The Emmys were a bit of a bore and, save for the Schitt’s Creek sweep, Watchmen and Zendaya’s wins, it was hard for me to stay attentive. Jimmy Kimmel’s jokes weren’t good (and often very cringey), there were a few people left out of the In Memoriam segment, and the lack of laughter was just plain awkward. However, I mentioned to a friend that at least Ted Danson had won an award for his work on The Good Place, but that was a mistake. Thinking back over the last few years, I realized that the beloved and acclaimed NBC comedy had never won a single Emmy Award in its four-season run. Zip, zilch, nada. How is that possible???
The series — which also starred Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, Manny Jacinto, and D’Arcy Carden — was a feel-good comedy that tackled the ethics and philosophy of being a good person, as well as the tough subject of death. The Good Place hit a couple of rough patches here and there, but it was a tremendously entertaining show from start to finish, with a lot of heart, humor, and thoughtful analysis. The show was nominated in 14 categories over the last four years, including two noms in the Outstanding Comedy Series category. But, as of the Emmys on Sunday, The Good Place lost out on the chance to take home anything for a final time.
That really sucks because the show has inspired many and its quotes and characters have become central to enough internet memes that I’ve lost count. Harper and Jacinto’s work was especially fantastic and they could turn the mundane and weird into genuine laughs and heartfelt lessons. Carden’s Janet evolved beyond a Good Place/Bad Place Alexa and into someone with feelings and some sense of humanity. Jamil’s Tehani followed the classic shallow-character-with-a-heart storyline, while taking it to unexpected places. And, of course, there’s Danson and Bell, who were mirrors of each other in more ways than one.
So, I’m apologizing to The Good Place on behalf of the Television Academy. The show and everyone who worked on it deserved their chance in the spotlight at least once. Now that the series is officially over, it will never again have a go at awards recognition and that’s tragic considering all that it’s given us. That said, if awards ceremonies have taught us anything, it’s that recognition (while amazing) is not the only thing that matters and is a blip on the radar (will anyone remember who won in two or three years?) of any given show. The Good Place’s pop culture impact, on the other hand, is forever.