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-Today we're talking about chapters 27 and 28,
the season three premier "Everything is Bonzer!"
Directed by Dean Holland, written by Jen Statsky,
including guest cast Andrew Bering,
Dominic Burgess, Matthew Foster, Keston John, Mike O'Malley,
Lisandra Tena, Jama Williamson, Harvey Guillen,
Josh Siegal, Eugene Cordero, and Adam Scott.
Michael goes to Earth to save the four humans
from their various accidental deaths.
We see the last year in each of their lives
between their near-death
and Michael illegally giving them a second nudge.
Chidi asks a neuroscience professor,
Simone, to study his brain
and agrees to help Eleanor become a better person.
Eleanor inspires Chidi to start a cross-departmental study
on the effects of near-death experiences
on ethical decision-making.
Tahani's near-miss with sister's statue causes her
to travel to a Tibetan monastery
to shed her desire for attention.
She backslides, writing a book about the trip,
and creating a lifestyle brand,
until Michael shows up as a hippie investor
who loves her scam, which prompts Tahani
to accept Chidi's invitation for his study.
Michael saves Jason from the safe,
inspiring Jason to attempt a series of dance competitions
with his 60-person dance crew.
He ultimately goes back to a life of petty crime
until Michael poses as a talent scout
and nudges Jason to join the study.
Meanwhile in the Bad Place, Shawn and his demons
hack the Judge's system
to see if the humans are getting better,
and they realize Michael has also been cheating.
Just when Michael and Janet think they've gotten the four
together without the Judge catching them,
they realize that a demon, Trevor,
has infiltrated the group.
My guests today are cowriter of the episode Jen Statsky
and Jameela Jamil, who plays Tahani.
Jameela and Jen, welcome.
"Everything is Bonzer!"?
-Hi. -Well done.
That was quite a read.
-Thank you. -Really impressive.
-Do you need to lie down? You all right?
You need a hug? -Yeah, I need a little break.
Let's talk about general things to begin.
-Sure. -First of all,
did you have this experience? I had this experience.
I missed these people. -Yeah, no.
-Did you feel that at all?
-Yeah, I felt very emotional watching it again.
-Yeah. -I watched it on the way over
and felt real sadness.
-You watched it while you were driving.
-Yeah, yeah, yeah. -You had it on your dashboard,
one eye on the road, one eye on --
-Exactly. -I live on the edge, people.
I was being driven, obviously.
[ Laughter ]
-I love how you do stuff like that,
and you still insist any time I bring up, like,
not a lot of blue sky between Tahani and Jameela,
you're like, "How dare you?"
-No, I don't mind how dare I, I just think if I -- You know,
I haven't brushed my teeth in like two days.
I feel like there's just like, "Don't look, but it's bad."
You know, I don't bathe regularly, I'm uncouth.
-You can't say that and then say, "Don't look," right?
-I'm disgusting. -That's an invitation.
-Yeah, it's tough.
It's a tough -- -And so, I aspire
to actually be more like Tahani, 'cause I feel like
it would be a more hygienic and healthy life.
-Mm-hmm. Anyway, these characters, you missed them.
-Yeah, I miss these characters.
So glad I talked about brushing my teeth.
I really did.
And, also, this season, we are much more separated,
especially in this episode.
There's so much that I didn't get to see.
-Right, I was gonna ask you about this.
-And so, it really felt like I was just watching it as a fan.
And I was giggling and clapping, and, like...
-Yeah. -...I had my hands, like,
clasped around my mouth.
Is that the right word? Yeah. That's fine.
And I -- it was just a very emotional experience.
I feel so proud of this season.
I'm so excited for everyone to see it.
-I can't imagine how fans of the show that don't work on it
must feel, because I miss them,
and I've read lots of these scripts.
-Totally. -And I've been on set
for lots of it.
We wrapped a month, month and a half ago,
something, like, not that long ago.
-Yeah, end of July, yeah. -But watching this episode,
I legitimately find myself thrilled to find out
what happens with these folks and get back to it.
-Yeah, and it's so funny that you say that because --
I was on -- I mean, obviously I wrote it,
but I was also on set, so seeing stuff shot.
But then, yeah, you guys were kind of siphoned off, you know?
