at the expense of other characters, and is an actual thorn in the side of the Good Place, as her presence causes it to go haywire.
    • Tahani is a mix of the Bully and the Bigmouth. Although an accomplished philanthropist, it's clear that she thinks very highly of herself, expresses disdain for those that don't meet her standards, and gleefully lords her life experiences over others. She and Eleanor even get off on the wrong foot, although it's subverted when Eleanor realizes that Tahani is a genuinely kind person despite her ego and has self-esteem issues due to her absurdly accomplished sister.
    • Chidi is the Dork. A neurotic, indecisive Hollywood Nerd and the group's loyal and intelligent teacher. His kindness and dithering often makes him the Butt-Monkey. He also has some traits of the Square, as he's often the voice of reason and reacts with shock and disbelief to everyone else's antics.
    • Jason is the Goofball. A childish, stupid man who is nonetheless optimistic and nice.
  • Slobs vs. 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.
  • 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.
  • Stiff Upper Lip: Tahani mentions a British "saying" about not letting anyone know when you're sad.
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • In "Someone Like Me as a Member..." Tahani sees how Jianyu knows how to pump a keg and then leaves snack bags all over the house. It makes her suspicious and she breaks into his "meditation room" to finally discover his secret.
    • In "Michael's Gambit", Eleanor realizes that everything that has happened to her, Chidi, Tahani and Jason is a form of psychological torture and that they are actually in the Bad Place.
    • "Dance Dance Resolution" reveals that Eleanor is extremely good at this and she is able figure out the truth in over 800 different scenarios Michael puts her through. This is probably due to her extremely cynical nature and belief that people are always hiding something.
    • "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."
  • 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 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.
  • Stupid Sexy Flanders: Whenever Eleanor is complaining about Tahani, it tends to devolve into going on about how hot she is.
  • Sugar Bowl: Played with. The setting 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 That!: Now with a page.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: In-Universe, everyone else has done so many inhumanly good things before they died that Eleanor gets wasted just to cope.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Michael and the four humans are forced to team up after 802 failed iterations. Michael needs the humans to pretend the experiment is working so Shawn won't find out about the 801 unauthorised attempts and force him into retirement. In return, the humans avoid going to a traditional Bad Place, plus Michael promises to try to get them all into the real Good Place.
  • Themed Wedding: The higher-ups in the Celestial Bureaucracy seem to have a distaste for this trope. A couple gets negative points for having a themed wedding, and even more if it's The Lord of the Rings-themed.
  • This Isn't Heaven: The Season 1 finale reveals that the main characters have actually been in the Bad Place the entire time and the whole scenario was designed to get them all to drive each other nuts.
  • Title-Only Opening: No theme song, just the title in unassuming font over a green background.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: While time on Earth is linear, time in the afterlife loops around and winds up looking like the name "Jeremy Bearimy" in English cursive. The dot of the "i" is both Tuesdays and July, and sometimes never.
    • This concept causes a Heroic BSD for Chidi. He states that the dot "broke him", and he proceeds to spend the next little while having a massive freakout, including making chili with M&Ms 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.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Light example, but the NBC website's thumbnail for the season 2 finale "Somewhere Else" shows Michael as the bartender when he goes to Earth to talk to Eleanor.
  • Translation Convention: The Good Place automatically translates the various languages spoken by its inhabitants so that the listener will hear the language they are most comfortable with. For example, Eleanor hears everything in English while Chidi hears everything in French. One side effect is that Chidi has to ask if Eleanor is trying to swear, as it just sounds like nonsense to him. It also works for accents, causing Eleanor to figure that Tahani is deliberately putting on her plummy British accent.
  • "Truman Show" Plot: Michael as demonic director to an entire neighborhood full of "actors" designed with the specific goal of fooling four humans.

    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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: Eleanor's mom keeps cash hidden in her bra. Eleanor herself stuffed cocktail shrimp down hers.
  • 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.
  • We All Live in America:
    • The Bad Place demons, and the Judge, constantly reference American pop culture, and no other.
    • The supposedly Australian setting of early season 3 is basically California with added Finding Nemo puns.
  • Weaker in the Real World: In season 3, Michael and Janet lose their otherworldly powers when on Earth, though Janet still knows everything up to the point when she left due to the nature of her existence.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Chapter 7. Overlapping with Mid-Season Twist, at the end of the episode, Eleanor confesses to everyone that she doesn't belong in The Good Place.
    • Chapter 13. We've been in the Bad Place the entire time! Michael is actually a demonic architect who specifically designed his neighborhood to be a never-ending torture chamber for Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason. In fact, the four of them were carefully chosen because they would get on each other's nerves and aside from them, every other resident is actually a member of the evil Celestial Bureaucracy going along with Michael's plan to torture the four Main Characters. And the "good" Eleanor is also a part of Michael's Evil Plan and is actually named Vicky.
    • Chapter 26, the season 2 finale. Michael and Gen agree to a plan to test the idea that people can change, if given a push. That plan? The main four are brought back to Earth, where their deaths are narrowly averted. However, Michael decides to break the rules and encourage the humans to meet up once they begin regressing.
    • Chapter 38. Michael manages to convince Gen that the sorting system is flawed, so she brings in Shawn to help make a decision. They decide to build a new neighborhood 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 Gen, after judging that 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.
  • 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.
  • You Do NOT Want to Know: What the Bad Place is like, to the point that people are forbidden to access information about it. Some Bad Placers reveal that there's also various forms of twisting, burning, and butthole spiders. The most a resident of the Good Place can get is live audio of what's going on - which invariably involves wails and screams of terror.
    Bad Place Audio Recording: (harsh metallic screeching) OH GOD, THE BEAR HAS TWO MOUTHS!
  • 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!"
 
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Janet Warehouse

Janet Warehouse, a white void room that stores Good Janets, walking talking AI user interface for the celestial mainframe. Located beneath the Shapeless Time-Void and right next to Accounting.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / WhiteVoidRoom

Media sources:

Main / WhiteVoidRoom

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