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  • Accidental Aesop: Don't take an authority figure's word for granted. At best, they aren't as smart and in-the-know as they think they are; at worst, they might be a full-out liar and want to keep you under their thumbs.
  • Adorkable: Gen, the Judge, is a cheery, flighty woman who considers the foursome adorable and frequently drops TV references. Lampshaded by herself, calling herself a "dork".
  • Alas, Poor Scrappy: Brent is a racist, sexist, selfish, idiotic stuck-up jerk, but a lot of fans felt sorry for him after his Heel Realization and subsequent breakdown in "Help is Other People".
  • Alternate Aesop Interpretation:
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    • The main Aesop of "Michael's Gambit" is that "People are capable of changing for the better, especially when they have other people legitimately supporting their growth". Michael is very annoyed to realize this when Eleanor points this out since it meant his fake neighborhood failed thanks to basic human decency. The thing is that Eleanor figured out that they were really in the Bad Place due to her "Eureka!" Moment that nondenominational heaven wouldn't feel like torture, and she knows that she deserves torture, so why would she get what she deserves in the Good Place? Eleanor knows that she is selfish, suspicious, and mistrusting; these also contribute to her figuring out The Reveal. Jason also gives her a high-five since due to being Too Dumb to Fool, he had also realized this wasn't the Good Place either and had rightly assumed it was a prank show. The alternate Aesop seems to be, "Your biggest flaws can become your greatest strengths in a dire situation."
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    • During Eleanor's do-over in "Somewhere Else", she throws herself into environmental activism, working alongside the young man she used to bully. After her life goes downhill (as a direct result of her trying to do the right thing, no less) she starts making less of an effort at work and finally plays hooky one day. When her boss comes to her apartment to scold her, she mentions the problems in her life—a lawsuit, an overdrawn bank account, lingering stress from moving—and he exhibits no sympathy, telling her that she should do the right thing for "a sense of fulfillment in [her] soul." The intended message is that "you should do good things without expecting a reward, even when things get difficult," but there's another lesson lurking here: It doesn't matter how righteous your cause is. Expecting your allies to work long hours for little pay and no encouragement, and treating their personal problems as an inconvenience no matter how serious they are, is a recipe for burnout and resentment. If you want your allies to stick around, you need to treat them right.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation:
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    • Is Brent truly so awful that he's only capable of a last-minute Heel–Face Turn with the threat of eternal damnation looming? Or could he have changed sooner if Eleanor and Michael had taken a different approach with him, i.e., tell him that there's a Best Place and a Bad Place, his choices in the Good Place determine where he goes, and that he has a limited amount of time to clean up his act? On that note, was the whole Chip Driver debacle really evidence that he's too prideful and self-absorbed to be reformed? Or was it the moment Eleanor and Michael gave up on him, only deciding he was worth the effort when his lack of redemption threatened to sabotage the experiment?
    • The Good Place Committee are all portrayed as a bunch of obstructive, overly rule-abiding, extremely gullible Pollyannas who will bend over at the first sign of conflict and are more concerned with following procedure over actually trying to do the morally right thing. While the idea of them being all of these things can stem from Good Cannot Comprehend Evil, since Gwendolyn is just like them, the episode "Patty" throws in a completely new set of implications. In this episode, it is revealed that the Good Place is a paradise hardwired to be so great to be in and so perfect in every way, that the residents there have become miserable because Wanting Is Better Than Having and eventually the novelty of a perfect eternity runs out after a while. The first chance they get, the Good Place Committee leaves Michael as the sole entity to run the Good Place while they themselves jump ship as quickly as possible. Are the Good Place Committee so excited to be going to the Good Place's mailing room and the Judge's courtroom because they are always nice and positive, or are they just excited to do something new for once? Are they trying to form new investigative committees in a millennia-long process because they truly want to be as impartial as possible and are blind to the urgency of the situation, or were they just so excited to be doing something constructive for a change to the point that they'll drag it out for as long as possible? Are they willing to concede defeat to Shawn without a fight because they actually think it would help, or are they just as excited by the conflict as Shawn is? Or, is it possible that they were engaging in a certain amount of Obfuscating Stupidity, pretending to be naive and ineffectual when their obstruction was really a desperate attempt to hide how badly flawed the Good Place was?
  • Angst? What Angst?:
    • A rather horrifying case with Janet. She's not a person, technically, but she is still sentient and capable of feeling, to the point that her failsafe to beg for her life if someone enacts shutdown is enough to disturb even Michael pre-Heel–Face Turn. After she's rebooted 802 times, Michael confesses to her that he kidnapped her from a Good Place warehouse and lied to her to suit his plans, and he assumes that's why she's glitching out and disrupting the neighborhood. Janet is actually more upset about finding out she was married to Jason in Attempt #1 and loved him — her heartbreak was the real cause of the disruptions — than about the kidnapping and lying. In fact, she cheerfully tells Michael to kill her and get a new Good Place Janet to keep the humans safe from her. There's also her casual attitude to killing the Soul Squad to keep them safe in her void when Shawn sends demons after them.
    • Jason gets his moment; it's why he and Janet are Birds of a Feather. After Eleanor tells him in Season 1 that he died, he only says, "Oh dip!" In Season 4, he says the same thing when Michael gives him three hundred years' worth of Good Place torture to think of a good plan on how to save Janet. Then he forgets and asks Michael to do it again. There's also the surprisingly cheerful way he talks about how his mother died from cancer in "The Funeral to End All Funerals".
    • Lampshaded with Chidi in "The Answer": Michael warns that he might suffer a nervous breakdown after getting all of his memories back at once. Instead, Chidi awakens with a relaxed smile and asks his friends if they found him annoying.
    • In the real world, Henry was the walking embodiment of this. No matter what life throws at him, he remains positive or mildly snarky. Anyone would have been furious at Chidi for waiting for them to pull through surgery and then admit they lied two years ago about liking their cowboy boots; Henry just says, "this is why no one likes moral philosophy professors" and forgets about it. Later, he gets seriously injured doing a workout and is humiliated on YouTube but his response is to smile at Chidi and proclaim he's famous.
    • In season 4, Hypatia aka "Patty" is the logical extreme and it's justified. In life, she suffered a Cruel and Unusual Death due to the bad luck of changing politics at the time, which led to Cyril who ostensibly ordered her Roman-style drawn-and-quartering plus Eye Scream thanks to a religious mob, to get a slap on the wrist. As Michael explained in the pilot, her entering the Good Place meant her traumatic death was erased from her memories and she was given everything she wanted due to Karmic Jackpot. By the time Chidi and Eleanor meet her, Patty is a Cloudcuckoolander who explains that eternal paradise is boring and rots your brain, so you need more than anything your heart desires. That upsets her more than that her legacy ended in violence, which she protested.
  • Applicability:
    • Aside from the main driving theme of the series (what makes a "good person"), a number of critics also point out how this series is a great exercise in showing the traps of Slobs vs. Snobs.
    • However, the expectation of broad applicability of the show's themes and storylines to other social issues can get increasingly troublesome as they jump into more and more specific elements of the plot. There are substantially many viewers who see the crushing ennui depicted in "Patty" as reflective of how modern life turns zombies out of overstimulated people, and since the solution is allowing Good Place residents the option to leave the Good Place and "be at peace" whenever they choose, some viewers have pointed out that this could be seen as a pro-suicide message. However, when proposing this option to those in the Good Place, Michael and Janet acknowledge that they don't know what comes after existence in the Good Place comes to an end; only that the transition will be peaceful. Furthermore, Patty outright states that simply knowing her existence in the Good Place can end has convinced her to stick around and make the most of it.
  • Award Snub:
    • Despite the show's critical acclaim for the writing and performances of Ted Danson and Kristen Bell, the first season was looked over at the Emmys. Ted was able to get a nomination the following year, along with Maya Rudolph. The year after, both Danson and Rudolph were nominated again along with the show itself, but D'Arcy Carden, who pulled off quite a performance playing all four humans when they were stuck looking like Janet in "Janet(s)", was denied a nomination.
