Thursday, January 23, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Good Place' - The Humans Learn What They Can Expect From Their New Lives in the Good Place in 'Patty'

NBC's The Good Place - Episode 4.12 "Patty"

The group makes some new friends.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of NBC's The Good Place.

"Patty" was written by Megan Amram and directed by Morgan Sackett

A human soul hasn't entered the Good Place in over 500 years. Team Cockroach briefly did in Season 3. However, they were confined to one location with the understanding that they immediately had to be turned back to the judge. But now, it's the final destination for them on this journey. This is what they have been fighting to achieve for the entire series. In the first season, the humans thought they were already in the Good Place. After the rug was pulled out from underneath them, they have spent the rest of the series trying to improve the overall system so that humanity can ultimately find redemption and be rewarded with the Good Place. And now, the central protagonists have achieved all of that. They can move on to the next phase of their existence. It's the show wrapping things up by sending the protagonists off on a new journey that will hopefully be more peaceful than what they have had to endure for hundreds of years. Yes, the Good Place is immediately wonderful and peaceful. A person only has to think about something in order for it to be brought to them magically. There may not even be a purpose for Janet. The humans can conjure items by themselves. All they have to do is walk through green doors in order to live out whatever fantasy they have always dreamt about. It is a paradise. If the show has taught the characters and the audience anything though, nothing is ever as perfect as it seems. The representatives from the Good Place have largely been seen as pushovers. They were willing to accommodate to any demand. They were fine with whatever changes were made to the system. The Bad Place architects had to completely change everything just so they could maintain some sense of still torturing people. Even then, it's a feeling that won't last forever because it comes with the understanding that most humans will ultimately improve and earn their spot in the Good Place. As such, the burden is on the show to make this version of Heaven a paradise worthy of all that hard work. The protagonists fear that the people who have lived in the Good Place though are nothing more than happy zombies. They have run out of the potential to feel excitement and happiness because they have lived their lives in paradise for hundreds of years. This is their eternal journey. But it also feels like the burden and expectations of feelings have vanished completely because there is no urgency to human existence any more. These are profound themes the show is once again delving into. Jason's mind may always wander and come up with increasingly more insane situations. However, he too can quickly grow bored of the creations from his own mind. That's a feeling that is spread out throughout the human psyche. The Good Place may fill up. But the allure of it all may run out quickly. That's disappointing. Michael feels the urgency is fix it. The previous architects hadn't come up with a solution in over 500 years though. Much like the demons, they thought they could just go bigger in order to provide more joy. That comes from a fundamental misunderstanding of how humanity operates. It wasn't allowing humans into the system to feel like they have some control over their fates. The point system on Earth was judging every single soul for this divine placement. Humans had control over what happened to them. The afterlife continues to test them in the hopes that they can improve. That sense of individuality is necessary. Options need to be provided. The solution to all of this may simply be providing humans with the option to end their eternity. No one knows what will happen after they walk through this new door. But it's a promise that there is an end to all of this should that be something they want. It provides options. It may be dark in the grand scheme of things. But the show positions it as a reassuring thought. The Good Place can offer people an infinite amount of time to do whatever they want with whomever they want. It can be really special. Each version has to be unique to each individual though. The universe may be a grand mystery at the end of the day. Michael hopes this is a solution that can build up the expectations everyone has for the Good Place. He may be concerned because the humans all realize that this is the perfect place for all of them to be right now. They have been through so much together and will continue to do so. Eleanor reassures everyone by saying that everything is indeed fine like Michael promised a long time ago. That can be a peaceful and content place to end this specific story. It isn't though. The show has one more episode to go. It's bound to surprise the audience in some way. Right now, it's comfortable presenting these arguments for what eternal happiness can be while also inviting Lisa Kudrow in on the fun in order to deliver that point in wonderfully comedic style.