Grace and Frankie, Season 5 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in July 2019, our panel of CPU! veterans – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Krista, Amie, and Samantha – reconvenes around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss Season 5 of the quirky Netflix comedy about growing old (and growing up) gracefully, Grace and Frankie.  As always, if you have not watched any of Grace and Frankie, be aware that there are, most definitely, MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

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PODCAST! – Streaming Originals & Around the Water Cooler: “Grace and Frankie” – The Season 5 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who: “Grace and Frankie” is a comedy-drama web television and Netflix original series, always available on Netflix.

What:  “Grace and Frankie,” created by Marta Kauffman and Howard J. Morris, stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in the title roles of Grace and Frankie, two unlikely friends who are brought together after their husbands announce that they are in love and plan to get married. Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen, Brooklyn Decker, Ethan Embry, June Diane Raphael, and Baron Vaughn co-star in supporting roles.

SYNOPSIS

The series follows Grace (Fonda), a retired cosmetics mogul, and Frankie (Tomlin), a hippie art teacher, whose husbands, Robert (Sheen) and Sol (Waterston), are successful divorce lawyers in San Diego.  Grace and Frankie’s lives are turned upside down when Robert and Sol announce that they are in love with each other and are leaving their wives. Now, the women, who have never particularly liked each other, are forced to live together and must learn to unite and to cope with difficulties in their new lives as 70-something divorcees.

When: Season 5 was released in its entirety to the Netflix streaming library on January 18, 2019, with a total of thirteen episodes.

Where: The action is set primarily in San Diego, California, and surrounding communities.

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the Season 1 and 2 podcast episode via the link below!

How – as in How’s It Going? (THOUGHTS…at present)

Last year, CPU! caught up on this septuagenarian (or, perhaps, secretly octogenarian) sitcom in a two-part miniseries. To listen to that miniseries, in which each part covers two seasons of Grace and Frankie, click on either of the links embedded below:

Seasons 1 and 2

Seasons 3 and 4

Previously by popular request, though notably by frequent CPU! panelists and viewers unlikely to be in the intended target audience for this quirky comedy-drama, Grace and Frankie became a new show panel at the CPU! Water Cooler last year. Ultimately, those requesting CPU! faithful continue to regard Grace and Frankie as a charming comedy about growing old gracefully – but also about growing up gracefully – in these, our modern times. 

To that end, in this episode, our panelists – Kristen, Krista, Amie, and Samantha – reflect on and recap the fifth season of Grace and Frankie, reacting to the growing cadre of quirky characters and the seemingly impossible situations in which they find themselves.  From new loves to new heartaches, from death to birth, from squats to yurts to alternate realities, our panel reacts to it all.

This episode was recorded in July 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as the panelists cover key plot points, jokes, and sight gags of the fifth season. Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, a new, one-time panel convenes at the CPU! Water Cooler to Look Back at a CW drama that ended in 2017, which fictionalized and romanticized the life and journeys of Mary, Queen of Scots. The drama is Reign, which CPU! began covering on the blog in the year the website launched. We are royally excited to return to it too!  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Did Nick (guest: Peter Gallagher) buy the beach house?  If he did not buy the beach house, who did?

ANSWER: Nick did not buy the beach house. A pop star known as Karina G (guest: Nicole Ritchie) bought the beach house to escape fallout from a social media disaster propagated by the vapid songstress. It was she who came equipped with a sassy assistant played by RuPaul. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

2) Will Grace and Frankie get the beach house back?

ANSWER: Yes. Grace and Frankie aim to squat and squat they do in the empty beach house prior to Karina G’s move-in. When Karina is ready to eject the gal pals, they successfully turn on their charms; Frankie convinces Karina that New Mexico is a much better place to hide from paparazzi.

3) What will the fallout be with the kids, since they all conspired against the women, their mothers?  What was Robert and Sol’s reaction – or what will it be – when they found/find out?

ANSWER: Bud (Vaughn) insists that the women hire a home health aide to look after them, since they refuse to return to the retirement village from whence they sprung; the other three kids are more mortified that their mothers engaged in the dignified act of squatting to get their house back. The women have their revenge, however, when Frankie ultimately hires retired secretary Joan-Margaret, who can barely walk, to be their caregiver. In the meantime, though Robert and Sol are aware of their ex-wives’ antics, they betray little surprise or care regarding fleeing retirement villages or subsequent squatting, beyond bemused hoping that they remain safe. In fact, the husbands seem to be placated by the idea that Grace and Frankie successfully return from their lives as fugitives and are looked after by the kids.

4) Where did Nick go?  Does he know that Grace checked into a retirement community?

ANSWER: Nick tried to move on with his life, considering that it was Grace that gave him the old heave-ho. He eventually reunites with Grace when she realizes that she loves and misses him and engages in an awkward gambit to win him back, so she probably filled him in on the whole old folks’ village sitch off-screen.

5) Will Brianna (Raphael) save Say Grace and gain some of her mother’s approval, as panelist Krista predicts?