    • Carden and William Jackson Harper received Emmy nominations for Season 4, but were denied wins when Schitt's Creek won pretty much every category it was nominated in.
  • Broken Base: There is a good deal of contention within the fanbase over the last two episodes of the series. When the Soul Squad finally reach the Good Place, they discover that eternal pleasure has turned the residents into a bunch of bored and miserable zombies, so they come up with a way to allow them to leave once they've had their fill, essentially disintegrating themselves into the cosmic fiber by passing through a final door. The general divide comes down to whether one finds it a nihilistic cop-out or a reasonable solution to the problem of eternal boredom.
  • Catharsis Factor:
    • Tahani calmly telling off her parents for making her conform to impossible standards during her test in "The Burrito". It's not really them since their real souls are being tortured in the Bad Place, but it is still very satisfying.
    • Eleanor confronting her mother for being emotionally abusive in "A Fractured Inheritance". Even though she comes to realize that Donna has truly changed, she really does make her mother squirm for the whole episode because all she has to do is tell the cops, Patricia, or the school board about Diana Tremaine's real identity and has the wisdom to instead tell her mother to invest in her stepsister's future.
    • In "Don't Let the Good Life Pass You By", Janet kicks the tar out of all the demons that came to Earth to ambush the Soul Squad. Especially when she delivers a swinging kick to Shawn that's so strong that he breaks a chair when being knocked down.
    • In "A Girl From Arizona, Part 1", after it's discovered that Shawn had sent in a demon disguised as a human test subject for the purposes of sabotaging the experiment, Gen invokes Tranquil Fury and makes it clear to Shawn that she will not tolerate any cheating or interference. It's all capped off with Gen threatening to tear Shawn's eyelids out, tie him to a chair and force him to watch heartwarming videos of soldiers reuniting with their dogs for eternity, which actually makes him squirm.
    • In "Chillaxing", John finally apologizes to Tahani for stalking and harassing her, when she tells him a story about how her attempts to get into an exclusive suite left her alone the whole night during a party. Tahani tells him she knows exactly how he feels as someone always left out of the in-crowd. John, however, also admits that he had no excuse for the "mean things" he wrote about her, and that he doesn't know why Tahani would give him a second chance.
    • In "A Chip Driver Mystery", after everyone has to deal with Brent being an unapologetic racist and sexist for several episodes, Simone and Tahani hit their Rage Breaking Point and tell him exactly what they think of his badly written book. Then Chidi punches out Brent for insulting Simone and shoving him. While Eleanor and Michael are horrified at what this means for everyone's morality points, it's still pretty cathartic for the rest of the group and the audience.
      • Followed up in the next episode by Eleanor and Michael recreating the Season 1 reveal that the humans are actually in the Bad Place, leaving Brent absolutely nowhere to hide from the fact that he's a bad person, to which he has a horrified Rapid-Fire "No!" and is driven to sincerely apologize for everything.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • In the episode "Flying", while ranting and raving that something he didn't approve of caused his carefully-balanced neighborhood to spin out of control, Michael sees a dog in the middle of the street. Believing that it doesn't belong, he kicks the dog as hard as he can. The action veers from shocking and horrific to hilarious when viewers see the dog keep going and going before disappearing in a puff of smoke when it hits the sun.
    • Michael's motivational speech to his demons in the Season Two Premiere: "we are all here because we believe there's a better way to make people miserable".
    • In "The Trolley Problem", Michael Comically Missing the Point of the experiment and subjecting Chidi to various simulated (yet still very bloody and realistic) variants of it again and again leaps over the line and back again.
    • In "Somewhere Else", Eleanor's boss is wearing a wire, helping the government take down his own fraudulent business in exchange for protection - but this doesn't stop him sexually harassing Eleanor. And then he starts up yet another con, believing he can't be arrested while in Witness Protection.
    • What happens when a Bad Janet attempts to be good? She literally self-destructs, her face ''melting off'' and voice distorting. This is absolutely horrifying... but Shawn and Michael's complete nonchalance and the fact she's screaming her usually apathetically delivered insults all the while pushes it back into being funny as hell.
    • The Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet is an Australian restaurant themed after America, but seems to be based on bad stereotypes. The Florida table apparently smells like swamp gas, and if you buy a special Manifest Destiny package, you can get another customer forcibly removed from any table. As Chidi points out, the "gun" buzzer that customers are given to know when their table is ready is almost certainly real.
    • Jason casually revealing that his mother died of the Big C. Cue sympathetic reactions from Eleanor, Tahani, and Janet... then he says the Big C was a crocodile that ate her, in classic Florida style, which is ridiculous but still terrible. He quickly explains that it's a joke — it really was cancer all along that killed her! Jason's complete flippancy as he says all of this makes the scene hilarious in a horrifying sort of way.
    • What causes Chidi to get his first anxiety induced stomach ache? His mother asking him if he liked his name, when he was still a baby.
  • Cry for the Devil: Bonus points for Shawn being the nondenominational equivalent of the devil. Shawn is Michael's boss, who is a Jerkass that enjoys trolling humans as a form of torture, and he cheats to personally escort the humans back to the Bad Place. It gets so bad that the Judge threatens to torture him if he keeps interfering with the new experiment. Then we get to "You've Changed, Man" where Michael finally tells Shawn he knows that the latter enjoys having the challenge of the humans, and that the current torture system sucks because demons, humans and butthole spiders alike are getting bored. He also admits he's out of ideas for how to stop the Judge from wiping out all of humanity, alive and dead, but refuses to act defeated. Shawn then goes Not So Stoic; his voice breaks as he admits that chasing after Michael and the Soul Squad is the most fun he's had in eras. It turns out that when you get everything you want, even in hell, means you don't actually win and your moments of demon happiness are meaningless. Shawn then agrees, under great protest, to let Michael try reforming the torture system by replicating his experiment on a grand scale because it will benefit him and his coworkers.
  • Draco in Leather Pants:
    • A lot of fans regard Jason as a Kindhearted Simpleton. While he is a sympathetic character who doesn't really deserve to be tortured for eternity, he's still a robber, drug dealer, and generally a selfish jerk. Despite what many fans assert, he's also not so dumb as to be incapable of understanding how his actions affect other people; he has enough of a sense of morals to consider Eleanor's parents as terrible people and to question why Tahani is in The Bad Place despite her philanthropic efforts. Ironically, he does undergo a Heel–Face Turn for real in Season 3 by vowing to shed crimes and to learn how to be a better person on relearning his memories.
    • To a lesser extent, Trevor. Not that anyone downplays his Jerkass ways, but he has a sizable amount of fangirls and fanfic shipping him with various characters (usually Eleanor or an Original Character). All Girls Want Bad Boys is in effect in this case.
    • Vicky tends to get several fics where she's redeemed or otherwise nicer than in canon, generally due to her punishment leaving her Put on a Bus and Michael's trying to be a better person resulting in him helping her and apologizing. These became outdated as Shawn set her free during Season 3.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Bad Janet doesn't have a major role, especially compared to Good Janet, but both the writers of the show and audiences love her blunt meanness and being as unhelpful as possible. As such, she's featured in many fanfics.
    • Despite having only appeared in a couple of episodes in the first season, Trevor is a fairly popular character, mainly due to Adam Scott so fully embracing the character's Card-Carrying Villain nature and delivering such a gloriously obnoxious performance. When he returned in Season 3, most of the fanbase was very, very happy.
    • Some people love Vicky for her confidence and flair for the dramatic or sympathize with her as an ambitious "millennial" demon disillusioned with Michael's weird experiment. Her return in Season 3 was greeted with excited messages of "the Ferrari is out of the garage!"
    • Derek both before and after Mindy repeatedly reboots him has gained fans of his own for his Cloudcuckoolander ways and habit of quite literally Chewing the Scenery.
