The show reaches a long-anticipated destination, but it doesn’t make it very far.
This week, Vox critic at large Todd VanDerWerff, film critic Alissa Wilkinson, and culture editor Jen Trolio got together to discuss “The Book of Dougs,” the 11th episode of the third season of NBC’s loopy comedy The Good Place. (Because the first two episodes of season three aired as one installment, the episode number is one ahead of the number of weeks the show has aired.) Spoilers follow! Proceed with caution if you haven’t seen the episode!
Todd: I was right!!
I mean, I don’t think you have to be a rocket scientist to see that the reason nobody has gotten into the Good Place in over 500 years is that the more complicated the world gets, the more complicated it is to be a good person. But still! I said something to that very effect in my review of The Good Place’s most recent episode, “Janet(s),” and in “The Book of Dougs,” here are Michael and Tahani echoing those very words back to me.
More specifically, while examining the big book of all Dougs who have ever lived, Michael pulls up an example of two different Dougs who bought roses for their grandmothers, which would seem to be an unambiguously “good” act. The Doug of the distant past had to pick the flowers himself, and he ended up with a positive points distribution.
But the Doug of just a few years ago ordered the flowers on a phone built in a sweatshop, and the universe’s points system deducted a few points for