-Mm-hmm. -So abstract.
-Very much so on your own story.
You have, like, a scene with Ted,
but so all the other people,
you didn't really get to see what was happening with them.
So, yeah, that's kind of cool that, as a fan, you were like,
"Oh, wow, Jason's doing an insane dance."
-Even having read the scripts, you want to see
which takes that they used and how it turned out. -Totally, yeah.
-I can remember being in a table read
about halfway through season two,
and Morgan Sackett, the executive producer,
one of the executive producers, had his sort of Mona Lisa smile.
This one was particularly wry, and I was like, "What's up?"
And he said, "Do you want me to tell you?"
And I said yes. And he said,
"If there's a season three, it happens on Earth."
When did you guys begin discussing that,
how did that come up?
-Man, that's a great question.
We definitely knew, again, like Morgan
saying it then, we knew pretty early on in sea--
like, when we were trying to figure out season two,
where we were gonna go and what was gonna happen,
at some point very early on in talking about season two,
the idea of going back to Earth came up.
-Mm-hmm. -And I remember specifically
one day, Mike being like, "I'm so excited about them
going back to Earth, I just want to get to that."
Like, we knew that that was kind of at the end of the runway
and there was still, obviously, so much
to deal with in season two.
But we definitely, pretty early on,
had that morsel of an idea, of, like,
"Wait, what if they went back?" -Right.
-And so, it's been in the works for a long time.
So it's very satisfying to see it finally happen.
-Jameela, when was it first presented to you?
-I really actually just found out today.
-Oh, God. -The whole time,
I didn't understand what was going on. -You're not really
paying attention to the scripts, are you?
-I think we found out just before.
I think there was a muttering of it the year before,
but, really, about three weeks
before we turned up to start filming,
Mike sat each of us down and broke down the whole kind of --
in a two-hour speech that he gave individually to all of us.
-He broke down the entire season.
So this time, it was the exact opposite of season one,
where we weren't told anything,
including our names, our characters,
whether or not we would be fully nude for the whole season.
Nobody knew. -Were you disappointed?
-I was so sad.
'Cause, as you know, I'm just big on...
big on getting this body out.
But, yeah, season three,
we knew exactly what was going to happen.
It was really, really exciting.
And such a new experience to be out and about in the world.
-Now, in order to record this podcast today,
the episode doesn't drop until the 27th,
so we're about two weeks before that.
In previous seasons, have you ever had
advanced screeners of the episodes,
or do you watch them on television like a normal human?
-No, I watch them on television.
Sometimes we get -- I think we're given them
a couple of hours before the episode runs
so that we know how to live-Tweet along
so we know what's coming. -Oh, very good. Okay.
-But I don't like to do that,
so I just watch it with everyone else.
In fact, season one I didn't watch at all.
-Really? -Yeah.
Not until the very, very, very end.
So I would just read other people's Tweets,
about what they were talking about,
sort of copy and paste those onto my own Twitter,
'cause I was just mortified.
-Were you not watching 'cause you were like,
"I can't watch myself?" -No, yeah.
I can't watch myself destroy Mike Schur's comedy.
And then when I heard it had gone okay
and I hadn't been fired,
I then watched season one just before season two.
-Jen, were there any changes in the writers' room
between these seasons?
-Yes, we -- between season two and three, yes.
We added a couple people.
We added Kassia -- writer-wise you mean? -Yes.
-Yeah, we added a really great writer named Kassia Miller.
She had been on "Last Man on Earth."
-Oh, great. -Great show.
And also, like, really cool in that both,
I think something we share with --
or shared with -- "Last Man on Earth,"
it's unfortunately not on the air anymore,
is, like, a kind of like a show, a comedy,
a network comedy that is a cliffhanger show.
-Yeah. -Like, really, plot and story
is such a big part of the DNA of both of those shows.
So Kassia's great.
She's super funny and smart and great.
And then a stand-up named Rae Sanni.
She came, yeah, from the stand-up world.
She had written on
"The President Show" back in New York.
-Oh, great, yeah. -Yeah, which is great.
And so, yeah, it was --
This was, I think, our biggest writers' room year.
I think we had like 13 or 14 people.
I remember you coming up and just being mortified
at how many disgusting writer bodies
were crammed into a small room.
