by Aprille Hanson
After four seasons, NBC’s quirky and creative sitcom “The Good Place” comes to an end tonight and viewers will soon find out if the six characters are actually destined for a heavenly reward or totally forked.
The show’s brilliance stems from its writing staff that developed interesting plot twists that no one should have seen coming, but also from the stellar cast that made viewers root for these incredibly flawed characters. Because each is strong in their own way, ranking the characters is almost as daunting as the group working to save humanity. But here are the rankings ahead of the final farewell, complete with spoilers:
1. Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell)
What’s truly remarkable about Eleanor Shellstrop, the complete screw-up from Phoenix, Ariz., is that she was a horrific human being. By far the worst out of the batch of humans the show cooked up, in her self-centeredness and lack of empathy for anyone. She worked in sales, selling fake medication to the elderly for basically a shell of a pharmaceutical company. But, we just can’t help but root for her. Kristen Bell played the role in such a lovable way for this misfit, coining phrases like “Holy Mother Forking Shirtballs,” that viewers want her to find love and end up in the real Good Place. She was an example of how a character can be pretty awful, but also redeemed. The show itself is about redemption and there’s no one on the cast that portrays the idea of redemption better than Eleanor – not even the actual reformed demon.
2. Michael (Ted Danson)
Michael is an angel, the first one to greet people who die and find themselves in a waiting room that says “Welcome! Everything is fine.” The architect of a vast utopia of frozen yogurt and all your questions answered by a digital being named Janet, Michael is the stability in this not-so-stable bunch of characters who are somehow in the Good Place. The show has never been more epic than in the hour-long Season 1 finale “Michael’s Gambit,” when suddenly Eleanor realizes they are not in the Good Place, but the Bad Place. Michael’s immediate transition from angel to demon was masterful. Sure, maybe there were a billion clues that it wasn’t the idyllic Good Place, but not from Michael. Ted Danson was a genius playing this master of manipulation. But just when we wrapped our minds around the fact that Michael was a demon, he begins to soften and team up with the humans. His move from conniving horror-show from the underworld to a father-figure ready to risk it all for the humans he cares about is something that makes him an iconic TV character.
3. Janet (D'Arcy Carden)
Janet, or Janets, can answer and get you anything you desire. But what is she? As she explained to Jason Mendoza: “Jason: And to Janet, the best robot; Janet: Not a robot; Jason: Girl; Janet: Not a girl; Jason: And straight-up hottie; Janet: I am attractive, yes.” While what exactly she is might be hard to define, her presence among the humans and demons is pure magic. Whether she’s plotting to help the humans, creating Derrick in her void or portrayed as Bad Janet – who is rude and farts constantly – D’Arcy Carden plays her with such heart. You fall in love with her and root for love between her and Jason, despite the fact they are totally different beings.
4. Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto)
Oh Jason. A professional amateur DJ from Jacksonville, Fla., who loves Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (now with the L.A. Rams), has close friends like Donkey Doug and has epic stories like: “One time at a Buffalo Wild Wings in Jacksonville — the nice one, not the one above the gas station — I ate 50 [jalapeño poppers] in two minutes! Everyone at the hospital was so impressed.” In the Good Place initially disguised as a Buddhist Monk who vowed silence, it’s the most random reveal that he’s this loveable dumbass from Jacksonville. For as wacked out as his stories are and his overall being is, he’s easily one of the most beloved and hilarious characters.
5. Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper)
Chidi Anagonye is a lot. A professor of moral philosophy and ethics, he’s insanely smart and takes on the uphill task of teaching ethics to the group of humans and Michael, the demon. He speaks English, French, German, Greek and Latin. He knows more than likely all the characters combined. But making decisions is his most powerful kryptonite. It’s on another level and it puts him in the Bad Place. We can’t help but root for this wounded individual that by Season 4, has finally conquered his personality to love Eleanor and hopefully help save humanity. While it’s funny to watch him navigate the afterlife in the most confusing situation, it’s hard to place him higher on this list.
6. Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil)
The socialite Tahani Al-Jamil is gorgeous, pretentious, always ready to name-drop her “good friends” like Elon Musk, Sting, James Cameron and Gisele Bundchen and is still obsessed with throwing the best parties in the afterlife. She’s someone viewers should be disgusted by, but Jameela Jamil plays this character with such heart, you really do want to be her best friend. She, like Eleanor, has to overcome being self-absorbed and works at it throughout the series. The character is a nice balance to Eleanor’s initial dirt bag persona, but is the weakest character of the bunch. However, in a cast full of memorable characters, it’s not exactly a criticism.
by Alea Jeremiah
It’s been a little over two months since Disney came out with a game-changing subscription service that is arguably giving Netflix and Hulu a run for their money. At this point so many of you guys already have it and have explored all the ins and outs but I wanted to share four things that are absolute must watches …
1. The Mandalorian
This was one of Disney’s biggest selling points they had been advertising way before launch day. For “Star Wars” fans, like myself, this one is for you. It takes place five years after ‘Return of the Jedi’ but before ‘The Force Awakens’ and centers around a Bounty Hunter (Pedro Pascal) who takes on an unusual bounty in the first episode that leads him to all sorts of trouble and adventure throughout the season. The first season is nine episodes long and has already been renewed for a second season and nobody is surprised. It’s a beautifully well-done show with great acting, amazing music, everything a “Star Wars” fan can love and appreciate.
2. The World According to Jeff Goldblum
In this original documentary series, National Geographic teamed up with Disney+ to showcase different aspects of our culture. Since the host is Jeff Goldblum, you can bet that each episode is very unique and weird, in the best way. A few examples: some of the episodes feature Goldblum diving into the world of ice cream, gaming, makeup and even RVs. It’s super interesting and I’ve actually learned a lot! This has also been renewed for a second season.
3. One Day at Disney
Yes, it’s cool to re-watch all of our favorite Disney films and relive our childhoods but do you really know all the little moving parts it takes to run a company like Disney? “One Day at Disney” is a documentary that highlights cast members, employees, in different areas of the company. These people talk about what part they play in the company, how they started, and how they love to inspire others with their work and in turn, be inspired themselves. You’ll get to meet the man who currently is in charge of drawing The Mouse, the Disneyland train conductor, even hear from ABC’s “Good Morning America” host Robin Roberts. It’s a fascinating documentary.
4. New Pixar Shorts
As a big fan of Pixar, I was ecstatic to hear that I would have Pixar’s entire library at my fingertips. Not only do I love the movies, I love the shorts. With the Disney+ launch day came a few new shorts that are just incredible. I truly don’t know how they do it. They’re emotional, beautiful, and teach important lessons. If you watch one thing on this list, let it be “Kitbull,” you won’t be disappointed. Trust me.
That’s all I have as far as recommendations! I hope it helped you and I hope it enticed you to subscribe to Disney+ if you haven’t already. Happy streaming!
by Julian Spivey
Over the last week “Jeopardy,” one of the most popular and longest-running syndicated game shows ever, has held a “Greatest Jeopardy Champion of All-Time” tournament that has seen the show bring in ratings for ABC that are higher than the numbers that games of the NBA Finals and World Series have brought in.
On night four of the event on Tuesday, January 14 Ken Jennings was crowned the champion of the tournament as the greatest Jeopardy contestant of all-time, on just the fourth night of a tournament that could’ve lasted a potential nine nights (I’m sure ABC is highly disappointed that Jennings put away James Holzhauer and Brad Rutter early in the going).
Jennings, who is a 45-year old software engineer turned author from Seattle, took home the $1 million prize for winning the tournament. This grand prize brings his career “Jeopardy” winnings to almost $4.5 million.
I believe the “Greatest Jeopardy Champion of All-Time” tournament should’ve had higher stakes. Sure, the $1 million prize is terrific, but I also believe the tournament should’ve been a fight for the right to be the next host of “Jeopardy.”
There has been much talk of late about who will take over the reigns as “Jeopardy” host when Alex Trebek, 79, leaves the show. Who better to do so than the greatest contestant the show has ever had?
Now, I’m not sure if anybody could fill Trebek’s shoes – he’s hosted the show for more than 35 years now – and seems as important to the show as the answers and questions themselves. But whenever that day comes, I believe fans of the show would prefer somebody who they’ve grown accustomed to seeing dominate the game and enjoy like Jennings. I think it would be a better option for the thinking person’s game than say hiring a comedian to replace a legend as “The Price is Right” did with Drew Carey taking over for Bob Barker.
At a recent Television Critics Association press tour Trebek was asked how much longer he would continue to host the show at his age and going through stage four pancreatic cancer, which he was diagnosed with last year.
Trebek said: “Thinking about retiring and retiring are two different things … We’ll see what happens. As long as I feel my skills have not diminished too much and as long as I’m enjoying spending time with people, Harry [Friedman – the show’s executive producer] and the writing staff, then I’ll continue doing it.”
I’m sure all fans of “Jeopardy” wish for Trebek to go on hosting the program as long as possible, but when that day comes that he has to step aside Ken Jennings has proven time and time again that he’s the right man for the job if he wants it. I just hope producers of the show are smart enough to ask him.