A lot of wonderful things have happened on The Good Place this season. Chidi (William Jackson Harper) finally revealed just how jacked he was, Janet (D’Arcy Carden) went full Wonder Woman on a bunch of demons in a bar, and Parks and Recreation‘s Lil’ Sebastian even made a short cameo. Yet one of the greatest and most absurd things to occur on The Good Place was “Jeremy Bearimy,” Michael’s (Ted Danson) nonsensical explanation for how time works in the afterlife. It’s so good, it literally broke Chidi.
So how did The Good Place writer’s room concoct this one? Was it yet another trick up creator Mike Schur’s sleeve? A tease for writer Megan Amram’s next Emmy-winning bit? Actually, according to Schur and The Good Place cast and crew members at this weekend’s Vulture Festival in Los Angeles, it was none of the above. Instead, “Jeremy Bearimy” came about because new writer Rae Sanni just couldn’t understand Schur’s incomprehensible musings on philosophy and time:
“The ‘Jeremy Bearimy’ happened, in part, because I’m a lot less smart than these people,” Sanni said with a laugh. “Mike was trying to explain the concept of time, and I couldn’t get it for a full afternoon. I’m new on the staff, I’m the least experienced, and I’m boldly interrupting their conversations because I just wasn’t following. I don’t know how time works! Help me! So Josh [Siegal, co-executive producer] was literally just like, What about Jeremy Bearimy?”
“She’s being modest,” Schur interjected. “She was like, How can can time events be happening in the Good Place if they’re not happening on Earth? We were like, Well, we’re trying to say it like this, and she was like, This doesn’t make any sense, and she was totally right.”
It took Sanni’s pseudo-outsider perspective to help Schur and the other writers realize that they were thinking way too much about it, which freed them up to “lean into the silliness of it all.” Hence “Jeremy Bearimy,” originally conceived of as “Jeremy Jeremy” until the wonderful Chidi-breaking joke about the dot above the “i” was hatched and implemented. Great green slimy cocoon, this show is amazing.