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The Good Place could take two paths in upcoming season

Photo credit: www.nbc.com

By Amber Braker, Page Editor

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NBC’s Thursday night sitcom,“The Good Place,” offers an original and comedic depiction of the afterlife. The show builds a world in which there are two destinations after death: The Good Place and The Bad Place. Throughout one’s life, points are awarded and deducted for good and bad deeds. When one dies, one’s points are tallied and the final score determines whether one goes to The Good Place or The Bad Place.

Though not much is said about the latter, The Good Place is a system of neighborhoods run by architects and tailor made for those who will live there for the rest of eternity. The Protagonist, Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), was placed in one of these neighborhoods by mistake.

Through her attempts to conceal her true identity she begins to reflect on the person she was when she was alive. And with the help of former ethicist Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper) she begins to learn how to be a good person.

The show’s second season premiered Sept. 20 and  the anticipation is palable. Season one ended with a cliffhanger twist when it was revealed that Eleanor, Chidi and their neighbors Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil)  and Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto) were never in The Good Place at all. Their neighborhood was all an elaborate ruse to get them to torture each other in The Bad Place. As soon as they figure this out the architect, Michael (Ted Danson), resets everything to attempt the experiment a different way.

Season two picks up right where season one left off. This could be troubling as it leaves the possibility that this season will turn into a slightly different, yet very familiar version of season one. The characters could face the same conflicts with slightly different circumstances.

From the first episode it seems that the show is headed in a different direction. The characters’ realization came much earlier. However, this angle could prove just as redundant if the show continues to reset itself as it has already done twice.

The series’ concept is quite unique and many of  the jokes are clever. But some of them get old quickly. For example, one feature of The Good Place is that no one can swear. So, whenever the characters attempt to drop F-bombs they innocently say ‘fork’ instead. Though this is entertaining at first, the joke is often overplayed and becomes tiresome.

Some aspects of the plot seem forced as well. In the first season, Eleanor is said to have gotten into  The Good Place after another woman of the same name died on the same day in the same town. If this seems convoluted it’s because it is. Also, the show explains that Chidi was sent to The Bad Place because his indecision made others around him miserable. This is not a good reason to sentence someone, who otherwise led an honorable life, to eternal damnation.

In its second season, “The Good Place”  should focus more on character development. Eleanor seems to be the only dynamic character. This makes sense as she is the only one led to believe that she has done anything wrong. However, the other characters’ lack of self-awareness allows them to be consumed by their flaws. Other key facets of their personalities seem lost in them, which makes for boring and very static characters.

“The Good Place” is an entertaining yet sometimes redundant sitcom. Though the characters are a little underdeveloped, season two could prove to be fascinating and bring the show to a new level.

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