‘The Good Place’ has made me a better person

Featured in Sept. 19, 2019 issue of the Arka Tech

I don’t know what it is but everyone seems to have this obsession with Kristen Bell. I’ve never gotten it. She’s cute, sure. But what is it about her that makes her seem above everyone else?

It was only by watching her TV show, “The Good Place,” that I finally figured it out. She’s absolutely delightful. She’s bubbly and one of those actors that “keep it real” without feeling like too much.

Bell plays Eleanor Shellstrop who ends up in “The Good Place,” or Heaven, and recognizes almost immediately that she’s not right for it. The system of heaven or hell (in this case, the Good Place or the Bad Place) is based on a points system, where everything you do on Earth is tallied up and these points determine where an individual ends up.

And on Earth, Eleanor was kind of a mess. She constantly flaked on obligations, cheated her way out of being a designated driver and worked for a company where she lied about pills.

She just so happens to end up with a soulmate, Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), who was literally a professor of ethics. She then decides to have him teach her ethics, as the show goes on, to hopefully remain in the Good Place by becoming better after death.

What could go wrong? A lot, actually, as the show goes on. It’s just enough to keep you on your toes and beg you to watch more, but not so much that you feel like it’s overdone or too stressful for you to keep going.

Of course, the whole time you are rooting for Chidi and Eleanor to actually fall in love, or maybe Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden), who is definitely not a girl. Or maybe Jason and Tahani?

It’s fun and lighthearted, with jokes that are timeless and unexpected plot twists. And all the while, you’re learning about ethics and philosophers like Immanuel Kant.

Weirdly, and in all honesty, the show has made me a better person. The show makes you confront your own ethical beliefs without trying to change your viewpoint about the afterlife or completely changing your own personality. I’m more kind to others, I spend less money (which is a personal win for me), clean and tidy up and take care of myself more.

And it’s not just me. I was reading an article recently where even the writers of the show are constantly faced with their moral development and are actually all vegetarians now.

It may sound dumb that a TV show would seriously have this kind of impact, but I think it’s kind of hard to not watch the show and reflect on your own beliefs.

At the end of the day, “The Good Place” has all the ingredients you need for a perfect show (or at least, my definition of a perfect show). The writing brings comedy, light romance and intellectual thinking- -that punches you in the face from time to time–altogether. Not to mention, the amazing performances by all the actors.

This show is perfect if you’re looking for your next comedy show, though if you’re out on the hunt for a more serious show, I would try something that’s been on AMC or HBO.

And most importantly, you can figure out why everyone is so obsessed with Kristen Bell.

Hannah Butler

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