The Good Blog: Chapter 6

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.

Appropriately, we started off our final class talking about endings. We posed the question: what would a good death be for the show? According to Aristotle, you can’t know if someone lived a good life until they are dead. However, Professor Becker argued that finales do not define a show. Us TV consumers know finales like those of Lost and Game of Thrones can taint the way audiences perceive a show, but they do not diminish the love we had for it along the way. The majority of the class agreed that regardless of what we think of the finale and what happens in it, we would just like there to be continuity and closure.

The Good Place…please don’t leave us like this

We then shifted the conversation to debate creative ownership. Is television an art form that belongs to the creators, or is it a product that must appeal to consumers? Do transmedia texts like fan fiction and social media influence the creation of the show? I personally believe there’s a weird balance of ownership between the creators and fans depending on the cultural impact, stars, messaging behind the show/movie, and more. However, it is still the creator’s technical property at the end of the day and as long as their assertions are valid (we’re looking at you, J.K. Rowling), there shouldn’t be a problem in the creator/fan overlap.

After a heated debate on creative ownership among architects (professors) and students alike, we skyped with Notre Dame alum and Vice President of Production at NBCUniversal, Michael Swanson! 

He gave us the scoop on what it’s like to shoot for streaming services (i.e. filming two episodes in one shoot to save time and money) and shared his gut feeling on the future of live television. With the advent of so many different streaming platforms, Michael said he thinks more live events, such as sports and TV musicals, will find time on the air.

When asked about how his Notre Dame degree has served him in his career, Michael mentioned how Notre Dame alumni come to Hollywood and influence the industry in a positive way. His experiences have taught him that his work is not always about the movie or show that he is producing, but rather being a spark to illuminate the darkness for the people working on the project. The values that Notre Dame embraces differentiates alumni from the people who come to LA to conquer the world. 

Michael continued to discuss the nature of his job and how a large portion of his day is spent putting out proverbial fires and fixing problems. However, the day that we spoke to him, the problem he had to fix was a literal fire that caused production on another Mike Schur show, Sunnyside, to be cancelled. He advised us FTT majors worried about breaking into the industry post-graduation that ‘overnight success’ actually takes ten years to achieve. There was a collective sigh of relief throughout the room when he assured us that any work will help take us where we are supposed to go, regardless of the task.

He encouraged us to trust in ourselves and in God by saying, “God will take you where he needs you to be when he needs you to be there. Relax and trust God on this journey.” He told us that “iron sharpens iron” in his work environment because the best people in the industry are working together and making each other better. Reflecting on The Good Class, I think the synthesis of FTT and Philosophy majors helped sharpen each other and made everyone more aware of the major to which they do not belong. The Good Class was an unforgettable experience and, as our architects always said, it was definitely not The Bad Class.

PS: Chris Becker flossing at the end of the final meeting granted her immediate access to The Good Place.

Thinking about the series ending like

We rate this chapter…

Coolness: Ice cold!

Dopeness: Pretty dope, but the feeling of it being the last class meeting brings it down 0.2 dopeness points

Dancing ability: On par with Jason’s dance crew. I heard he lost to Professor Becker’s flossing.

Freshness: Fresher than The Good Place on Rotten Tomatoes (97% if you’re curious)

Smart-brained: 10/10 (but it’s really our values and making the world a better place that matters — thank you Michael Swanson!)