It’s ‘The Good Place’ Versus My Bad Place
Somehow this week I backed myself into a mood spiral. It might have something to do with pandemic-era emergency SNAP allotments and the energy assistance for my utility bill both coming to an end next month. Financial stress almost always is a shortcut to the psychological edge.
The food budget concerns me enough as it is but the sudden resumption of a $70-80 electric bill means that until and unless the energy assistance program gets its next batch of funding and I manage to grab an appointment slot and they accept me again, starting in April I’ll basically be stuck at home all the time except for when I happen to have the physical and psychological resources to get out for walks, and while at home I’ll have a shortage of things to fill the time because I’ll need to drop one or more streaming services.
(Counterpoint: this will be about the time that MLB.TV should become available for T-Mobile subscribers; all else failing, there will be 162 games of Red Sox baseball in the offing.)
At any rate, the point is I’m trying to stave off the financial depression that comes with a financial depression and I’ve starting rewatching The Good Place, and I sort of wish my blogging about the show during its final season were back online but it’s not yet.
It’s interesting when you rewatch one of your mental health shows and you start seeing little bits and pieces through different filters. Like the way Eleanor keeps getting wrong Chidi’s last name (Anagonye) now just makes me think of how Jasika Nicole hated Fringe’s long-running gag about Walter Bishop getting wrong the name of her character (Astrid).
It’s also not lost on me now that the initial conceit here is the white person pleading with the black person to do a bunch of heavy intellectual and emotional labor to help her become a better person. In the episode I’m watching right now they literally have a fight over how much of a burden this is because she is “a full-time job”, which I guess is something but bringing the racial aspect into it probably wouldn’t match the show’s vibe.
(An episode or two earlier, Chidi did confirm that, yes, it would be racist for Eleanor to say “Africa” when trying to answer what country he’s from. I don’t remember anything like that ever coming up again. I remember blogging about how it went unaddressed that the rules of the afterlife point system technically meant, for example, that all enslaved people were in the bad place.)
Anyway, I bring these things up not because they ruin the show for me, but because I just find it interesting how being fully drawn into a show can leave you with a bunch of dead angles on things, including things where you really should have known better. (Or maybe it’s just that you wish you at the time were a person who should have known better.) Sort of like how I was too blinkered by my love of Firefly to really register the fetishization of the Chinese language as means of cursing and not much else. (At least I always was well aware of how ridiculous it was that there were never really any actual Chinese people in the show, I guess?)
Looking back at the blogging I did during that last season, my two biggest take-aways in the end were that (1) “of all the characters … Jason Mendoza had the highest degree of emotional intelligence” and (2) I found it stupefying that in a show about moral philosophy, Team Cockroach never actually had a conversation about the implications of their solution to the afterlife being suicide.
All of which is a heavy slog of reading when really I’m just mentioning that I am rewatching The Good Place, and I hope at some point here that it’s not the only thing keeping me afloat in the doldrums.