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The Good Place series finale "delivered on the feels"

  • "The task of writing a suitable farewell for NBC’s one-of-a-kind comedy The Good Place is like being handed a blank blue book for the final essay exam in a freshman philosophy course," says Hank Stuever. "What did we learn about the meaning of life? (And what didn’t we learn?) What can we say about human nature and the choices we make? And do those choices affect everything else? Is the universe keeping score? You have one hour and 45 minutes. Cite examples." Thursday's series finale, says Stuever, "lacked the knifey wit and rapid-fire momentum that defined The Good Place, but it delivered on the feels. These tender tendencies are not to be underestimated in today’s comedies. It’s why people can’t stop watching Jim and Pam fall in love on reruns of The Office, where Good Place creator Michael Schur, a sort of high-functioning iconoclast in the network TV world, once worked as a writer, before co-creating Parks and Recreation and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. These shows (and their tonal cousins, such as Superstore and Schitt’s Creek) act as fuzzy blankets for an audience that prizes warmth and reassurance as much as the biting wit. It’s a carefully calibrated, salty-sweet balance between the snarky and the emotional. It’s the digs, followed by the hugs." Even though The Good Place's first episodes felt a tad too twee, it "was a small miracle in the noisy, doomed atmosphere of our particular End Times," says Stuever. "It was a gentle way to ponder our reason for being here...Beyond its final attempt to pluck its viewers’ easily-plucked heartstrings, I hope The Good Place’s legacy is one of inquiry, rumination and, most of all, a healthy dose of doubt. Dunked as we are in candy-coated artifice and carefully crafted lies, our world needs more Eleanors, willing to stand up and say that we’re all being duped."


    TOPICS: The Good Place, NBC, D'Arcy Carden, Jameela Jamil, Kristen Bell, Manny Jacinto, Michael Schur, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Series Finales