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This Is Why The First Season Of The Good Place Is Better Than The Final

A lot of sitcoms tend to recycle plot lines and follow the same basic character archetypes. You may have a wacky, dysfunctional family that ultimately comes together to love each other in the end, or you could opt for an office of co-workers that grows to become their own found family. Then there's the group of friends who seemingly have an endless supply of money to have all kinds of fun adventures with. There's nothing necessarily wrong with following a proven formula, but it's refreshing to see a show really break the boundaries of what's possible, and that's precisely what audiences received with The Good Place

The sitcom followed four individuals — Eleanor (Kristen Bell), Chidi (William Jackson Harper), Tahani (Jameela Jamil), and Jason (Manny Jacinto) — as they navigate the afterlife together in a neighborhood designed by Michael (Ted Danson). The only problem is that Eleanor hasn't actually earned the right to be in the Good Place. She believes she was put there by mistake, so it's up to her to figure out how to be a good person by having philosophy professor Chidi teach her what it truly means to be good (or at the very least, medium-good).

With only four seasons, the show was able to maintain a level of quality few sitcoms are able to achieve. It tells a succinct, philosophically engaging story that still manages to pack in a ton of jokes per episode. It all leads to an emotionally satisfying ending that pays off everything the show was about, and while the last season was overall very strong, we think the first season still has it topped. 

The first season had a level of intrigue that has yet to be bested

The final season of The Good Place isn't bad by any means, but for the most part, you're waiting for the final pieces of the puzzle to fall into place. There are still a few surprises, such as discovering everyone in the Good Place is miserable because eternal happiness gets boring after a while, but even that problem gets resolved after a single episode. 

The first season starts off with such an intriguing premise right off the bat. We're told that Eleanor is only in the Good Place because she shares the same name as someone who's genuinely amazing, and her real life was less than ethical. She then spends an entire season figuring out how she can avoid damnation. Every episode adds another wrinkle to the complex situation, such as realizing the silent monk is actually an obnoxious, dim-witted dude named Jason from Jacksonville, Florida. You're constantly given new information and wondering what exactly is going to happen next.

It all leads to one of the most genius plot twists in television history. Eleanor discovers that none of the four main characters actually deserved to be in the Good Place, and all along, the neighborhood was a clever scheme by Michael, who's actually a demon, to torture them forever. To quote Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit, "Hell is other people." It boggles the mind that a network television show could pull off such an effective twist, and trust us when we say the time between seasons 1 and 2 felt exceedingly long as we tried to piece together where exactly the show could go from here. 

Turns out, the series had plenty more to say about being happy and how people could change. The last season brought it all home, but the first season knocked it out of the park.