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The Good Place Season 1 Twist Shook The Cast So Much Kristen Bell Had To Film It

Sitcoms are not known for "Lost"-level cliffhangers, but Season 1 of NBC's "The Good Place" had one of cleverest twists of its time. It's hard to remember back that far, but once upon a time, there was a moment when no one knew Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Jason (Manny Jacinto), and Tahani (Jameela Jamil) weren't in heaven at all but actually in the Bad Place. In retrospect, it makes a lot of sense. You can't really have a sitcom full of tomfoolery and misunderstandings if everyone is supposed to be at peace.

But this was a surprise that was such a shock to everyone involved that Bell couldn't resist filming her co-stars when showrunner Mike Schur broke the news to them. Instead of the typical fashion of reading it in a script, the actors learned the fate of their characters close to their filming time, when they were still in costume. Featured in the video, which can be seen on Entertainment Weekly, are Harper, D'Arcy Carden, Jamil, and Jacinto, who all had varying levels of surprise and excitement. Carden — who plays robotic assistant Janet — urged Schur to continue with what happens next, enraptured with the story. This information was so sensitive that Bell and Ted Danson were the only actors kept in the loop.

Not even ethics stopped Mike Schur

Like all the viewers who tuned in to learn that Eleanor and her friends were really in the Bad Place, the cast was equally shocked. Mike Schur told Entertainment Weekly that he waited as long as possible to share the news with most of the cast members. Though most of the cast felt a meta connection with their characters after learning this information, it wasn't Schur's intention to torture his employees like the demons in the Bad Place.

"Their performances were going to be exactly what they should be without knowing it, so it didn't seem like there was any actual benefit to telling them outside of, like, friendship," Schur confessed. Schur considered telling the cast sooner only because of an ethical issue. The best season of "The Good Place" hinges on Eleanor cramming for Ethics, thinking it will somehow balance the scales and allow her a place in heaven if she becomes a better person. Ultimately, Schur decided that ethics didn't factor into his decision. "It was a creative issue and that made me feel better about the decision," he explained.

Kristen Bell's hope that her costars' reactions would provide hilarious entertainment fell short of the mark, but William Jackson Harper did confess that the experience was good for this process. "It was good not to know until the very end," he said. "It's just part of the character to not know."