    • Gen is well liked for her hilarious lines, attitude and mannerisms.
    • Mindy St. Claire for her snarky attitude, interactions with Eleanor, revealing that there was a reboot in which Chidi and Eleanor were in love, and helping the Soul Squad whenever they came to her doorstep.
  • Fandom-Enraging Misconception:
    • Misunderstanding Chidi's preference for French as meaning he can only speak French, and posting online about the massive Plot Hole you've discovered when he speaks English for real in the S2 finale, will not get a good reaction. At the beginning of Season 3, he finally just explained it to remove all doubt. Chidi went to English speaking schools and went to an American university for undergrad which is why he has an American accent. note  This happened a lot. Schur explained on the podcast that they tried out having Chidi speak in a West African accent while filming the early episodes of season 3 but felt like it was jarring and out of place to suddenly have him speak in a completely different accent so they came up with that specific In-Universe justification.
    • After Season 2 introduced the phrase "moral desert", it's logical to assume that it should be spelled "dessert", but that goes against quite a lot of philosophical precedent. Getting it wrong can touch off a cascade of corrections and counter-corrections.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Eleanor/Tahani is a strong contender for this for the internet fandom. Michael making the two soulmates in one of his attempts in "Dance Dance Resolution" helped fuel this part of the fandom.
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • "Dance Dance Resolution" is ridiculously full of it, with Michael putting the main four through hundreds of different fake Good Places trying to find one that Eleanor won't figure out. This includes everyone being monks, scary clowns on a conveyor belt, Eleanor's soulmate being Tahani or a golden retriever, and the various escape plans they tried like attacking Michael, seducing him, or Gaslighting him to make him think he's actually the one in the Bad Place. Needless to say, simply creating a world and passing it off as one of the iterations is an easy fanfic premise.
    • In "Chidi Sees the Time Knife", the thirty years Judge Gen spends on Earth as a God in Human Form to see for herself how complex and difficult humans' lives truly are also counts.
    • In "A Chip Driver Mystery," at least now that Bad Janet has freedom to decide where she wants to go next, there's ample opportunity to explore what she may do if she doesn't go back to the Bad Place considering she has the powers of Good Janet with 40 million reboots worth of sentience and a predisposition to be a Troll. There's also the fact that Shawn knows she failed to sabotage the experiment and is known for torturing anyone who displeases him. Michael has mentioned off-hand there are other dimensions where fugitive souls can hide beyond the Good Place, the Bad Place, the IHOP and the Accountants' Office. So even if in canon Bad Janet returns to the Bad Place, in fanon she could go anywhere since Janets count as luggage for portals.
    • Tahani's post-canon adventures as an Afterlife Architect has become a popular one as well.
  • Fanon: You're more likely to find people who believe that Chidi is suffering from mental illness than not. (The most common guesses — and bear in mind that these aren't mutually exclusive — are Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.) This was one of the most contentious points among viewers, with many asking why a man would be sent to Hell for being mentally ill. However, the later seasons settled these complaints by confirming that, at the very least, the system was always broken and never fair.
  • Foe Yay: Michael and Shawn have spawned a lot of shippers. Yes, really. But it's not actually that far-fetched to think they'd love each other — the latter half of Season 4 makes it clear that Shawn does adore Michael. Shawn, the boss of the In-Universe equivalent of (secular) Hell, even defects to the good side because of Michael. Given that this is a development that has been going on for a literal eternity, it's easy to see the appeal of shipping them.
  • Friendly Fandoms:
    • With Schur's other three sitcoms, The Office (US), Parks and Recreation, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Not only is there a lot of cast and crew crossover and similar humor, but there is also a general focus on fundamentally decent people getting along and improving each other.
    • Due to similarities in tone and both shows focusing on how the afterlife interacts with humanity, fans of this show also get on quite well with fans of Good Omens (2019).
      Neil Gaiman: I think [Crowley] would love The Good Place.
    • Fans of this show are also flocking towards Mr. Mayor (an NBC sitcom premiering a year after this one ended) because it has Ted Danson in the lead role. The comments on the trailers joke about how Neil Bremer is actually Human!Michael.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • In the pilot, Michael tells Eleanor that only one person got most of the afterlife right: a stoner named Doug Forcett, whose portrait is hung up in Michael's office. It's presented as humorous and remains a Funny Background Event. Then we find out in Season 3 that Doug's vision has led him to become an Extreme Doormat who is so terrified of going to the Bad Place when he dies that he drives himself to uncomfortable extremes to do good deeds no matter how miserable and painful it is for him, to the point that Janet describes him as a "happiness pump". And doing that for four decades still isn't enough to qualify him into The Good Place.
    • When Janet goes through a "Fun Fact" programming phase early in Season 1, she mentions that Christopher Columbus was in the Bad Place due to "rape and pillaging" and says it in her usual cheerful tone. In Season 3, she and Michael find out that no human has gotten into the Good Place in 521 years. From the perspective of 2018, that would mean the last person to get into the Good Place died in 1497. Columbus was still exploring and doing his pillaging five years after his discoveries, which led to the world being so interconnected in such a way that it's practically impossible to live up to the standards of the points system.
    • A Running Gag involving Chidi has him believing he got sent to the Bad Place because he still drank almond milk despite knowing it was bad for the environment. Michael assured him with irritation that it wasn't, because almond milk pales in comparison to his constant dithering and how it made his friends and family miserable when they had to put up with it. Then, in Season 3, it's revealed that Chidi's ethical paranoia over the environmental impact of his actions was not entirely unjustified, as the reason why no person has reached the Good Place in over five centuries is that the world has become so interconnected to the point that even the smallest actions have far-reaching (and often negative) consequences, including effects on the environment.
    • Michael, in a fit of desperation, suggests to Janet that they kill the humans in Season 3 so as to keep their souls safe from the Bad Place. Janet vetoes that, for obvious reasons. A few episodes later, Janet, with her powers restored, kills the humans by storing them in her void where they'll be safe.
    • Jason tries to save Donkey Doug from damnation. Instead, Donkey Doug gives himself up to the cops to let Jason run, saying every dad in their family does it for their sons and Jason will one day. Jason says he hopes not but hugs his dad before fleeing. Jason dies long before he can have kids, including sons.
    • Chidi has an amusing overreaction after Simone says to him "See you in the next life", because he thinks she knows something about The Good Place. Sure enough, he sees her in the next life, when Shawn sends her as one of the humans in Michael's experiment.
    • Michael demonstrated to Shawn that a Bad Janet can't even pretend to be good because her head will explode. In Season 4, Shawn figured out that if you reboot a Bad Janet 40 million times she can become a proper Bitch in Sheep's Clothing and uses one reprogrammed Bad Janet to replace our Janet in the new experiment.
  • Genius Bonus:
    • Florence Nightingale says in her book Suggestions for Thought that she cannot believe in a God who would condemn people to Hell and that all who die will eventually make it to Heaven, making her own condemnation to The Bad Place a case of situational irony. She did turn out to be right about Hell not being forever, if not for the reason she thought.
    • A particularly subtle example from the prop department, who gave Tahani's ethics homework a typically name-dropping title: "Moral particularism: And other things I learned from Claire Danes' father-in-law." Claire Danes' father-in-law (the father of Hugh Dancy) is Professor Jonathan Dancy, one of the major proponents of moral particularism.
    • When Michael, Chidi, and Eleanor are testing out the trolley problem, they roll by the movie theater which is showing movies with titles playing on Strangers on a Train (Strangers Under a Train) and Bend It Like Beckham (Bend It Like Bentham). Philosopher Jeremy Bentham is considered the father of the "ticking time bomb scenario", a variation of the trolley problem. As a bonus, the variation is about whether or not it is permissible to use torture to get information from a suspect that will save lives, and Michael is using the simulation to torture Chidi, albeit purely for his own amusement.
    • Eleanor discovers that James Buchanan was gay and shouts "I called it!" Buchanan is to date the only US President to not be married,note  and is indeed speculated to have been homosexual by several historians.
