Video Learning: The Afterlife (The Good Place, Episode 1)

The Good Place, Episode 1

The Good Place, Season 1, Episode 1: IMDB     Netflix    Trailer   Wikipedia

This series is a humorous, but thought-provoking exploration of the afterlife. It focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop, a woman who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael to “The Good Place”, a Heaven-like utopia he designed, in reward for her righteous life. Eleanor, who was sent to the Good Place by mistake, must then hide her morally imperfect behavior and try to become a better person.

In this first episode, we meet Eleanor as she wakes up in an afterlife utopia called the “Good Place”, where she is welcomed by her “neighborhood” architect Michael. Admission is based on how ethically a deceased person behaved in life, with positive points accrued for ethical decisions and negative points for unethical decisions. Very few people qualify; all else go to an afterlife of torture in the “Bad Place”, which, based on “live audio” provided by Michael’s assistant Janet, seems synonymous with Hell. Michael praises Eleanor for being a lawyer who helped innocent people off death row, then escorts her to a home designed to her preferences where she can access memories from her life. She is also paired with a soulmate: Chidi, a Senegalese ethics professor. Eleanor tells Chidi that all of Michael’s information about her is wrong because the biography, memories, and home preferences are someone else’s. Eleanor made a living by knowingly selling a worthless supplement to the sick and elderly and was crass and uncaring. Chidi has a moral crisis over whether or not to help Eleanor, who becomes frustrated and angry at a party hosted by her neighbors, soulmates Tahani and Jianyu. The next morning, the neighborhood is attacked by representations of elements from Eleanor’s life and her misbehavior in the Good Place.

The Good Place, Episode 1Discussion Questions

  1. Do you believe in an afterlife?
  2. What do you think happens when we die?
  3. What would your version of ‘The Good Place’ be like?
  4. What would your perfect house in the ‘Good Place’ look like?
  5. Do you believe in soulmates?
    Who would your Good Place ‘soulmate’ be? What would they be like?
  6. Using a ‘Good Place’ system, what are some big and small things you would give +/- points for?
  7. What are some of the things YOU would earn or lose points for?
  8. Using your own scoring system, who would be some ‘high scorers’?

Vocabulary 

  • blissful:   very happy
  • EMT: emergency medical technician
  • cream of the crop: the very best
  • phase: temporary period of time, stage
  • defraud: to cheat or lie
  • to fudge: to exaggerate or not tell the whole truth
  • utopia: perfect, ideal place or society
  • arsonist: someone who illegally starts a fire
  • condescending: to act as if you are better than someone else
  • calibrated: adjusted o that measurements are accurate

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