The Good Place Season 3, Episode 10 ("The Book of Dougs") | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Monday, April 19th, 2021  

The Good Place Season 3, Episode 10 (“The Book of Dougs”)

NBC

Jan 10, 2019 Web Exclusive
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“You still thinking about what’s on the other side of that door?”

“No, not really. Because you’re here, with me, on this side.”

In “The Book of Dougs,” The Good Place finally gives us something we’ve long desired: present-tense romance between Chidi (William Jackson Harper) and Eleanor (Kristen Bell). No longer is the constantly-teased blossoming of their love relegated to Michael’s (Ted Danson) reboots of his Good-Place-actually-it’s-The-Bad-Place torture routines; now, it exists in tandem with, rather than aside, the show’s fucked up, Jeremy Bearimy-shaped timeline. As adorable, rewarding, and meaningful as it is to watch two of the show’s key protagonists go on a first date in literal heaven, witness love freeing Chidi of his constant indecisions and worries, and experience Eleanor’s joyous, constant disbelief and confusion that she’s indeed capable of finding love (“This sucks, and I’m furious, and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been”), it’s all a mask. Beneath this episode’s sunny veneer is perhaps the single darkest episode The Good Place has ever given us.

Here’s the thesis of “The Book of Dougs” in five short, damning words: We’re all going to hell. Why? Well, underneath all the highs of the Chidi-Eleanor romance, of The Good Placewhich the protagonists have only sort of reached, because the entrance for humans is “525 trillion miles north south north” of the depot where they’re currently situatedbeing stuffed with people whose niceness is so unwavering it borders on unbelievable, of Tahani (Jameela Jamil) and Jason (Manny Jacinto) and Janet (D’Arcy Carden) hashing out their thoughts on the previously forgotten Janet-Jason romance arc (“It’s nice to know I can talk about girls with my wife,” Jason says to Tahani in maybe the episode’s funniest line), is the revelation of something we guessed with last week’s episode: Nobody has gone to The Good Place in over half a millennium because capitalism has fucked us all.

Yep, that’s right: Because we live in a world dominated by unethically-made products, by corporations that wield uneven power and almost always use it to unfairly take advantage of regular-ass people, it’s impossible to take any actions that have a net positive effect on the world. “The Book of Dougs” is “there is no such thing as ethical consumption under capitalism” recast as 22-minutes of sitcom plot topped with a smile-infused glaze.

Anyone who’s been paying attention to The Good Place‘s plot these past few episodes won’t be surprised that this point is the one on which “The Book of Dougs” fixates. More surprising is how deftly Kate Gersten’s writing weaves in statements on the failure of governments and accountability institutions to, you know, hold people accountable. The episode most explicitly explores this idea in a scene between Michael and The Good Place’s committee, led by Chuck, played by Paul Scheer.

A brief aside on Scheer’s appearance: Anyone who’s seen the other three shows helmed by The Good Place creator Michael Schurthese would be The Office, Parks and Recreation, and Brooklyn Nine-Ninehas been waiting for Scheer to appear in a guest role. It’s borderline cathartic to see him finally get his turn in this episode, and it’s just perfect that his character is a stereotypical “nice guy” dressed in a vest and a checkered shirt tucked into good ol’ blue jeans with a cowboy-esque leather belt. This role requires just about the opposite of Paul Scheer’s usual acting, and that’s likely part of the joke, which succeeds 100%.

Anyway, back to the committee: A recurring trait of The Good Place’s employees is a kindness and lovingness so strong that The Good Place, in conflating being extra nice with successfully effecting positive change in the world, seems to be screaming, “nice guys finish last.” As interested and enthusiastic as the committee is in exploring Michael’s claims that The Bad Place is tampering with the afterlife’s accounting system, they plan to take 400 years to assemble an elite investigative team. What begins as a committee statement that “It’s time to take decisive action” becomes “It’s aggressive, but you heard right: We are only giving ourselves 400 years to select the members of this elite team.” Another 1000 years of investigating team members for conflicts of interest will follow: “We have rules,” says committee member Meg (Tatiana Carr). “We’re the good guys.”

