Start Submission Become a Reviewer

Reading: The Good, the Gothic and the Transnational Rules of the Afterlife in The Good Place

Download

A- A+
Alt. Display

Articles

The Good, the Gothic and the Transnational Rules of the Afterlife in The Good Place

Author:

Allison Craven

College of Arts, Society and Education, James Cook University, AU
X close

Abstract

The Good Place (Schur 2016–2020) is a sitcom farce about the afterlife. The scenario concerns the designer tortures of a postmodern hell which conceal the illusion that an ensemble of recently deceased humans, who have supposedly arrived at ‘the Good Place’, are actually in ‘the Bad Place’. The plot is built around the quasi-legal ‘rules’ that govern admission to the Good Place, where, like social media, everything you ‘like’ is in your profile, and goodness is calculated using metrics tallied from markers of moral virtue. The legalistic ‘rules’ are overseen by a parodic Judge. This article is concerned with the competition at the heart of the series narrative between the quest for moral virtue and the legal parody of the rules that govern admission to the afterlife. It also examines how the Gothic mode of the comedy works to assert the priority of the rules. Anthony Bradney’s discussion of Buffy the Vampire Slayer provides the basis for comparing the law-like discourses of ethics and rules and in considering how popular culture representations use the law in entertainment formats. The afterlife fiction of The Good Place is seen as an example of Catherine Spooner’s notion of ‘happy Gothic’, but the show is ultimately dystopian, particularly due to the role and power of the Judge. In its double layer of debate about moral virtue and legalistic rules in the afterlife, The Good Place is a syncretic fantasy of ethical and legal order.

How to Cite: Craven, A. (2020). The Good, the Gothic and the Transnational Rules of the Afterlife in The Good Place. The Entertainment and Sports Law Journal, 18(1), 6. DOI: http://doi.org/10.16997/eslj.256
242
Views
50
Downloads
1
Twitter
Published on 29 May 2020.
Peer Reviewed

Downloads

  • PDF (EN)

  • XML (EN)