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Why Did Michael Wink in Last Night's 'The Good Place'?

By Dan Hamamura | TV | October 4, 2019 |

By Dan Hamamura | TV | October 4, 2019 |


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Welcome! You’ve seen last night’s The Good Place, correct? If not, why are you here? Go watch it and come back!

Admittedly, there weren’t a ton of hidden gags (which is presumably the point of this piece) in “A Girl From Arizona, Part 2”, so instead, this week I’m going to fill space and hope Dustin doesn’t notice mix the gags in with a bunch of questions that came to mind during the episode!

Why didn’t this episode air on the same night as the premiere?

Questions about scheduling usually come down to a night’s lineup being set up to provide the best chance for success, and is in the hands of the network, not the show itself.

However, this episode was pretty clearly meant to be part of a one-hour premiere with last week - same title, same writers and director, and the pacing of this episode definitely felt like *mostly* acts two and three of a longer story.

My unprovable theory is that they were told they’d air a one-hour premiere (like they’ve done in the past) and NBC eventually changed it to try to use the show to support new comedy Sunnyside.

Is Brent named after Brett Kavanaugh?

Brent Norwalk (guest star Ben Koldyke) has the entitlement, the fancy education, the history of “getting rid of HR complaints,” and the list of douchey-sounding friends (including “Porcupine” and “Squirtman”). In addition, Eleanor mentions at one point that she hopes she can make him cry like a stupid baby, which definitely evokes some visceral Kavanaugh-cry-yelling-at-senators imagery in my brain.

Maybe not an exact stand-in, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Is this Jetpacks sign new?

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Because I don’t remember it. Hey, that’s our first new joke!

Blurry Balls

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Apologies for the blurry screengrab, but it goes by pretty fast: the brand of golf ball that appears in Brent’s nightmare manifestation appears to be “Entitledest,” which makes sense for him.

(Also, if you don’t golf, Titleist is the brand name they’re mocking, and they happen to make one of the most popular golf balls, which EVERY douchey thinks-he’s-great-at-golf guy uses because the pros do, even though almost all of them are just wasting their money on an expensive ball they aren’t good enough to take advantage of.)

(I may have some of these golf balls in my bag. But only because I found them, I swear.)

(Found them on sale, that is.)

(Okay, I’m done.)

Why did Michael wink at Eleanor during her breakdown?

I’ll admit, this might be where I went off the rails, but let’s discuss this wink (sorry again for the dark screenshot, but go back and watch, he only closes one eye), which comes while Eleanor is at her low point in the episode:

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Now, this threw me for a loop, because this show is crafted at a level where things generally don’t get in by accident — least of all moments of performance. So do you really think that they would have left in a reaction shot of Ted Danson winking/blinking one eye oddly for no reason? I don’t buy that.

So instead, what kind of wild speculation can we come up with to justify the wink?

THEORY 1: The wink signifies the right answer — it comes during a part of Eleanor’s rant where she proposes an idea that she later uses (putting Chidi and Simone together to get them to improve), and maybe the wink is him reacting to it in the moment, but not vocalizing, because Eleanor isn’t ready to hear it.

THEORY 2: The wink is a tell — later in the episode Eleanor realizes that Michael faked his breakdown at the end of last season, to force her to take over. Maybe this is a manifestation of him trying not to reveal his secret, because she has to figure it out for herself.

THEORY 3: The wink is a sign of something darker — it’s so odd and seemingly out of place that it makes me wonder if there’s something else going on with Michael - either some other plan (nefarious or otherwise), or if we’re dealing with a skinsuit situation, since we already know The Bad Place has the technology for it. (For the record, this theory seems unlikely given the rest of the scene, but anyway).

THEORY 4: Ted Danson got something in his eye and it was a late night and they just did one take because he’s not saying anything in this moment and they asked VFX producer David Niednagel if he could take it out and he laughed because he already had a million other VFX shots to do so they said no it’s okay we can leave it nobody will notice.

Is it a coincidence that there’s a duck in the same episode they introduce Wendy, the woman who saved all the ducks?

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Look, I’m 98% sure this is a coincidence and the duck just lives in that park, but the other 2% of my brain says WHY IS THERE A DUCK IN THE BACKGROUND OF THE EPISODE WHEN THEY HAVE “WENDY” WHO “SAVED ALL THE DUCKS”! COINCIDENCE?

via GIPHY

Did anyone else get Veronica Mars vibes from this shot?

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I don’t think it was intentional, but Kristen Bell turning away from people she’s just helped and smiling to herself felt very Veronica Mars-y to me.

Well, that’s all for this week. Any hidden jokes I missed? Am I reading way too much into the wink? Do I need more sleep?



Dan is a Staff Contributor. You can listen to him scream into the void on Twitter.


Header Image Source: NBC


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