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Trivia / The Good Place

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  • Acting for Two:
    • D'Arcy Carden normally pulls double duty as Janet and Bad Janet. This is taken Up to Eleven in "Janet(s)", where all four humans take on Janet's appearance. The actual cast did several run-throughs of each scene so Carden could study all their performances. And on top of that, we are also introduced to Neutral Janet in the same episode, giving Carden six roles for that episode. Carden would go on to play 32 Janets in "The Funeral to End all Funerals."
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    • In "The Worst Possible Use of Free Will", Jameela Jamil plays Tahani and Tahania, the mirror centaur.
    • Ted Danson gets a brief but memorable shot at this in "Chidi Sees the Time Knife," where he alters his speech and body language to portray Vicky wearing a Michael suit. He gets to do more of it in "Employee of the Bearimy."
  • Acting in the Dark: Of the actors, only Danson and Bell knew of the first season's revelation beforehand so it would not affect the acting. Schur and Bell recorded the collective reactions of William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, and D'Arcy Carden when they found out about the twist.
    Schur: Their performances were going to be exactly what they should be without knowing it, so it didn’t seem like there was any actual benefit to telling them outside of, like, friendship.
  • Actor-Shared Background:
    • Jameela Jamil, who plays event planner Tahani Al-Jamil, actually owns and runs an events management company, Wait, with the specific intention of providing accessible live entertainment to disabled people. So there's that.
    • Manny Jacinto was a competitive hip hop dancer, like his character Jason Mendoza.
  • Adored by the Network: By the end, the series had become such a cultural touchstone that NBC let Mike Schur end the show on his terms, with a special extra-long episode (two-and-half episodes long rather than double length) and a boosted budget for on-location shooting.
  • Author Appeal: Many of the seemingly minor things that can get someone sent to the Bad Place are actually the personal pet peeves of creator Michael Schur and the writing staff. These include:
    • Being a member of the Portland Trailblazers.
    • Vegans who don't shut up about being vegan.
    • Liking the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
    • Manhattan and New England Clam Chowder.
    • Taking off shoes and socks on airplanes.
    • Rooting for the Yankees.
    • Florida in general. Jacksonville especially (Mike Schur disparagingly compares the city to a virus or a fungus).
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    • Arizona, aka the "Florida of the West", according to Mike Schur.
  • Billing Displacement: When the show was brought to UK television on E4 in December 2018, the advertising prominently featured Tahani, played by Brit Jameela Jamil, with even the longest trailer never featuring Jason or Janet, and only being introduced by Michael. Some trailers only starred Tahani, though most had Eleanor and Tahani, which played into a Meaningful Release Date; the show premiered ten years from when Jamil interviewed Bell in her early years working at E4.
  • The Cast Showoff: Manny Jacinto gets to show off his dance moves in the Season 3 premiere, as well as in the finale.
  • Casting Gag: A very subtle one, but still. In Season 4 of Brooklyn Nine-Nine (another Schur production), Gina has a near death experience and mentions that she met God, whom she describes as an ethnically ambiguous woman. In Season 2, the Ambiguously Brown Maya Rudolph plays the Top God, the All-Knowing Judge.
  • The Danza:
    • Jameela Jamil, who plays Tahani, has almost the same surname as hers: Al-Jamil. This is at least partly unintentional, as Tahani's name is used as a characterization element and plot point.
    • Bambadjan, played by Bambadjan Bamba. Interestingly, both have repetitive names.
  • Descended Creator: Some minor and one-off characters are played by the show's writers, all more or less strong-armed into acting by creator Michael Schur, including:
    • Josh Siegal as Glenn. Siegal was reading Glenn's lines during table reads until an actor could be cast, but Michael Schur thought Siegal just suited the role.
    • Joe Mande as Todd the Lava Monster. Mande notes that he was tricked into wearing a green bodysuit the first time he played the character when it wasn't necessary.
    • Jen Statsky as the Burger Fool who immediately figures out Jason and Pillboi were trying to rob the restaurant.
  • Directed By Castmember: Kristen Bell directed "The Funeral to End All Funerals".
  • Doing It for the Art: Based on his past successes, NBC offered Mike Schur 13 half-hour episodes to do with as he pleased. Realizing that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, Schur created a high-concept show that explores dense and complex subjects in a thoughtful manner and forces audiences to think critically of what they're watching.
  • Fake American: Canadian actor Manny Jacinto plays Floridian Jianyu/Jason Mendoza.
  • Fake Nationality:
    • William Jackson Harper, an American, plays Chidi Anagonye, who was born in Nigeria and raised in Senegal.
    • Kirby Howell-Baptiste, who is English, plays Simone Garnett, who is Australian.
  • Hey, It's That Place!: The set for Town Square is the Old Europe set from the Universal Studios backlot. It was previously used for such films as Frankenstein (1931) and The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1923). Before it was turned into Town Square, the set was basically deteriorating from years of neglect and given a fresh coat of paint.
  • Hide Your Pregnancy: Maribeth Monroe was pregnant during Season 3, which is why Mindy St. Claire only appears in one scene in "Chidi Sees the Time-Knife". Luckily Mindy's 80s wardrobe includes a boxy jacket that disguises her belly.
  • I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine: D'Arcy Carden (Janet) and Kirby Howell-Baptiste (Simone) appeared in the recurring cast of the HBO series Barry before the latter's introduction in Season 3.
