The Good Place Ending

The summer 2019 Television Critics Association press tour ended with a final panel for the fourth season of The Good Place on NBC. Good Place fans were sad when Mike Schur announced at an FYC panel earlier this summer that the fourth season would be the last. The Good Place cast had a love-fest at Comic-Con with fans saying emotional goodbyes.

Many of the plans for the final season have been discussed through Schur’s final season interviews and all the panels and interviews the cast has done. However, Schur addressed one new angle on The Good Place during the TCA panel. Here’s how his goal for the show (spoiler warning for the first three seasons), and therefore the finale, changed while Schur was writing The Good Place

The Good Place Plan That Changed

When we first saw the pilot for The Good Place, it looked like a show about heaven. We thought that’s what we were watching for most of the first season. Eleanor (Kristen Bell) knew she deserved to be in The Bad Place and Michael (Ted Danson) had made a mistake. That was also the show Mike Schur thought he was writing. 

“I pitched the show as an investigation of what it meant to be a good person and found over the course of working on it with the writers and the actors and the entire crew, that that’s even a more complicated question than I think I thought it was,” Schur said. “I thought at the beginning that the show could, if given the chance, describe what it meant to be a good person. That was my hope.”

As Chidi (William Jackson Harper) tried to teach Eleanor how to be good, it seemed like that’s what The Good Place was exploring. Not that it was simple. 

“That didn’t mean do this and not that,” Schur said. “It meant here’s what a good person looked like in the world. Here is how a person can feel like he or she led a good life. At the end of the day, that objective kind of shifted a little bit.”

What The Good Place Became

Season two drastically shifted the message of The Good Place. Once Eleanor figured out Michael was actually running The Bad Place, the gang tried to teach Michael how to be good. That demonstrated the complexity of the question.

“What we found as we discussed it and wrote it and executed it is that some very, very smart people over the last 3000 years have had a lot of very different opinions about that question,” Schur said. “The mission of the show then became was to say okay, we’re going to give you a bunch of options. You can be a good person this way, try to be a good person this way or this way. What we ended up saying is we’re going to present a bunch of options, and there are plenty more we didn’t describe, but what’s important is that you try one of them. That was my internal shift over the course of making the show, the newfound belief that the important thing wasn’t actually being good. The important thing was that you’re trying.”

The Conclusion of The Good Place Will Have This Message

As Schur wrote towards the series finale of The Good Place, he realized this was the whole point of the show. Life is a journey, not a destination. Now, so is the afterlife.

“It feels like a huge part of the problem, from my point of view, is that not enough people are just trying,” Schur said. “Trying means failing. Everybody fails all the time, even with the best of intentions. You’re going to fail a lot. We all fail all the time at this. In the beginning I pitched what it means to be a good person. At the end I would describe this as a show that makes the argument we all have to try harder than we are. As long as you’re trying, you’re on the right path.”

Cool Posts From Around the Web: