FTT30111/PHIL33101: THE GOOD CLASS
Profs. Becker, Sullivan, and Herbst along with students Kelsey Allen and Lulu Phifer were featured on The Good Place: The Podcast and got to chat with Marc Evan Jackson! This was part of a special series of the podcast focusing on fans. Our segment starts at the 1:12:50 mark. Listen to the group answer Marc’s legendary question: What’s good? And hear the story of how Notre Dame helped to change the course of Good Place history.
The Judge poured over her notes again, let out a long sigh, and furrowed her brow. She checked them, rechecked them, rechecked them again, took a quick burrito break, and rechecked them a third time. You would think as an eternal being I would have seen everything. I mean, there’s literally no way I couldn’t have seen everything.
She sighed. Nothing for it I suppose.
She snapped her fingers and it appeared before her. It really was as strange as she thought it would look, but somehow its mismash of parts congealed into an intelligible whole. It could almost be called beautiful. You know, if you were into that sort of thing.
“Whe… where am I?”
“Oh dear you can speak! I wasn’t really expecting that. Not sure why but…”
A look of confusion spread across… could you call it a face? Continue reading
The Good Place and The Great Divorce: Visions of Hell and Purgatory
The Good Place may be set in the afterlife, but it is not, first and foremost, about the afterlife. Its primary concern is the morals (or lack thereof) that landed its characters there. But a show that assumes the existence of an afterlife, and in particular an afterlife that judges its members on moral qualities, must deal with the question of not only how one can be a good person, but also why.
For my final project, I decided to make a digital collage. I wanted the collage to encapsulate the spirit of the show, ranging from the obscure comedic references to the creativity and design of the main characters. Continue reading
I decided to write a speech by Michael for my final project, using prophetic rhetoric from the Bible. The Good Place is decidedly not a religious show, though nor is my final project. Prophetic speeches from the Bible often condemn humans for their sinful qualities, and end with advice for how to be better. Throughout this class, we’ve discussed how Schur has defined human nature through The Good Place. I thought it would be powerful to take all of Michael’s revelations about human nature, and to place them into a speech. I used this religious technique simply to highlight Michael’s feelings towards humans. It also attempts to piece together Michael’s core philosophy about humans. Continue reading
For my final assignment, I chose to write a review of episode 4.05, “Employee of the Bearimy,” which is under the divider below. This was one of the episodes I have most enjoyed this season, which I thought would make it well-suited to take a deeper dive into. There will be spoilers for this episode!
My Final Project outlines the plans of a hypothetical neighborhood in The Good Place. The theme of this neighborhood is Notre Dame—see if you can spot all the references!
For my final project, I decided to storyboard a cut scene from the pilot script. This takes place right at the start of Act Four, just after Chidi realizes that Eleanor is the one causing all of the chaos. Enjoy!
After spending an entire semester dissecting, discussing, and diving into everything related to The Good Place, it is about time we start convincing the four people left who haven’t given in and binged the show – and to provide those who have a handy-dandy list to kindly shove in the faces of said four. Without further adieu, here is my Top 10 list of reasons to watch The Good Place, with a short special surprise at the end. Enjoy!
At the close of Season 3, after Chidi is taken away from her, Eleanor, like Chidi and Michael before her, has her own existential crisis, and begs the all-knowing Janet for ‘the answer’ to existence. Janet’s beautiful response prompted me to reflect on how this same sentiment was portrayed in other shows and movies I love…
For my final project, I have decided to write a few scenes in the style of The Good Place pilot episode with a twist on the premise. My pilot episode scenes of The God Place focus on Elena who is starting her freshman year at Notre Dame. Instead of placement into the afterlife, my premise is that we exist in a world in which we get placed into our college, and so Elena is learning about her new Home Under the Dome. While I only wrote a few scenes that focused mainly on establishing the world of the show, you can imagine where an expanded script might take its audience: Does Elena actually belong at Notre Dame? Is Notre Dame even really Notre Dame? etc. Enjoy!
The Good Lecture: Ryan Cook & Chase Miller
The First Annual James E. Skerl ’74 Christian Manhood Lecture
Sometimes when I’m bored or feel like procrastinating, one of my favorite things to do is take Buzzfeed quizzes with my friends. I really enjoyed my time in this class and had tons of fun discussing one of my favorite TV shows, so I wanted to choose a project that reflected the laughter and good times I had on Fridays in DPAC. I created a Buzzfeed quiz that involves answering various questions related to the show to ultimately decide which philosophy you should adopt. Once you finish my quiz, feel free to peruse the other quiz choices to figure out which Kardashian you are or test whether you are a Harry Potter expert (which I am, humble brag). And yes, all quiz results are 100% accurate– trust me, I’m a science major. I hope you enjoy!
The Good Blog: Chapter 6
By Grace Akin and Alex Bakeis
As the fourth and final season of The Good Place is underway, the time has come to say goodbye, both to our favorite show and our favorite class. This is The Good Blog: The Finale.
Ted Danson was a guest on Late Night With Seth Meyers, and he mentioned our class!
A few weeks ago, The Good Class switched up its premise with a crazy Mike Schur visit, and during our last class meeting, we let that sit. But this week, we switched it up again(!) with a visit from Pamela Hieronymi, officially rounding out our Philosophy Trinity: Meghan, Chidi, Pamela. The Good Class got to know several important details about Professor Hieronymi including her favorite philosophy (contractualism) and her philosophical spirit animal (Dr. Peter Strawson). After an interesting warmup that concluded with two members of the Philosophy Trinity (not Chidi) discussing Derek Parfit’s wardrobe selection and the upshots of his separation of self theory (disjointed future self, teleporting, split brains, and other normal stuff), it was time to talk The Good Place. Continue reading
The Friday after our meeting with Mike Schur, The Good Class returned to its regular programming. But the visit was fresh in all of our minds, and we were all itching to talk about everything we’d learned, so the first thing we did was debrief. Everyone seemed to agree that the day was almost 104% perfect. All of us (including/especially our professors) have seen some guest speakers who aren’t so great at teaching what they know to others, but Mike Schur was not only smart-brained but also able to get across all the interesting things he had to say in a funny and entertaining way. He was cool with answering whatever crazy questions we had. We also liked that we got to talk to him in both the lunchtime and theater settings–all in all we got a very well-rounded experience. Continue reading
The day was finally here: “Schur Day.” We all arrived to our lunch with Mike Schur in outfits that said “Today I’m meeting a famous person, I better have my shirt together.” We were bright eyed and bushy tailed hoping that Mike could tell us all of the secrets of The Good Place and what the heck we had to do to make our dreams in entertainment come true. We sat in a big circle and ate lunch (only nervously spilling one glass of water) and began our deep dive into the brain of Mike Schur.
As the Friday before Michael Schur came to campus arrived, the class had an electric buzz. Mike was visiting Notre Dame to speak on a panel composed of our very own fearless leaders Prof. Meghan Sullivan and Christine Becker about the potential of TV to make us better people (more on this to come in our next post).
The story of this class begins, in a way, with Regis Philbin.
Regis served as the bridge between the world of Notre Dame and the world of Michael Schur, creator of The Good Place. A bridge that allowed our letter, expressing our undying love and appreciation for the show and inviting Michael Schur to campus, to reach Schur’s hands. He agreed, and from that point til now our professors, Christine Becker, Ricky Herbst, and Meghan Sullivan, have been working tirelessly to make this the most thought- and resource-intensive 1 credit course in the history of Notre Dame (right down to spending hours trying to discern the font used in The Good Place… to no avail. — UPDATE: NDFTT alum Matt Mancini, who is part of the Good Place editing team, has checked in to report that the font is “Brandon Grotesque with a modified “Q” “g” “j” “p” “q” “y”. Thus, we call it “Brandon Good Place”.). Today, it was time for us students to see if this class truly is “The Good Class” as promised, or if we’ve been fooled into torturing each other all semester…
To be considered for admittance into The Good Class for the Fall 2019 semester, you must fill out the application form at this link and submit it via Google Forms by 11:59pm on April 7.
- Only declared or anticipated FTT majors and Philosophy major/minors at the University Notre Dame are eligible to apply.
- The class will be small, so seats are limited and the application process will be competitive.
- Students will be informed of the admittance decisions by April 12.
If you’d like to contemplate the application questions before launching the form, they are:
- Why do you deserve to be admitted into The Good Class? Provide specific reasons accompanied by the approximate points (see explanation) you believe you have earned for each of these achievements.
- We recently discovered that no one has passed The Good Class in centuries, so please provide your suggestions for how the course should be fairly graded going forward.Answers should be no longer than 400 words each, and creativity will be rewarded.
FTT 30111/PHIL 33101: The Good Class — The Philosophy and Production Behind The Good Place
This one-credit Fall 2019 course at the University of Notre Dame will offer an interdisciplinary deep dive into the ground-breaking NBC sitcom The Good Place. We’ll look at the philosophical theories of goodness and human flourishing that back the episode scripts. We’ll consider how moral change figures in comedy and how television helps shape the conversation between popular art and morality. We’ll look at the economic and aesthetic forces that guide work like this. And we’ll get into the details of how the show was devised, pitched, and produced. There will be five 90-minute class meetings, plus an in-depth session with showrunner Michael Schur. Participants will be expected to watch and critically analyze episodes of the series, engage with relevant secondary literature (including some secondary viewing), and submit writing assignments.
In order to be admitted into The Good Class, students must submit an application form no later than Thursday, April 7. Instructions for submission and a link to the application form can be found at http://sites.nd.edu/thegoodclass/. Only declared or anticipated FTT majors and Philosophy majors/minors are eligible to apply.
Instructors: Meghan Sullivan (Philosophy), Christine Becker (FTT), Ricky Herbst (FTT)
Meeting times: The first five Fridays of the semester, 11-12:30, plus a lunchtime meeting on Monday, Sept 16.
Location: B043 DPAC
This is The Good Class, a class about The Good Place. Sponsored by: otters holding hands while they sleep. You know the way you feel when you see a picture of two otters holding hands? That’s how you’re gonna feel every day.
The architects: Christine Becker and Ricky Herbst, Department of Film, Television, and Theater, and Meghan Sullivan, Department of Philosophy, at the University of Notre Dame
Welcoming you in Fall 2019. Good luck racking up points for admittance in the meantime!