So I've seen people talking about the Good Place, so I went back and caught up on it after the season ended. If you haven't seen it, there's 12 episodes in this season, so it's not intimidating, but if you plan to watch it, try to avoid being spoiled, because the finale has a big twist that I think is earned.
Now I want to yell about thoughts about it. Please yell your thoughts also.
So, post spoiler, Vulture published All the Clues You Missed about The Good Place's Big Finale Twist which annoyed me, because they were all either stuff characters on the show said "OMG that was a clue!" so, not exactly a hot lead, Vulture, or things that came under the heading of 'viewer suspension of disbelief.' (Quartz magazine said the finale had a twist "worthy of M. Night Shyamalan." Um. Thanks?)
By 'viewer suspension of disbelief', I mean that when Michael is wacky and (seemingly) doesn't understand that by saying the truth to a person he is being hurtful, we believe that, because that is the contract we have entered into as viewers. We will pretend, for half an hour at a time, that the story you are telling us is true, because that way it's more fun. Many of the things Vulture considers to be 'clues' actually come around to the point that TV shows torture people emotionally for our amusement, so seeing people tortured emotionally didn't make us think, "this place is hell!" it made us think, "we're watching a TV show!" Eleanor keeps getting put in situations where her secret is in danger of being revealed? We must be watching a sitcom! Two girls in love with the same man? Must be a rom-com! The twist, in this way, makes the viewer feel almost complicit, which is an interesting effect.
But the Vulture piece did make what I consider to be one legitimate point: "No one in the "Good Place" cares about the Bad Place." And I think this points to the real clues that we should have seen; no one in The Good Place who we get to know actually seems to have demonstrated virtue to put them on equal footing with Eleanor Shelstrop's supposed good deeds. We should have been able to see that writing an unfinished thesis on ethics is not really a net positive to humanity.
I also think one of the underappreciated bits of torture was the way that Michael managed to ... manufacture a sexual minority? Sort of? I mean, if you're told that everyone in the world has a soul-mate (and it is interesting how quickly everyone just signs on for this. "Sure! We all have soul-mates! Seems legit.") and yours isn't working out, than *you* must be the problem. You need to hide your lack of connection.
This post also on dreamwidth ( comments)
- The Good Place