You’ll be in heaven when ‘The Good Place’ returns … or will you? – Orange County Register

Stop right here if you didn’t see the first season of “The Good Place,” one of the best new comedies of last year.

I’m going to have to reveal a big spoiler.

It came in the final episode, and everything about the new season, which starts Wednesday in a one-hour special, jumps off that revelation.

“The Good Place” stars Kristen Bell as Eleanor Shellstrop, who in life had been a pretty awful person. After being unceremoniously killed in a runaway shopping cart accident, she is sent to the Good Place instead of the Bad Place, thanks to a clerical error.

In the first season, Eleanor desperately tries to avoid being detected by the perfect cohabitants of her heavenly home or Michael (Ted Danson), the sometimes-bumbling overseer.

Along the way, though, Eleanor finds herself learning to be kinder, while she begins to see cracks in those around her. She has been given what she told is a perfect soul-mate in Chidi (William Jackson Harper), a kindhearted philosophical type who is so indecisive it’s maddening.

Tahani (Jameela Jamil), her gorgeous neighbor,  is awfully needy for someone who had it all in life and was known for her charity work. And there is something just off about Jianyu (Manny Jacinto), a Buddhist monk who has taken a vow of silence.

There is even something goofy about Janet (D’Arcy Carden), a device in human form who pops up whenever you need something.

OK, here’s the spoiler: What Eleanor began to figure out last year was that the good place wasn’t what it was supposed to be.

I’ll leave out the specifics, but the revelation allows for a reset this year.

First off, you should know that “The Good Place,” from executive producer Michael Schur (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine,” “Parks and Recreation” and “Master of None”), is very funny. It’s not a dramedy, the laughs are there.

Also, Bell should have been nominated for an Emmy. She has wonderful comic timing, and yet she is still able to make despicable Eleanor someone to care about. Meanwhile, Danson is priceless as the minor bureaucrat finally given his shot to run something.

When makes “The Good Place” such great television is that it often amusingly subverts expectations. By being herself, Eleanor learns how to be a better person in a place designed to bring out her worst.

And along the way, the series offers you a chance to ponder serious questions like: What is good? What does it mean to be good? Is hell other people? That’s when you’re not laughing, of…

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