By Kayna Kemp Stout
NBC’s The Good Place is a new sitcom starring Kristen Bell and Ted Danson about what happens in the afterlife. Mormon viewers will chuckle, squirm, and nod their heads in unison at the portrayal of the grand beyond. For starters, we believe the afterlife is a busy
place with comings and goings as we know it now, which is how The Good Place portrays it. We LDS adherents, also believe we will be with like minded souls who have a similar goodness quotient. This also is a commonality with the show. However, there’s a twist; mistakes have been made in the admissions process. Unworthy clandestine members of the righteous neighborhood have inadvertently been admitted. This creates havoc in an otherwise perfectly functioning afterlife. Can heaven or kingdoms as we Mormons say have flaws in them? After viewing three episodes, there are six main characters orchestrating the shenanigans in the holy neighborhood.
Ted Danson is the architect of the community, and has a human looking robotic assistant who knows everything and can procure whatever he needs instantly. A modern day version of Bewitched’s Samantha without the nose twitching. Add the two interlopers who are paired with a benevolent member of the community, and you abundant scripts about honesty, authenticity, and consequences. One amusing consequence is their inability to swear in the good place. Substitute words like “fork” are involuntary spoken instead of unsavory four-letter words.
Lectures on ethical philosophy gush from the college professor in the earthly life. He tutors the misfits in the neighborhood instead so they won’t selfishly care about themselves full time as it was on earth. Plenty here for Sunday School discussions. Will any of us get there by mistake?