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1. Work has been disheartening. Reflecting the weather, a constant rain, pours, drizzles, the sky either looks like gray smoke or a thin layer of dirty of dishwater. It has a smell, clean, but tainted somehow. And as I walk through it to and from work each day, I feel it's weight on my shoulders pushing me down, down...into the ground, although I stand upright, just bowed, umbrella with pretty blue flowers and books imprinted upon it, pressed across my head. Ugh. January. You are a depressing month.

2. Binge-watched The Good Place -- after I found the spoiler. I got curious. The last five episodes are actually rather clever. I particularly enjoyed episode 8, where Michael's assistant, a sort of pseudo robot named Janet, had to be rebooted after being accidentally murdered. (Yeah, I know she's a robot or artificial life form, but go with it.) Every time anyone asked her for anything, she'd produce a cactus.

Michael : I need the file on Eleanor.
Janet: here you go.
Michael: that's a cactus.

Later.

Janet: Good news I found the file on Eleanor.
Michael: is it a cactus?
Janet: no it's the file.
Michael : Okay, hand it over.
Janet hands Michael a cactus.

Eleanor: May I have a glass of water?
Janet hands her a cactus.

They did however, like most American situation comedies, take the joke one step too far...but still it was funny. That's actually my issue with it --- and most situation comedies, they don't know when to stop. To be fair, this is my own issue telling jokes or with comedy. When someone laughs, I feel the unnecessary need to repeat it. So maybe this is just human nature?

Another great bit? Michael gives Eleanor and Jsaon tests to see if they belong in the Bad Place. The questions are hilarious.

Michael: have you ever taken your shoes and socks off in a plane?
Eleanor: No, and ewww.
Michael: Have you ever watched the Bachelor, the Bachelorette, (lists all the Bachelor shows and spin-offs)?
Eleanor: No.
Michael: Posted on social media about any of the couplings that you were following?

I wanted to add a question. "Have you voted for a Republican for President in the last 50 years?"
But I can see why the writers might want to refrain.



When I was first watching it way back at the beginning, I'd thought this feels like torture, not the good place at all. If anything it feels like a satiric take on real life and the view that our lives are hell. I wonder if the Good Place is actually the Bad Place and Michael has deluded the characters into thinking otherwise? Nah.

Turns out that was the twist, he'd deluded the main four characters, Chidi, Tahini, Jason, and Eleanor into thinking the Bad Place was the Good Place. His big plan was to let them torture each other and gleefully play them against one another. As opposed to the usual fire and brimstone torture. Apparently the workers in hell are a bunch of bored office drones that create various hell dimensions. The architects are the leads, other's help build them. Michael's idea was rather entertaining to them, but met with a lot of skepticism. Was it really possible for four humans to torture each other for 1000 years. Well four stupid humans maybe, Eleanor, unfortunately has some brains and was able to figure it out -- when it hit her that this was torture and if they were in heaven why was this so torturous. Hello, it's the Bad Place.

What works in the series is the various satiric jokes on ethics and philosophy filtered throughout.
They make a lot of fun of Kant and Lock. Also a bit on deconstructionism.

Also, the fact that each of the characters basically makes themselves unhappy. Chidi's inability to make a decision, and desire to just do nothing but study, Tahini's need for external validation and approval -- she must be the best and be approved of, Eleanor's need for unconditional love and acceptance, Jason's need to be accepted for himself...

So it is in a way a Zen Buddhist comedy on happiness. You can't make it to heaven or be happy in paradise, because you get in your own way. ie. Our lives on planet earth.

The problem I have with it...is well the same problem I have with most American sitcoms, with the exception of Big Bang Theory, which is...the actors are trying too hard. They don't quite seem genuine. Dick Van Dyke made a comment about this a while back that resonated with me -- he said that the actors don't appear to really know each other, don't have improve or perform in front of an audience, and as a result their delivery comes across canned or rehearsed. It doesn't feel genuine.
(I almost lost this post, don't you feel lucky that I didn't?) And I think it's because there's no true rapport between them. They haven't built up a comaraderi. In Big Bang, you can tell they hang out, that they like each other, there's a chemistry. And same with Friends. Here...it just feels too rehearsed. Not enough improve. It's too directed. And comedy often works best when it isn't rehearsed and is spontaneous. I think that's why I preferred the comedies of yesteryear?

That said, there are some good moments. And maybe that will change with time. I don't know. Not sure I'll stick with it though...I couldn't really care about any of the characters. It fell a little flat for me.

3. Crazy Ex-Girl Friend -- I've decided Beer_good_foamy's description fits -- "OMWF the series" except more of a satire on romantic love and relationships.

Is it bad that I desperately want Rebecca to sleep with Nathan, her nasty boss? I'm actually shipping them. I think it is because I find Josh Chen and Rebecca annoying. I like Josh better when he isn't with her, also I think he deserves someone less crazy. Rebecca and Nathan have the same issues and are equally crazy -- they are perfect for each other. Both are narcissists and both seem to think external validation will make them happy.

I have to admit, while I find Rebecca interesting, I don't like her. She reminds me a wee bit too much of an old friend that I broke up with and not in a good way.

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