  • Irony as She Is Cast:
    • For all the characters disparaging of the state of Arizona, Michael's fascination with it makes some sense, since Ted Danson is from Flagstaff, Arizona.
    • Chidi believes in soulmates, and Michael uses that to torture him. William Jackson Harper admitted that he doesn't believe in soulmates, and thinks the show made the right call with Michael revealing that he made them up.
  • Money, Dear Boy: Downplayed example, but Manny Jacinto and D'Arcy Carden both admit they were "broke" as their main reasoning for taking their roles, but that the script and cast was good enough that they would have taken it regardless.
  • Name's the Same: Vicky is not the first TV character named Vicky who pretends to be a sweet and loving person but is actually a sadistic torturer.
  • Outdated by Canon: Fics of Vicky returning, usually because Michael felt sorry for her, became outdated with her reappearance in Season 3.
  • Out of Order: Invoked for the web shorts The Selection (which stars the Bad Place team) on the official Youtube channel. While all six shorts were uploaded on the same day, they were up at different times and not in the correct ordernote , because that's exactly the kind of thing the Bad Place would do. To top it off, the trailer for these web shorts was uploaded on the channel five days later.
  • Playing Against Type: Deliberately done with Ted Danson being revealed as evil in a shocking twist. Michael Schur even described the reasoning behind his casting: as soon as you see him, you start thinking things are going to be okay, even if you've just died.
  • Playing Gertrude:
    • Leslie Grossman (Donna) is only nine years older than Kristen Bell (her daughter, Eleanor). In-Universe, Donna apparently tried to pass herself off as the newborn Eleanor's older sister at the hospital.
    • Kamilah is Tahani's younger sister. Though their behavior and, often, their wardrobes make their relative ages believable, Rebecca Hazlewood is nine years older than Jameela Jamil.
  • Production Posse: With Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which are both Michael Schur productions.
    • Several actors that have had roles on either or both shows appear on this one in some capacity, including Adam Scott (Trevor), Marc Evan Jackson (Shaun), Kristen Bell (Eleanor), Jason Mantzoukas (Derek), Maribeth Monroe (Mindy), Jama Williamson (Val), Dax Shepard (Chet), Mike O'Malley (Jeff), and and Maya Rudolph (Gen). Nick Offerman plays himself in the finale.
    • The series also shares a bunch of writers with Parks & Rec, and directors with both shows.
  • Real-Life Relative:
    • Chet, one of the Bad Place demons introduced in "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent", is played by Bell's husband Dax Shepard.
    • The finale has Michael taking guitar lessons from “Guitar Mary”, played by Mary Steenburgen, Danson's real-life wife.
  • Re-Cut: Each season, extended cuts of every episode were put on Hulu. Netflix and iTunes however only have the broadcast editions.
  • The Red Stapler: Sales of T.M. Scanlon's philosophical text What We Owe To Each Other spiked after it was used as a recurring element in the show.
  • Relationship Voice Actor: The Japanese dub has a very interesting one regarding with The Legend of Zelda franchise, as Eleanor's voice actress, Saori Seto, voiced Princess Zelda in Hyrule Warriors (plus Sheik), while Yu Shimamura (Tahani) also voiced Zelda, albeit in both The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword and The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild.
  • Serendipity Writes the Plot: Maya Rudolph's schedule forced all her scenes in Season 4 to be held off to the end of filming. In the meantime, they were able to negotiate a guest appearance by Timothy Olyphant, with the delay allowing them to add some Foreshadowing to Gen's crush on him in the earlier episodes.
  • Spiritual Adaptation:
    • The events of the Season 1 finale turn the first season into one of No Exit, which was cited as an inspiration for the series.
    • It's also suspiciously similar to The Twilight Zone episode "A Nice Place to Visit". The first season even has the same Twist Ending.
  • Throw It In!:
    • Many of the bits were ad-libbed. In the gag reel, we see Manny giving different answers for what Jason's vanity plate said, and D'Arcy giving many misidentifications of a basketball, Adam Scott giving variations on how he'll excrete his meal, and Manny giving different guesses on how he died.
    • "Butthole spiders" was an alternative line thrown in to see if it worked better than the original line: "Toilet spiders".
    • In the Season 1 finale, Michael's infamous evil giggle, and the petty moment where he pushes over a potted plant, were both improvised. In The Good Place Podcast, Michael Schur explains that Ted Danson pushed over the plant on the first take, but only tried the evil laugh after Schur felt the beginning of the scene was missing something.
  • What Could Have Been: Nick Offerman was offered the role of Shawn but turned it down.
  • Word of God:
    • After letting some fans wallow in confusion for several months because they came up with so many different theories, Michael Schur revealed that at the end of Season 2, the four were returned to life in a new timeline rather than resetting the universe, being in a simulation, or having them mindwiped in a new area of the afterlife.
    • After fans expressed confusion over Michael and Janet not saying Doug Forcett's motivations were corrupt over his attempts to gain points, a podcast after the relevant episode aired explained that Doug's points aren't invalidated as he doesn't unequivocally know that's how the system works, unlike the Soul Squad who know it as a 100% fact and thus can't earn more points to save themselves—Doug believes it, but they know it.
    • Mike Schur drew a very clear line between this show and Parks and Recreation, saying that the little references to Parks and Rec are just fun little jokes and not indicative of a shared universe. Nick Offerman cameos as himself and not Ron Swanson in the series finale, finally driving home the fact that the two projects are separate.


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