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Fun fact: The Good Place is one of the greatest television shows to have ever graced the airwaves. Like, ever. It’s a modern classic that plays with plot, character, setting, and all of the viewer’s expectations. It’s hilarious, yet surprisingly deep. It has actual philosophy lessons baked into it. It’s a marvel, I tell you.
It’s easily one of my favorite things to watch. And re-watch — Ted Danson’s maniacal laugh at the end of season one (YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN) gives me chills every single time I even think about it.
That being said, even if you know the entire series (so far) from beginning to end, there’s a bunch you don’t know about The Good Place. That’s why I’m here to give you the inside scoop and share some behind-the-scenes facts about it — just in time to prepare for season three!
So scoop up some frozen yogurt, grab some shrimp, and let’s get to some forkin’ facts.
(P.S. I’ve tried to provide fair warning, but there will be spoilers here! If you haven’t seen the show yet, be prepared to be spoiled! Or just go watch the show, seriously, what are you even doing right now?)
1. You know all that frozen yogurt they eat in The Good Place?
It’s actually mashed potatoes! This is so they don’t have to worry about anything melting between takes.
And as someone who doesn’t like frozen yogurt but actually likes mashed potatoes a whole lot, I’m in support of this decision.
2. Kristen Bell is actually a vegetarian.
Which you would actually know if you followed her exceedingly delightful Instagram feed.
Although her character is obsessed with shrimp, Bell doesn’t actually eat them. In this GIF, she’s just sucking the cocktail sauce off of one made from rubber. Kind of a baller move if you ask me.
3. How Janet got her name.
Michael Schur has a habit of using the names “Jim” and “Janet” for characters until a better one comes to mind. In Janet’s case, the stand-in name just stuck.
The name “Janet” was also given to the highly classified fleet of planes that transport people to Area 51. It’s actually an acronym that stands for “Just Another Non-Existent Terminal.”
Which, if you think about it, is also kinda what Janet from The Good Place is.
4. Eleanor has a *thing* for sexy mailmen.
Spoilers for Season 1 ahead!
One of the deeds which led to Eleanor being sentenced to the Bad Place was setting a mailbox on fire in order to get a mailman to remove his shirt. She also switches one of the horrifying clown paintings in her home to one of a sexy mailman.
5. There’s a The Good Place podcast!
I actually had no idea about this until literally right now. It’s hosted by Marc Evan Jackson (who plays Shawn on the show) and features interviews with the cast and crew.
Consider me subscribed.
6. Kristen Bell and Adam Scott go way back.
Scott appeared in an episode of Veronica Mars (which starred Bell, obvs). The two also appeared together in two episodes of Party Down and three episodes of Parks and Rec.
7. Tahani almost wasn’t Tahani.
In the original casting call, the character that went on to become Tahani was named Tessa.
However, I’m guessing Tessa doesn’t translate to “Congratulations.”
8. Now, let’s talk about the ending of Season 1.
Spoilers again. Obviously.
Michael Schur told the twist ending to only two actors beforehand: Ted Danson (Michael) and Kristen Bell (Eleanor). Can you imagine living with that secret while filming the entire season?!
9. Remember this scene, right before Eleanor’s death?
When she grabs a magazine from the rack in the checkout lane, the magazine to the right of hers has Tahani’s face on it.
10. The Good Place is also known as Neighborhood 12358W.
Interestingly enough, 12358 are the second through sixth numbers of the Fibonacci Sequence. (Or the third through seventh, if you start with 0.)
What does this mean? I have no idea. But it’s interesting!
11. And that’s not the only place those numbers turn up.
In a flashback to Eleanor’s life, we see her checking her horoscope.
Her lucky numbers are 1, 23, and 58. Hmmm.
12. Do you ever wish you could visit The Good Place?
The exterior shots of the neighborhood are shot in the Little Europe section of Universal Studios Hollywood. You can see it on the studio tour if you’re ever in LA.
13. Have you noticed Eleanor’s UofM duds?
Those belong to the “Real Eleanor” (the one she thinks is actually supposed to be there).
Both Kristen Bell and Michael Schur are from Michigan, which I have to assume is why Eleanor is rocking the UofM apparel.
14. Everyone gets points based on their actions — positive points for good things, negative for bad things.
I’m sure you already knew that.
What you may not know, however, is that the concept of morality points actually came from Schur’s own life.
