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Mike Schur Explains How the ‘Objective’ of ‘The Good Place’ Changed Midway Through Its Run

TCA 2019: The sitcom went from a show about how to be a good person to arguing that it’s more important just to try, Schur tells TV critics

Mike Schur said Thursday his objective when making his NBC afterlife comedy “The Good Place” shifted midway through the show’s run. We’ll let him explain:

“I thought that at the beginning that the show could, if given the chance, describe what it meant to be a good person,” Schur said during the show’s farewell panel at the Television Critics Association press tour. “I think that objective kind of shifted a little bit, because what we found as we discussed it and wrote it and executed it, is that some very, very smart people over the last 3,000 years have had a lot of very different opinions about that question.”

And so Schur said that they tweaked their message to instead providing “a bunch of different options” for how to be a good person, knowing that they weren’t going to provideĀ every conceivable way for someone to be considered good. The point, Schur said, was that you’re trying to be good.

“What’s important is that you try,” he continued. “That became, that was sort of my internal shift over the course of making the show, was the newfound belief that the important thing wasn’t actually – and it’s counter-intuitive to say this — being good. The important thing was that you’re trying.”

The series is wrapping up after its upcoming fourth season and a little more than 50 episodes. Earlier in the panel, Schur said he was influenced by “Breaking Bad’s” short run (62 episodes over 5 seasons) and wanted “The Good Place” to have the same “narrative propulsion,” which included upending the status-quo multiple times during each season.

That also included, it seems, the overarching message of the show.

“At the beginning, I pitched [the show as] what it means to be a good person, and at the end I think I would describe this as a show that makes the argument that we all outta try harder than we are,” Schur summed up. “As long as you’re trying, you’re on the right path.”