(This post will most likely contain spoilers for the TV series, The Good Place. Go away and watch it and then some back and read this! In the UK, it’s available on Netflix, and the third series has just started)
The Good Place is one of my favourite tv shows at the moment. It’s genuinely funny, well-acted and clever; one of the recurring jokes is about moral philosophy. I would recount it here but it’s much better in the context of the show than it would be if I tried to tell it.
The basic premise is that the characters are dead and are in the afterlife – they have all ended up in ‘the Good Place’, the show’s equivalent of heaven, rather than ‘the Bad Place’, hell. The Good Place is run by Michael, an architect, with the assistance of Janet. Like many things, all is not what it seems. (Proper spoilers start here!)
It turns out that the only characters who are actually ‘real’ are Eleanor, Chidi, Tahini and Jason/Jianyu. Everyone else is a demon employed as an actor to make the four think they are in the real Good Place, while they are being tortured by each other and by the various features of the neighbourhood.
The cast is, in many ways, very diverse – and explanations are given for things that might initially seem odd, like the fact that everyone speaks English! There are other things that are inclusive about this vision of ‘heaven’ – LGBTQ+ characters, while not everywhere, do feature, and religions too (although the show itself is very secular ‘Jianyu’ pretends to be a Buddhist monk, and Michael tells Eleanor that each religion got some things right about the afterlife – which reminds me of when I was very little and thought everyone just got the type of heaven they believed in – I’m not quite sure how I thought this would actually work!)
Most of the people in the Good Place are relatively young; at a guess, most of its inhabitants are in their twenties or thirties, and I haven’t yet noticed anyone with a visible disability or using a mobility aid. Chidi’s anxiety is part of the plot, so it doesn’t seem like the end of life marks the end of disability necessary. The age issue can probably be explained away by the nature of the Good Place – but seeing a main character in a wheelchair would be a great chance to do some important work regarding representation. (I apologise if I just missed that part and it does exist!)
This was originally going to be a post about my thoughts on the diversity of the Good Place but I think it’s really just morphed into a post urging you to watch it if you haven’t already!