• Robin

"The Good Place" is gone. Your brain doesn't have to be.

(Note: There are NO SPOILERS in this review and assessment of the show! Enjoy this, and if it makes you want to see the show, so much the better.)

“The Good Place” has ended its run, and that’s totally forked up.

To call this unusually deep sitcom “high concept” is an understatement: Four people die and are sent to … the “good place”? The “bad place”? Some of both, some of neither. What ensues is an exploration of what makes someone a good person.

And what is “good,” anyway?

And what is it to be human?

And how does one become comfortable in one’s skin? (Even if one is dead?)

And what does it mean to be happy?

And what is “happy”? And is it something we really want?

All these questions burble up in the midst of love—all the kinds the ancient Greeks described. It turns out that, of course, the transformational qualities of love are part of the answer to all these questions. And there are magical beings and … Janets (not a robot! Not a person!) who manage to become a little more human in the process.

It’s over now, and if you’re missing your fix of this existentially silly and smart comedy, here are a couple of suggestions for comedies that ask as many, or more, questions than they answer.

“Living With Yourself,” Netflix: This one’s all about identity. Who am I? Who are you? Is your clone you, even if it has all your memories? And is it good to be “better”? Paul Rudd and Aisling Bea make this a delightful and occasionally gut-punching comedy as they figure out how to navigate a life between him, and her, and a “better” version of him.

"Ramy," Hulu: What does it mean to be a good Muslim and a good millennial in America? Is it even possible? Can you pick and choose which religious precepts you follow, or no? Is America full of hypocrites? Or is the whole world full of hypocrites? Does it matter? Ramy Youssef won a well-deserved Golden Globe for his portrayal of the title character, loosely based on his life.

I love things that stimulate our minds (as well as body and spirit, obviously!). Time to get your brain working overtime! Any other suggestions for good, thought-provoking comedies? Share them in the comments!

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