    • The baby elephant made of pure light that tells true secrets about the universe gleefully proclaims such preposterous conspiracy theories as "Shirley Temple shot JFK!" and "Stonehenge was a sex thing!". The latter actually is a the basis for some very real, albeit very niche theories about Stonehenge note .
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Just about everything involving Michael and "Real Eleanor" becomes this after The Reveal at the end of Season 1.
    • Eleanor trying to claim having a terrible childhood with Abusive Parents as a Freudian Excuse is played for laughs in "Someone Like Me As A Member", because it's an insufficient excuse for being the way she is. But then we get to see her parents in flashbacks in "Mindy St. Claire" and "Existential Crisis" and find out just how crappy they really were, and while it doesn't justify Eleanor's behavior, it does explain it.
    • The flashback to Eleanor's death in the first season is even harsher after the second season finale reveals that it happened on her birthday.
    • Tahani's mother making cruel remarks about Tahani supposedly being fat (despite her being gorgeous and at a perfectly healthy weight) was already cruel, but it became even worse when Jameela Jamil revealed in an interview that she suffered from anorexia nervosa as a teenager.
    • Florence Nightingale being in the Bad Place is a bit harsher when you learn that the system has been rigged against people getting into the Good Place for five hundred years roughly, which unfortunately covered her time period (1820-1910).
    • In Season 2, Janet begins glitching due to her unresolved baggage over Jason (who doesn't have the memories of their relationship), and pragmatically asks Michael to marbleize her (basically shutting her down) so the neighborhood, which she maintains, won't be compromised. Later, in Season 3, where the characters get reset to their lives and survive, Chidi has to break up with Simone so he doesn't reveal the truth about the afterlife and blow her chances at getting into the Good Place, since Michael and Janet blew their own cover and confessed that the humans knowing about the Good Place instantly corrupted their intentions. These two scenarios combine in a tragic way at the end of Season 3, when the Bad Place puts Simone in the neighborhood experiment being run by the humans, Michael, and Janet. Chidi is unable to handle being around Simone, perhaps even less so with her memories of him being wiped to maintain cover, and he asks to be rebooted solo to avoid compromising the experiment, fully knowing the relationships he will lose. With no other options, his request has to be carried out, and while Chidi avoids Janet's Season 2 predicament, Eleanor enters it.
    • Eleanor becomes uncomfortable in Season 2 when Chidi says he hopes soulmates are real in the Good Place, for "everyone" he quickly amends, since he knows that she loves him but he doesn't return her feelings. Michael also looks uncomfortable. In Season 3, an ashamed Michael reveals to Eleanor that he made up the soulmates bit to torture the four humans, and in one reboot, taunted Chidi and Eleanor that their love wasn't real because he orchestrated it. And it becomes even worse when Eleanor tells a mind-wiped Chidi that Simone, his ex, is his soulmate so that he can get Simone to stop acting like a destructive wacko.
    • Eleanor has a Freak Out and temper tantrum in Season Three when her pleas to keep the Brainy Bunch together don't work, and she feels stupid for being vulnerable in front of her friends. The Series Finale features her letting Jason and Chidi go into the door, and Eleanor knows she can't make Chidi miserable by asking him to stay. She then decides to go into the door and leave Tahani, human Michael and Janet behind, effectively Breaking the Fellowship for good. Character Development has never been more bittersweet.
    • Chidi promises Eleanor in "Pandemonium" that, thanks to Jeremy Bearimy, they'll have all of eternity to spend together, no matter where they are in the afterlife. In "Whenever You're Ready," Eleanor lets Chidi go through the door that reunites his soul with the universe and sets her affairs in order—helping Michael become human, convincing Mindy St. Clair to go through the Bad Place trials—before entering herself.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight:
    • In the Pilot, Chidi tells Eleanor he can't wait to study philosophy with her in paradise. In season 3, Eleanor even mentions in "Pandemonium" that she's looking forward to doing that. In "Whenever You're Ready," he and Eleanor study philosophy in the real Good Place, and Chidi follows up with reading every book in existence.
    • When Michael is forming the alliance with the humans in "Team Cockroach", Eleanor makes him take ethics lessons from Chidi to become better just like they are. Come "Patty", he has not only earned his spot in the real Good Place but even gets to run it!
    • Eleanor convincing the Soul Squad they should do good despite knowing they'll be damned to the Bad Place no matter what in "Jeremy Bearimy" becomes this in "The Funeral to End All Funerals" Michael reveals that the Soul Squad's friends and family members — Pillboi, Donna and Kamilah — have become better people as a result of their efforts.
    • When Michael talks to Doug Forcett, he is really angry on behalf of the man's suffering and tries to encourage Doug to relax and live a little. Furthermore, he maintains that Doug should have gotten enough points to enter the Real Good Place. By the time of "Whenever You're Ready," Doug passes the trials of the Bad Place and enters paradise, where he gets to eat a lot more than radishes and lentils.
    • When Eleanor and Tahani talk in "Don't Let The Good Life Pass You By" about Eleanor's feelings for Chidi, Tahani assumes they were best friends in the afterlife. Eleanor doesn't have the heart to correct her. Tahani reveals in "Employee of the Bearimy" that she got her memories restored thanks to Michael and she emphasizes to Eleanor that she wants to be a better person to make up for their petty rivalry during the original 802 reboots, including the one where they were paired as soulmates. It culminates in "The Funeral to End All Funerals" where Eleanor says that Tahani is her best friend, much to Tahani's teary-eyed delight.
    • Eleanor's house in Season One being filled with clown paintings becomes this when she insists on recreating it in Season Three, down to the paintings, because she says it's where she fell in love with Chidi three hundred years' worth of Jearimy Bearimy ago. It's also a reminder of how Chidi tucked her into bed while she was drunk on her first night, though he didn't have to, and started looking out for her.
    • Chidi in season two was disappointed to learn that the philosophers he likes are in the Bad Place, according to Michael. We find out in season four that Michael missed one: Hypatia of Alexandria, who did end up in the Good Place. When Chidi meets her, he squees because she was his favorite, and he helps break her out of ditzy complacency by offering a solution to the mindless happiness that heaven offers. Patty sincerely thanks him and says she wants to be the philosopher that inspired him.
    • Tahani at the end of season three resolves to be nice to John, despite the fact that he stalked and harassed her, in the hopes of making the experiment a success and saving his soul. He's not into that, at first. The series ends with him hugging her goodbye in the real Good Place when she considers going through the door.
  • He Really Can Act:
    • Everyone is really surprised when they learned that this is Jameela Jamil's (Tahani) first acting credit since her performance is on par with the rest of the cast, especially compared to well-known veterans like Kristen Bell and Ted Danson. It's perhaps even more surprising for British viewers who recognize her as the female host from T4, since that's often the highlight of their career and it was already shocking she became a DJ and philanthropist afterwards.
    • D'Arcy Carden shows off her chops in Season 3's "Janet(s)" when the main four get turned into Janets, and she gets down their personalities perfectly in a full range of emotions and she carries the episode.
    • Ben Koldyke was previously known for his work in How I Met Your Mother and Silicon Valley. Here, he convincingly portrays Brent as an entitled racist and sexist that is oblivious to his own faults, even when punched in the face for it. In interviews, Ben's makeup and hair doesn't change but he comes off as a completely different person and a Nice Guy to boot.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Michael making Innocently Insensitive remarks to Eleanor in the pilot about how she's a good person and filled her house with clown images, which she hates, becomes darkly humorous when you realize that he was doing it on purpose to mess with her.
    • The scene of Michael kicking Pevita's dog into the sun becomes this when we learn that Pevita is a demon employed by Michael and he was inadvertently becoming a Bad Boss to her. Pevita was trying to stay in character, but Michael has a hard time doing so.
    • After finishing the first season, it turns out Michael freaking out over the neighborhood's problems is actually showing him in complete control, while the relative calm after Eleanor confesses is him desperately trying to keep the reveal from wrecking his Ironic Hell.
