Over the summer, I watched the Netflix series The Good Place. Directed by Michael Schur — who has developed a number of other great sitcoms like, The Office, Parks and Rec, and Brooklyn 99 — I knew that there would be a lot of subtle, satire, and sarcastic humour throughout the storyline. I always enjoy the love interests, character development, and plot twists that catch people off guard in Schur’s sitcoms’ plotlines.
Two of the main characters in The Good Place are Eleanor Shellstrop, an “Arizona dirtbag” as she describes it, and Chidi Anagonye, who is a moral ethics professor and lover of philosophy. All the characters on the show have some trait that they are not proud of within themselves, like Chidi’s indecisiveness; he must reflect on how to start making firm choices in this afterlife.
Throughout the series, Eleanor takes ethics and philosophy classes from Chidi. Eventually others join those classes, and you can start to relate to characters and their flaws, and how you can start to work on them just like they did. It is surprisingly educational and relaxing.
My favorite part of this series was how non-religious they made the afterlife seem while sprinkling in ethical lessons about being a person. Being a non-religious person myself, I always found it hard to think about the afterlife in a way that wasn’t steered towards one religion or another. Watching this show made me realize, the afterlife could literally be anything.
This semester, I am taking a philosophy class called Greek Concepts and Culture. After reading and discussing different philosophers, I can see why Eleanor got attached to learning ethics and philosophy and why all the other friends had such important character developments. It amazes me how one simple plot in a show can really shift my whole perspective on life.
This winter break, sit back and watch “The Good Place,” it will help you reflect on the good and bad you go through in life while enjoying Kristen Bell’s witty humour. It will leave you wishing the living world had a Janet and glad we don’t tell time through Jeremy Beremy, but for now we’ll just have to settle for Siri and regular clocks. — Ashley Meza
Ashley Meza was born and raised in Portland and is a senior studying journalism. She is currently the student life section editor and hosts the Index Podcast. She holds the DACA Coordinator position at the Student Multicultural Center and enjoys making short films in her free time.