The Good Place

TV review by
Joyce Slaton, Common Sense Media
The Good Place TV Poster Image
Incredibly original afterlife sitcom has charm, diversity.
Parents recommendPopular with kids

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 20 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive messages

Show about an afterlife hopefully spent in a "good place" assumes that people want to be good. In that good place, all of one's earthly actions are weighed and a suitable afterlife is given to each person. 

Positive role models & representations

Main character Eleanor is not, we are told, a good person, yet we watch her redemptive journey. We see her struggle with various problems and her own character defects, ultimately choosing kindness over harm. Good behaviors are explicitly praised, selfish or bad ones criticized. 

Violence

Mild jokes about offscreen violence, such as the auto accident that killed our main character. In one episode, characters are splattered with blood after running people over with a trolley in a lifelike simulation. 

Sex

Somewhat off-color jokes include one about an erectile dysfunction drug; a woman asks if a man in her past was gay because he didn't want to have sex with her; a woman tells a man to eat her farts and makes use of the word "horny." In the heaven-like "good place," each person is said to have a soul mate with whom they'll spend the rest of eternity. One character talks about frequently masturbating. Two characters discuss sex positions. Characters are seen together in bed, but no graphic nudity. 

Language

In the show's heaven-like setting, it's impossible to curse. "Somebody royally forked up," says Eleanor before being told she can't curse. "That's bullshirt," she says. One woman insults a tall rival by calling her a "cartoon giraffe" and a "butthead." A character insults larger people by calling them "chunksters." A use of "badass."

Consumerism

In the afterlife, characters still care about big houses and expensive belongings and compete on those terms. 

Drinking, drugs & smoking

Adults drink champagne and wine; an annoyed woman storms off to the bar when she needs to blow off steam; a woman has 30 glasses of wine and marvels that she doesn't have a hangover in the afterlife. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Good Place is a fantasy sitcom about a woman who dies and goes to a heaven-like afterlife. Moral messages are underlined unusually clearly on this show, since only good actions and people are allowed in this "good place"; positive actions such as helping others are explicitly praised, while actions such as defrauding others of their money are criticized. Expect some vulgar language, but cursing is subverted, as there's no rough language in the afterlife: The main character says "fork this" and "bullshirt." There are jokes about bodily functions, body parts, and being "horny." Adult characters drink wine and cocktails at a party; a woman drinks 30 glasses of wine and acts drunk and sloppy but has no hangover when she wakes. Cast boasts extensive racial and ethnic diversity, with people of color in main roles. 

User Reviews

Adult Written bychris d. September 23, 2016

i forking love this new show

ok this is one of those types of comedies you cant put in to a category really is a workplace comedy but also a family comedy theres no real swearing and mild s... Continue reading
Adult Written byclickgoesthecamera March 8, 2017

A humorous and interesting watch, if a bit dirty

"The Good Place" season 1 was a roller coaster ride of bright colors and huge laughs with a mind-bending plot twist to finish. The first few episodes... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bybassclarinetist September 20, 2016

Only Two Episodes and Already a Great Show!

This is fitting for twelve year-olds and up, because it doesn't have any language. It has a little bit of drinking, but not much. There are a lot of charac... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old October 16, 2017

A good show

The Good Place is a hilarious show, but there a mentions of sex, masturbation and cocaine, plus quite a lot of drinking. There isn't much swearing, except... Continue reading

What's the story?

Somebody's made a mistake. Snarky con artist Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) has died, and instead of receiving her just rewards she winds up in THE GOOD PLACE, with heavenly coordinator Michael (Ted Danson) ushering her into a new life with a cute and tiny house, a group of morally upright neighbors, and her supposed soul mate, Chidi (William Jackson Harper). Saintly Chidi, a former ethics professor, is the only one who knows Eleanor's not where she's supposed to be, a fact that causes strange shock waves to radiate out through the afterlife. But Eleanor is hoping that she can make herself a better person, worthy of the place in which she hopes to stay. 

Is it any good?

This bright charmer is a delightful and surprisingly deep exploration of the complexities of being, well, good. The Good Place, it turns out, is a series of sprawling suburbs, each one designed to meet all the needs of its (un-?) dead population and stocked with neighbors selected to harmonize with one another. Eleanor's heavenly neighborhood is one of green lawns and yogurt shops (but then, those are everywhere: "People love frozen yogurt," shrugs Michael), with shops such as the Small Adorable Animal Depot and a house that's supposedly specially made for Eleanor, with a primary color scheme and many pictures of clowns. 

Of course, Eleanor doesn't fit -- not into the house, not into the neighborhood, not into this heaven cognate, and soon her snark and selfishness cause unforeseen consequences. She doesn't want to go to the Bad Place that people talk darkly but vaguely about, so her only choice is to try to improve herself enough to keep her spot in the neighborhood. It's hardly an original setup, but the jokes are fun (a list of everyone in the Bad Place includes Elvis, Mozart, and every American president but Lincoln), and Bell retains the flip, mouthy attitude that made her a breakout star on Veronica Mars, while Danson radiates a Willy Wonka-esque appeal. It all comes together in a show that's mild but fun and good for whole-family watching with tweens on up. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the way women are portrayed on television and why main female characters tend to be such a rarity. Are women on TV more often shown working together or working against each other? What about on The Good Place? How do TV stereotypes match up to the behavior of the women you know in real life? 

  • Many shows begin with a character new to a setting or situation being shown around. Why? Name some examples you've seen. 

  • Life-after-death scenarios are a staple of fantasy movies and TV shows. Why? Why are shows that tell viewers what might happen after death appealing? 

TV details

For kids who love comedy

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