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Arts and Entertainment

Last Night's Episode Of 'The Good Place' Was An Inspired Homage To 'Groundhog Day'

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*SPOILERS AHEAD for the current season of The Good Place, do not scroll down until you've seen the first three episodes of season two*

The Good Place—which if you're not watching, you're forking crazy, because it's hilarious AND the show has figured out a way to apply the twists and turns of Peak TV dramas such as Lost and Breaking Bad to a comedy format—kicked off its second season last week with a premiere which was almost like season one in miniature (only seen from Michael's perspective). By the end of the episode, Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani and Jason had already figured out they were in The Bad Place remarkably faster than they did the first time. How was the show going to move forward from here? We couldn't possibly go through the same scenario again, right?

In last night's episode, "Dance Dance Resolution," Michael did indeed go through with rebooting everything...802 times. The delightful episode, which may be the best of the entire series thus far, turned into an inspired riff on Groundhog Day, just with way more puns. Creator Mike Schur explained his love for the classic Bill Murray movie to us:

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We felt like given the setup of the season, and knowing that we wanted the point to be that Michael's plan had a flaw in it, and that no matter what he tried it wouldn't work. It was like, "Oh my God, we can do Groundhog Day." That's what we should do, we should do Groundhog Day where it's just a thousand attempts that all fail in funny, spectacular ways. The difference is with our Groundhog Day, it's from the point of view of the mastermind behind the plan. He's the one who's narrating it, and going like, "Nope, didn't work. Didn't work again." Then the other thing is that because Groundhog Day is a perfect film, in my opinion, and is unbeatable as a comedy premise, it was like, "Okay, we'll do Groundhog Day, but we're going to do it for about eight minutes, and then we're going to move on." If you do Groundhog Day for an entire episode, people are going to start thinking to themselves you can't do Groundhog Day without being worse than the original Groundhog Day. Yeah, it was our homage to Groundhog Day. It was wonderful, because it's one of my favorite movies, and it was really fun to try to replicate what made it so wonderful in this very bizarre situation that we're in.

The other wonderful twist in the episode: Michael's final revelation—that he should team up with the four humans against Vicki rather than continue to reboot the scenario—came because of Jason's brilliantly stupid anecdote about his 60-person dance group. When we mentioned this moment to Schur, he connected it with the movie Being There: "I didn't realize it until right now when you said that, but there's this simpleton wisdom to Jason where he maybe doesn't quite have the intellectual capacity to really analyze the situation, but he is like a good person, and he has this sense that people need to fit together and be friends. That's as far as his world view goes. That ends up being the right advice to give Micheal at that moment."

You can read our longer interview with Schur about the first season here. And in case you missed out on any of the puns, here's a list of them from the episode's writer, Megan Amram:

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