This sort of slow-moving, patience-trying, overly bureaucratic investigation sounds awfully familiar to anyone who has paid attention to the mainstream media these past two years: We’re doing something to hold the bad guys accountable, but bureaucracy moves too slowly, so these efforts amount to nothing, and the bad people are still getting away with doing terrible shit every day. When Michael shouts at the committee, “The bad guys are continuing to torture everyone,” the response he gets is, “And that deeply concerns us. Have you seen the memorandum we sent about how concerned we are?”

Although Michael’s rule-breaking has often landed The Good Place‘s protagonists in hot water this season, this scene alone justifies his actions. The Good Place here posits that radical, transformative action that escapes the confines of “civility” is needed now, it’s been needed for ages, and it always will be needed. Or, as Michael says to Tahani in one brilliant sentence, “The Titanic is sinking, and they’re writing a strongly worded letter to the iceberg.”

Outside the committee’s actions, “The Book of Dougs” seems to take ordinary government workers-if we’re meant to assume this entire episode is a commentary on how little governments can do to heal the blights of late capitalism-to task too. Gwendolyn (Nicole Byer), the Good Place employee we meet shortly after the episode’s cold open, acts, as do the committee members, with “politeness and an abundance of caution.” She doesn’t fully entertain her doubts about the protagonists’ arrival in The Good Place until she actively witnesses Janet, Jason, and Tahani crying, despite plenty of prior evidence that something is afoul.

The excess of trust Gwendolyn places in strangers allows Michael to bend her kindness so strongly that she walks him directly into how to break a major rule of The Good Place: don’t use the damn phone, and especially don’t use it to call the committee. When Gwendolyn, in the episode’s final scene, waves goodbye for far too long after the humans head to meet the Judge at IHOP (the Interdimensional Hole of Pancakes), the most dangerous place in the universe, The Good Place’s placidity and pleasantry are cast as weaknesses. (Also, we’re thrilled to, in theory, see Maya Rudolph reprise her pitch-perfect role as Judge Gen next week.)

So, no, our protagonists don’t get to stay in The Good Place. And why would they? The whole point of this episode is that none of us are going there. Even though Chidi’s borderline upsettingly muscular body-”surprisingly ripped,” in Eleanor’s now-infamous words-is toyed with for the second time this season thanks to his Good Place Post Officer outfit change (which will carry into the next episode), even though Tahani gets to have by far her funniest episode this season (“A curtain closing between first class and economy” is the smell that brings her the most joy), even though Chidi and Eleanor get to have sex in a closet (shout it with me: FINALLY!), it all sucks anyway, because we learn that we’re all doomed. At least we get some wholesomeness before we suffer for eternity. (www.nbc.com/the-good-place)

Author rating: 8/10

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stephan
April 23rd 2009
8:05pm

this album is amazing!

Frostified
April 26th 2009
9:00pm

What a weird combo. ‘The Last Picture Show’ is a great film.

Frank L.
April 27th 2009
6:56am

This movie so rocks.  I loved it.

Frostified
April 27th 2009
8:05pm

It’s weird, “That Beep” sounds so much like Annie. AIH have definitely changed up their style.

Chuck
April 29th 2009
5:14am

A lackluster DVD so mediocre that it’s been reviewed twice on this website!

concerned fan
April 29th 2009
6:59am

Can I get a comment on the music of Conor Oberst and not his comments or who he dedicated songs to.  Please.  It’s not too much to ask from a music website is it.

Frostified
May 2nd 2009
1:31am

I still haven’t seen this movie. I’ve really admired Aronofsky’s previous films though.

Frostified
May 2nd 2009
1:32am

What a terrible DVD cover. WOW. Terrifying.

Frosty
May 20th 2009
1:51am

I’ve never been a big fan of Silversun…meh.

Jacob
May 22nd 2009
4:52pm

“The material isn’t always up to par the way earlier between-the-records EPs were, but it still beats the hell out of Plans.”
THANK YOU. and agreed.

fo.ne.tik.
May 26th 2009
6:52pm

great review! both shows rocked!

Nina Kurtz
May 26th 2009
7:14pm

This reviewer really transported me to the show! Great writer for a great performer.

