There are very few shows on TV, if any, that can have you tearing up one second, and laughing out loud fifteen seconds later, and yet The Good Place remains one of them. “Jeremy Bearimy,” is another grand slam for the show, and episode that is, at times, hilarious, at times, incredibly touching, and other times it’s just …well, a little bit like life, messy and unpredictable.
One would think the revelation would be a good thing for our characters. It felt like an exciting twist when we say the end of last episode. And yet, it’s anything but, because it means out favorite foresome is basically, well, screwed. They can’t earn any more points, because whatever they do, they’d be doing it to get into the good place, which basically nullifies everything.
And though the episode doesn’t go into the unfairness of the point system or the way it’s designed – despite an opening to do so in Michael and Janet’s manifesto – it does go into the philosophical question of, what do we do if we know we can’t win, which in a sense, is the basis of life. We’re never going to truly win the race for best person, because life changes, and shit changes and shit happens. But, do we keep trying nonetheless?
Is there added value in trying, even when you think you’re not going to get nothing in return?
I really, really hope so.
Like Chidi, this explanation basically broke my brain. And the dot! It makes no sense. And yet, it makes sense in the same the same way things makes sense in The Good Place – by not making sense. That’s part of the magic of this show, the way it has of explaining things in a way that absolutely doesn’t explain anything, and then just walking away and waiting for you to accept it.
That we do is a testament to how this show also explains some other aspects of show, and of life, so well, that we’re conditioned to stop and just give everything they’re telling us a fair shot. Because, if this show is so smart, why can’t what they’re saying make sense.
And yes, that’s why we have Jeremy Bearimy. That’s why it works.
Everyone has a little bit of a breakdown this episode, which honestly, considering what they just learned, shows a lot of growth. I would have certainly had a messier and bigger emotional breakdown, just saying.
In a way, their personal breakdowns also helped to sort of underscore why they’re good for each other, though, which I guess is kind of the point. We don’t go through life alone and we don’t usually get better – or worse – by ourselves, even if we are the ones making the decision.
Jason and Tahani were probably my favorite part of this, as they got married, got tacos and gave money away, not in that order. Jason has always been presented as anything but smart, but he is a kind guy, who will always give people the benefit of the doubt and someone who genuinely just wants to have fun. That can be bad, of course, but it can also be good, as Jason pushes Tahani to think smaller in her quest to do good things, by pointing out that just a little bit of money would have changed his life on many occasions.
Shirtless Chidi is the flipside of this, as our favorite philosophy professor lost it in a way that involved making a lot of bad choices almost without worrying about the choices he was making, and it took Eleanor making the good and moral choice to bring him out of his funk, very literally.
Which leads to the end, to these four humans coming together once again, and this time, fully aligning with Michael and Janet to …
WHY NOT TRY
I will admit to tearing up a little as Eleanor talked about trying to help the people in their lives, because I had, at various times during the show, wondered about the people they all interact with, and because …that’s really such a selfless thing to think, isn’t it? (And I assume this is going to come up later) And yet, as Eleanor said, what else are they going to do?
Why not try? It’s better than not trying, isn’t it?
This is a message for life, and for just about everything we do in our time on Earth. We’re not going to get it all right, we’re not going to win in everything we do, but that doesn’t mean we should give up. Gotta get up and try, try, try.
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The Good Place airs Thursdays at 8:30/7:30c on NBC.