The Best Lines From The Good Place S03E04: ‘The Snowplow’

Among the qualities which help make The Good Place one of the best shows on TV is its impeccable timing. In this age of Peak TV, it’s no longer enough to simply be really funny (but disjointed in terms of plot) or offer mind-bending twists that feel unearned. The Good Place doesn’t have this problem because it’s checks every box. It’s funny on the speed of a show like 30 Rock, it’s twisty akin to a LOST, and it’s well-structured and has weight to it like any number of prestige dramas, despite being a network sitcom.

Pace and timing has a lot to do with making all of this work. I’ve talked a lot in the past about how creator Michael Schur and his troupe of writers have no problem blowing through plot that would be drawn out over multiple seasons, but it’s not simply enough to be fast-pased and forward thinking, because you run the risk of giving your audience a bad case of fear of missing out. The Good Place works because even though you want more of the stuff they leave behind, the path forward manages to be even more compelling.

“The Snowplow” is the latest example of why the show is so good at all of this, as is blows up the premise once again, even though we’re only four episodes into this third season and the new normal of the show after Michael resets the timeline and puts Chidi, Eleanor, Jason and Tahani back in their old lives, as if they never died and spent thousands of years being psychologically tortured by his former, overzealous demon self. Last week, we saw Michael and Janet dispense of Trevor and his attempts to set Michael’s plan ablaze, but in the process they burned their bridge with The Judge, forcing them to go on the run down on earth, devoid of their powers. But they’re still laser-focused on their goal of making sure their four friends tally enough points to make it to the Good Place, so they spend the next year holed up in the abandoned journalism department of the university where Chidi is conducting his study on the rest of the group, spying on them and occasionally interfering in order to put out fired and set them back on track. Unfortunately, their interference backfires when Tahani gets engaged to Larry Hemsworth and vows to leave Australia for London. Michael and Janet try to interfere again at the engagement party, but none of it works and it only helps usher Eleanor down her usual path of destructiveness.

This is where I start to annoyingly sing the show’s praises again, because what follows is kind of beautifully tragic. While Michael panics, thinking the group can’t achieve what they need to unless they stay together in Australia, the gang of four vows to reunite at least once a year at one of their respective homes, signalling that all hope isn’t necessarily lost. Unfortunately Michael isn’t around to see this. Flustered, he devises a Hail Mary plan to break into The Judge’s chambers and reset the timeline, much like he did when the gang first found out they were in The Bad Place (and the hundreds of times they found out thereafter). Unfortunately, they see him open the portal, leaving us with a cliffhanger where the group might suddenly become aware of their sinister situation.

Of course, we’ll have to wait and see how this plays out, if Michael manages to reset the timeline, if everyone goes up to try and help them or if he somehow fools them, but knowing what this show is capable of and what it’s done in the past, it’s likely to be something good and something crazy, turning everything we know about the show on its head once again. And here I thought we were in for an episode of yearly group meet-ups.

Like I said, the twists alone aren’t enough, the show is brilliant on all fronts. Janet spends the episode using the ubiquitous knowledge she still has before she left the afterlife, Michael comes up with yet another persona (Nathaniel Cookswell, caterer to the stars), there’s a debate about Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. The Rock, we were introduced to Superboard, and the show even pays off a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it gag from last week’s episode featuring an Australian version of AUS Weekly (not to be confused with TMZed) revealing a fake, worthless Hemsworth brother, who immediately pays dividends in this episode as a self-loathing baby surgeon who barely even has an eight-pack.

This is a show that’s been firing on all cylinders since late in its first season, and I see no sign of that stopping. “The Snowplow” gets 9 lesser known Hemsworth brothers out of 10.


All The Best Lines from “The Snowplow:”

