The end of an era: the final season of The Good Place

Angelina Chan

By Angelina Chan

Light spoilers for Seasons 1-3 of The Good Place are below.
The announcement came on June 7th.
Just a bit more than a month before what would become their final San Diego Comic-Con panel, it was revealed that the fourth season of The Good Place would be its last. Yes, the show was winding down, with the end of Season Three setting up something of a ‘final showdown’ which will decide the fate of humanity. (No pressure.)
Yet The Good Place is a completely new kind of sitcom. In a way, it breaks with the somewhat-formulaic comedy series of the past. It doesn’t rely on an ensemble of unmistakably different, larger-than-life characters (like Michael Scott) into ordinary surroundings. By placing a strong cast in a surreal environment, and not a New York City cafe or the office of a paper company, The Good Place avoids many of the pitfalls that attempting to create the extraordinary out of the exceptional can bring. At every turn there is something new in this unfamiliar world to explore.
To say the least, I enjoyed how ridiculous some of the concepts were (Giant flying shrimp? A clam chowder fountain?), while still being well-executed. This is somewhat of a departure from creator Michael Schur’s previous projects- as co-creator of shows like Parks and Recreation, which tended to have less philosophical reflection and more running jokes- but still with characters full of as much eccentricity as possible. In that vein, each of Schur’s projects has a unique style: for The Good Place, it’s the stellar ability to balance humor and the profound. In the Season Two episode “The Trolley Problem”, the well-known thought experiment transforms into reality, as Chidi must make the ‘literal’ decision to pull the lever or not: to save one or five. Hilarity ensues. And the fourth season will inevitably grapple with not only the concept of human perfectionism, but about humanity itself- as we know, Pobody’s Nerfect.
There’s nothing quite like The Good Place- idiosyncratic, imaginative, and idealistic. And that’s why this final season will feel like a great loss in a world where such a series can only stay for a fleeting four years. So grab yourself some full-cell-phone-battery-flavored frozen yogurt and a cup of decaf antimatter, and enjoy the next few Thursdays. (Or Tuesdays, or July, or when nothing never happens. Jeremy Bearimy, baby.)