As NBC’s The Good Place nears its fourth season (premiering September 26), executive producer Michael Schur was joined by stars Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D’Arcy Carden and Manny Jacinto on the TCA stage one last time — and things got emotional as they unpacked the journey of the Emmy-nominated comedy and the “final forking season”.
The Good Place premiered in 2016 with a shorter episode order, which Schur said helped “a great deal” to propel the narrative. He adds that when he pitched the show to NBC he said that they were going to move really fast and it made for “sharper and funnier” storytelling. With the four seasons and the episodes, Schur said, “We got exactly the story we wanted to tell under the wire.”
Having recently wrapped the final episode, the cast talked about what it has meant to them to be on the show. Jamil, Carden, Jacinto and Harper expressed so much gratitude in working with each other and with Schur, Danson and Bell, who started to get emotional and tearing up (a member from the audience ran up to give her tissues).
“Ted and Kristen set a tone,” said Harper “There are no better artists to lead a show. I see what it is to live in this place of gratitude for the chances we have been given.”
As for theories for the show’s comedic take on the afterlife, Schur said his own take on the show changed since it started. “At the beginning, I pitched [The Good Place] as an investigation of what it means to be a good person,” said Schur. “That’s an even more complicated question than I thought it was.”
Schur said that during the run of the series, they presented a lot of options in how to be good — and plenty that they didn’t describe. He said that it wasn’t necessarily about being good, but more about the effort
“The newfound belief about being good is that you’re trying,” said Schur. “As long as you’re trying, you’re on the right path.”
As the panel came to an end, Bell and Danson continued the emotional lovefest for Schur and how the show had the opportunity to be what it was without any compromise.
“He empowers people so well,” said Bell of Schur. “He makes you feel like you belong there and he sets a tone that makes everything work in this joyful manner because everyone feels included.”
Danson said of the show, “”Our focus when we drive through the gates is to live up to the material.” He then took a pause and got choked up and said it was a “gift” that The Good Place was ending on its own terms.