-That is not the nature of my disgust.
-I read your face, I read your face.
I knew what it was. -No, it was --
-Do you have resting disgust face?
-I have resting "I'm not welcome in this room" face.
-Oh. -That's how I enter a room.
-Are you English? -I'm Scottish.
-That's such an English trait. Okay, sure.
-Yeah, yeah. That's what you were reading.
-Okay, got it, got it. -Not that there were so many --
And I felt like I was interrupting,
'cause Mike was like, "Oh, here's Marc.
Let me briefly tell him
what we have until episode 11 of season three."
-Right, yeah.
-So it was simultaneously a ton of information, and also,
I felt like I was not invited to this dinner.
-You're always invited.
-And I'm not gonna eat the soup until I do it.
-Both of you, always invited.
-Let's get into the episode a little bit.
We open on this mysterious, weird bridge,
the out-est outskirt of the nether realms of the afterlife.
And there's a doorman.
A doorman played by Mike O'Malley.
-The Doorman. -Yeah.
-Oh, my God.
-This show is, as we've said, the smartest, dumbest show.
And to give such high stakes to a key --
a key made with the very first atoms
created in the universe and it can't be duplicated
and then to make it so mundane that it's printed on the key
like we've all see every day, "Do not duplicate."
Do you remember whose joke that was?
-Oh, my gosh. I don't.
I believe "do not duplicate"
was Mike's joke. -Okay.
-And then I'm pretty sure the frog key chain
was Matt Murray's joke, I want to say.
-Okay. -That is what I'm remembering,
and if I'm wrong, I'll have an angry Joe Mande
texting me when this episode airs.
-We are at a weird impasse.
This is the first place in this new generation
of "The Good Place: The Podcast"
where I want to ask about the significance of frogs
and I don't want to ask about the significance of frogs.
-Oh, right. -If it makes a --
-If it pays off or not. -If it gets a call-back, yeah.
-I will -- I won't say anything.
All I'll say is, like, yeah, just enjoy the frog joke
for being a frog joke in this episode.
-For however long it may last. -Yeah, yeah.
Live in the moment.
-I was -- sorry. -No, go ahead.
-I was just gonna say I was so starstruck
when I saw Mike O'Malley.
-Is that right? -Yeah, fully starstruck.
I love him.
We get the best, like, guest stars for this show.
-Oh, forget it. -Yeah.
-I mean... -It's too much.
I don't even know how I recovered from season two
with Maya Rudolph.
I don't know how I made it through.
-I know, it's still kind of a dream, right?
-Yeah. I was sure I would be
murdered shortly afterward.
I was like, "This is it."
This is, "I've peaked, and now it's over, and good-bye."
-And he does so such an amazing job of this episode
of being so low, so flat.
-So flat, yeah. -And we knew,
'cause that was the direction Dean gave him for sure,
and when we wrote it, that's the intention, like,
"Be as flat as you can, 'cause then that's gonna make
the frog joke pay off so much funnier."
And he did such a great job with it.
-This show is super nonlinear anyway.
We go back and forth in time, we go back and forth in reality
and what can and what's happened.
In one sense, this episode is no different.
In another sense, it's different in the sense
that we jump around,
we go back in time to their first times on Earth.
-We revisit their near-death experiences.
Certainly, you didn't restage
the statue scene with Kamilah, right?
That was something that you shot how long ago?
-So we shot that season two,
episode four, is "Team Cockroach."
That's the episode we learn about Tahani's death.
And at that point, we were already kind of
figuring out this thing of going back to Earth.
And so, we knew then that we should also
shoot Ted in disguise, saving her.
-Ted as her -- yeah.
Is the same true of Jason?
Did you restage the safe scene? -But -- yeah.
So with Chidi and Jason, those were shot --
Season one, we find out how Chidi died.
And we also find out how Jason died.
So in season one writing, we had not come up with this idea yet.
Tahani was kind of the only character we saved
till season two to reveal how she died.
And so, Jason and Chidi, we both had to go back
and reshoot the scene on the sidewalk
where Chidi is arguing with his friend and then --
or trying to decide on what bar to go to.
Excuse me, not arguing.
And then the air-conditioner, he gets crushed.
Or in this version, gets pushed out of the way.
