Have you ever gotten so high on mushrooms that you suddenly had an epiphany that made sense out of every single religion in the world? Sure you have! Or at least you thought you did, because according to the first trailer for Parks and Recreation co-creator Mike Schur‘s new show The Good Place, only one person has ever done this. His name was Doug Forcett, and per the explanation by Ted Danson’s character, “One night he got high on mushrooms and got like 92 percent correct!” The rest of us have managed a measly 5 percent of the facts about the afterlife, it seems.
That’s part of the spiel Danson’s heavenly office drone tells Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) when she arrives in the titular “good place.” The rest of it, unfortunately, concerns the fact that Bell’s protagonist is dead because she was “struck by a truck advertising an erectile-dysfunction pill called ‘Engorgelate.’ ” Not that any of that matters anymore because Eleanor is dead, and she’s made it to the part of the afterlife where all the good people go! As opposed to where she was supposed to go, the “bad place,” which — per a helpful, Siri-like assistant named Janet — is rife with the sounds of bad people’s tortured screams. And chain saws.
Hence the main conundrum of The Good Place, which finds its central character put in a situation she shouldn’t really be in. (i.e. most situation comedies.) But with Bell and Danson leading a fantastic cast that includes William Jackson Harper, D’Arcy Carden, Jameela Jamil and Manny Jacinto, and Schur executive producing and writing, The Good Place doesn’t look like a typical last-minute addition to the network upfronts. Besides, as Schur told Variety in January, the show comes from some very stringent and important ethical questions about how to lead one’s life as a decent, giving human being, which isn’t that bad place to start when creating comedy.