Spoilers ahead for season two of “The Good Place”
See that photo up top? That’s us at the Daily Cal when we saw that “The Good Place” received a paltry two nominations for the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards — Ted Danson for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series, and Maya Rudolph for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series. “The Good Place” is widely recognized as one of the smartest shows on TV, with “humor and heart” to boot. Yet it only has one more nomination than “Fuller House.” Let that sink in.
Awards shows snubbing great art is nothing new, so rather than sit with the ennui, here are 11 random things from season two of “The Good Place” that made us think, “Wow, what a good forking show that should be nominated for every category that it qualifies for.”
1. Eleanor crying into a toilet plunger
We’ve all been there. You go to a Bed Bath & Beyond, have an existential crisis, then openly weep. If that isn’t you, are you really living? In any case, in this episode of “The Good Place,” Eleanor (Kristen Bell) helps Michael (Ted Danson) accept the fleeting nature of existence by offering him words of wisdom that have helped her before: “Go ahead and cry all you want, but you’re gonna have to pay for that toilet plunger.” Valuable advice for students heading into midterm season.
2. Nontoken diversity
With actors such as Jameela Jamil, William Jackson Harper and Manny Jacinto filling major roles, half of the main cast is composed of people of color –– where most television shows merely offer obligatory inclusions. Additionally, as the above video makes abundantly clear, Eleanor is a bisexual character — when it comes to representation, “The Good Place” isn’t bad.
3. The entirety of “The Trolley Problem”
As a professor of moral philosophy, you’d expect Chidi (William Jackson Harper) to know how to approach something like “the trolley problem.” For those unfamiliar, this moral conundrum deals with choosing between ramming one or five people with a trolley. But Chidi doesn’t know how to solve this problem, especially when Michael makes him endure a hyperreal simulation of it — resulting in acting that should have gotten Harper an Emmy.
4. Janet and Michael’s friendship
“The Good Place” is a wholesome show, but it doesn’t get much more wholesome than the friendship between Janet (D’Arcy Carden) and Michael. You wouldn’t expect a benevolent artificial being (but not a robot) and a demon to hit it off, but alas, the two become best buds over the course of Michael’s 802 reboots of his neighborhood. “You’re my oldest, my truest, my most loyal friend,” Michael says, belying his demonic personality. Janet was fine without him, but that line hit us right in the feels.
5. When Derek says “goodbob”
There’s lots to love about Derek, the “rebound guy” who Janet creates. He’s played by the lovably unhinged Jason Mantzoukas. He’s got wind chimes where his genitals should be. But nothing quite captures Derek like the way he says “goodbob.” Here’s to hoping that Derek returns in season three for more verbal flubbing.
6. Michael’s face after he finds Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason safe
This season, we see Michael go from being a torture-loving, sadistic demon to a sympathetic demon with friends. For a hot second, we’re led to believe that Michael’s gone back to his old ways and sold out Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) to the folks from the Bad Place. But it was really Michael’s ruse to save them, and his face here says it all — he’s come to genuinely care for the people he was first meant to torture for all eternity.
7. When Tahani realizes her self-worth
Tahani was always a little full of herself, but we learn that she was only trying to feel as vaunted as her sister, especially in the eyes of her parents. This season, Tahani learns to love herself, even if it means ending her (admittedly adorable) relationship with Jason. “Probably time I stopped relying on others for my sense of self-worth or happiness,” she says to him. You go, Tahani.
8. The dig at “Pirates of the Caribbean”
We at the Daily Cal have a bit of a soft spot for Disney’s mid-2000s swashbuckling cash cow, but even we have to admit that this jab at “Pirates of the Caribbean” is pretty funny. After all, it is creator Michael Schur’s favorite joke from the season, and it makes perfect sense that a “Pirates” sequel would be playing in the Bad Place for all eternity. Maybe it’s playing alongside a “Transformers” movie as a double feature from (literal) hell.
9. The burrito
As the gang enters the office of Judge Gen (Maya Rudolph, in a performance that has proved to be Emmy-worthy), who adjudicates matters regarding the Good and Bad places, they find a burrito. What does it taste like, we wonder? Was it made by an immortal, omniscient god-chef? Did guac cost extra, and would Guy Fieri approve? At least we know one thing, thanks to Judge Gen — “(The concept of envy is) really good on Mexican food. It gives it a little kick.”
10. When Eleanor says “hot diggity dog” after she and Chidi kiss
After being mismatched soulmates in season one, and an excruciating “will they, won’t they” dynamic in season two, Eleanor and Chidi finally get together in a climactic, interdimensional smooch. Even though they’re split up moments later, we know that they will always find a way back to each other. Too. Wholesome.
11. The bartender scene
When Eleanor is feeling like doing good is pointless, who does she find to point her in the right direction? Michael, or rather, Danson doing what he does best — bartending. For a moment, Danson’s iconic bartender role on “Cheers” and his current role as Michael seem to merge, in a metafinale that puts Eleanor back on track to earning a spot in the Good Place. Whether that happens in season three remains to be seen, but we do know this — with or without an Emmy, “The Good Place” is one of the best shows on TV right now.
Contact Harrison Tunggal at [email protected].