Quick Take: THE GOOD PLACE on NBC: “Everything is Great!”
THE GOOD PLACE returns to NBC tonight for Season 2, with an episode titled “Everything is Great!” and though the character who utters the line in the show might not be telling the whole (slash any of the) truth – believe me when I tell you that everything, from the writing to the performances, to the tweaks made to the town in the wake of Michael’s epic failure, is truly great.
Season 1 of THE GOOD PLACE ended with Eleanor (Kristen Bell) realizing what I, as a viewer, had never once suspected: she and her pals were not, as had long been assumed, in the “good” place at all; it had all been a ruse to drive these “bad place people” a little mad. When she figured it out, ruining Michael’s (Ted Danson) plans, he convinced the folks in charge to allow a do-over, and like that, the show’s premise was blown up and instantly rebooted.
When Season 2 kicks off tonight with two back to back episodes that work seamlessly as an hour-long premiere, Eleanor is once again learning that she died and lives in this paradise, a paradise where she knows she doesn’t belong. Where in season 1, she was the one trying to keep the secrets, season 2 finds Michael in those secret-keeping shoes and reversal is a delight.
As the show takes off in what feels like a million directions (still grounded, hilarious, and wonderful), we’re treated to sight-gags, laugh out loud moments, and a larger supporting cast acting as Michael’s acting troupe, there to continue ruining the after-lives of our fearsome foursome (including Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jianyu (Manny Jacinto), one of the best characters currently on TV).
I had my reservations about how Season 2 would pick up where Season 1 left off. Could a show that had a forking near perfect first season continue the upward trajectory for an even better Season 2? Would blowing the show up after 13 episodes really work in their favor and could it last beyond a Season 2 premiere that re-arranged the pieces? With a resounding yes all around, the show expands on the world created in Season 1 while continuing to prove that Kristen Bell is the heroine we will always need.
In the hands of a less skilled creator/showrunner, or actors who weren’t up to snuff, THE GOOD PLACE could have easily been a one-and-done forgotten mess, but Schur, Bell, Danson, and co., prove that not only are they here to stay; they’ll happily continue to take every single risk they can along the way!