Diamond Jewellery India
May 27th 2009
9:47am

Hello Kyle lemmon, Really very nice information on Buraka Som Sistema. Really very nice and fantastic info on black diamond. Thanks for your nice info.

Bar stools
May 28th 2009
3:35pm

I just wanted to say I really liked your review of House of Mystery. It was good to know how it has developed over the years. Keep up the good work.

Scott
May 30th 2009
12:47am

This is an ok ep.  I have to say that none of their recent material is even close to their earlier albums.

James
June 5th 2009
5:46am

FYI just watched this show, sucks! Wished it didn’t but it does. Haha all wealthy people are dumb, evil, and think they can buy anthing… jeeze lets just stereo type everyone. Wealthy people just don’t deserve to live I guess according to all these shows that exploit wealth as evil.

Gonzales - linkin park songs
June 7th 2009
8:26pm

Rockband for real. It’s realy kicks ass) I hope the part two kicks ass as twice)))

Josh Tillman
June 11th 2009
9:39pm

The lyric in “James Blues” is:
“James incurred the wrath of jealous woman
And not long after that
Was spending all his weekends
Trying to relearn
How a young man yearns after a nurse”

It’s about castration.  I have little more of a sense of humor than your interpretation suggests.

dummy
June 11th 2009
9:42pm

“have a little more of”.  oops.

Gary Knight
June 18th 2009
1:06am

Great review, Frank.

jackson
June 22nd 2009
8:57am

This picture represents a huge leap forward for its director..a very nice post Chris.

Nicky
June 22nd 2009
9:06am

Wonders never cease, Coachella’s when this both fabulous performers start the event with a great start it is great to watch..

maria jones
June 22nd 2009
9:12am

The rock band which we can say alternative is My Bloody Valentine..This is a very nice post

danny
June 22nd 2009
9:19am

She’s so hot/cute/adorable….....She is so cute…

Tasha
June 22nd 2009
9:22am

Wow! Marcus, This is a very nice post…Depeche Mode are fabulous..

ben
June 22nd 2009
9:45am

Some styles are more casual while others are meant for going out on ...poofing up skirts is very good

Amanda
June 22nd 2009
10:01am

When Bruce Springsteen finally broke through to national recognition in the fall of 1975 after a decade of trying, critics hailed him as the savior of rock

Barnes
June 22nd 2009
10:04am

The bonus features with Doubt on Blu-ray start off with From Stage to Screen, a series of interviews with the cast and crew about…

Chris
June 24th 2009
9:40am

I’m one of the fans of The Killers. They’re cool.

KG
June 26th 2009
10:00pm

I saw them play in Austin a few weeks ago. The new stuff is awesome, and they played beautifully.  My favorite track is “Slow Fade,” a single tear streamed down my face when they played it. So good.

Marc
July 3rd 2009
9:33am

Thanks for such a detailed review. You’ve very keen observation for the details that should be there, indeed.

Longtin
July 3rd 2009
9:39am

Hi Chris, you are so right about the borders - the top one is incredible. Great thinking!!!

wils0n
July 3rd 2009
9:42am

Bonnaroo has always placed an emphasis on local and sustainable ways of making music. ..Nice Blog.

jackson
July 3rd 2009
9:49am

I was actually hoping for a really good Doubt as a Blu-Ray comp….and it is able to prove itself….

Leslie Andrew Ridings
July 5th 2009
7:13am

I totally get what you mean when you say “the sound of best friends making music together.” I think their sound is really warm and strangely intimate. I don’t know. It feels like music at a house party and the band is having beers and talking between songs—I like it; but the production is really thin, as you said.

Thanks for the review, Laura.

john
July 9th 2009
7:29pm

You have to be kidding me Lily.  This show does suck and bad.  Totally unrealistic specifically in how these characters behave.  Stupid crap.

rexson
July 10th 2009
12:24pm

Saw Bruce in Philly April 28th and April 29th. ALWAYS a great show! I went with a friend who had never seen him and she said it was more than a concert, it was an event—how right she was.

google cell phone
July 13th 2009
6:36pm

It is really a nice post, its always great reading such posts, this post is good in regards of both knowledge as well as information. i like stuff like ghostland observatory, the hush sound, the kills, indie music, black moth super rainbow, radiohead. anything that sounds weird and funky and has good sound to it. i do not like the teen boy singing the song. generations i like are indie, visual, experimental, psychedelic. along those lines. thank you in advance for the helping me on my music quest.Thanks for the post.