“A daily game that I played by myself as I milled around Los Angeles, was assigning negative and positive point values to various good or bad things that people did,” he said during The Good Place‘s panel at San Diego Comic-Con. “So if someone cut me off in traffic, I would think, ‘You just lost 25 points, man, jokes on you cause you’re going to hell.’”
15. Now let’s talk about Janet’s wardrobe.
According to the show’s costumer Kirston Mann, Janet’s unique style is based on the outfits worn by female airline staffers in the 1970s.
“I used to fly by myself as a little kid to my grandparents,” Mann said, “and stewardesses seemed like these iconic figures to me. I kind of worshipped them as a four- and five-year-old, because they took care of me on the plane.”
16. As for Bad Janet, though…
Mann says her outfit was inspired by “Bad Sandy” from Grease.
I can see it.
17. Manny Jacinto (Jason) and Jameela Jamil (Tahani) have an interesting thing in common.
Jamil has said that Jacinto was the seventh person ever to kiss her. “He’s my seventh ever kiss because no one kissed me until I was 21,” she said at Comic-Con. “though he’s contractually obliged to kiss me on camera, I’ve still counted it in my number. ”
And Jamil is also the seventh person that Jacinto has kissed!
What are the chances?!
18. Kristen Bell has been a huge Ted Danson fan for a while.
The first time they ever met (while working on a movie together a few years ago), she apparently “superfan-ed” pretty hard. She had been binge-watching the first season of Damages — in which Danson plays the character of Arthur Frobisher.
When she met him in the lobby of her hotel, she said, “This might sound weird, but I am checked into this hotel as Holly Frobisher, the character name of your wife.”
Remember this scene, where Chidi has to choose who dies from a trolley crash? Not only was it difficult for Chidi himself; it was also a bit of struggle for actor Will Harper. During this take, a piece of foam that was used to make up the fake blood flew right down his throat!
20. Jameela Jamil thought Doug Forcett was actually a picture of a young Mike Schur.
He’s not, though.
Doug Forcett is actually just a friend of one of the writers.
21. The show was heavily inspired by both Lost and The Leftovers.
In fact, Schur met with Damon Lindelof (who was a writer and creator of both shows) and told him about his initial idea for The Good Place.
“Damon Lindelof saying, ‘This is something’ is the reason that show exists,” Schur told Vulture. “So thank him, if you like it.”
22. Careful viewers will find a few Easter eggs referencing Lindelof’s creations sprinkled throughout the show.
Including a photograph labeled “October 14, 1972.”
(October 14 is the date of the departure in The Leftovers.)
23. Michael is named after the archangel.
But he wasn’t always going to be! Schur couldn’t think of a name for Ted Danson’s character at first and just referred to him in the script at “Ted.” However, while touring the Notre Dame Cathedral, the tour guide told him about Michael, “the angel who weighs people’s souls and decides whether their souls are good or bad.” Thus, the name Michael stuck.
24. Chidi’s philosophy lessons seem to have stuck.
Kristen Bell says she uses what she’s learned about philosophy in her everyday life and during debates now.
“Everyone is debating something nowadays,” she said, “And now, I can actually say at a dinner party: ‘Well, I disagree with that because, you know in moral particularism, cited by [British philosopher] Jonathan Dancy’—like, I actually have a sound argument as to why I believe certain things.”
25. Ted Danson is the biggest goofball on set.
Manny Jacinto told Vulture the story of Ted Danson’s unorthodox method of eating Swedish Fish:
“I don’t know if this was a party trick or if it just came to him on the spot, but he was able to eat the Swedish Fish through his mouth, take a piece of it, and then snort it through his nose like a booger.”
26. Jameela Jamil didn’t like Tahani much at first.
“I couldn’t stand her in season one—I love playing her, but couldn’t stand her,” she said about her narcissistic character.
However, Jamil says she’s “grown to love [Tahani]” over the course of season two.
27. Another fun fact about Jamil: This is her first role in a series or film!
She has hosted a bunch of different shows, but this is her first role as a fictional character.
And she’s totally killing it.
Janet used to have a last name.
You might find a few articles that refer to Janet as “Janet Della-Denunzio.”
That’s because when the show was first announced a press release stated that D’Arcy Carden would be playing Janet Della-Denunzio, a violin salesperson with a checkered past. Obviously, that was a huge lie.
29. Carden actually thought she had lost the part to a 16-year-old young man.
They auditioned all kinds of people for the role of Janet — all ages, ethnicities, genders, etc.
A 16-year-old actor auditioned right before Carden and she was convinced he had gotten the part. But he didn’t! ‘Cause she did!
Share this with someone who can’t wait for season three!