    • Similarly, everyone calling the other Eleanor "Real Eleanor", when it turns out she's just a demon playing a part, and her name isn't Eleanor at all. Getting everyone to call the real and only Eleanor "Fake Eleanor" - even Eleanor herself! - was just another subtle torture.
    • In the Latin American Spanish dub, Michael is voiced by Juan Alfonso Carralero, who already voiced Mayuri Kurotsuchi, a guy who lives in basically a similar version of the afterlife and who enjoys to screw with people For the Evulz. In this series, he voices a Noble Demon who does a Heroic Sacrifice to save a person he likes.
    • In the Japanese dub, Tahani is voiced by Yu Shimamura, a voice actress normally typecast into voicing princesses or lady-like characters, like Princess Zelda, Aida Surugan, etc. In this series, she voices a snobbish socialite who died in her previous life in the most humiliating way possible.
    • After the numerous jokes about Jason's beloved Jacksonville Jaguars being a horrible team, they got very close to being in Super Bowl LII, only missing out because of a very controversial call by the referee in the playoffs. The show references this in Season 3, saying it's one of several weird side effects of people from the afterlife going to Earth.
      • Which becomes even more hilarious as immediately following the episode (where the Judge declares Jacksonville "is going to make the playoffs!"), the Jags proceeded to go on an epic losing streak that once more turned them into a horrible team, culminating in their elimination from playoff contention in a crushing 21-point defeat from the Titans. The Jags ended the 2018 season 5-11. It got to the point of several websites even suggesting the show had "cursed" the team.
      • Not to mention the fact that Blake Bortles is now the QB for the LA Rams.
    • Jason's mentions of Donkey Doug go from funny to sidesplitting when you find out Doug is Jason's father.
    • Jameela Jamil is able to do a flawless American accent for her role in Ducktales 2017, indicating Eleanor may have been onto something with her suspicion that Tahani is deliberately putting on a British accent.
    • As if Kamilah constantly overshadowing Tahani in the show wasn't enough, E! once mistakenly referred to Tahani's actress, Jameela Jamil, as "Kamilah Al-Jamil".
    • Maya Rudolph playing the ruler of the universe now comes off a bit like a dry run for her role as Kamala Harris on Saturday Night Live.
  • Ho Yay: Jason invites mind-wiped Chidi to dance with him in Season 4 to help him relax. Chidi actually enjoys himself as he and Jason are holding hands and swaying together.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • Deliberately invoked from the pilot to the beginning of Season 2, and bordering on the point of Deconstruction. It at first seems that a phenomenal cosmic screw-up occurred where Eleanor, a self-serving Jerkass, ends up in The Good Place, which is reserved for the most virtuous humans, and yet again when Jianyu is revealed to be a petty crook and amateur DJ named Jason Mendoza. Then it becomes an idiot plot of a different kind when it's revealed everyone is in The Bad Place, and Michael underestimated humans' capacity to change and improve each other. He built this Bad Place assuming that humans are static beings, and is grossly annoyed to find out that no matter what he does, Team Cockroach changes for the better. It forces him to grow into a Noble Demon, question why decent but flawed humans have little chance to improve their moral character, and realize that the system of morality that governs who goes to the Good Place or the Bad Place is arbitrary and outdated, with few in the celestial bureaucracy willing to make significant changes.
    • Played straight in "A Chip Driver Mystery." Although Brent's book is offensive on a number of levels, Eleanor, Michael, and Tahani seem to forget that the majority of the Good Place residents aren't real and the experiment is fairly isolated. They act as though his book will show the world a distorted picture of minorities and women, when in reality it will reach only a handful of people and will have roughly the same impact as a poorly written Wattpad fic—worthy of a private talk, maybe, but not a public confrontation that is certain to wound his fragile ego and keep him from hearing what he needs to hear. Further, Eleanor never tells Brent that his book will lose him points and keep him from getting into the Best Place, which she knows will almost certainly lead him to apologize to Simone and Tahani and cancel all his promotional events.
    • Really, the entire first half of Season 4 qualifies for this trope, since the entire storyline requires that none of the new humans question why John and Brent are in The Good Place when they were obviously terrible people on Earth.
  • It Was His Sled: Not terribly long after the Season 1 finale came out, Eleanor's quote "This is the Bad Place!" hit Memetic Mutation and now the fact that the "Good Place" is actually the Bad Place is one of the major things known about the series.
  • Jerkass Woobie:
    • Michael before his real Heel–Face Turn. Yes, he's a demon dedicated to making people miserable. But he's so sincere in his dedication to his idea of subtle psychological torture through the illusion of a false paradise, and the knowledge of what will happen if he fails does draw up some sympathy because of how Ted Danson is able to make him so darn likable. Woobified further in Season 2, where we see that, despite all the deceptions, he really is as awkward and self-effacing as he was pretending to be, and as everything starts crashing down around him, he becomes more and more sympathetic, including offering to help the four humans get to the real Good Place, as long as he can come too, because he doesn't want to face the wrath of Shawn.
    • Tahani is an overbearing, vain and condescending Attention Whore, but her flaws are the clear result of years of Parental Neglect, being The Unfavorite, and constantly being upstaged and humiliated by her sister. It helps that she's Rightly Self-Righteous a lot of the time, even if much of it comes from her need to be liked.
    • Eleanor, before her Character Development kicked in. Though her Freudian Excuse was only shown after that point.
      • This comes back in the Season 4 Episode "Chillaxing". At the end of the prior season, Chidi has undergone a memory wipe and a poorly timed breakdown from Michael forced her to take over as the neighborhood architect. After a disastrous first day on the job, the rest of the Soul Squad starts to question her leadership skills. In this episode, she takes her anger out on Chidi by torturing him to levels even Jason and Michael consider too extreme. However, she repents by the end of the episode, and is much nicer to Chidi till "The Answer", when his memories are restored.
    • Brent during "Help is Other People" when he goes through a Humiliation Conga and finally has a Jerkass Realization.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships:
    • Tahani gets shipped with Eleanor and Chidi, and sleeps with Jason in Season 2 after finding out who Jason is far sooner than previously.
    • Eleanor herself is shipped with Chidi, Tahani, Trevor, and Vicky. There's even a small following for Eleanor and Michael!
  • Les Yay:
    • Eleanor's obsession with proving Tahani has some deep, dark secret really makes her look like a Stalker with a Crush, which combines quite nicely with Tahani's European touchy-feeliness. Eleanor even says she's "kind of turned on" after complaining about how irritatingly flawless her neighbor is. Later on, Eleanor comforts a crying Tahani, who is worried about her relationship with Jianyu, in part by telling her how attractive she is. This is followed by Tahani hugging Eleanor and Eleanor commenting that "of course" Tahani is a great hugger. After they bond a bit, Eleanor constantly brings up how attractive Tahani is. Later, she states that Tahani has "legs for days" and finally makes her attraction canon, interrupting herself with "Sidenote: I might legit be into Tahani." And in "Dance Dance Resolution, at least one of Michael's attempts at his fake Good Place actually does put them together as soulmates. In "Derek," Janet offers to make Eleanor a fake boyfriend and says that based on Eleanor's last 10,000 comments, said fake boyfriend would be "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's head on Tahani's body. Eleanor immediately says that vice versa would be fine too.
    • Real Eleanor's attempt to get Eleanor to realize she's in love with Chidi gets Eleanor thinking she's hitting on her. She promptly responds that she might be up for it, as hooking up with someone with her exact same name could be a fun narcissistic thing.
    • Eleanor openly calls Chidi's girlfriend Simone hot. Later, Eleanor flirts with her and attempts to kiss her in a simulation, and Simone appears to be into it. (Again, it's a simulation, but according to Janet, it's as close to a 100% accurate one as anyone could ever make.)
