SPOILER ALERT: Read no further (and don’t watch this video!) if you don’t know about the massive twist that ended the first season of “The Good Place”, which returns for its second season on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Global.
If you’re still reading, then you know that Eleanor (Kristen Bell) realized that the heavenly Good Place where she and her similarly deceased pals think they’re enjoying an idyllic afterlife is actually the Bad Place, with each of them specially chosen by surprisingly devious architect Michael (Ted Danson) for their annoying personalities and ability to torture each other for all eternity.
While the big reveal proved to be a shocker for viewers of the hit comedy, it was just as shocking for the show’s cast.
Luckily for us, Bell was smart enough to video the gobsmacked reactions of cast members Jameela Jamil (Tahani), D’Arcy Carden (Janet), Manny Jacinto (Jianyu) and William Jackson Harper (Chidi) as they discovered that show-altering twist after series creator Michael Schur (“The Office”) decided to deliberately keep them in the dark.
“Their performances were going to be exactly what they should be without knowing it, so it didn’t seem like there was any actual benefit to telling them outside of, like, friendship,” Schur tells Entertainment Weekly, explaining why he hid this crucial plot twist from the rest of the cast. “I sort of rolled the dice on the idea that they wouldn’t hate me if I didn’t tell them until later… In a show about ethics and morality, I did stop and check in with myself every once in a while, like, ‘What is the ethics of this?’ and I decided it wasn’t really an ethical issue. It was a creative issue and that made me feel better about the decision.”
As for the resultant video, Bell jokes that “I thought it was going to be my first submission to ‘America’s Funniest Home Videos’, the best television show ever to grace the planet. I really thought it was going to win me a hundred thousand dollars, their big jackpot prize. It was as good as you think it is because they were really stunned. They were having trouble… It was very paralyzing — they were all like ‘Huh?’ because it was an alternate reality to what they had been living in. They had been living in something that was completely untrue, just like their characters… I wanted to see everyone’s unique ability to digest this betrayal.”
Adds Danson of the hilarious video: “It was just so satisfying — you could see them process everything and go, ‘Wait, is that possible?’ and see them play back in their heads everything we had shot and go, ‘Oh my goodness. It is possible.’ I think it really disturbed them for a minute. It wasn’t howling with laughter, I think they felt somewhat similar to the characters, slightly betrayed. [Laughs] They would look at me slightly differently from then on.”
We’ll find out what happens next when “The Good Place” returns with an hour-long season premiere on Wednesday, Sept. 20 at 10 p.m. ET/PT on Global.