Season 2 of The Good Place debuted this month, proving what longtime viewers already know to be true: the 30-minute comedy series is whip-smart, imaginative, and crammed with more quotable one-liners than Lorelai Gilmore at Friday night dinners.
The premise of the first season is that Eleanor (Kristen Bell) has died, and should rightly be in The Bad Place (a children’s book label for Hell) — but, due to a lucky mix-up, winds up in The Good Place instead. She proceeds to spend the rest of the season trying to learn how to be actually good so that she can better fit in.
Despite that wholesome plot summary, the show is anything but. It’s filled with biting critiques of our notions of the afterlife, American society, and humanity as a whole, presented in such a way that makes audiences laugh rather than excuse themselves to grapple with their pressing existential dread.
I won’t give away season 2 (that should give me some + points) but instead convince you to watch it on your own with a smattering of memorable quotes from the first season. Shirtballs, they’re motherforking good.
1. This likely explanation of a human who guessed what the afterlife is like:
“Doug was a stoner kid who lived in Calgary in the 1970s. One night he got really high on mushrooms, and his best friend Randy said, ‘Hey, what do you think happens after we die?’ And Doug just launched into this long monologue where he got like 92 percent correct.”
2. This brief recap of who’s in hell:
“Basically every artist ever [is in the bad place.] Every US president except Lincoln.”
3. Eleanor’s logical conclusion:
“I was a medium person. I should get to spend eternity in a medium place! Like Cincinnati.”
4. This reading choice that reflects the worst in all of us:
“Your favorite book is Kendall Jenner’s Instagram feed.”
5. One of the many analyses of humanity’s flaws (in reference to frozen yogurt):
“There’s something so human about taking something great, and ruining it a little, so you can have more of it.”
6. Eleanor’s unnerring hatred for her beautiful neighbor:
“She wants everyone to think she’s such a perfect princess just because she’s tall and glamorous and has cappuccino skin and curves everywhere and now I’m complimenting her and kind of turned on.”
7. Jianyu’s illuminating statement that made me choke on my wine:
“Heaven is so racist.”
8. This takedown of upper-class brunch discussions:
“I’ve been working on my Western Hemisphere brunch banter. That New Yorker article was crazy. You haven’t seen Hamilton? Hey, did you hear about Stephanie?”
9. The best hot take of the show Friends:
“I even watched all ten seasons of the show Friends. Wow, those friends really were friends, weren’t they?”
10. Eleanor coming to terms with her previous mistakes on Earth:
“I once pretended to have a terminal illness to meet Scott Wolf at a Sunglass Hut.”
11. And, finally, Eleanor’s worst offense of all:
“Brief Instagram flirtation with Kid Rock? Oh, no.”