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What The Good Place Fans Notice Only When Rewatching The Show

In January of 2020, NBC's afterlife comedy The Good Place, created and led by beloved showrunner Michael Schur (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation), came to an end with its fourth season after just over fifty episodes, and though fans were sad to see it go, it left behind quite a legacy. Throughout its brief yet illustrious run, The Good Place told the story of four humans who, having died on Earth, initially wake up in "the good place," a utopian afterlife, but once they start noticing cracks in the system, they realize something is amiss. With plenty of heart, whip-smart jokes, and insanely clever twists, The Good Place established itself as a modern television classic, and there's even more beyond the surface when fans take a closer look.

The Good Place is one of the smartest shows in recent memory, so it should come as no surprise that there's a ton of Easter eggs and tiny clues about the show's big twists hidden in plain sight. Here are just a few of the incredible things fans of The Good Place will only notice when they rewatch their favorite series. Spoilers for the entire series ahead!

Michael's motives are clearer than they seem

As the show opens, we meet Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), who meets Michael (Ted Danson), an otherworldly figure who tells her that she has died on Earth and is now in "the good place." Alongside humans that include moral philosophy professor Chidi (William Jackson-Harper), socialite Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Buddhist monk Jianyu (Manny Jacinto), Eleanor seems to have a lifetime of happiness ahead of her... except that she doesn't belong in the Good Place, and neither does Jianyu. Jianyu, whose real name is Jason Mendoza, and Eleanor were both pretty terrible people on Earth, but now, they're endangering both the very fabric of the afterlife as well as Michael, the neighborhood's architect.

However, as it happens, Michael is the one pulling the strings all along, and at the end of the first season, it's revealed that all four humans are actually in the Bad Place, which is pretending to be the Good Place as a form of torture. These four humans, who frequently get on one another's nerves, were chosen to torture each other, and Michael is quietly making them miserable.

If you go back and watch the first season in particular, pay attention not just to Michael, but to all of the other "residents" in the Good Place, who are just disguised demons. According to episodes of the Good Place Podcast, costume designers took great care to not let anyone in the neighborhood wear red, as they felt its association with hell would have given it away. Beyond that, Michael only appears in scenes with the humans, not anyone else, as he would have had to drop his "nice guy" act if the humans weren't around, which would have spoiled this amazing twist.

Pawnee, Indiana plays a big role in The Good Place

As for Easter eggs, Schur made sure he paid homage to the show that put him on the map, NBC's political comedy Parks and Recreation, and eagle eyed viewers can find plenty of references to that different yet similar show hidden at every turn.

To name just a few, character names from Parks and Rec pop up quite often in the Good Place. For example, when we learn how Jason died — locked in a safe trying to pull off a ridiculous heist — the safe itself bears the Swanson name, an obvious reference to Parks and Rec's Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman), who would definitely be in the safe business. Beyond that, Jean-Ralphio Saperstein (Ben Schwartz), Pawnee's most irritating entrepreneur, is apparently selling champagne, as an ad for his bubbly can be seen on the back of a magazine. Pawnee's resident perfumer to the stars, Dennis Feinstein (Jason Mantzoukas, who also appears on The Good Place), also takes out magazine ads for his repulsive scents.

Little things about The Good Place only become clear when you rewatch the series

If you pay close attention to Eleanor, who, as a part of the ruse, believes that she has stolen her spot in the Good Place from an actual good person named Eleanor Shellstrop, during the first season, you'll pick up on several little clues along the way.

When Eleanor arrives at her house, it's small, modest, and decorated just the way the other Eleanor would like it, but it's an odd house by any standard. Of course, that's on purpose: the furniture is meant to be uncomfortable and awkward. Beyond that, Eleanor is always wearing crisp plaid shirts, jeans, and sneakers, but whenever the series shows Eleanor during her time on Earth, she's either in revealing short dresses or sweatpants, and her new "look" is actually designed for the other Eleanor as a way to make her feel even more out of place.

Beyond that, some characters even plainly state what will happen later, something you can only notice during a rewatch. For example, in the tenth episode of season two, Chidi tells Eleanor he wishes they had met in a normal way, like "at a philosophy conference" or when she came "knocking on his door asking for help with philosophy." Putting aside that these are totally weird and way too specific ways to meet, the second one actually happens just two episodes later, when the humans are sent back to Earth to prove their worth, and Eleanor seeks Chidi's help after seeing one of his lectures on YouTube.

If you want to find all of The Good Place's tiny secrets, the entire series is streaming on Netflix now.