  • Tahani Namedrops: Giselle Buncheon and, without actually naming him, Tom Brady.
  • The Judge: “I have never been this angry in my life. Which is the age of the universe.”
  • Michael/Judge: “Sorry Judge I think you’re breaking up.” “That’s impossible, it’s a magical key you dick.”
  • Janet: “Not a great star, Eleanor farted and then she blamed it on her chair.”
  • Chidi reading Trevor’s email (which is really from Michael): “I’m sad to inform you that I’m too ugly and stupid to be part of the study and I’m going home to my mommy.”
  • Jason: “Your chair smells bad.”
  • Eleanor: “I try to avoid pointless group activities. You know like office Christmas parties or jury duty.”
  • Eleanor: “Well I’m really good at marketing and I can usually tell how long to microwave food without looking at the box. I would say those are my two main skills.”
  • Janet: “Also that bathroom key that you lost nine months ago slid under the register. And the woman who you think is your aunt is actually your mom.”
  • Tahani after Eleanor wins $18,000: “Better luck next time. Yes, sorry, from context I see that’s actually a large sum of money.”
  • Jason: “Everything here is in a… I don’t know how to describe it, like a different zone of time? No, that sounds stupid. A different clockland!”
  • Jason: “If you want to watch with me you have to learn my Jaguars cheer. It goes, ‘let’s go Jags! Kick their ass! Yeah!’ Do you think you can learn that by the weekend?”
  • Larry Hemsworth: “Stupid Larry stop talking about rocks!”
  • On the Superboard’s news: “Koala exhibit at zoo overrun by extra koalas who just climbed in and won’t leave.”
  • Larry/Chidi: “Still can’t believe she wants to marry me, a dumb old pediatric surgeon who barely has an eight pack.” “Do you not know what you look like?”
  • Eleanor: “Is that why you came out? To scold me about the metric system?”
  • Eleanor: “We hate The Rock because he went Hollywood and Stone Cold keeps it real. So The Rock’s fans are the real jabronis.”
  • Eleanor: “I’m not really an I’m sorry type girl. I’m more of a it’s your fault your car got keyed in the movie theater parking lot because you wouldn’t stop talking through John Wick type girl.”
  • Jason: “We should meet up in Jacksonville. My house is right on the water. It didn’t used to be but the whole city is a swamp and it’s sinking into the ocean.”
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The Best Lines From The Good Place S03E03: “The Brainy Bunch”

 

Having spent the first two episodes of its third season setting up its latest delightfully convoluted conceit, The Good Place‘s latest episode, “The Brainy Bunch” felt like something akin to a proof of concept. There probably wasn’t anything you could label as a big twist (although there were certainly some interesting plot developments) and it felt as if the show was trying to show us how this idea of the group continuing their efforts to better themselves in a new setting could work over the long haul. Of course, anyone’s who has watched The Good Place from the beginning knows that nothing it does is meant to last for a long time. This is a show that is constantly on its heels, constantly evolving, growing, bettering itself the same way it tasks its characters to do in the story. We can probably be reassured that anything set up in any given episode probably won’t apply for very long, and that’s a big part of the beauty of the show.

And yet, if one is to review the show on a weekly basis, it has to be pointed out that “The Brainy Bunch” feels like more of a letter move than you would expect from a show with all the accolades I gave it. Not much of consequence really happens, and yet the episode is still extraordinarily funny, and the plot developments at the end of the episode signal that the next round of change is probably around the corner.

The episode follows the efforts of the group to bond, while their newest member, the evil demon Trevor (Adam Scott), tries to undermine them and break them up. He not-so-subtly starts to annoy Eleanor and tries to push her away from Chidi and he tries to have Tahani and Jason hook up, which will certainly be problematic for the group’s dynamics. Michael and Janet arrive to thwart his efforts, but Michael, while convinced that the group’s magnetic attraction cannot be stopped, is not his usual self, incapable of lying and coming up with any decent comebacks, and Janet is having trouble adjusting to life on earth without her powers. In the end, Trevor’s meddling has mixed results. Tahani and Jason didn’t hook up, but there is clearly something budding between then (again). Eleanor almost quits the study but Chidi, as he is wont to do, stops her and brings her back.

More intriguingly, however, the Judge catches up with the efforts of our three eternal beings. She flicks Trevor out of the picture (literally) and informs Michael and Janet that while the experiment can continue unimpeded, they will have to be returned to The Bad Place. Luckily, all the stuff that Janet couldn’t materialize on earth suddenly appears and they’re able to escape back to earth with the one and only key that the Doorman lets them take.

All that tells me that more change is around the corner. Michael and Janet can’t be running around on earth without their abilities for too long, at least not without eventually revealing themselves and their intentions to the group, which further changes the group dynamics and moves the story forward. In that sense, the episode feels like it might be doing a little more table setting than you would want from this show. And yet, it’s still incredibly impressive that these four characters have such good chemistry and such an interesting dynamic even though, technically they have no knowledge of their prior interactions and are meeting each other for the first time yet again. The show doesn’t miss a beat and doesn’t repeat itself in the slightest in spite of this.

