Holy....! Each week we’ll discuss an episode of ”The Good Place” along with a Jewish text or idea or two that relates to the theme of the episode. Hosted by Jon Spira-Savett, rabbi and lover of great TV comedy and ethical philosophy, along with different co-hosts who teach Judaism and Torah and are smart and funny. We may not be as funny as ”The Good Place” itself, but we channel our own inner Chidis and Janets, as well as our Eleanors and Michaels and Tahanis and Jasons. Subscribe now, check in at tovgoodplace.com, and follow us at @tovgoodplace or on Facebook!
Chapters 29-30: A Threefold Cord Is Not Easily Broken
On The Good Place, the group assembled in Australia is tested by Trevor’s efforts at sabotage and Eleanor’s frustration at sharing Chidi, and Michael and Janet come up with new ways to keep the four from leaving. On the podcast, Rebecca and Jon discuss how the group is a biblical threefold cord, something different from both pair relationships and a bigger community. We also explore the Jewish teaching about the absolute and equal value of lives even though people are so different, and how the characters are learning to believe that about each other and themselves. Click here for show notes.
Chapters 27-28: Nudge
It’s a new season of The Good Place! On the show, Michael keeps sneaking down to earth to intervene in the four humans’ lives without their realizing, in order to get them all to Australia to learn with Chidi and participate in Chidi’s and Simone’s new study. On the podcast, Geoff Mitelman and Jon Spira-Savett explore nudges, neuroscience, and near-death experiences (and whether Michael thinks “nudge” and “noodge” are the same thing). Click here for show notes.
Special Episode: The Midpoint
It’s halfway through The Good Place and therefore this podcast too! We mark the occasion with a reflective conversation among Rebecca Rosenthal, Dan Ross, Lela Spira-Savett, and Jon Spira-Savett. Settle your Season 2 bets about which characters the podcast’s co-hosts resemble today and wish they would be more like. Then we muse personally about the premises of the podcast – Jon’s envy of the TV show's creators, how learning actually shapes our ethical growth, and the ingenious ways The Good Place spins what we call teshuvah. We check in on Maimonides’ definition and give it a bit of critique in the process! Click here for the episode page.
Chapter 26: Motivations and Rewards; Or, A Little Bit of Everything!
On the season 2 finale of “The Good Place”, the Judge and Michael agree on a new way to assess the four humans’ improvement. They send Eleanor back to the day she died but this time she doesn’t, and she sets out to change. On the podcast, Rebecca and Jon circle back to discuss different types of motivations and rewards that encourage or result from ethical behavior. And, the idea of teshuvah as literally going back in order to change, and relationships and time frames and apologies… if “The Good Place” can weave together so many threads in a single episode so can the podcast! Click here for show notes.
Chapter 25: Six Scales, Any Better Than Just One?
On “The Good Place”, the humans meet the Judge, who gives each of them an individualized test that they all must pass or none of them can go on to the real Good Place. On the podcast, Elliot Goldberg and Jon stress test the Talmud’s six-part afterlife questionnaire on Eleanor, Tahani, Jason and Chidi, and wonder why all-knowing beings love binge-watching more than reading the New Yorker. Click here for show notes.
Chapter 24 Encore: Mask, Costume, True Self
We recorded this originally out of chapter order and released it to coincide with the holiday of Purim! Re-releasing it now in "Good Place" sequence. On “The Good Place”, the humans and Janet put on costumes and assume new identities to pass through demon headquarters on their way to the Judge. On the podcast, Ilana Schachter (rabbi), Daniella Risman (hazzan=cantor), and Jon Spira-Savett talk about how costumes relate to, obscure, or help bring out our true selves, and how from the Bible to “The Good Place” 45-year-old men create impossible messes and tell women only they can fix it. Click here for show notes.
Really interesting discussions about each episode of The Good Place TV show. I'm hooked on both the show and the podcast, both are excellent!