-Doesn't, yeah. -And then Jason, yes,
we also had to go back to the Mexican restaurant
and shoot in the parking lot.
-So those things were restaged.
-Those things were restaged for the shooting of this episode.
The only death-saving thing
we didn't have to restage was Tahani's.
-Because the brilliance of you guys and Mike knew a year ago
that you were gonna maybe need that, might need that.
-It wasn't explained to me why we were doing it.
I wasn't told, I was completely kept in the dark.
-But imagine how brilliant we'd seem if we had known season one
and we hadn't had to reshoot any of the Chidi and Jason stuff?
-But I think it's credit to you guys that you write this
not having a clean,
like, blueprint of everything that's gonna happen.
-Yeah. It would be cool if we did.
-Yeah. -It might be easier.
-Much less stressful, yeah.
-It would be much less scary, yeah.
-It's daunting to talk about this season three premiere
because it's almost a series premiere.
I mean, it's a "we're learning," you know,
"meeting these people all over again." -Totally.
-I'd be remiss, though, if I didn't point out
the banner on a blueberry muffin cart --
"We Crumb From a Land Down Under."
-Sure. -Is that who I think it is?
-What is crazy is it actually isn't Megan.
-Wow. -It isn't Megan.
It's -- -So it's catching.
-Yeah, the disease is spreading.
-Oh no. Are we safe? -No one's safe, yeah.
It's actually Cord Jefferson.
-Was it Cord? -It was Cord.
There was some -- Ian Phillips came in one day and was like,
"We need signage for the muffin cart,"
and so we're all pitching.
And, obviously, when this happens, we all go,
"Well, Megan's got it. She'll handle this."
-I mean, she's been important. -And I think we're all pitching,
and then we actually ended up going with one of Cord's, but --
-Was Megan okay when that happened?
-She's furious. She's gonna ruin Cord.
Cord's in trouble, yeah. -She's already going through so much.
-She's going through enough. -Yeah, losing two Emmys,
Cord gets a pun in the show.
It's a nightmare for Megan.
-Jameela, you did an International Sophisticate
582 questions kind of thing.
-Mm-hmm, my favorite play on the "Vogue"
73,000 questions or whatever they do.
-That's great. Yes. -Is the number 582 significant
in the numerology of the show?
-I'm okay with saying that that, I think, is just a joke.
-Okay, it's just an excessive reference.
-Yeah, so we, in the writers' room, became --
as Jameela says, those "Vogue" 72 questions,
we became -- Is it 72 or 73?
-Oh, God, I don't know. -Doesn't matter.
Now, 582 is in my brain.
But we became obsessed with watching these celebrity --
Have you seen them? -I've seen a couple,
and they're so staged that I -- -So staged.
-They make me furious. -We, yeah --
-They're the opposite of candid.
-Yes, it's so funny.
And the fake trying to pretend it's off the cuff and candid.
-Right. -Kills me, yeah, kills me dead.
-It's so mortifying. -But I can't stop watching.
I cannot look away from the accident.
-They're addictive. So we were like,
"Oh, yes, please, we have to do this with Tahani.
It's so Tahani."
And it, yeah, turned out awesome.
-We haven't yet spoken about the monastery.
-Right. -Are we going to get on to that?
-We are.
-Should we talk about it later when you were gonna talk
about it, or should we now talk about it?
-I guess later. I don't know.
I want to talk, first of all --
-No, fine. Yeah. -Getting there.
This might be the purist distillation
of a Tahani name-drop, though,
because it's a misdirect where they say,
"Who is the most famous person in your phone,"
and you sort of deflect and say, "It's not about that.
The Dalai Lama texted me back."
I mean, that is the perfect-est version.
-It really is such a perfect Tahani joke,
'cause it's like she's trying so --
and especially with where she goes with this,
the whole get out of the spotlight.
-Yeah. -She's trying so hard to pretend
to be earnest and above it all, but she's not at all.
-No. -She can't do it.
-No. -I mean, she is who she is.
-A douchebag, yes.
-Bleep that.
-Oh, sorry. -No, it's fine.
There's so much in this episode.
I love that Jason proposes to the police officer
and calls her "Kay"
'cause I think the name tag says "K. Ramirez." -Yeah, "K. Ramirez."
