It is 27.41% important.
June 12, 2018 9:32 PM   Subscribe

 
Holee shit, I guess for some reason I never watched the season finale. I had no idea what this article was talking about.
posted by runcibleshaw at 9:38 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


If you haven't heard it yet, there's a brand new Good Place podcast hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, who plays Shawn on the show. There are only two episodes so far, and Mike Schur is the guest on the first one. It's really great!
posted by web-goddess at 10:13 PM on June 12 [15 favorites]


JORTLES
posted by poffin boffin at 10:18 PM on June 12 [12 favorites]


PORTALS
posted by rogerrogerwhatsyourrvectorvicto at 10:44 PM on June 12 [5 favorites]


Turtles named Yertles.
posted by oneswellfoop at 11:07 PM on June 12


They must have used MORTALS at some point, but I don’t recall..
posted by nat at 12:16 AM on June 13


"I obviously did not anticipate ever spending a long time on Earth."

I guess that answers the question of whether they have a master plan in mind or if it's being made up as they go along. I had kinda hoped that they already sketched out the arc of the show so that we don't have a drop in quality when they run out of ideas or box themselves into a scenario they don't have a way out of.
posted by jzb at 4:30 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Mike Schur is endlessly satisfying to follow on Twitter, if you 're not already.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:38 AM on June 13 [4 favorites]


I guess that answers the question of whether they have a master plan in mind or if it's being made up as they go along. I had kinda hoped that they already sketched out the arc of the show so that we don't have a drop in quality when they run out of ideas or box themselves into a scenario they don't have a way out of.

Remember, he's literally talking about a line in the pilot here. It's entirely reasonable to not have many seasons of plot figured out when you're trying to sell a pilot to a network. Presumably they have a long-term plan now, and have probably had one for a while.
posted by gkhan at 5:34 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


It's entirely reasonable to not have many seasons of plot figured out when you're trying to sell a pilot to a network.

Given the inherent unpredictability of producing anything as complicated as a TV show, it would be pretty foolish to have anything more than the barest outlines of a long-term plot. Your 12 episode order gets cut to 8, your lead becomes a superstar and doesn't renew his contract, your affable supporting character becomes a superhero, etc. If you are worried that Mike (The Office, Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, The Good Place) Schur is going to have trouble coming up with ideas, I think you can rest easy.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:11 AM on June 13 [12 favorites]


Holee shiRT

FIFY
posted by Big Al 8000 at 6:17 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


I had kinda hoped that they already sketched out the arc of the show so that we don't have a drop in quality when they run out of ideas or box themselves into a scenario they don't have a way out of.

I agree (and I think after the first season made such a splash, NBC and Schur know that he has some long-term security), but on the other hand, this is a show that burns through entire premises in a single episode. They could have done an entire season just on "Michael tries a new idea, reboots again", but they stuffed it all into the second season premiere. This is Lost 2.0, but they actually learned from 1.0.
posted by Etrigan at 6:41 AM on June 13 [8 favorites]


I guess that answers the question of whether they have a master plan in mind or if it's being made up as they go along.

This is one of my pet peeves about how people talk about TV shows and movies today. Nobody, nobody, nobody engaged in longform/episodic storytelling has it all in their head or on paper as a "master plan". They may have a loose outline of where they think things are going, or have a more or less specific end point in mind, but none of it is set in stone because it can't be. The nature of how television is made basically precludes that from being a possibility for 99% of scripted programs.

The best analogy I can come up with is that multi-season television shows are like a D&D campaign. The GM can have a script and notes and everything for what they want each session and the overall campaign to be, but ultimately the players will react to each encounter in their own way, and the GM has to in turn react on the fly. Now imagine that, but with the addition of network executives controlling the purse strings, and audiences and critics reacting to what you're doing in real time. It isn't all planned, because it can't all be planned.
posted by Strange Interlude at 7:05 AM on June 13 [10 favorites]


Yes, but there is a difference between, "OK, this big important secret we've been highlighting for seven episodes is actually that so-and-so is really blah-de-blah in disguise, and we know this is all heading towards a climactic showdown between whatshername and thingmabob even if we're not sure exactly how it plays out yet" vs. "So ... I guess we'll ... figure out what that thing we said means ... sometime later? And ... oh wait, crap, we've only got three episodes left?!!! IT WAS ALL A DREAM AND SOMETHING ABOUT TIME TRAVEL AND THEN THEY ALL BECOME FARMERS!"
posted by kyrademon at 8:20 AM on June 13 [9 favorites]


But from a fan perspective, you can't tell the difference between the first situation and the second if whatshername quits the show and budget cuts mean you can no longer build a convincing thingamabob. If you are a TV producer, you have to consider that sort of stuff, so plotting out that climactic showdown any more than a season in advance means you are wasting your time and money.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:28 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Also, you tend to see the second situation with shows that (like most television) were created to run for as many episodes and seasons as are profitable to the network and its advertisers, without the creators having much say in how and when the show will eventually end. So basically the writers just write an endless middle to the story, that then gets wrapped up in an unsatisfying two-parter.