  • Love to Hate: Much as they're dedicated to making the Soul Squad's lives (and afterlives) miserable and ensure all of humanity spends an eternity being tortured thanks to an outdated point system, the Bad Place demons are so entertainingly evil that any scene they enter is a delight. This applies to Shawn most of all, thanks to his Card-Carrying Villain and Evil Is Petty tendencies.
    Shawn: Well, I was going to try to get the humans back by going through the proper channels, but then I remembered, I'm a naughty bitch.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: The show is very clever at handling these aspects.
    • The minute the Judge sentences Team Cockroach to go back to the Bad Place, you know that it's not actually going to happen. They would be permanently tortured for eternity and put under lockdown. Janet also mentions that if she and Michael return, Michael will be retired and she'll be turned into a marble. Neither happens, though there are some close calls in Season 3. Then in Season 4 Janet is marbelized, replaced and taken to the Bad Place...where she is revived and put through torture via Vicky wearing a Michael suit. Michael and Jason willingly go back to the Bad Place to rescue her on realizing that she was replaced by a Bad Janet, and actually escape unscathed with Janet in tow. Even Shawn is mildly impressed at how brave Michael is.
    • The Judge announces she is wiping out all humanity, alive or dead, and starting over. We know it's not going to happen because that would wipe out the Soul Squad in front of our eyes and end the show early. Gen is eventually convinced to change her mind two episodes later.
  • Magnificent Bastard: Michael is a deceitful yet affable demon who arranges for a group of souls to psychologically torture each other in the supposed Good Place. After the group figures out Michael's ploy, Michael erases their minds several times over before joining forces with them to scheme against Vicky after she blackmails him into relinquishing his power. Michael manipulates his demon brethren into thinking that the group has escaped while framing Vicky for his failures, tricking the demons into leaving. While Michael's intentions were initially self-serving, he grows to genuinely care for the group and manipulates events to ensure that the protagonists and many others are reformed enough to enter the Good Place, improving the Afterlife system and the Good Place upon discovering their flaws and persuades his former allies into helping him stop Gen from erasing all of existence, before reincarnating himself as a mortal human after accomplishing everything he desired.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Fun Fact! Columbus is in The Bad Place because of all the raping, slave trade, and genocide!"
    • Using the word "fork" in place of "fuck", or "bullshirt" instead of "bullshit".
    • A screencap of Jason leaning against a poster and saying "Oh, Ariana, we're really in it now" is often edited or parodied, replacing Grande with something else the poster likes or draws strength from. For example, "Oh, Miku, we're really in it now".
    • "This is the Bad Place!"
    • "Ya basic!"
    • Good Place lines robbed of context.
    • "Hot diggity dog!"
    • The "cactus" exchange is often paraphrased to deliver a Take That! at something. "I want to see [X]. Is that what you have [unsatisfying substitute for X]?"
    • From the Podcast: "I'm Marc Evan Jackson. I play Shawn."
    • "Okay. But that's worse. You do get how that's worse, right?" explanation 
  • Mexicans Love Speedy Gonzales: Most Floridians who watch the show find all the jokes made at the state's expense to be hilarious. (Which is pretty par for the course — writers from the Sunshine State indulge in the Only in Florida trope more than anybody.) Similarly, a lot of fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars don't mind the constant digs at their team.
  • Misaimed Fandom:
    • People are fond of sharing images on social media with Eleanor quotes on them, specifically quotes of hers from before she died being totally unashamed to put people down and talk about her position in life with a smug, contented expression on her face. Thing is, people are sharing these unironically, often with comments of "My life" or similar, and acting just as satisfied as Eleanor is. These people are missing the point that those quotes are designed to show just how horrible she was before she died and part of the reason she wound up in the Bad Place to begin with. Either that or they're unashamedly proud of knowingly being just as awful as her.
    • As seen in the comments of the highlight video of "The Trolley Problem", some believe that Chidi, in saying he knows more about ethics than Michael, was arrogant, since he claimed to know more than an immortal being who's been around since the beginning of time. This reasoning falls flat when you take into account that Michael wasn't punishing arrogance, but lashing out because he was feeling insecure about understanding ethics, proving that Chidi does know more about ethics than him, and the fact that he genuinely thought that the answer to the trolley problem was to run over the five workers while dangling a long, sharp blade out the window to slice the sixth worker's head off.
    • From season 3 onwards, anybody who takes the point system seriously. Some people (such as this Janet roleplay account) try to quantify certain actions under the point system. It's often tongue-in-cheek, and often the actions said to lose points are unambiguously terrible behaviors, but it goes against the conclusion arrived upon at late season 3: it's borderline impossible to score a high amount of "good points" in today's society because of how much more complicated humanity has become, so quantifying every action individually shouldn't be the be-all end-all in determining someone's morality.
  • Moe: Janet is so adorable and good-natured about everything that she’s easily the most Moe of the cast. Even if she’s an AI and not a person. It helps that she was the one part of the real Good Place that Michael put into his fake “Good Place”.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • Trevor, despite being a demon and thus it's part of his job to torture, crosses it when he gleefully attempts to sabotage the Soul Squad's attempts to get into the Good Place because it's more "fun" than to report Michael's benevolent interference to Gen, which would have netted the same result since the system was rigged against the humans anyway.
    • Doug and Donna crossed it with their emotional abuse toward Eleanor. Even though Donna has changed after faking her death and starting a new life with a single father and his daughter, Eleanor pretty much tells Donna that she better not fork up Patricia's life with her emotional abuse or abandon her the way Donna emotionally abandoned Eleanor.
    • Likewise, Tahani's parents crossed it by pitting their two daughters against each other and fostering inferiority complexes in them both. They never get redeemed, and Kamilah takes a while to admit their parents were "completely wankers" in her words.
    • The demons in the Bad Place are Punch Clock Villains who engage in torture in pain because it's what they do. Trevor for his part has numerous Jerkass Has a Point moments, which Eleanor acknowledges, and the demons are friends with each other. Shawn then hints, and Michael confirms with horror, that the accounting system is so forked up that no human being can truly go to the Good Place due to all the technicalities that don't allow for grey area. Shawn knew this whole time that the system was flawed and gleefully enabled it. Worse, he knew the whole time that the Soul Squad would die eventually and return to him, but he decided to speed up the process to get revenge on Michael.
    • If Shawn hadn't crossed it before, he definitely crossed it when he told Michael that if the humans fail and are sent to the Bad Place, they will be tortured forever by Vicky wearing a Michael suit so they spend eternity believing he has returned to torturing them.
    • Vicky crosses it when she uses her Michael skin-suit to taunt a captive Janet and ask why Michael even cared for her.
    • Judge Gen cross it when, after the humans prove that the point system is flawed and people can improve in the afterlife, she decides to reboot earth which would erase all humans, living and dead, from existence, and when the army of Janets teleport the reboot device away and hide it in one of their voids, she coldly declares that she will marbleize each and every one of them.
    • Ultimately, however, the series as a whole rejects the entire concept of the Moral Event Horizon. When Team Cockroach realise that the idea that some people are utterly irredeemable is one of the major flaws of the points system, they replace it with a system that gives everyone, no matter how bad, as many chances as it takes to rise above their flaws and become their best self, no matter how many eons it takes.
  • Most Wonderful Sound:
    • The little chime that plays whenever Janet pops in. It's even acknowledged in-universe with Janet describing it as a "pleasant bing sound".
    • The brief, cheery instrumental that plays over the title card.
    • The chime that plays over the public address system in the real Good Place is a LITERAL version of this trope. More than one character describes it as the most pleasing sound they've ever heard.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • T'Hania, a "mirror centaur" who takes on Tahani's appearance and an Up to Eleven version of her personality.
    • Disco Janet, a rollerskating Totally Radical version of Janet who arrives with a spin to help save humanity along with her other sisters.
    • The baby elephant that is made of light and knows the secrets of the universe.
  • One True Threesome: Eleanor, Chidi, and Tahani are often shipped together due to moments of Ship Tease between every combination of the three as well as Eleanor being canonically attracted to both Chidi and Tahani.
