Today, we look at Michael explaining what gives him hope on The Good Place.
This is To Quote a Phrase, a spotlight on notable pop culture quotes.
October is a Month of To Quote a Phrase, both here and at Comics Should Be Good!
SPOILERS FOR THE GOOD PLACE!
I know you could argue that every one of these things involves spoilers and, well, they totally do, but at the same time, I think it’s more reasonable for people to actually want to avoid spoilers for a relatively recent TV show versus a 74 year old movie like yesterday’s quote, so I’ll stick with spoilers for more modern fare.
In any event, The Good Place was a brilliant sitcom created by Michael Schur that examined a group of people and their journey in the afterlife. In the first season, a woman named Eleanor (Kristen Bell) finds herself in essentially Heaven (or “The Good Place”), even though she didn’t do much with her life on Earth, so she’s surprised. The head architect of The Good Place is a being known as Michael (Ted Danson). Eleanor then learns that she was the WRONG Eleanor. She was confused with ANOTHER Eleanor, who was a really impressive person on Earth (super humanitarian, all the works). Eleanor confides in her “soulmate,” Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and he agrees to keep her secret, and also help her improve as a person so that maybe she’d DESERVE to be in “The Good Place.”
Then, of course, there was the major twist that this really was The Bad Place in disguise, and this was all intended as a new way to torture humans, by forcing them into painful emotional decisions (like can Eleanor let the “good” Eleanor really be sent to The Bad Place in her stead?). Michael is a villain. However, over the course of the next few seasons, Michael is slowly redeemed by beginning to believe that humans actually CAN improve themselves, even in the afterlife, so he begins to work with the humans to fix the afterlife system (especially after they discover that no one has actually earned entry into The Good Place for centuries because of its arbitrary entry requirements).
In Season 4, they run an experiment to see if they can prove that humans CAN become better in the afterlife (and thus, that the current The Good Place/The Bad Place system needs to be changed). Michael’s old bosses at The Bad Place try to ruin the experiment by sending a spy in the form of an evil version of Janet (D’Arcy Carden) in to sabotage things (Janet is sort of a humanoid computer that the afterlives all have). They discover Bad Janet and keep her captive, but in the sixth episode of Season 4, we learn that Michael had been visiting Bad Janet for months, trying to woo her to work with them. In this episode, he tells her a story of the gang having a really bad day for the experiment, before deciding to try a new approach. She’s surprised, at it sounds like all he has done is prove that humans suck, so how can he seem so hopeful. He retorts, “What matters isn’t if people are good or bad. What matters is if they’re trying to be better today than they were yesterday. You asked me where my hope comes from. That’s your answer.”
He then lets her go, telling her, “I tried to win you over to our side. It hasn’t worked. So keeping you as a prisoner just seems cruel.” Before she leaves, he adds, “Letting you go home is how I’ve decided to be a little better today than I was yesterday.”
The Good Place was a great series, and the hope line was a really nice quote, especially considering Michael’s journey as a character.
Okay, folks, if you have notable quotes from TV, movie or music that you’d like to see me spotlight this month, drop me a line at email@example.com!