Whereas a show like The Good Place that is treated as a product unto itself (while still driving ad revenue) presumably has a closer level of interaction between the network and creators, and the overall arc for each season is designed as a potential endpoint, and is either left open or tied off as necessary. The key difference is when the creators know that it's safe to move the story forward and when they have to keep laying track for an ending that may never come.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:53 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I'm so glad that the basic ethos of Jason Mendoza can be accurately described by the cultural phenomenon of "Florida Man".
posted by poffin boffin at 9:28 AM on June 13 [16 favorites]


God I love this show. Schur is a treasure.
posted by graventy at 9:33 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


One of the zillion things I so adore about this show is that when you pay attention to the fine details and patterns, it pays off. Nothing is careless. I've been wondering how time works in the afterlife compared to on Earth, and thinking maybe a thousand years in the afterlife is maybe just twelve on Earth, and maybe that's why Michael - with all his intellectual prowess and craftiness - is emotionally childlike, and I am really excited that the writers are thinking about this too and that they'll answer it for me, apparently in next season's episode 5!

*breathes*
posted by nicodine at 10:41 AM on June 13 [1 favorite]


If you haven't heard it yet, there's a brand new Good Place podcast hosted by Marc Evan Jackson, who plays Shawn on the show. There are only two episodes so far, and Mike Schur is the guest on the first one. It's really great!

And the second one has Allison Jones! If you start to look for it, you'll notice that pretty much everything great has a credit that says 'casting by Allison Jones.'
posted by Ragged Richard at 11:09 AM on June 13 [2 favorites]


I think on the scale of how much a show is plotted and understood ahead of time versus how much it's just kind of people winging it, Schur is way, way over toward the former. He's made it clear that the giant twist that very few people anticipated was always intended, that he told everybody except the actors about it, and that they patiently made 13 episodes leading up to it.

I mean, it's not a show with a mystery to solve. Plenty of great shows explore new storylines as they go along. I think the problem comes when you present yourself as a mystery show, and you present yourself with an "everything will eventually click into place" premise, and you're not prepared to put the pieces together. It doesn't mean that every good serialized show knows everything that's going to happen ahead of time. Most good shows aren't jack-in-the-boxes that pay off at the end. Besides, if you want to see how absolute fealty to the plan you originally made works out, check out the disastrous, cheap-ass ending of How I Met Your Mother.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 11:48 AM on June 13 [13 favorites]


He's made it clear that the giant twist that very few people anticipated was always intended, that he told everybody except the actors about it, and that they patiently made 13 episodes leading up to it...I mean, it's not a show with a mystery to solve.

To be slightly pedantic, he told both Danson and Bell up front, because he wanted them to know what they were actually signing up for; the cast in general was kept in the dark, though.

I do think that's the key difference from Lost and its ilk: it has many of the trappings of a mystery-show, with plot points planned out somewhat in advance, with clues scattered to foreshadow and call back later, and with Significant Twists as the plot progresses, but the show is never about a mystery and it never asks the viewer to try and solve where it will go: it's more invested in going places than in (as per Lost) teasing and hinting at where it might go. Where Lost poses 'what might be inside this mystery box???', the Good Place says 'hey, let's open a bunch of boxes and then talk about what's inside!'
posted by cjelli at 12:26 PM on June 13 [6 favorites]


"He's made it clear that the giant twist that very few people anticipated was always intended, that he told everybody except the actors about it, and that they patiently made 13 episodes leading up to it. "

Are you talking about the big obvious twist from season one, or is there a second one in the second season? Someone convinced me to give the show another chance but I still haven't gotten around to season two yet.
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:32 PM on June 13


Are you talking about the big obvious twist from season one, or is there a second one in the second season?

That particular quote is, I think -- having listened to the podcast where Schur talks about this -- in reference to the first season.

As to the second season -- I would just humbly encourage you to give the second season a chance and don't really want to spoil anything beyond that, while also recognizing that saying that implies the presence of things to spoil, and so.
posted by cjelli at 12:37 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Mike Schur answers every lingering question about season 2 of “The Good Place.”