Frank
July 14th 2009
11:34pm

Nice Cracker reference!

Wound First Aid
July 16th 2009
7:51am

A full album is set for release in September 2009. The confidence, wide range of obvious natural talent and exceptional promise of these songs is undeniable. The future for First Aid Kit feels star bright.

film izle
July 17th 2009
5:57pm

thanks for info.

Lisa Hur
July 19th 2009
7:43am

The “barely” is everything in Wendy and Lucy. The sparse dialogue and lack of plot was the film’s message. Its panoramic moments said so much without saying anything at all. Wendy appears sedated much of the film but in a single moment, a bathroom meltdown, her story unravels. A story no one is sure of. In most every shot of the film we follow Wendy but learn little. We leave her without closure, but feel satisfaction without the closure nonetheless, amazed that such simple experience could be so captivating for two hours. I only wish I knew what her bandage was for and why her sister rejected her. Why else was she hurting and why was it so important for us not to know?

müzik dinle
July 19th 2009
7:53am

thank you
very much
oo fantastic film

Wendy Redfern
July 20th 2009
8:01pm

This was SO good!!!!

fan
July 21st 2009
4:09pm

Why are you so LATE on the tallest man UTR?  I’m disappointed and mad at you for it.  I hope you do a feature on him when his next album is release!

Laura Studarus
July 24th 2009
6:25am

Counting down…freaking out. Come on Friday!

Sarkilar
July 25th 2009
6:26pm

thanks for article.

Mike Trevor
July 31st 2009
8:57am

I downloaded a few songs from this collection, I like it.
I really love it, play it on my laptop regularly.

Nina Sutherland
July 31st 2009
3:25pm

I love “Tracy’s Waters”  , it’s a wonderful mix of Psych folk and Dream pop

San Diego Weddings
August 5th 2009
8:04pm

I loved Grizzly Bear!  It was so calm and intimate in that space

iicepack
August 7th 2009
6:27pm

So, if I understood this correctly, they are Australians making Brit pop? I’ve seen a lot of this lately. Looks like UK nostalgia never died out.

iicepack
August 8th 2009
2:00pm

I think I’ll get this from the library if they have it… I know nothing about this band.

ummreally?
August 11th 2009
7:11pm

Wow…you totally missed the boat on the Jane’s review…Claiming you were there to see the one song that was a commercial smash led me to discount your review immediately, but I read on to see if you redeemed yourself.  Nope.  Fans of the band would absolutely disagree with your take, as the band’s true genius was displayed over and over during the set, Perry’s prancing aside.  He’s a consummate front-man, great voice, showmanship, and control of the spotlight. 
And, yes, ugly girls DO have to be sluttier than the good-looking ones.  Stick to reviewing bands you have a clue about.

Surveillance
August 12th 2009
5:10pm

You are, of course, referring to Alexander Mccall Smith’s series. There are so many witty observations in these books regarding male-female differences and the impact that these have on relationships.
Mma Ramotswe believes that women are best suited for detective work because women notice details, are observant, listen, and have more insight into human psychology than men.

share your discoveries
August 14th 2009
6:53am

Gives Thanks, Very fascinating read, you should be dramatic of your web logs. I’ve been genuinely delighting developing up your situations from meter to time. Looking forward to understand your future positions
Many wonderful selective information, thanks for partaking.  Testament definitely be back more often….

mark
August 16th 2009
3:24pm

i thought it was a good movie

Frosty
August 18th 2009
9:39am

This game looks just as terrible as the movie!

Kyle Lemmon
August 21st 2009
12:27am

At first I thought Hester and Parks were just biting ‘Ghost Rider,” but I’ll have to check it out sometime.

Mila
August 21st 2009
12:30pm

They are COOL

Mo
August 24th 2009
8:57pm

wow!  that was a lame review.  I think they are great.  Apparently thousands of others do too.  They love them in Europe as well.  U.S. is always the last to recognize real talent.

