Friday, November 4, 2016

What I’m Watching: The Good Place

The Good Place: Season 1, Episode 8 “Most Improved Player” (B+)

It seemed like there was going to be an explosion of chaos and persecution after Eleanor outed herself as the wrong element in the Good Place, but this was actually much more calm and focused. It was truly amusing that, as Michael was trying to get Eleanor’s file and she was requesting a glass of water, Janet kept handing them cacti instead since she’s a little rusty since her reboot. Eleanor’s defense of her behavior was sincere and honest if nothing else, and the level of detail that she went into to describe the churro dog suggests that she didn’t really expect her chances to be all that great. Michael telling that that judging her was literally the purpose of this entire exercise was perfectly delivered, and his horror at Eleanor’s ripped dress causing her friend to sue the dry cleaner for $80 million in emotional damages, after which she printed shirts to mock her friend, was a twisted delight to behold. It took me about two seconds to identify the voice from the Bad Place on the other side of the phone, and I couldn’t be more thrilled that Adam Scott, who previously starred as a far more angelic good guy on Michael Schur’s last show, “Parks and Recreation,” was cast in this role. He’s truly superb at trying to pull a prank on Michael and gleefully explaining the misery that awaits Eleanor, particularly the train car getting hotter every time that she thinks it’s too hot. Michael stepping in to save Eleanor from an awful fate revealed one of this show’s token twists – the real good Eleanor has been in the Bad Place this whole time! Oh boy, let’s see what the fall finale brings.

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