-And he inadvertently confesses.
But then we see, you know, throughout this episode,
we find Michael and Janet
monitoring the ticker tapes of what's happening back on Earth,
and it's not going well.
This is a very interesting Janet, though.
It's a new Janet. -Mm-hmm.
-It's a very human Janet. -Yeah.
-It's the humanist Janet I think that we've seen to date.
-She's kind of mothering Michael at the beginning of this episode.
-Yeah, yeah. -I really enjoyed their dynamic shift,
'cause it always felt like he was her dad and her baby.
And despite the dialogue that then occurred,
her mannerisms with him and her general way
is, she's looking after him, which I think is really nice.
-Right, and he's trying to push the envelope and keep cheating,
and she's really trying to rein him in.
Yeah, it's really interesting.
I mean, just always with Janet across the three seasons,
it's just she's getting more and more,
you know, human as we go.
And so, pretty much every episode,
unless it's a flashback,
Janet's more human than ever when you see her.
-There's even a little bit of fear there.
Like, she's going, "Now, Michael,
don't forget the Judge," who's the judge of --
like, there are stakes to Janet. -Yeah, yeah.
-Janet didn't have stakes before.
-Exactly. She's internalizing, like,
now his goal and the group's goal is her goal, too.
-Yeah. -Which is really cool.
'Cause that, again, like you said, that's not
where she started from and now she's part of the team.
-We flash back -- Michael is gonna nudge-nudge these people.
So we flash back to season two, we see Eleanor in the bar,
and then we, you know, follow her
to Chidi's office in Australia.
You've written the joke that the two biggest exports from Arizona
are racist sheriffs and HPV. -That's right.
-Are those the meanest jokes you wrote,
or were there worse ones that you decided not to use?
-I think that those...
I would say meanest, but, also, there's truth to them, right?
They don't ring false when you hear it, right?
You're like, "Yeah."
-Oh, no, I think everybody knows.
I think Joe Arpaio knows.
-Yeah, he knows. -Yeah.
I'm sure he's a huge fan of the show.
-We get a little bit of explanation
about Chidi's languages. -Yes.
-And accent. -Yeah.
-Is there more of that coming, I feel like, Mike has said?
Or is this the --
-This is kind of... -Okay.
-I think this is kind of our main --
-I'm not trying to trap you, I just...
-This was kind of -- It was something we were aware of
that, in the pilot, he says -- the pilot of the show, he says,
"I'm speaking -- What you're hearing is English,
but I'm actually speaking French."
-French, right. -And so, we always knew
going forward that that was a loose end to tie up.
And so this was kind of our way of explaining
what the deal is with that.
And then Eleanor, of course,
has a very Eleanor response to it.
-We learn that "zonkatronic" is Khloe's word for "crazy."
Is "bonzer" a Kardashian word? That's like an Aussie word, right?
-No, that's an Aussie word.
That's an Aussie word which kind of is colloquial.
It means, like, good, great, you know, so it's --
-I think about it in terms of, like, waves.
-Awesome. -Like good waves, surfing.
-Like a bonzer -- -Yeah.
-You hit a -- you got a bonzer wave.
-I think so. -Okay.
-Why do the writers know what the Kardashians' words are?
-That -- I gotta be honest, that's actually just a joke.
That's not actually a Kardashian word.
-Oh, is that true? -Yes.
-'Cause she knows the actual Kardashian words.
-I was going to say, she knows the cannon.
-I will say, I wrote this whole Kardashian joke
because I have a pretty extensive Kardashian knowledge.
-Do you? -Yes.
And this is not part of their cannon.
-Eleanor says "jiff" for "gif" in there.
Was that a topic?
-This was a whole discussion in the writers' room.
-It has to have been. -I'm so glad you brought it up.
-I found it really jarring. -Yeah, I did, too.
-I couldn't even hear -- I couldn't hear anything else
that was said for a couple seconds.
-So we had a very heated debate in the writers' room,
'cause a lot of -- like, I remember, I think, Cord was like,
"No, it's gif, it's gif."
But Mike was firm on this,
and I agreed that the creator of the jiff is like,
"No, it's jiff."
-Right. -So we -- I kind of,
and I agree with Mike, have gone with -- We're like,
"Well, he created it, it's jiff."