My lingering question is when is Season 2 gonna hit Netflix?!?
posted by Jpfed at 2:28 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


You shouldn't bother with season two, GoblinHoney; you're obviously way too smart for it.
posted by LarsC at 2:45 PM on June 13 [11 favorites]


Last I checked S2 hits Netflix in mid-september.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:54 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]




There are a couple of commentaries on The Good Place DVD, one for the first two episodes and another for the final episode.

At one point during the final, they point out that almost every single scene has a clown in the background and why they wanted to do that. I'd watched it multiple times and never noticed.

Also, the best part of Jake Jortles is when he shows up on No Context The Good Place.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:35 PM on June 13


I just love Mike Schur so much. His shows bring me such delight and he has such a wonderfully humanistic perspective that I really appreciate in these hellish times.

Also, he does the best romances-between-equals-and-friends.
posted by lunasol at 9:23 PM on June 13


Are you talking about the big obvious twist from season one

One of the many reasons this show is genius is that the twist seems obvious from the moment you hear the premise of the show, and yet there is so much going on and the plot goes so many different places that it's possible for the season finale to still be genuinely surprising.

Part of what makes it work is that there are a whole bunch of little things that don't seem to fit and it seems like the show is just a sitcom willing to be sloppy with the details of the premise for the sake of the jokes. But then it turns out that, no, every detail was deliberate and the seeming inconsistencies were intentional plot points.
posted by straight at 10:49 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


(wait there were clowns in the backgrounds?!)
posted by XtinaS at 3:33 AM on June 14


Right, if you know there will be a twist, it is not impossible to predict what the twist is. But most people watching a sitcom don't expect a twist, it is not the usual genre to have one. And it really uses the sitcom form to mislead.

I'm really excited for season three, and I think I am glad he clarified that this as definitely really back on real earth.
posted by jeather at 4:25 AM on June 14


(this is spoiler-y, but given the context of the discussion that seems acceptable)
Additionally, many of the ways they're being tortured early in S1 take the form of sitcom tropes! Misunderstandings, bad timing, etc etc. So they feel very natural given what we're watching.
posted by flaterik at 10:38 AM on June 14 [1 favorite]


Additionally, many of the ways they're being tortured early in S1 take the form of sitcom tropes!

Which prompts the question: Does this mean that the characters on other network sitcoms are all in The Bad Place and don't know it? Especially the ones that still have laugh tracks in 2018?
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:36 AM on June 14 [2 favorites]


Right, if you know there will be a twist, it is not impossible to predict what the twist is. But most people watching a sitcom don't expect a twist, it is not the usual genre to have one. And it really uses the sitcom form to mislead.

At the time, on FanFare at least, we all knew there was something wrong, that Michael (or someone else -- I held on to "Chidi is the Architect" for a long time) wasn't telling us the entire truth. The most common theory was that this was a sort of testing purgatory -- where people had a more final decision made -- or training purgatory -- where people who were close to going to the Good Place or the Bad Place got a final chance to tip one way or the other. There was definitely going to be a twist, because there was a twist in practically each individual episode.

So when we found out that it was the straight-up Bad Place, I figured that the reason none of us said that was that Season 1 was, for all intents and purposes, a network sitcom adaptation of No Exit. Which is insane. No one would greenlight that. But if it had been on AMC or FXX, then maybe we would have been more willing to say "Oh, this is definitely Hell."
posted by Etrigan at 12:03 PM on June 14 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I think maybe I considered that it was the bad place at some point in Season 1? But the reveal was still completely shocking, and I think that speaks to how well it was delivered.

In addition to Michael's amazing cackle, I think the writers/actors did a really nice sleight-of-hand. Because we'd spent the last few episodes trying to keep the main four OUT of the bad place, it kind of kept us from speculating that they were already there.

And count me as another person who's not worried about the show spinning out because they don't know what to do. These writers have earned our trust a million times over. This isn't LOST.
posted by lunasol at 12:15 PM on June 14 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of bummed I missed hearing about the show until I saw gif sets of some post-reveal (I think "jason figured it out? this is a real low" piqued my interest). I sure as bad place enjoyed it, but I'm curious what inklings I would have had about what was going on had I not known...
posted by flaterik at 4:02 PM on June 14


Apologies to people who saw it coming from a mile away and really feel diminished by the suggestion that they might not have. I surrender this hill to you.
posted by Linda_Holmes at 10:45 AM on June 18


« Older Her, the band: We choose the way we'll be...   |   Slip Coaches: Passenger Train Cars Detached at... Newer »


You are not currently logged in. Log in or create a new account to post comments.