The 'Good Place' Guy's Gonna Teach Us How To Live (Thank God)
You likely wouldn't recognize Michael Schur if you saw him on the street, and even if you did, you'd probably just be like "Did I just see Mose on the subway?"
Indeed, he did play Dwight Schrute's creepy bearded cousin, but he's also had at least one hand in forging just about every one of your favorite shows of the last decade, from The Office to Parks and Rec to Brooklyn Nine-Nine to The Good Place. It's that ideal sweet spot of success that gives you the juice to convince network execs that a sitcom about philosophy is a good idea, while not getting bothered by randos at the grocery store when trying to buy juice. Which is good because Michael Schur might be the Buddha. No one needs the pressure of both, you know?
Not to blow your mind here, but The Good Place wasn't actually about the afterlife. The story of a gang of misfit dirtbags, struggling to get into heaven, was only a slightly hamfisted metaphor for how to live a good life on an Earth that promised no such supernatural Disneyland at the end, and laid out a fairly specific path that drew from a variety of schools of thought. Except there's only so much that can be explained over the course of a 23-minute episode, which is why Schur announced this week that he's writing a book -- How to Be Good: A Definitive Answer for Exactly What to Do, In Every Possible Situation -- to be released in fall 2021.
Is it going to be a groundbreaking work of philosophical thought? Probably not. The Good Place didn't contain any ideas that haven't been bandied about for centuries by various philosophers and religious leaders (or extremely annoying college freshmen with guitars), but it did so with humor and simplicity that was palatable to its young audience. Most of whom don't have the time, or the limitless patience, required to digest the history of philosophy but desperately need that kind of guidance (in list form if possible). And if we're going to be looking to our pop-culture creators to provide us with the path to enlightenment, rather than traditional moral leaders, we could do a lot worse. A lot worse.
Manna has no such wisdom for you, but that doesn't stop her from pretending on Twitter.