WiC Watches: The Good Place season 4

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THE GOOD PLACE — “Whenever You’re Ready” Episode 413/414 — Pictured: (l-r) Ted Danson as Michael, Kristen Bell as Eleanor — (Photo by: Colleen Hayes/NBC)

The Good Place is about four people who die and end up in heaven. Or rather, they end up in the Good Place, as it’s known around here.

But they’re not in heaven. They’re in hell, in a neighborhood designed to look like paradise, but really it’s a cage where they’re supposed to torture each other emotionally for all eternity. But they figure it out, over and over. Eventually, the demon running the place, Michael (Ted Danson) comes over to their side. Together, they make a trek through the Bad Place, meet an all-knowing inter-dimensional judge, return to Earth for a spell, discover that living in a way that actually gets you into the Good Place is impossible in the modern world, and finally undertake an experiment to see if human beings can improve as people when all that interconnectedness is controlled for.

The Good Place is about what it means to be a good person, and to live a good life. Nearly every episode presents some kind of moral or ethical dilemma for the characters, and they rarely resolve it in standard sitcom fashion. Solving one problem leads to others, and doing the right thing is never as simple as it first appears. One of the humans, moral philosophy professor Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper), is on hand to put these dilemmas in context with plentiful references to the likes of Kant, Aristotle and Hume. The Good Place isn’t just paying lip service to the subject of ethics; it’s actually done its homework.

The Good Place is the most ambitious series yet created by Michael Schur, who had a big hand in the success of shows like The OfficeParks and Recreation, and Brooklyn Nine-Nine. It’s a sitcom for the streaming era: unashamedly serialized and perfect for binging. It’s a sitcom with cliffhangers that never feel forced, and it does it all without forgetting to actually be funny.

Basically, The Good Place is the most interesting sitcom on TV today, and it’s just kicked off its fourth and final season. Will this grand experiment bow out gracefully? Let’s find out, one episode at a time.

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