But you guys say "gif"?
-I say "gif." -I say "gif."
-Interesting. I say "jiff."
-But I also say aluminum, so...
-Yeah, you do. -What do I know?
-We can't go by that.
So weird and charming.
-It's very charming.
So Chidi, we see his life.
We see -- First of all, it's very charming to see
Ted riding a bike and trying to yell at the same time.
-Oh, yes. -'Cause it was 90% solid,
and there was just a little bit of, like,
acting while riding a bike! -Totally, totally.
-Like, there's a little bit of --
That was kind of great and fun to see.
-Yeah. -Chidi is still Chidi.
You know, like, we haven't gone back in time --
I mean, we've gone back in time, but it's a different timeline.
I don't know how any of you keep this straight.
But his takeaway is that he, you know,
shouldn't be more decisive, it's that he shouldn't use
Freon in air-conditioning because it's bad for the environment.
His friend tells him that his brain is broken.
And I do love that in this rejoined, revisited timeline,
he's still working on that tome, that 3,600-page thesis.
-Oh, yeah, yeah. Yep, yep, we're -- Yeah,
you're basically going back as if he had --
You see if he had never been crushed by that air-conditioner.
So he's still the old Chidi,
hasn't made any of the progress or gotten out
of his insane brain. -Mm-hmm.
-So, yeah, he's still typing away at a 3,000-page thesis.
-And he's still Chidi in the sense
that he can't choose a chair when he's talking to Simone,
played by Kirby Howell-Baptiste.
-The opening shot, where he's sitting there
straddling each buttock on an armchair of each chair,
was unbelievable.
I laughed so much when I saw that.
-So that's joke enough, right? -Yeah.
-But then you have him move to the one at left
in the middle of the his own dialogue, he goes, "Nope."
-Yep. Yeah, and that was a Dean pitch on set,
and it was such a funny,
smart addition, that, yeah, he was like,
"Can you just not even break stride with the line?
Can you sit down and then be like 'nope'
and move to the next one?"
-Will's execution of that is --
-Will nailed it so perfectly. -Perfect.
-Oh, good heavens.
So his brain is broken, they're gonna put him in an MRI.
Let's throw to a clip.
-Okay, I'm all set.
-I'm just gonna ask you some basic questions, Chidi.
What is one plus one? -Two.
-What color is the sky? -Blue.
-What color are Simone's eyes?
-Brown. Uh -- uh, what?
-If you could take Simone anywhere on a date,
where would you take her?
-Sorry, is this part of the experiment?
-It is now, yes. Please answer the question.
And keep in mind, we can see your brain.
-Next question -- You're into Simone.
-That's not a question. -So you agree, it's a fact.
Next question's for Simone.
Simone, are you annoyed at Chidi
for waiting so long to ask you out?
-Yes, I am. -Chidi, same question for you.
Are you annoyed at yourself
for waiting so long to ask out Simone?
I mean, I'm annoyed with you,
and I've only known you three weeks.
-Yes, I am obviously very annoyed with myself.
Can I get out now?
-No, you can't, it will ruin the science.
There's only one question left...
and you gotta ask it, bud.
-Simone, would you like to have dinner with me?
-Wow, that is highly inappropriate.
-Uh... -I'm just kidding. Yes, I would.
Thank you for asking.
-"No, you can't, it will ruin the science."
Jen, that's...
that's world-class rom-com.
-It's very rom-com, yeah. -But, I mean, it's perfect.
-Well, thank you. It's very --
I mean, it's all -- Kristen and Kirby
and Will do such a good job in that scene.
And what's crazy is this scene and kind of this story line
where Eleanor pushes Chidi towards Simone
wasn't really in our -- I believe,
when we outlined it and kind of broke the episodes,
that wasn't really part of it.
There was an earlier version of this episode
where when we checked in with Chidi
and he has his kind of epiphany, your brain is broken,
et cetera, he and -- the Simone and Chidi relationship
kind of, like, that was --
he did that on his own. -Mm-hmm.
-And then in rewriting and re-breaking
and talking about the episode, like the premiere,
you know, I think we -- Every episode in various forms
goes through a lot of rewriting and re-breaking
and talking about it, and every episode is different.
