Fork yeah: The Good Place is back. This season, as we follow the show that is so devoted to understanding what it means to be good and bad, we will be applying the NBC comedy’s own standards and practices in determining the Worst Person of the Week. The weekly winner — well, “loser” is probably more accurate — will be judged by their ethical choices rather than any subjective measures. Think of us as another Shawn, only less into encasing traitors in slimy cocoons. At the end of this ethical exercise, we’ll also hand out episodic awards for more frivolous things. Let’s dive into this week’s episode, “The Brainy Bunch.”
No one is at their best in this week’s The Good Place, but the worst person award was easy to assign. Sure, Michael and Janet are ineffectual helpmates to their human friends. And, yes, Chidi regresses into a hesitant human stress ball in response. It would be accurate to say that Tahani is on the verge of making a horny, Jason-shaped mistake, and that Jason is still immune to thinking, and that Eleanor remains Eleanor (at one point, she bails on her friends to go read a tabloid about the Hemsworths headlined “Hems-WORTHLESS.”) But nobody comes close to approaching the level of bad that Trevor (Adam Scott) descends to in “The Brainy Bunch.”
That’s by design; Trevor is a demon’s demon, and therefore pretty hard to out-suck. He is dispatched to Earth to break up the gang, and he takes his job seriously. His strategy: taking the concept of the guy everybody tries to avoid working with on classroom projects to obnoxious new heights. He starts out fairly harmless, handing out homemade lemon bars in a gray polo shirt—but Adam Scott dials in on the unctuousness right away with an insipid “Love them on my lips, hate them on my hips!” He quickly morphs into a cloying nightmare, needling Eleanor and Chidi into tailspins as Michael and Janet scramble to take action against him, while he refuses to let the “Damn, Daniel” meme die and forces novelty friendship sweaters onto his classmates. Most unforgivably, he attempts the world’s worst Jamaican accent.
Trevor is ultimately foiled, but not before he reveals how precarious the “Brainy Bunch” is as a group. The move back to Earth has kept this season of The Good Place feeling fresh, but it does seem awfully hard to maintain. The gang moved to a different physical (metaphysical?) location this season, but the humans are backsliding once again into their familiar behavioral grooves of seasons prior. It’d be appropriately philosophical to stick them in a Sisyphean plotline, where they make moral progress as the seasons progress, only to find their memories wiped by each finale—but it’d also be wearying television. I’m hoping that this season’s trajectory doesn’t involve another hard reset. This may be the last installment when Michael and Janet scheme in the background to keep the group learning, anyway. At the end of the episode, the judge (Maya Rudolph) summons Michael and Janet to punish them for their insubordination, and her assessments are harsh (“retirement” for Michael, getting encased in cement for eternity for Janet). This verdict, while good for setting up next week’s episode, easily makes the judge the runner-up for this week’s baddie.
But there’s just no getting over Trevor explaining that he hangs out in public bathrooms because he likes the smell.
Now for some smaller awards, which were much trickier to assign.
Best Prop in the Cowboy Skyscraper Cafe: Very hard to choose just one favorite item from Australia’s tackiest America-themed bar! But I’m going to go with the Mount Rushmore of David Hasselhoff, Paris Hilton, Judge Judy, and Hulk Hogan.
Grossest Food or Beverage Item in the Cowboy Skyscraper Cafe: Everything looked disgusting, but the root beer that Eleanor microwaved was the most viscerally offensive.
The Most Jason Quote: “Crazy story. After you got into the cab, I forgot where I lived. But then I looked across the street, and there was a motel! And behind that, there was a dumpster. I slept in a dumpster.”
Jacksonville Jaguars Joke Count: Just one (1) Jags joke this week, but it’s a good one! The Judge blames the team’s confounding recent success on Michael’s meddling on Earth. (“The Jacksonville Jaguars are good now,” she says. “Impossible!” Michael scoffs in response, completely befuddled.)