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The Moral And Practical Implications Of 'The Good Place'

By Emily Cutler | TV | October 19, 2016 |

By Emily Cutler | TV | October 19, 2016 |

1) Everyone in the Good Place knows that everyone they knew and loved on Earth is now suffering in The Bad Place, and they’re all just cool with it? “Sorry, kids, but it turns out I just raised you to be assholes.” Or do inherently good people not form any close attachments on Earth? Is that a hallmark of being a really good person?

2) Soulmates. This is going to be a multi-pronged point so let’s really dig in. Do people in the Bad Place not get soulmates? Is that a feature reserved for only the cream of the crop? Would it be better or worse to spend a hellish eternity with the person with whom you are completely compatible?

2a) Are soulmate connections sexual in nature? Does that also imply that they are sexually exclusive? Because for an afterlife which seems to have a non-denomination view on morality, that would make the Good Place significantly more Puritanical than most places in the world. Are open relationships allowed? Polyamory? Side pieces? The occasional drunken mistake? Surely if we’re dealing with the most enlightened and morally pure humans in the world, some of them would find it in their hearts to forgive their soulmate for a single indiscretion over the course of infinity.

2a-1) Side point: can people in the Good Place get drunk?

2b) If soulmate relationships are sexually exclusively, what does that say about humans’ inherent need for variety and what forms would be considered acceptable? You can choose between thousands of frozen yogurt flavors, including “Full Cell Phone Battery,” but I can’t take a legitimate shot at Michael Fassbender? Or, maybe more appropriately, at Logan Echolls?

2c) Your current spouse is not your soulmate. This one isn’t a question. First of all because I don’t believe in soulmates, but also statistics. Assuming that only Good Place people get soulmates, you’re unlikely to ever even have one. But if you do get to have one after you die, they probably lived in another country. Like all of the couples we’ve seen so far.

3) Did everyone in this neighborhood die young? I get it’s a TV show, but we haven’t seen anyone past 70 (hey, Ted Danson, still looking good). Or is this the age at which each person was happiest with their looks? A manifestation of how each person most wanted to look? Seems rather superficial for moral and ethical paradise.

4) What’s up with travel? Suburban Northern California seems great and all, but does anyone get to leave?

5) Why aren’t people utilizing Janet way more? “Janet, show me some real life dinosaurs.” “Janet, what was really up with those giant rock balls?” “Janet, can you explain Tree of Life?” (Some of these things might actually be beyond her powers.)

6) So the show’s main tenet regarding the Good Place is that it’s both perfect down to every blade of grass and existing into perpetuity. But in this last week’s episode, Michael reveals that he choose frozen yogurt over ice cream because it’s such an inherently human idea. Take a good thing, and make it a little less good so you can have more of it. But doesn’t that conflict with the idea that the Good Place is perfect? Humans are defined by their imperfections, and to a larger extent by our struggles. We’re gluttonous, selfish, easily bored yet somehow also lazy. But these character flaws are also how we’re able to accomplish anything. Competition leads medical and scientific breakthroughs, boredom creates amazing works of art, deep and meaningful relationships form because a couple (or few) people want to get off. Our basest desires are the things which propel us into behaving most humanly in both good and bad ways. If the Good Place has removed all of our human emotions, why have the frozen yogurt? Or anything resembling Earth? If we do have our human emotions intact, how does a perfect Good Place prevent eventual boredom? If we have no genuine challenges, what would anyone in the Good Place be striving for?

7) Where’s the Holodeck? Seriously, they have to have one right? Or a holodeck equivalent? “Virtual porn room” sounds a little crass, but there’s got to be one around there some place, right?

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