But we definitely -- This episode,
because it's the premier,
because we had so much to catch up with, there was --
We just were working on it a really long time.
And that kind of developed.
We changed the story to have it be more
of an Eleanor/Chidi story,
where she is the one who pushes him to ask her out.
And it just -- Yeah, I love --
that scene is my favorite scene, I think, in this episode,
and I'm so glad we kept working on it,
'cause we wouldn't have gotten it.
-I love that scene. -It's great.
-But I also -- I didn't like seeing Eleanor push.
-I know.
-I felt it was fine in the read-through,
'cause it all feels very abstract.
But when I saw it, I felt angry.
-Yeah, yeah. -And I felt disappointed.
I was -- I wanted to break stuff.
'Cause it just didn't feel right. I didn't like it.
It was very well-performed and executed.
I can understand why it's happening,
but I feel territorial of them as a couple.
-Yeah. -I've become like
a real psycho fan of the show.
-Oh, yeah. I mean, that's real.
And I think that when you look at this episode,
there's a moment and it's --
Some of it might be a little bit of Kristen Bell
knowing the previous seasons of the show,
but it's definitely Eleanor just being territorial.
When they're walking down the park,
the sidewalk in the park or what have you
and Simone comes up,
at first, there's a little bit of like, "Oh, hold up.
"Like, who's this?"
And then she softens and goes, "Hey, dork, she's into you.
You guys should get together. I promise I won't get you two together."
-Cut to, "So you're into Chidi." -"You're into Chidi, right?"
Yeah. Yeah. -But you can feel a little,
I don't know, a hint, a whisper,
an echo of a past life of her going,
"I'm jealous of this person and I don't know why yet."
-Well, it's interesting you say that because we were really,
in writing it, we really --
one thing we were very cautious of
was we did not want this to turn into a story of a love triangle,
of two women fighting over a guy.
-'Cause why, right? -'Cause why?
'Cause I think it's been done, pretty sure.
-I don't know, has it? -I don't think so, actually.
-Yeah. -But that was also avoided
in season one between Tahani.
-Totally, exactly, exactly.
-Like, Mike and the writers, they all veer away from --
-Yeah, yeah. One of --
and I think you would maybe agree -- for me as a woman,
who has other female friends, I'm like,
"No, my girlfriends and I, we're not fighting over men.
That's -- It just doesn't happen, sorry."
-Then you're doing it wrong.
-I know your experience is different, Marc.
But it's interesting. I think, of course, there is always
this supernatural element to our show, which is like,
"Oh, these people's brains have been erased,"
but is there any --
you know, we know what they've been through.
But it was important to us, and Kristen really nailed it
and got it right away, that she should play this --
She's Chidi's friend,
and she's genuinely helping him. -Right.
-And even though she's only known him three weeks,
Eleanor has no boundaries with people, so she's gonna do that.
So I think it's interesting. For us, I really --
And Mike agreed and everyone agreed
that we didn't want it to feel like any kind of two women
fighting over a guy, basically. -Right.
And you address it so well because in the next scene,
I think, Janet and Michael, there's concern that now there's
this jam-car of a third party
and that they're not going to get together.
And I think it's Janet that says there were plenty of reboots
where Chidi and Eleanor weren't soul mates,
and he still agreed to help her, which, of course,
he does in this, given the nudge from Michael.
You have Janet calling the Judge "Mommy," which is...
it feels a little inside writers' room, maybe.
-Oh, yeah, "Daddy." -And also, trying on Michael as "Dad."
-Yeah, I mean, yeah.
It's still just Janet, I think, evolving
and being like, "Oh, yeah, relationships.
People have moms and dads.
Who's my mom, who's my dad?"
-And I feel like, as a reminder of the timeline
of the previous two seasons, we do see Shawn and company
in the situation room going back to things.
The song that made it -- When I say, "Put something on
that's deeply terrible to put us in the mood,"
you played Richard Marx's "Right Here Waiting for You."
I've forgotten what song you played on set
that broke me completely.
Do you remember that?
-God, what song was it? I'm trying to remember.
-Dean thought it might be Blues Traveler or something.
-Oh, it was "Run-Around" by Blues Traveler.
-That's what he thought, okay, yeah.
