Ted Danson Leaked the ‘Good Place’ Twist to John Krasinski Out of Spite

Never trust Ted Danson with your secrets
Ted Danson Leaked the ‘Good Place’ Twist to John Krasinski Out of Spite

Everybody loves Ted Danson, whether it’s because he’s so terrific as Larry David’s foil on Curb Your Enthusiasm, or thanks to the 11 seasons that he played Sam Malone on Cheers, or due to… whatever it was that he did on Becker. But arguably one of Danson’s greatest comic performances was in The Good Place, playing the architect of a utopian afterlife who (spoiler alert for a show that came out in 2016) turns out to be a demon tasked with torturing humans. 

That twist, which was revealed in the first season finale, was hands-down the best moment of the show, shocking audiences and providing the world with a meme that was certainly put to good use in the ensuing years. 

A big reason why the twist works so well is Danson’s performance. He transitions from a good-natured bureaucrat to a villainous schemer in a manner of seconds, using only his facial expressions and a maniacal laugh.

Danson and his Cheers co-star/podcast co-host Woody Harrelson appeared on this week’s episode of Conan O’Brien Needs a Friend, and Conan singled out this scene as one of Danson’s very best. “There’s a huge O. Henry twist at the end of the first season, which I did not see coming,” O’Brien told Danson. “And, it all hinges on your face, and you transform in that moment. (It was) one of the best things I’ve seen on TV.”

Danson revealed that he had been sworn to secrecy by the producers, but admitted that “even before we started shooting, I blew it.” 

Apparently he was chatting with John Krasinski, who worked with The Good Place creator Mike Schur on The Office. When Danson was describing the premise of the yet-to-be-produced show, he could tell that Krasinski was dismissively thinking, “Yeah, The Office but in Heaven” in his head. So to prove just how awesome the show was going to be, he totally spoiled the big twist. 

“I gave away the whole secret,” Danson confessed. Worse, he then had to “pretend” that he hadn’t given anything away during cast meetings in which he was instructed: “Let’s keep this quiet. Please don’t blow this.” The secrecy surrounding this reveal was so tight that most of the cast didn’t even know the true nature of the “Good Place.” 

Only Danson and Kristen Bell were let in on the secret, although Schur was aware that Danson had been blabbing about it, not just to Krasinski, but to anybody who didn’t fully grasp the magnitude of the story. “He would pitch the show to people and say, ‘I play the architect of heaven.’ People go, ‘Yeah, that sounds fine.’ He would go, ‘No, you don’t understand!’ Then, he would just spill the beans to literally everyone,” Schur told Entertainment Weekly in 2019. “I believe he told me that he had told Larry David. He told, like, a million people.” 

Bell, on the other hand, didn’t even tell her husband.

All of which may explain why Danson has yet to appear in a single M. Night Shyamalan movie. 

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