Oh, hi. Did you click on this article because you love The Office and are here to hate-read this piece of journalism and yell at me in the comments? Well, too bad because by the end of this you're going to be on MY SIDE. Side: The Good Place is a better show than The Office.
Yes, I know. You love The Office. You've seen every season 20 times and the episode where Jim and Pam get married at Niagara Falls 40 times. You love to ironically say "That's what she said!" and you've even taken a date to a Chili's just to see if they say "God is in this Chili's tonight." You've made yourself a Dundie award out of a spray-painted Ken doll and an empty box of crackers.
I get it. The Office is a good show! It's just that The Good Place is better. And I'll tell you why.
WARNING! This post contains The Good Place spoilers because it would be impossible to write it otherwise. You were warned.
First things first.Chances are if you are an Office fanatic, you maybe haven't seen The Good Place, you're just here because you don't think any show could be as good as The Office. And let's be real: both shows are great.
But the first thing you should know (if you're not already aware) if that The Office and The Good Place were both projects of writer and producer Mike Schur.So we are all kind of on the same side here.
Even though the shows seem pretty different, they actually have a lot in common.The Office is a workplace comedy set in a small paper company in Pennsylvania. The Good Place is about a group of people who are trying to navigate the afterlife. On paper, they seem super different. But both shows are kind of about the same thing: a group of people stuck in one place who are trying to figure out how to make that place tolerable and how to get along with each other while they do it.
The first reason The Good Place is better: the boss.Michael Scott is a funny character. But he's also hard to watch. Almost everything he does from his racist and sexist jokes to grilling his foot on a George Foreman grill makes you squirm in your seat. Sometimes it's just too much.
Enter Ted Danson.In The Good Place, Ted Danson plays Michael, the architect of the neighborhood where Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason have been sent to live after their deaths. He's supposed to be a good guy but (spoiler alert) it turns out he's a demon. But even though he's an evil demon, he never makes you uncomfortable the way Michael Scott does. He does incredibly charming things like trying to learn to floss and wearing colorful bow ties and being fascinated with paper clips.
Ted Danson is so watchable it's alarming.While Michael Scott makes you want to look away from the screen, Michael from The Good Place (Hey! They're both named Michael!) is like a sun at the center of a galaxy – you just want to get sucked up into his orbit while you watch him laugh maniacally and fumble through trying to find the best way to torture the rest of the characters. (Literally, he is trying to create the worst version of hell he can think of).
Next reason: The love stories in The Good Place are completely unique.Ok, ok, ok. We all love Jim and Pam. They are basically our generations will-they-won't-they Sam and Diane (another Danson character, I might add). But you have to admit, while their romance is compelling, it's been done a million times before.
The guy likes the girl, the girl has a fiance, the fiance is a jerk that doesn't deserve her.I'm sorry, please don't yell at me, but you have to admit the Jim-Pam-Roy plot is the plot of every single Hallmark movie.
The Good Place deals with a few romantic relationships and they are all super unique.The main romantic relationship is Eleanor and Chidi, who slowly fall in love despite their differences. But they aren't kept apart by a love triangle, they're kept apart because the fabric of their universe keeps resetting itself and they keep forgetting that they are in love with each other.
The other main romantic relationship is a love triangle, but with a twist.Tahani and Jason start a relationship but Janet is also in love with Jason. But the thing that's keeping them apart actually isn't really the love triangle either: it's that time keeps resetting itself and Janet, as an all-knowing non-human being developing human feelings, is the only one who remembers that she and Jason were ever in love.
Not that there's anything wrong with a simple love story.Who doesn't love seeing two star-crossed lovers finally getting together? But the relationships on The Good Place are more complex and interesting and managed to break away from cliches, which is hard.
Another reason: Kristen Bell is an amazing lead.Kristen Bell plays Eleanor, a self-proclaimed trashy Arizona native who came into the afterlife caring about nobody but herself. Let's be real for a second: women on television are often portrayed as putting everyone else above themselves or as thinking they're better than everyone else. But Eleanor is a little more complicated than that. Sure, she thinks she's better than everyone, but she is also painfully aware of this flaw and as the show goes on, we see her work to correct it, even if she fails a lot.
The female lead in The Office is Pam and while you may love her, you have to admit she's not incredibly interesting to watch.Pam mostly functions as one corner of a love triangle for most of the first few seasons of The Office and eventually gives up her dream of being an artist and living in New York to marry Jim and settle down while Jim gets to go off and pursue his dream. It's one of the most disappointing things about the show.
The camaraderie between the characters in The Good Place makes you really believe they are friends.The Office characters work well when they are in the office together, but any time they are forced outside the office, it's hard to believe any of these people would actually hang out, even though the show wants you to believe they might. The characters in The Office never had a feeling of camaraderie and warmness, and why would they? Do you hang with your co-workers beyond just perfunctory after-works drinks occasionally?
While it's understandable The Office characters never seemed to really be friends, it did mean that beyond romantic relationships, there weren't a lot of tender moments between pals.Maybe the show could never quite figure out how to make all these characters, who were so different, seem to like each other. The characters are almost always at odds with each other. Jim is pranking Dwight, who is trying to screw over everyone. Michael just wants everyone to be impressed by him. Kelly wants everyone to like her but doesn't actually like anyone except Ryan. Stanley just wants to go home. Even nice Pam doesn't seem to have any actual friends besides Jim.
The characters in The Good Place work together and it's very satisfying.It brings together several seemingly different characters and then spends the rest of the show showing how they begin to connect to each other and help each other to figure out how to get out of their situation. (Which is hell).
The Good Place has tried way more experimental and interesting episodes.To be fair, The Office was ahead of its time in terms of a mockumentary style TV show. But watching it now, it feels like a lot of other shows with the exact same talking head format.
But The Good Place has tried some really weird stuff and it's worked.Because The Good Place takes place in the afterlife, the rules of the universe are incredibly flexible. Which means they can experiment with all kinds of weird episodes in a way The Office couldn't, as it was bound to the rules of, well, Earth.
In an extraordinary episode Janet, the all-knowing robot-like figure who was built to assist the characters with their needs, ends up as every character's body when they all have to jump into her "void." It's complicated...Meaning the actress who plays Janet, D'Arcy Carden, had to play every character for the entire episode all by herself. What resulted was a hilarious episode where we see each characters' mannerisms represented in Janet's body. And Carden kills it. You definitely never saw anything that skillful on The Office.
The attention to detail in The Good Place cannot be matched.The show itself is already joke-heavy, but it's not just the dialog that's full of jokes.
Since the show takes place in a completely made up world, the entire world is full of jokes.It's honestly hard to keep up because there are so many.
But one thing that you'll notice right away is that every time the characters go back to the neighborhood, a different restaurant with a pun name is mentioned.Some of the restaurant names include: Lasagna Come Out Tomorrow The Pesto's Yet to Come From Schmear to Eternity Biscotti Pippen A Knish from a Rose
Most of these pun names came from writer Megan Amram who is a genius.
here's an abridged version of the full list of food puns i turned in with my first draft of tonight's #TheGoodPlace… https://t.co/7WVFZDd8Fs— Megan Amram (@Megan Amram)1506664271.0