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!
Chapter 1 Encore: Measuring Deeds
This is an encore presentation of our very first podcast episode, about Chapter 1 of The Good Place after an introduction to our whole project! We’re republishing it primarily for anyone who is just discovering Tov! in time for Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish new year holy day, which is a time for exploring all the themes in The Good Place as they apply to our lives. As you’ll hear in the episode, even though we’re two rabbis talking we are not pushing Judaism here, just kicking it around together. Maybe you’re someone who’s using The Good Place as how you start the new year, with or without our podcast as a guide! If so we’d love to hear about your experience and bet others would too. If you are looking for a community to gather with for Rosh Hashanah or Yom Kippur and don’t know how to connect to one, drop us a note at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll find someone who will welcome you. Click here for show notes.
What I’ve Learned (So Far) About Teshuvah From “The Good Place”, By Jon
This episode is Jon Spira-Savett’s attempt to collect my thoughts about how The Good Place illustrates, riffs on, critiques and expands on the Jewish concept of teshuvah (personal change as “returning”), especially as taught in the writings of Rabbi Moses Maimonides. What have I learned so far, and has it affected me in my life? This episode is an exposition in one voice and not a conversation, and for those who prefer just to read it the “script” is linked in the show notes.
Special Episode: Pamela Hieronymi, Philosopher and Consultant on The Good Place!
Yet another “insider” conversation with someone from the Good Place team! Pamela Hieronymi is a philosophy professor at UCLA with whom Michael Schur spoke early on in the show’s development. Pamela talks with Dan Ross and Jon Spira-Savett about some of the moral emotions, like envy, resentment, and blame; whether one can in fact try to be good and whether some people have limits on how good they can become; reframing the matter to center another’s experience of being disrespected rather than the calculation of one’s own rightness or blame; what effect death or immortality have on our moral lives. We of course discuss contractualism and why Pamela thinks it is both the best theory and an inspiring one, despite its sometimes dense presentation in the works of modern philosophers. We get her take on Maimonides and teshuvah (repair as “return), the Torah covenant as compared to modern contractualism -- and the moral superiority of horses!
Click here for show notes and links to Professor Hieronymi's website and some selected articles and videos.
Click here to listen to our first podcast on a specific Good Place episode, Chapter 1.
Live Show With Rebecca, Dan, Sari and Jon (June 29, 2023)
Rebecca Rosenthal, Dan Ross, Sari Laufer and Jon Spira-Savett roam around our reflections after this Jewish rewatch of the entire series! We four have been the most frequent co-hosts of Tov! We’re joined by co-host Daniel Kirzane. Some of our topics include which main characters continue to resonate for us or strike us in new ways; aspects of the show that pleasantly surprised us “Jewishly”; things the creators of “The Good Place” explored that we wish Judaism had even more to say about; whether there’s anything theological about the series; and of course even more! Click here for our podcast website.
Live Virtual Event This Thursday and You’re Invited!
Listen to or watch the recording of the live show here!
Rebecca Rosenthal, Dan Ross, Sari Laufer, and Jon Spira-Savett will be co-hosting a conversation with some of our reflections on rewatching The Good Place with a Jewish lens, and we’ll respond to your questions in the Zoom chat or the Facebook live feed, and we’re happy to have you talk with us live on Zoom too! We can fit 96 more people with us on Zoom. Some of our other co-hosts will be on too. If you can’t be there in real time but have something you’d like us to respond to, or if you have a recorded bit you’d like us to play, send us a note ahead to email@example.com!
Chapters 52-53: It’s Not Over Until... (Not the Podcast Finale)
On The Good Place, friends and family arrive, and everyone wrestles with what to do there and whether or when to choose a final, peaceful end. Tahani stays as an architect, Jason and Chidi leave, Michael exits into life as a human, and Eleanor’s sparks go into the universe and perhaps return to earth. On the podcast, Elliot Goldberg and Jon Spira-Savett invoke the Talmud’s heaven-earth straddlers. We Jewishly problematize the water-wave metaphor, and marvel at the role other people play in discerning our personal destinies according to both the Talmud and Michael Schur!Though we’re discussing the last episode of the series, we’ve got a few more podcast episodes to come so we can reflect on what we’ve learned.
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!
Great show. Can’t understand the host.
I truly love the podcast with the comparison of this amazing show and the teachings of Judaism. However, when the host laughs, he continues speaking and all the words are completely lost. He needs to separate out the two. I almost turn off the podcast because I miss what he is saying when he garbles the words when he is laughing. But otherwise, love this!