The Good Place is back for Season 3. The love this show inspires in me is boundless. The “philosophy/comedy’ I.E. a show about philosophy – about what we owe to each other – drizzled with comedy. And great comedy, at that. I have rewatched seasons one and two, AND listening to the podcast(s), AND watching different teases coming out on YouTube. I am vested in THIS.
Now, the way I see it, the ultimate goal of this show isn’t just to figure out if these four “bad” people can be “good” people, it’s to re-establish the entire Good Place/Bad Place dynamic. And so if all Michael wants to do is to prove that the four of them can be good under the right Earthly circumstances, yeah, this is tainting the results. But at some point the truth will be realized and Michael will say “but they still did good things! Even if they had to be together to do them and we had to help them, they still did them! They shouldn’t go to the Bad Place!”
The only explanation for that is that the system is wrong. The idea of treating not only every person but every action in complete isolation and assigning everything positive or negative point values and creating arbitrary cutoff points doesn’t work.
I first started thinking about this in the Trolley Problem episode last season, it was hard for Michael to have a moral dilemma because he knew factually exactly how right and wrong every possible action is and calculated it as a mathematical model. But if that isn’t a fact and the universe just doesn’t work that way, there’s your dilemma. Eventually Judge Gen and everyone else will realize the same thing.
It’s pretty much exactly the problem the character God faced in The Bible. She was, by any objective account, an asshole. Prone to capricious anger and imposing so many tiny rules on everyone that no one knew how to behave. And, because She ‘knew all’ all she could thing was “Why don’t you all just listen to me! Why can’t you all just behave! I am Love. I am all you need. If you all just realized that you’d be ok, but you keep effing it up for yourselves.”
Well, after a while she had an idea, and a pretty clever one at that. If I, as God, can’t figure out what’s wrong with these humans then maybe I can become human and figure it out from the inside. She really did want the best for everyone, but she just got so frustrated by them.
So she set up an experiment. She would live for some time as a human, but the full experience. Birth, childhood, the whole megillah. She wouldn’t be God disguised as a human. She would be God as human. She got to experience a mother’s love. She got to feel the joy of friendship and the pain of betrayal. She was a teenager! Hell, She even found out what it was like to believe God had abandoned you. To feel hopeless and alone. She screamed “WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME!” to herself and realized that she didn’t have an answer for once.
She got it. She got why it was so hard to just listen. Being human is tough. We don’t know shit, have crazy hormones, and can be complete monsters. But we can also be kind, and love, and help.
So, she changed the rules. Instead of trying to control every aspect of everything and getting pissed when we didn’t remember everything, She came up with just two: She’s God, so don’t forget it, and be excellent to each other.
The Good Place season 3 continues every Thursday on NBC.
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