-So I think it's okay to say this -- Basically --
-How does that song go? -Oh, I'm not gonna sing it.
-I played it in the car on the way here, and I don't...
-Do you remember Blues Traveler? -No.
-Harmonica. -I'm only 15 years old.
-Right, right.
Your great-great-grandmother remembers Blues Traveler.
Basically what it is
is when they have to clear these songs for the episodes...
-...the person giving the rights to the song
has to be okay with saying, "Hey, is it cool to say
this is a song literal demons use
to psych themselves up 'cause it's so bad?"
-Same thing with Puddle of Mudd and "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer."
-Exactly, exactly.
So I think that we're always dealing with what's funny
and, also, who's gonna be down for the joke.
And I think, from what I've heard,
Richard Marx is a very funny --
gets comedy and is totally down for his music to be made fun of,
which is cool.
-Shawn goes on a bit of a cocooning spree,
and others join,
I suppose, Vicky, wherever she is --
somewhere in a cocoon.
I do love that you have Chidi thanking Eleanor
for bullying him into asking out Simone kind of thing.
-Yeah. -That seems like a really
baseline dynamic for those two.
-It's totally a baseline dynamic.
Eleanor is -- -So infuriated.
-Jameela's upset. She's upset about it.
Yeah, Eleanor. But she's all action, you know.
Chidi's -- Obviously, his greatest flaw
is that he overthought everything and never took action.
And Eleanor is such a like, "All right, man, let's do this.
What's the plan?"
And so they make each other great in that way.
And, unfortunately, she's made him great in a way that is --
or fortunately, however you want to look at it --
looking at Jameela, who's devastated
by this couple being broken up.
-Don't... Don't look at me.
Don't forking look at me. -Don't forking.
-It's so interesting to hear you say that,
'cause, like, you know, we all writing it,
we're like, "Wow, how are people"--
I'm very protective of the Eleanor/Chidi relationship.
You know, like, I love them together.
So it's interesting, people's reaction to this premiere,
I'm really interested in how they're gonna feel about it.
-Am I wrong in saying that apart from, obviously,
like, towards the end, I guess, of season two,
this is palpably the warmest I've seen Eleanor so far?
She's the most, like -- -Interesting.
-I think that's true.
-She's still pushy, but she's warm and affectionate
and doing something for other people.
Like, she's a giver.
-Yeah, this is the first time you've seen her not...
like a caged -- like, with her back against the wall,
season one, season two.
-Like a caged animal? -I was going to say
like a caged animal, then I was like,
"That's not exactly the right metaphor.
Let me try something else."
But, you know, she --
in season one, she's so scared she's gonna get caught.
-Her antenna is that she's gonna get screwed.
-Her antenna -- exactly.
All her instincts are saying, "Fight, fight, fight,
self-preserve, self-preserve."
So I think, you know, she's suspicious of Tahani
when she first meets her.
And that was something that was really cool for us
to explore, in them being on Earth.
-This one's totally different, right?
-Yeah, totally different.
-They meet in different circumstances.
-Yeah. -Was that weird playing --
meeting your character meeting Kristen's character
for the first time
when you, the actor, knows
that you've been together for several years?
-Yeah. And I feel like we played it
in slightly different ways
on set to kind of see what would work later.
-Yeah. -We tried a variation.
I'm really glad they went with the kind of,
like, warm, open, like -- -Yeah.
And in that first scene when you guys meet, it's immediate.
Like, she's like, "No, I'm not that into Kamilah,"
and you're super happy,
and your reaction of it is so, so funny.
-That was so genuine and dear, for real.
-But, yeah, you guys -- She has no reason
to feel anything but like, "Oh, cool.
Here's this really interesting British woman
who I've never met anyone like before,"
but she's not worried about getting caught.
She doesn't think you think you're better than her,
and that's bad in the Good Place.
-Also, I'm not the only person in a village
that has an English accent by choice.
-Exactly, exactly. So it's really cool to --
I can't think of any other show
where you get to explore relationships
from so many different angles
over and over again with characters.
It was very fun to write.
-That's also a fun scene to -- When we flash back
to your near-death, Tahani's near-death,
it's fun to see Tahani out of control, going,
"Who was it that saved me? It was a man, I think."