And, like I said, it’s still incredibly funny! Tasking myself to write down my favourite lines from a show like this has been a daunting task, but it’s worth it, because on top of being super original and really good, it never forgets that it’s a comedy, which is something that a lot of the higher quality shows in the half-hour format have trouble with.

So “The Brainy Bunch” feels somewhat transitional, but still really funny and compelling, and for that, it gets 9 devastating Dick Tracy burns out of 10.


Notes & Quotes:

  • Tahani Namedrops: I only caught two this week, Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively.
  • The “Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet” Mount Rushmore has replaced its presidential faces with David Hasselhoff, Paris Hilton, Judge Judy and Hulk Hogan.
  • Stuff that happened because Michael and Janet went to earth: Brexit, The Greatest Showman’s success, the Jacksonville Jaguars are good now, Byron Allen owns The Weather Channel.
  • Eleanor: “It’s so nice to hear someone say ‘Eleanor, you’re the reason this is all happening’ who isn’t a judge in small claims court.”
  • Trevor: “Eleanor, do I have the right number for you? Because you haven’t responded to any of the dank memes I’ve sent.”
  • Jason, holding a spider: “Mrs. Teacher, for my turn is there any way to get, like, extra radiation?”
  • Trevor: “Dick Tracy called, he said you’re a buttface and he’s been plowing your mom.”
  • Michael: “Well Dick Tracy called me too, first, and he said he was about to call you and say a lie about me that was actually true about you instead.”
  • Trevor: “What did you think, we were just going to sit around in the Bad Place blowing beefers while you’re down here boning us in the meathole?”
  • Michael: “First of all, I’m currently formulating a better comeback to your Dick Tracy burn and it’s gonna devastate you.”
  • Michael: “Dick Tracy called you back on his watch phone and said you better watch out.”
  • Jason: “Optimus, Bumblebee, Jazz, Megatron. That’s what you can each call me, now we need nicknames for you guys.”
  • Michael: “Every part of my body is either too dry or too wet.”
  • Chidi: “We could be colleagues, associates is pushing it. And by even having this conversation you’re becoming my confidant.”
  • Michael: “It’s me, the librarian. From the library. I’ve been in every situation. Because I’m a librarian.”
  • Trevor: “I like putting my hands on the toilets so everything I touch gets a little bit of poop on it.”
  • Jason: “Crazy story, after you got out of the cap I forgot where I lived, but I looked across the street and there was a motel. And behind that there was a dumpster. I slept in a dumpster!”
  • Jason: “You’re the fanciest person I know. Next to my friend Ronnie who drives a limo. He’s in limos all the time. What a life!”
  • Michael/Trevor: “Hey, Dick Tracy called. He said that I was right about Eleanor and Chidi having an unbreakable bond.” “I don’t think you understand how that joke works.”

The Best Lines from The Good Place S03E01&02: “Everything is

 

The continued and consistently touted brilliance of The Good Place tends to center around its uncanny ability to evolve into something new and different without ever losing sight of the tangled roots of the relationships between all of its main characters. In other words, while the semi-annual changes in the show’s format and plot will garner headlines and critical praise, the actual thing that keeps the show at an unmatched level of quality among network sitcoms is that creator Michael Schur and his writers never lose sight of the fact that, no matter how much you change the plot, you can’t change the dynamics between Eleanor, Chidi, Jason and Tahani (not to mention Michael and Janet as the all-knowing beings that they are).

“The key was Eleanor and Chidi’s connection,” Michael declares to Janet at one point in the two-episode, third season premiere, “Everything is Bonzer!”, as they monitor the progress of their four subjects, resurrected on earth in an experiment to see whether or not people are capable of bettering themselves and earning a spot in The Good Place. That rings so true, not only with regards to where the show finds itself plot-wise, but also about the show and its spirit as a whole. From Michael revealing himself as an evil demon, to the way season two blew through over 800 reboots in the span of a couple of episodes, to Michael deciding to be good and help his gang of four, to the ultimate reboot that we find ourselves in now, I love every single twist The Good Place has given us. But those twists don’t work if it isn’t for character development and the chemistry between said characters.

The show has no problem displaying this, because it’s forced Chidi and Eleanor, and of course many of the other characters, to meet each other and learn about each other over and over again. Sometimes, characters evolve and turn into something completely different, like the aforementioned Michael, or Janet changing and becoming more human, or characters like Vicki revealing their true colours. And the show is portending to go through the same motions, as the conceit of this third season is that Michael has reset the four’s lives, saved them from death and, through their near-death experiences, put them on a path to betterment, in hopes of proving to the judge that their system of determining who’s good and who’s bad is flawed. But Michael’s gambit, just like all his others, is flawed, and in the premiere, he finds himself interfering with their lives more than the Judge would probably want him to. And, of course, Michael still has Shawn and his fellow demons chasing after him, as any change to the system would likely mean less people for them to torture.

