Son of a Bench! Why The Good Place Deserved to Win Best Television Comedy

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If you’ve watched the first two seasons of The Good Place you’ll know the story follows a group of four humans who believe they have died and gone to ‘the good place.’ That is, until they discover they are actually being tortured by demons.

Anyone that’s ever been to a shopping outlet will know the sinking feeling –  this was a ‘bad place’ all along, disguised in shades of pastel pink, astro turf, and fro-yo. If you’ve watched season three you’ll also know something else. The Good Place has solidified its status as a great television comedy. Apparently, this isn’t something that HFPA were aware of.

This year’s Golden Globes saw The Good Place lose Best TV Comedy to The Kominsky Method – whatever that is. People all over the internet have denounced the decision as a load of bullshirt. Whether or not you give a fork about the Golden Globes, you can’t deny that The Good Place is buzzworthy. So, what makes it so relevant?

Often praised for its philosophical outlook, the show is an exercise in ethics for millenials. Part of what makes The Good Place so great is it’s exploration of our moral anxieties. In the past few months I’ve bookmarked countless articles on living a so-called ‘ethical’ life. Are avocados killing the rainforest? Should I only buy second-hand clothes or should I concentrate on cutting out dairy first? What about cruelty free cosmetics? Should I share this facebook post about banning plastic straws or will I seem like a hypocrite for continuously neglecting my recycling bin? Maybe I should buy a metal straw…

In other words, what if I fritter away my miserable existence counting lentils like Doug Fawcett only to end up in the bad place? The Good Place provides escapism from these worries, also providing a safe place to explore them. Season three sets up a staunchly anti-utilitarian narrative, aiming to show that it is our intentions that really matter. Chidi’s experiment in removing external factors to allow humans to flourish couldn’t be any more relevant in a society that overlooks education and wealth in its quest to achieve the ultimate ethical lifestyle.

The Good Place is heartfelt, funny and genuinely educational without being corny. Philosophy never compromises comedy. All in all, it’s a hilarious example of a well-written, brilliantly-acted, and thought provoking TV show.

Golden Globes: ya basic.

Helen Woodhouse