The Good Place Interviews: Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, and the Cast on the Show’s Final Season

The stars of NBC’s The Good Place made their final trip to the San Diego Comic Con in July, promoting the fourth (and, unfortunately, last) season of the critically acclaimed half-hour comedy. Although they held it together during roundtable interviews, it was obvious they’re going to miss spending time with their co-stars and sharing The Good Place with their passionate fans.

We didn’t get to spend much time with The Good Place stars Kristen Bell, Ted Danson, D’Arcy Carden, William Jackson Harper, Manny Jacinto, and Marc Evan Jackson as their schedules were jam-packed, but we managed short interviews that touched on their feelings about finishing up the series.

Asked what she hopes will be the show’s legacy, Kristen Bell (“Eleanor Shellstrop”) replied, “I hope that it will never – and I don’t think it will – be unpalatable because it’s not a college course. It’s a philosophy lesson wrapped in fart jokes. And let me tell you, having eaten a lot of those they’re very easy to digest. It is a roadmap that you don’t even realize you’re on while you’re watching the show. I hope that when people watch it or rewatch it, it re-inspires them to take stock about their actions and recognize that it’s hard to share Earth but we got to do it so let’s be kind to those around us.”

“I really hope that it exists as this complete story that just sort of inspires people to really think about how they’re affecting those around them,” said William Jackson Harper (“Chidi Anagonye”). “It’s a very basic thing but I forget it, and I can only imagine that other people might forget it too. That’s really all I’d want. I would love for the show to exist as a reminder of how to approach your life.”

Kristen Bell believes the show’s acceptance and popularity is due to the need for a positive escape from the real world. “I have a theory – it’s actually my husband’s theory – that the hero had always been popular and about 15 years ago the anti-hero hit the scene. We were rooting for Walter White because the world felt safe. And I think now that the world feels a little bit less safe, it’s hard for people to go home and want to root for an anti-hero. At least it is for me.

So, I think our show has maintained some popularity and an audience that loves it because they’re watching normal people fight for good. That’s what I want to see on my television screen at night. I don’t want to look at an anti-hero anymore. I read the news. The world is scary. I want to go home; I want to see a show that makes me smile and laugh. And, I want to see real people fighting for justice and what’s good and sharing life lessons.”

Bell added, “Recognizing yourself in other people’s humanity is one of the core elements of our show. I just love being a part of the piece of art that brings that purpose to people’s living rooms.”

Ted Danson (“Michael”) also shared his thoughts on the show’s legacy. “I think the show’s about decency. I think it’s about there are consequences to our actions. We all put a certain amount of good or bad out into the universe and you are accountable. I like that message. It’s wrapped in nine-year-old fart humor and sprinkled with visual magic so that 12-year-olds come up whose headlights are just starting to come on in life and they love it and their parents love that they’re watching it. I love that I’m part of a show that’s about something and is available to so many different ages.”

“We are so lucky to be on a show that has a message like that. I think that is a message that will last a long time,” said D’Arcy Carden (“Janet”).

Marc Evan Jackson (“Shawn”) said it’s amazing the audience has so embraced all these incredible made-up characters. He also revealed that because the show is unpredictable and taken so many risks, it’s not uncommon for the cast to question whether what they’re reading at table reads is actually what they’ll be shooting.

Filming of the final season was almost complete as the cast spoke about the series at SDCC, and Jackson explained what it is he’ll miss the most about the show. “I mean, honestly, on a personal level just going to work with these people every day. I’m not entirely convinced I’m not hooked up with tubes in a hospital somewhere enjoying the most lovely of comas because I get to go and play with Ted Danson and Kristen Bell and William Jackson Harper and Jameela Jamil and D’Arcy Carden and Manny Jacinto. I mean, that’s crazy!” said Jackson. “There’s no way this is real, right? I’m asleep, right?”

Jameela Jamil (“Tahani Al-Jamil”) says The Good Place is the best thing that’s ever happened to her and it was the perfect show at the perfect time. “I think it was a show that was so needed right now when we were in this moment politically of such division and so little empathy towards other people. This show was the spoonful of sugar that helped the medicine go down,” explained Jamil. “It was reminding us of the importance of each other, reminding us about teamwork, reminding you about how to put your differences aside and come together as a group in order to make things better.”

As for what fans can expect from the final season, Jamil says we should be prepared to be shocked by who shows up. “I can’t believe who we got and we end this season just like with the ultimate mic drop of a guest star. All my childhood dreams came true! We have great guest stars, unbelievable writing, and the ending is so thought-provoking, dignified, and beautiful. I might die of pride over our writers and Mike Schur.”

Season four premieres on September 26, 2019 at 9pm ET/PT.