Case For, Case Against: Should Chidi From ‘The Good Place’ Be That Jacked?


Something important happened this week on The Good Place. In Monday’s episode, after the gang saw Michael and Janet’s portal, and after Michael tried to pass himself as an FBI agent named “Frank Justice” (on the heels of trying to pass himself off as men named Gordon Indigo and Zach Pizazz…I love this show), the ruse came to an end and the beans were spilled. Now, the gang knows they were sent back to Earth to try to right their wrongs and, because they know, any actual progress they make will be moot. They are officially — for now — doomed to the Bad Place once they die.

Now, none of that is the important thing I mentioned in the first sentence of this post because the important thing is that Chidi had a meltdown upon learning all of this and he took his shirt off and Chidi is freakin’ jacked.

He is super jacked. He’s so jacked that it’s becoming a whole thing. The gang went through this big transformation after finding out they’re doomed, with Eleanor returning lost wallets and Tahani giving most of her money to Jason and random people on the street, and it was all kind of beautiful and a nice look at finding a sliver of light in a hopeless situation and no one cares. That’s not true. People care. I care. But go on Twitter right now and do a search for “Chidi jacked.” It’s chaos in there. People are talking about this in other parts of the internet as well.

All of this raises an uncomfortable question: Is it, like, okay that Chidi is jacked? That’s what we’re going to discuss. We’re going to talk through if it’s okay that Chidi — a dorky philosophy professor — is shredded like a Marvel hero. Yes, yes we are. Here we go.

The case against Chidi being jacked


The case against Chidi being jacked rests on two factors. The first is that it doesn’t make a lot of sense. We’ve seen Chidi in a lot of situations and none of them have involved going to the gym, let alone going to the gym often enough to be shredded up like that. It’s not even clear when he’d have the time between his research and teaching and mentoring wayward blond women who show up at his office. That is a two-hours-a-day in the gym body strapped to a there’s-no-time-I’m-so-behind-help-help brain. It doesn’t add up.

Also, on the subject of his brain: Even if Chidi did spend two hours in the gym every day, I refuse to believe he’d get in more than 15 minutes of actual workout time. Picture Chidi — indecisive Chidi, who careens into full-blown crisis trying to select a flavor of muffin — trying to craft a workout plan. He’d just be pacing back and forth around the gym, fretting about whether to use free weights or machines and whether to get a smoothie afterward and what kind of smoothie to get if he does and should he have eaten more protein before the workout, yes, he should have, he’ll just run home quick and grill up a chicken breast. Or salmon. Or maybe he’ll have a shake and drink it in the car on the way back to save time. Or or or or or. No chance any of this happens. I could see him being lean because worrying about everything all day long burns calories. I’ll go that far. But I’m not buying all this muscle mass.

The second factor is that, if he’s been this jacked all along, Eleanor would have said something. She would have done a wowza owwwooooga double take like a cartoon character. I know this for a fact. (UPDATE: She did say he was “surprisingly ripped.” But no owwooooga. I stand by my point.)

The case for Chidi being jacked


The case for Chidi being jacked is basically that it’s more fun if he’s jacked. Again, this rests on two factors. First, it means there’s something about him that we don’t know. There’s a mystery to him. How did he get like that? Why did he get like that? Is Chidi secretly a spy or a hitman? Is he a double agent or something and this whole “perpetually nervous philosophy nerd” thing is his cover? Is he working for Trevor and Shawn and the rest of the Bad Place types? Has he been a sleeper agent all along?

Probably not! But it’s a lot of fun to think about. And maybe it is a thing or will be a thing. The Good Place very rarely does stuff just to, like, do it. Every action usually has a reason in the moment or circles back later to reveal a reason. Jason yelled “Bortles!” one time in season one while throwing a Molotov cocktail and now Blake Bortles is practically a full-on unseen cast member who can make a pretty good case for getting royalties. Maybe this is something that they’ll pay off down the line. Maybe it’ll be the source of a callback goof at some point. Maybe William Jackson Harper worked out really hard this summer and wanted to show off a little bit. Or maybe it’s nothing and I just get to spend an hour this morning throwing out wild speculation that he’s a spy. I’m fine with all of it.

The second factor in all of this that there’s no reason to be a huge bummer if you don’t have to. There’s no need to overthink this if you’re just doing it to poke holes in it. You don’t have to be the Simpsons xylophone guy about everything all the time. Just accept that Chidi is freaking yoked and maybe a secret double assassin who will turn on everyone next season and run around with an ammo belt draped across his shirtless torso like Rambo. Overthink it that way. It’s way more fun. Fun is good.



It is okay that Chidi is jacked.