Lens
August 25th 2009
4:08pm

The looks very pretty :)

Thank you for the post and photo.

KtownBboy
August 27th 2009
9:42am

Agreed. This was a dope show. One of the better I’ve been to in ‘09. Check out their performance of “Jump In the Pool” from the show.

<object width=“425” height=“344”><param name=“movie” value=“http://www.youtube.com/v/Il83g8-bkA0&hl=en&fs=1&”></param></param></param><embed src=“http://www.youtube.com/v/Il83g8-bkA0&hl=en&fs=1&” type=“application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=“always” allowfullscreen=“true” width=“425” height=“344”></embed></object>

Justin Voigtschild
August 28th 2009
6:58pm

This high of a review score makes me question how you call yourself a journalist. I read the initial issue and it was utter trash with no redeeming value whatsoever. This title could have done for Greek mythology what Fables did for children’s stories and fictional characters. Instead the writer decided to go for the disgusting, unimaginative stories. I agree that Peter Milligan can be hit and miss in what he writes but this 1st issue made me want to throw up and regret spending $1.00 to give it a try. I have read Vertigo comics for about 10 years and this comic is truly the worst executed idea with no redeeming value I have ever had the misfortune to read.

Josh
August 31st 2009
6:49pm

I would’ve loved to see Henry Rollins.  He cracks me up!

haZel
September 2nd 2009
12:39pm

Thank you for your review. If this show was a decade earlier, I would’ve been there! Also, I empathize on your anger, when people leave before the show is “over” [the encore]. A band like MEW deserves an encore!
“Comforting Sounds” is awesome to hear live. My husband and I were privileged to see/hear them in D.C. a few years ago.

Kathy
September 2nd 2009
7:08pm

I love this show!  Can’t wait untill next summer to pick up the New Shows.

Funny Quotes About Life
September 5th 2009
8:45am

Whats Fray for the uninitiated? A buffy spin off comic from a few years back, which I understand never got its story finished. So Joss has decedied to combine it with a buffy story to finish it.
So we have a back history a number of fans may be unaware of and time travel etc thrown in? sounds like an awful idea but it works excellently.
The art is by Korl Moline who i believe did the original Fray comic, he is fairly similar in style to Georges Jeanty who usually does the book so its all pretty familiar.
The story is complicated and takes a little while to see where it is going but the end result and character writing are excellent. Not a good starting point for new readers but a great read none the less.

Notty
September 5th 2009
9:34pm

I became interested in this topic and tried to find additional information. Much of it I downloaded from http://www.ebook-search-queen.com.

Molly
September 6th 2009
1:07am

As I visited the Woodstock Music and Arts Fair it was interesting for me to read The Road to Woodstock (http://www.ebook-search-queen.com) and to compare its contents with what I saw. Great!

address public records
September 7th 2009
9:37am

The overarching plot, revolving around the secrets buried underneath a clandestine basement, fares much better. Head writer, Matthew Sturges, is learning at a fast pace as the series[..]

Vadim Uvazhny
September 8th 2009
9:58am

Did anybody watch this film? Share your impressions, please.

Heathrow Airport Parking
September 8th 2009
11:42am

Have you ever considered adding more videos to your blog posts to keep the readers more entertained? I mean I just read through the entire article of yours and it was quite good but since I’m more of a visual learner,I found that to be more helpful well let me know how it turns out! I love what you guys are always up too. Such clever work and reporting! Keep up the great works guys I’ve added you guys to my blogroll. This is a great article thanks for sharing this informative information.. I will visit your blog regularly for some latest post.

Bradley Albert Burkley
September 9th 2009
6:14pm

I’m in the middle of reading this book and was stoked to see it reviewed in one of my favorite mags. The review is pretty strait up, as is the book. Interesting for those who know about Steve Kilbey or not. For those who have been in or are in music groups, with it’s drama and challlenges, No Certainty Attached of particular interest.

juan
September 10th 2009
8:12pm

“smashing success” = 6/10?