  • Paranoia Fuel: Every little thing you do on Earth is being recorded with a point value, and even the smallest negative point value can be held against you in the afterlife as justification for being sent to Hell.
  • Portmanteau Couple Name:
    • Eleanor/Tahani = Elhani. Jameela Jamil says it's Teleanor.
    • Chidi/Eleanor = Cheleanor.
    • Michael/Eleanor = Hellstrop. A bit of a cheat, but still pretty clever.
  • Retroactive Recognition: Two of the members of Trevor's Bad Place crew in season 1, episode 9 are Arthie and Melrose.
  • Rainbow Lens: Michael's desire to be a human has been argued as a possible transgender metaphor.
  • Rooting for the Empire: Shawn is evil and a "naughty bitch" in his own words. On the other hand, he's completely correct that Michael's experiment was doomed to fail and Michael did lie to him regarding the fact that he only had one reboot. Fridge catharsis comes when you realize he's torturing dead people who definitely qualify as evil; he's seen the worst humans come into his custody including dictators and war criminals so that explains his cynicism. To top it all off, Michael convinces him to do an Enemy Mine because he senses Shawn was not happy with winning all the time.
  • Ship Mates:
    • Jason/Janet to any combination of Chidi/Eleanor/Tahani.
    • With Simone being introduced as a new love interest for Chidi in Season 3, the Eleanor/Tahani fans naturally accepted her with open arms, as did the Michael/Eleanor fans.
  • Shocking Moments:
    • The Reveal of Chapter Thirteen. And here we thought we were watching a charming little comedy about a celestial misunderstanding. Suffice it to say we were very, very wrong. It turns out that the heroes have been in the Bad Place all along.
    • The Season Two finale. While sending the heroes "Somewhere Else" was a given, sending them back to Earth to re-live their lives in the hopes that they'll become better on their own merit, getting into the Good Place for real, was something almost no one saw coming. note 
    • All of "Tinker, Tailor, Demon, Spy". Glenn supposedly defects from the Bad Place and says Shawn is sabotaging the experiment, only to get blown up mid-interrogation while accusing Michael of actually being Vicky in disguise. Jason then figures out that the Bad Place kidnapped Janet and replaced her with an unhelpful Bad Janet, and is determined to save the robot-girl "not a robot, not a girl" he loves from the Bad Place. Even though it's a Suicide Mission and probably a trap, Michael and a liquefied Glenn accompany Jason to the Bad Place while Eleanor and Tahani stay behind to run the neighborhood.
  • Signature Line: "This is the Bad Place!" Mainly for being a Wham Line to end them all.
  • Slow-Paced Beginning:
    • The second episode, "Flying", has significantly less tension than the later episodes; At this point, Eleanor makes unethical choices out of selfishness alone, rather than making them at least partly out of self-preservation.
    • The earlier episodes of Season 3 while not bad per se, were seen as not as fun since taking the action out of the afterlife robbed the show of its quirkiness that made it so special and sort of aimless. However, around episode 8 "Don't Let The Good Life Pass You By" the season picks up again as the main four die (again), and Michael shifts his mission to reform the whole afterlife.
  • Special Effect Failure: There's something off about the green-screen effects in "Employee of the Bearimy" when Jason and Michael are on the cart to The Bad Place, or when Eleanor and Tahani are standing in front of the lake house.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • While she's kinda rude with how she puts it to her boss, Eleanor has a point when she says she doesn't want to work permanently at a Google-style company because she doesn't like the atmosphere. Ideally, a person should know where they work best, and Eleanor wouldn't thrive in that sort of office because she'd be miserable.
    • Eleanor's roommate Brittany says you shouldn't forget to be pragmatic while living your life even if you're trying to do good. At first, Eleanor brushes her off and confesses to their friend Madison about the "dress bitch" incident, only for Madison kicks them out of her apartment because that really was a horrible thing. Not to mention the woman who sues Eleanor for hitting her parked car because Eleanor left an apology note with her information, and Brittany says that Eleanor should have just not bothered rather than give herself pain.
    • Although the owner of the coffee shop her boyfriend boycotts is a Card-Carrying Villain who sexually harasses the women he interviews, and although Eleanor is childish in how she gets her point across, she does make a valid point that boycotting a business is an individual choice that shouldn't be made solely on the basis of peer pressure.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Poor, poor Larry Hemsworth. He only appears in two episodes (and in a photo in the subsequent one) but he's the only one of Tahani's boyfriends who understands exactly what Tahani is going through with Kamilah because all of his siblings are much more successful as actors, and his parents also don't appreciate him, calling him pudgy despite his six-pack. It's also shown that Tahani seriously loves him, since after they started dating she decided to marry him and start a new life in England, where they would be away from the pressures of their families. Sadly, Tahani breaks up with him after spontaneously marrying Jason to share her money with him, and she also points out that she doesn't want to get him condemned to the Bad Place by knowing how the morality system works. He doesn't even return for the Series Finale!
    • Brent could have been used to further emphasize that anyone can change if given the chance, even someone as obliviously racist and sexist as him. It looked like they were going that way before the end of the test, but it ends before he can completely change and he only makes one more cameo in the series finale as the same one-note Take That! he always was.
    • While many characters like Doug Forcett, Chidi's best friend, Eleanor's roommates, Tahani's parents, and Jason's father and dance crew return for the finale, there are many other characters who do not. For example, it would have been interesting for Sam (Eleanor's ex-boyfriend) to meet post-Character Development Eleanor as well as the man who helped her improve. Henry (Chidi's other close friend on Earth) isn't seen having dinner with Chealenor and co. The Shellstrop and Anagonye parents are also no-shows (though they're talked about at least).
    • From The Selection webisodes, the demons suggest a couple of legitimately interesting candidates for the second experiment. The first (Mc Kenzie Trouffe) is described as a spoiled brat, and the second (Troy Hastings) engaged in engineered heroism (he was an arsonist and volunteer firefighter). We see pictures of them in the 2nd part of the webseries, but they never appear in person. The closest we get to either is Brent, who is comparable to the former.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • Chidi apparently wrote a whole musical about ethics, but Eleanor convinces him that rap music won't get through to Michael. From what we hear in a clip that the Good Place YouTube released, the whole would have been really cool even if a demon couldn't appreciate it.
    • Considering that Chidi's huge accomplishment in Season 2 was reforming Michael permanently, one has to consider the possibility of him unwittingly doing the same with Trevor, a grade-A Jerkass demon sent to Earth to sabotage the Soul Squad. Instead, Trevor fails because the Soul Squad unites in their hatred of him, he underestimates Jason's basic decency, and Gen banishes him into the void when he annoys her too much.
    • Likewise in season 3, Michael suggests to the humans to hide out with Doug Forcett while he and Janet go to Accounting to reveal the flaws in the points system. Unfortunately, they have to change plans when more demons come into the picture. It would have been hilarious to see Chidi interact with Doug, the living representation of a "happiness pump" in Janet's words, or for Jason to mess with the stray animals.
    • Some viewers felt Brent's character presented an opportunity to explore hard-hitting questions about how racism and sexism can be unlearned, all in the show's trademark lighthearted and humorous way. Instead, he remains the Token Evil Teammate up until the last three minutes of the experiment, only sees the error of his ways when Eleanor and Michael frighten him out of his skin by telling him he's destined for the Bad Place, and fearfully offers Chidi a final unfinished apology, which to some fans felt unearned and tacked on solely for the purpose of illustrating the Aesop Michael presents to the Judge.