“Everything is Bonzer” mostly recounts the year that our four heroes have spent living the lives that had previously ended around the same time, recounting to one another how their near-death experiences initially set them on a path to betterment, only to find themselves some months later back in their old habits. Michael surmises, as mentioned, that they need each other in order for the plan to work, so using a slew of increasingly hilarious pseudonyms, he nudges them together under Chidi’s tutelage and the pretense of a study about them and their experiences over the past year.

So, there you have the premise for season 3. Roughly similar to what we’ve seen before, Chidi is teaching everyone else about philosophy and how to be better. But there are wrinkles. As we see at the end of the hour-long episode, Adam Scott’s Trevor makes a return, posing as another survivor of a near-death experience, likely at Shawn’s behest. Michael and Janet are still watching from afar, with Judge Gen lurking over their shoulders. As it’s always been on this show, things will likely blow up long before we have a change to get used to them. And that’s a big part of what makes it special.

That being said, if I’m being honest, part of wishes that this two-episode premiere was somehow merged with last season’s finale. I wasn’t a huge fan of where the show left us last year. We spent most of the finale following Eleanor’s new life, and it really felt as if it was missing the rest of the crew. The premiere basically recapped what Eleanor was doing and gave us the other three stories. Ending the season with everyone being saved and picking up with the four full stories post-resurrection would have felt a little less clunky. But I suppose that’s a nitpick, because I still really enjoyed this premiere.

And another big reason for that is because the show is still hilarious, so without further adieu, let’s get to the jokes and gags!

“Everything is Bonzer” picks up right with The Good Place left off in season 2, and it’s just as smart, poignant, meaningful and hilarious as it’s ever been, so it gets 9 crystals that prevent erectile dysfunction out of 10.


Here are all the best lines from the season premiere of The Good Place!

  • Tahani Namedrops: Prince William, Bono, The Edge, Nicole Kidman, the Dalai Lama, and through book quotes that both suggest they’ll stop writing because of how brilliant Tahani is, Malcolm Gladwell and Cormac McCarthy.
  • Michael uses three pseudonyms in this episode and they’re all perfect: Charles Brainman, a professor Chidi has never heard of, mogul Gordon Indigo, and of course, Zach Pizzazz, international talent scout. That last one is especially zoncatronic.
  • There’s also a muffin stand called “We Crumb from the Land Down Under”, continuing the show’s tradition of amazingly-named restaurants.
  • Michael/The Doorman: “So, how long does this trip take. Hope I don’t get a middle seat!” “Wow, I haven’t heard a joke in 8000 years. And I still haven’t.”
  • Michael: “I saw this place that was at once a Pizza Hut and a Taco Bell. I mean, the mind reels!”
  • Michael: “I put a coin in a thing and I got a gumball. And then someone came up to me and said, ‘hot enough for ya!?’ And you know what I said? I said, ‘Tell me about it!'”
  • Eleanor: “Eat my farts, Benedict Cumberbatch.”
  • Police officer to Jason: “Do you think my name is the letter K?”
  • The Doorman: “It’s only 4:30. My shift doesn’t end until nine billion.”
  • Eleanor on why she’s an Arizona Trashbag: “Our biggest exports are racist sheriffs and HPV.”
  • Eleanor: “I had no choice, I was in his driveway taking pictures when he walked out, so I said, ‘Hey Mr. Crowe, I’m from the gas compayny. I loved you in Gladiator.'”
  • Janet: “I’ve been running simulations on what their kids will look like. One of them is hot enough to be on The Bachelor AND smart enough to never go on The Bachelor!”
  • Janet: “If you keep disobeying mommy something bad is going to happen.”
  • Jason: “We are going to eat, breathe and vape dance!”
  • MC: “Would the owner of a 1998 Toyota Tercel with golden pythons painted on both sides, license plate GOTMILF please see an usher? Your car has exploded.”
  • Jason: “I know it sounds crazy, but I’m starting to think there’s more to life than amateur street dancing competitions.”
  • Jason: “Clausterphobic? Who would ever be scared of Santa Claus? Oh! The Jewish!”