OK, so I’m sure this has been answered elsewhere (don’t care!), but it’s a really good entry point for recommending The Good Place podcast, hosted by Marc Evan Jackson (The Good Place, Brooklyn Nine Nine, etc.) The first episode, at least, is absolutely delightful. Creator Mike Schur talks to Marc about how the show was conceived (with the idea of getting into heaven being like playing a video game on Earth); why NBC allowed Schur to make the show (after Parks and B99, they told him he could make any show he wanted and they promised to put it on the air); how the cast came together (Kristen Bell and Ted Danson were the archetypes, and they didn’t talk to anyone else about taking those roles); and, of course, Doug Forcett.
Recall that Doug Forcett is something of a legend on The Good Place. While Christians, Buddhists, Jews, etc. managed to guess what happens in the afterlife with about a 5 percent accuracy, as Ted Danson’s character explains, Doug Forcett is a stoner kid from Canada in the 1970s who got really high on mushrooms one night “and just launched into this long monologue where he got about 92 percent correct.”
Forcett is actually played by a comedian named Noah Garfinkel, who wrote for The New Girl (where Schur’s wife, J.J. Philbin (daughter of Regis) worked). He is also the best friend of a staff writer on The Good Place, Joe Mande (who also wrote for Parks and Recreation).
As explained in the podcast:
Mike Schur: What we didn’t anticipate is that the picture which is so fun is that the placement of that photograph would mean that Noah — who is not an actor at all — would be in essentially every bit of promotion for the show for a year and a half plus. Every shot in that office, he’s just standing right over Ted Danson’s shoulder.
The most wonderful thing is that, at the end of the year, while we were shooting [the season finale], we were shooting downtown, which is sort of the Bad Place HQ. And Noah came to the set. And when he walked onto the set, Ted Danson reacted like Bono had shown up.
Marc Evan Jackson: I was there. It was amazing.
Schur: He posed for pictures, and Ted Danson hugged him, and Noah came over and was like, ‘What is happening?! I don’t know what’s going on in my life right now!’
Speaking of Danson, unlike every other cast member on the show, Danson spoiled the twist to everyone he knew.
“After it happened, Ted said, ‘I’m so relieved because I told so many people,’ Schur says. “And I was like, “Why?! And what he said is that he’d tell people about the show, and he’d explain the premise, and they would go, ‘Eh, that sounds kind of cool,’ and he would get kind of angry and defensive and go, “No, it’s much more cool than you know because here’s what really happens in the end.’ He apparently told something like 70 people.”
In the podcast, Jackson also reveals that he’s watched the video where the four of the cast members are told about the twist about 1,000 times. Here, watch it again: