My three favorite things in the whole entire world are funny fake names, the NBC comedy The Good Place, and making content online, so I am very pleased to report that the season three premiere of The Good Place featured some great fake names, and I am going to blog about it.
The facts are as follows: At the end of season two, Ted Danson’s character, Michael, a bespectacled immortal architect of hell who is undergoing a crisis of conscience, orchestrated a plan to send our four main deceased characters — Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason — back to Earth in the moments before their death in the hope that they improve as people. Unfortunately, this plan does not work. They all stay the same. Fortunately, Michael then decides to go back to Earth and give them nudges in the right direction. Even more fortunately, he does so as a range of characters with a range of made-up names. Which gets us caught up.
Let’s rank some fake names.
4. Unnamed mysterious Australian library employee
I’m mad. I am legitimately angry. Unless I missed it somewhere, Michael’s Australian library employee was never given a name. I even zoomed in on his badge to see if they snuck it on there as a little Easter egg. Nope. Nothing. Unacceptable. If you know anyone on the show’s writing staff, please harangue them until they give you a name for this guy. I think we’ve earned it.
The only silver lining in all of this — or one of the two silver linings, with the other being Ted Danson’s terrible Australian accent — is that his lack of a name leaves the door open to limitless possibilities. He could be Rick Manitoba. He could be Bosco St. Cloud. He could be Felix Waffles. His name can be whatever you want it to be.
Hmm. Until provided with evidence that proves otherwise, I say we go with Felix Waffles.
3. Gordon Indigo
Gordon Indigo is such a great name. It’s a great name, in general, of course, thanks in part to the bookend hard G sounds that bounce around your mouth when you say it out loud, but it’s an especially great name for a crystal-hawing new age-y charlatan with beaded jewelry and a wardrobe of flowing cotton. Take one second and picture that face and name on the cover of a self-help book titled, like, The Power of You or something. You can see it crystal clear, can’t you, sitting on the shelf of a suburban bookstore somewhere. He probably has a column in Goop.
The only better example of a fake name mixed with a profession I can think of is Steve Martin’s crooked investment guru from 30 Rock, Gavin Velour. Gavin Velour and Gordon Indigo should work together. Two silver foxes on the prowl for suckers.
2. Professor Charles Brainman
I’m making an assumption here. We never actually met Professor Charles Brainman and saw that he was, in fact, Ted Danson. We do have some pretty solid circumstantial evidence, though:
- He was the one who put Tahani and Chidi in contact, which was Michael’s stated goal
- Michael could not have done it in person because Chidi had seen him as Felix Waffles, the Australian library employee (shut up, I’m going with it)
- His name is Professor Charles Brainman
Gordon Indigo is a better fake name, clearly. I know that. Professor Charles Brainman is so lazy and haphazard that it’s like he had to come up with it on the spot. But he didn’t. He wrote it in an email he composed. He chose it on purpose. Professor Charles Brainman. Professor Brainman. I love it so much I want to airbrush it onto a pillow and hug it forever.
That’s high praise for a name that came in second. I mean, what could top Professor Charles Brainman? Gonna have to be something special. Something like, say…
1. Zach Pizazz
A Florida dance crew talent scout named Zach Pizazz. My god, it’s beautiful, and not only because pizazz is such a tremendous word. It is, though. It’s a really great word. If you look at it too fast it looks like an edgy pluralization of pizza. I have no complaints there and I never will.
No, the best part is that it is impossible to say “Zach Pizazz” without doing the little hand flourish that Ted Danson does when he says it. With pizazz, if you will. Try it now. Say it out loud. Your hands will start moving involuntarily. Next thing you know, tada, Zach Pizazz. Must be awkward when he has to give his name in a serious situation.
PROSECUTOR: Please state your full name.
ZACH PIZAZZ: [with pizazz] Zach Pizazz!
PROSECUTOR: And you admit that you backed over Sister Helen in your 2004 PT Cruiser?
ZACH PIZAZZ: [suddenly solemn] Yes.
The greatest television show in the universe.