The Good Place was a comedy series that ran on unforgettable twists and turns. The strange, irreligious look at life after death was a favorite among critics, fans, and industry insiders alike.
The show was not afraid to throw a curveball here and there, and that didn’t just include the audience. Ted Danson recently noted how he let essential details slip and how they helped him keep his mouth shut later.
What was ‘The Good Place’?
According to IMDB, The Good Place was an NBC sitcom about an afterlife that was not necessarily attached to any religion but the people’s actions inside it. Set up as suburban heaven on an unknown plane, we learn right away that Kristen Bell’s Eleanor was sent there by mistake.
However, with each subsequent episode, it becomes clear that something is awry.
Ted Danson’s Michael works with a god upstairs to form this new take on the afterlife, but something smells fishy at this Good Place. For a group that is allegedly there because they were so good in life, a lot of them struggle with honesty, vanity, and other sins that affect the way they treat other people.
All of this came into fruition in the season one finale, when Eleanor and the rest of the crew learned that they were not in The Good Place but the bad one.
People lauded the series for its depth, creativity, and ability to set itself up without the audience catching on. To accomplish this, Mental Floss notes the strategies that creator Mike Schur employed to keep as many people in the dark as possible.
Keeping the twist a secret
Schur wanted to make sure that everything came as organically as possible. For that, he had to keep a secret. The show hinged on Kristen Bell and Ted Danson’s characters knowing a truth that others do not know, and as such, Schur told them of the late-season one twist. He explained the reasoning to Entertainment Weekly.
“There were many dimensions to it. The first being, I felt strongly that Ted and Kristen had a right to know because they were the caliber of actor who, to get them to sign on, I wanted them to know the whole picture. I thought it would be sort of uncool to Ted Danson to say, ‘I want you to play an angel,’ and then four months later go, ‘Just kidding. You’re a devil,’” Schur said.
This isn’t unique. Many shows go to great lengths to keep spoilers from happening, and Schur is not alone in his belief. However, he was lucky that the entire world didn’t know about the twist ending. Danson, who admittedly has loose lips, spoke about how free he was with the season one twist.
However, Schur left the rest of the cast in the dark.
Danson opens up… too much
While the supporting cast was in the dark when it came to the ultimate reveal, it may not have been that hard to figure out what was happening. . According to Danson, he told anyone within earshot about the looming twist because he struggles to keep secrets. He spoke about this with TV Insider.
“The first season, I immediately told all my friends, like John Krasinski, the twist [that Eleanor and her new pals had actually been sent to the Bad Place, living in a neighborhood designed by Michael]. So I kind of learned my lesson and didn’t say anything [for the series finale],” the television veteran said.
The twist worked. The Good Place was a moderate success during the first season, but it became an outright hit with each ensuing year. Danson learned his lesson and kept a secret, and the show became a quintessential look at the afterlife from a lens not typically shown in Hollywood.
The entire ordeal was a fascinating look at the life behind the curtain of TV. While it might be easy to presume every actor on-screen knows the story, sometimes their ignorance is the key to the show’s success.
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