    • The final arc about fixing the Good Place. What we got isn't bad by any measure, but the problems of a heaven where you live forever and get whatever you want are almost as big philosophical-theological questions as those of hell and judgment, which most of the series is dedicated to exploring and answering. Despite the cast's differing worldviews, apparently all it needs is an escape clause. Jason could have used his love of video games and general life on the edge to explain Wanting Is Better Than Having and how there should be challenges to get what you want. Chidi could debate the pros and cons of altering people's brains, not just to erase memories, but also perhaps to make them more than human to better endure eternity, instead of just dismissing the idea outright. Tahani could explain how there should always be someone new to meet and human's need for accomplishment. And Eleanor could plead for residents of the Good Place to be able to affect Earth somehow to fulfill the average Good Place residents' drive to do good.
  • Ugly Cute: The Niednagel, an extradimensional four-eyed alien slug creature that lives in the Interdimensional Hole Of Pancakes, is quite adorable with its catlike mannerisms and apparent liking for Tahani's shoulders.
  • Unconventional Learning Experience: The show has been praised for its use of philosophy. With Chidi being an ethics professor, it's common for problems to be framed in terms of various philosophers' viewpoints, with contemporaries as well as classics; when Chidi cites Kant to say that lying is always wrong in "Rhonda, Diana, Jake, and Trent", Eleanor counters with Jonathan Dancy's ideas of moral particularism to persuade him that lying could be justified in certain situations. The title of T.M. Scanlon's What We Owe to Each Other is even the Arc Words of Season 2.
  • Unfortunate Implications: As Spencer Kornhaber of The Atlantic put it, the Final Door can easily be read as a parallel for suicide, citing how some Twitter users felt that the finale validated their suicidal feelings.
  • Unintentionally Sympathetic:
    • Although it's presented in a way that deliberately makes her look selfish, when Eleanor asks Michael why she should bother being a good person if she doesn't get anything in return, the circumstances make her backslide into her old ways much more understandable than was possibly intended. By this point, her quest to be a better person has led to No Good Deed Goes Unpunished for her when she left a note for a woman whose car she hit... and this woman has decided to sue her for nonexistent whiplash. It would be one thing if she'd decided being good was pointless after suffering a minor slight, but being the target of a frivolous lawsuit has probably made Eleanor feel as though she's being punished for trying to do the right thing.
    • Save for Vicki, most of the Punch-Clock Villain demons under Michael's employ fall under this in the first three episodes of Season Two. They rightly lose faith in Michael as the humans figure out they're in the Bad Place 803 times, and Michael is quite mean to them for failing to pose as humans and not allowing compromises for them because he says their ideas will cause the humans to figure out the revelation sooner. They were doing fine in Reboot 1, until Eleanor confessed she didn't belong, and in Vicki's reboot they successfully torture Tahani with a Boring, but Practical idea of throwing a better party than she can. As Chris points out in Reboot 2, his original job was to twist people's limbs, not gaslight them, and if Michael doesn't like what he's doing then he should pick someone else. We feel more sympathy points for them when Shawn pulls them out of their new jobs to hack the Judge's system and find Michael. Even though they're doing everything he wants, he still cocoons them. Glenn in particular comes across this way as he's polite to everyone, even Shawn, no matter how they mistreat him and may have pulled a Heel–Face Turn in season 4. Michael finally admits in season 4 that all demons aren't inherently evil, it's that they think they are balancing the cosmic scale of good and evil and if they knew the system was broken they would rebel as he did. Fortunately, they get a happy ending when Vicki becomes head of the new torture program and organizes a foolproof system where Shawn is much nicer to them.
    • The poor Bad Janets, when What Measure Is A Nonhuman comes into play. They're programmed to be an unhelpful Jerkass Evil Counterpart to our Janet, which means they're only doing their job when snarking or farting. Unlike the demons or our Janet, they aren't given free will or reboots to change. Michael callously causes one to spontaneously combust to demonstrate to Shawn why he needed to steal a Good Janet, since Bad Janets can't be helpful by default. He does have the decency to apologize to one Bad Janet before marbelizing her so that Good Janet can run his and the humans' train to the Bad Place, but even so it's a callous thing. Our Janet implies she had to marbelize a Bad Janet as well to fake her death so as to save Michael from Shawn. "A Chip Driver Mystery" does finally address that Bad Janet has a chance of redemption as she becomes interested in Michael's manifesto and spreads it with the other Janets - good, bad, neutral, and disco - to start a revolution.
    • Tahani in Season 3 where we learn she fell from grace because... she wrote a book about her monastery experiences and is milking all the attention after trying to get away from Kamilah's arrogance. The lady has spent years trying not to be compared to her little sister and finally earned that spotlight. Writing a book is not easy, let alone one that talks about your personal experiences. Plus, when Michael disguised as an investor congratulates her on the "scam", she immediately switches gears to fly to Australia and participate in Chidi's study. Then this gets stronger in Season 4 when Brent demands "complos" for his book that he writes in the afterlife, which Tahani describes as "racist, sexist poppycock".
    • From the beginning, Brent presents a challenge to Michael and Eleanor: His casual racism and sexism make him someone Eleanor wants to avoid, and his arrogance makes it difficult to convince him he needs to change his ways. Eleanor tries frightening him into changing with the same chaos sequence she caused, and when that fails, she tells him he can reach the Best Place by doing nice things for people. But the second he starts to regress, they don't put much effort into helping him get back on the straight and narrow: Michael makes a halfhearted attempt to tell him that he should listen to correction, and Eleanor publicly confronts him, an act she should know will do more harm than good. When neither attempt works, they both seem to leave him to his devices until the very end of the experiment, when they decide to try and frighten him out of his skin by telling him he's going to the Bad Place and there's nothing he can do about it, a revelation that terrifies him and leaves him visibly shaken. Some viewers have wondered if Brent might have made a more lasting change if Michael and Eleanor had told him about the Bad Place sooner, but since their efforts toward reforming him were always halfhearted at best, we'll never know.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • While most of the big CG set pieces are deliberately cartoonish, they pull out all the stops for the robot versions of Team Cockroach where it truly does look like the actors have exposed circuitry at all their joints, worthy of Ex Machina.
    • The collapse of the fake Good Place as they leave it for good is pretty awe-worthy.
    • The IHOP (Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes) looks incredible.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not for Kids?: Amazon categorizes the show under Kids and Family, right next to shows like SpongeBob SquarePants and Vampirina. Just because it's about angels in heaven doesn't make it a family show, as there are several jokes about death, drugs, and sex in it. And in the end, they aren't even in heaven at all, so if they didn't get the message before...
  • The Woobie:
    • Poor Doug Forcett became so terrified of his vision of how the afterlife functions that he's become a complete and total Extreme Doormat who pushes himself to uncomfortable and downright painful extremes of altruism to the point Janet calls a "happiness pump": someone so dedicated to making others happy it's left him utterly miserable. Worse, according to Shawn, he'll end up in the Bad Place anyway despite his efforts because no one has gotten into The Good Place for hundreds of years, and, as made clear in earlier episodes, good deeds committed in the name of getting some kind of reward at the end don't give you points anyway.
    • Chidi. A Nice Guy and ethics professor who finds out that his "soulmate" is a former grifter who did nothing decent in life, and while he doesn't regret helping her become a better person, he does suffer numerous ethical dilemmas. It doesn't help that in life his desire to always make the right choice did more harm than good due to his indecisiveness and obliviousness to how he was inconveniencing his friends and family. Then he learns that being a good person won't matter for him, which leads to a temporary nervous breakdown and his university firing him. And then he dies again.
    • Simone, who is one of Chidi's serious girlfriends, suffers this in Season 3 off-screen. Her boyfriend seems to suffer a nervous breakdown after he started to gain some confidence about his decisions, he gets fired from his university for said "breakdown" and for his "No More Holding Back" Speech to the students, and then he breaks up with her and won't explain why. Oh, and then she dies, though she at least doesn't seem too fazed by that last bit.
    • Matt, the poor accountant stuck with the job of recording and evaluating all of mankind's Weird Sex Things, and who has been repeatedly asking his boss for permission to commit suicide due to having seen way too much. He's then transferred to keeping watch over the new experimental neighborhood, which is certainly a lot better than his last job, but he has to stay inside of an obelisk the whole time.


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