John Everhart
September 11th 2009
8:10pm

It’s a fine record, but not quite worthy of a 7 or 8, which are reserved for top twenty of the year candidates, which this honestly isn’t for me. But if you’re a fan of Polvo, you’ll like it, and even if you aren’t, it’s an excellent invitation to explore their great back catalog. And “smashing success” is removed from its context of “As far as unheralded reunions go,” as many are downright insipid, and this one is anything but that.

Fire science
September 14th 2009
5:48am

Who designed Stephanie’s Jacket in science of sleep and where can I get a similar coat?
Science of Sleep is a movie and her military jacket is cute

Ted
September 18th 2009
3:13am

I concur my friend.

Margaret
September 20th 2009
3:05am

The hype machine sold Sweet Tooth #1. It was pretty good, but I’m hoping we’ll see a little more happening in issue #2.

Then again, I ought have a little more faith in Lemire, he’s pretty damned good.

John
September 21st 2009
6:09am

Will there be a second season of the No 1 Ladies Detective agency?
find public record

Baby
September 26th 2009
2:35am

Can’t wait until this year’s concert. Fantastic stuff. Sooo hot though. Bringing plenty of water this year

DVD Rentals by email
September 29th 2009
11:33am

Ok this is by far the best series ive seen so far its got great story line, Animation, and good art work…. But one problem is the disc has trouble reading on a Xbox. I putted in the disc once and it worked 2nd time it got defective. Great series to watch a must see

Mark Redfern
October 3rd 2009
7:08pm

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this movie. It’s got a great soundtrack too: Jens Lekman, Tilly & the Wall, The Go! Team, Radiohead, and others.

sobakawa pillow
October 4th 2009
1:24pm

wow, San Francisco’s Girls must have been very bad. It has been a while since I have read such a damning review of any band

sobakawa pillow
October 4th 2009
3:53pm

Jenny Lewis is a babe. I also like the killers. I think they are class

wallets
October 6th 2009
12:19pm

The track wasn’t used and in fact went unheard for two-plus decades, but Gordon and Mingus occasionally unpacked it live. In any case, one can only hope that when Mingus finally flipped the calendar past the greatest year in jazz, dude hit the mattress for a well-deserved nap.

Davi
October 10th 2009
4:45pm

Great reviews. Loney Dear has been my favorite band because their music touched my soul and makes me feel good. Live they are incredible. I saw them in Fortaleza, Brazil, and I’ll remember that day for a long time.

Yason
October 13th 2009
7:06pm

I like bands what make good musics. And banana splitses.

Brian
October 14th 2009
1:51am

Did UTR ever do a review of the Rhino San Francisco nuggets box set?

Mark
October 21st 2009
2:22am

As a fan of the series who buys it month-to-month, I guess I’m biased in that I enjoyed it. I would be interested to see if non-Fables readers enjoyed it.

It’s great to see my favourite magazine cover my favourite comic. I check for a mention of it in every printed-issue of Under The Radar, and so far have only seen it in there this month!

Laura
October 21st 2009
10:39pm

Wow! Sounds like a fun show. Now if only we could get him to come out west…

Jkap123
October 22nd 2009
11:56pm

mellow but good/interesting mellow, not boring mellow.  also check out whitest boy alive (same singer)

tuxedo trousers
October 23rd 2009
10:33am

Where can I buy waterproof trousers not over trousers?
tuxedo trousers

lol
October 23rd 2009
6:55pm

who the hell says “blogosphere” anymore?

kow
October 25th 2009
10:52pm

its a Grower not a Show - er!

iicepack
October 26th 2009
2:22am

I wish this had been posted earlier. They had a show where I live tonight, and I could have gone ... oh well.

smikalis
October 26th 2009
4:05pm

This is a fantastic review.  I’m one of those people that consumes all things Pearl Jam (50+ live shows).  You nailed Backspacer perfectly.  I want to tell you how great it is but it isn’t - it is a step in the right direction though.  Nice job.

indoor wall fountains
October 27th 2009
6:41am

The overarching plot, revolving around the secrets buried underneath a clandestine basement, fares much better. Head writer,

camping tourist
October 27th 2009
9:07am

What is the best tourist attraction in the Philippines?
camping tourist