ANSWER: Brianna actually humbles herself long enough to ask Grace to help her, as the company begins to fail. This partnership predictably deteriorates rapidly (listen to the podcast episode for details), though Grace does realize, in the end, that Brianna has a good head for business, and Brianna concedes that Grace is not as out of touch as Brianna otherwise keeps attempting to argue. Saying that Brianna officially gained her mother’s approval in the end, however, seems like a stretch measurement for their status quo as of the season finale. You tell us, gentle listener. What do you think?

6) Will Jacob (former guest: Ernie Hudson) return to Frankie somehow, as many of the panelists hope?

ANSWER: No. Jacob has not returned as of Season 5.

7) Why does Mallory (Decker) continue to allow Coyote (Embry) to park his tiny home in front of her house?  Will Mallory and Coyote couple up?  Will the show offer up more back story for this troubled pair other than Coyote’s drunken blackout night?

ANSWER: Still a question. An educated guess estimates that pity/friendship/secret feelings still motivate Mallory, but she and Coyote have not acted upon any feelings that either or both of them might still be nursing for the other. The show, also, has not offered additional back story on their awkward relationship.

8) What will RuPaul’s new character, who panelist Kristen describes in the episode, mean to the story next season?

ANSWER: Very little, as it turns out. It seems that RuPaul was a mere stunt cast, meant to fuel preseason speculation and, probably, to gain viewership, but he (outside of his drag persona) appeared in only two episodes, and the panel concluded that this appearance was underwhelming and only modestly funny at best. Yet, RuPaul still has her Drag Race. May the sass be with her.

New Questions

1) Will Brianna and Mallory self-actualize, countering their mother’s high standards and judgment, for once? Will Brianna find the confidence to run Say Grace and to make it successful without her mother’s help? Will Mallory advocate for herself and for her wants and needs (like a paycheck from her sister) rather than wallowing in belabored self-pity following her divorce?

2) Will there be more episodes with all members of both families combined in the next season? The panel votes yes.

3) Since Dolly Parton recently acquired a Netflix deal for her own series, will she appear, in a 9 to 5 reunion type way and with the “all in the family” approach of the streaming giant, on Grace and Frankie? The panel votes yes.

4) How will Grace and Nick’s elopement affect Grace’s friendship with Frankie and/or her living arrangement with Frankie? Why was Frankie so upset that she sank to the ground upon learning of the elopement in the Season 5 finale?

5) The panel further votes that Robert should partake of more marijuana, since he’s so “good” on it. The “Robert/Frankie on edibles” scene was voted the panel’s most popular scene of Season 5. Will Robert and Sol endeavor to enjoy this recreation together? Will Grace ever go the cannabis route?

6) How long will Mallory date her daughter’s principal? Will Coyote’s employment at the school affect that dynamic, even if Mallory and Coyote never couple up?

7) Will Frankie assume sole proprietorship over Vybrant, since she’s running it so well, if uniquely in her way?

8) If Nick moves in to the beach house, what will become of Joan-Margaret?

PARTING SHOTS

The CPU! Grace and Frankie panel continues to recommend this groundbreaking situation comedy to fans of the actors in the cast, particularly of Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston, and to people who sincerely like to laugh.  Some of the panel cautions, however, that with frank discussion about drugs and sex – and occasionally rock ‘n’ roll – as well as some salty language coming from these septuagenarians (and secret octogenarians), not every potential viewer might find the show funny or be copacetic with the vernacular utilized therein.   Also, the panel continues to generally praise the comedic performances of the four main actors, and the writing, while agreeing that there are better episodes than others; in fact, the panelists still voice a variety of reactions to the supporting characters, namely the four actors playing the grown up children of the couples in question.  The panel further expressed highly mixed feelings toward the device used in the Season 5 finale, with some panelists arguing that the episode achieved the apparently intended, if distasteful, effect of rendering the viewer unsettled by the end of the season. At the same time, the remaining panelists asserted that the “alternate reality” trope employed in that episode seemed decidedly misplaced in the season finale; felt too forced for the ensuing and somewhat anticlimactic character epiphany; and, therefore, failed to achieve any measure of emotional satisfaction with that epiphany in the end.  In any event, our panelists, the Season 5 finale aside, universally experience great fun while watching this series, despite any perceived warts or blemishes, and believe that most with an open sense of humor will have fun watching it too.

LOOKING AHEAD

Netflix has renewed the show for a sixth season, though no tentative release date has yet been announced by the streaming giant.  Most pundits expect the show to return in 2020, in keeping with its traditional once per year release pattern, which is when our CPU! Grace and Frankie panel will also, most likely, return to the Water Cooler for the purpose of chatting about Season 6.  Like, follow, and/or subscribe to the website, iTunes, YouTube, Stitcher Radio, Google Play, or our social media accounts to stay abreast of new episodes regarding Grace and Frankie as well as new episodes for all of our podcast panels!  And, if you feel so inclined, please leave us a review.  Thank you! 🙂

PARODY/HOMAGE!

We are not the only big fans of Grace and Frankie. Apparently, Pete Davidson of Saturday Night Live, DJ Khaled, and Paul Rudd are too! Our panelists recommend peeping this sketch, yo:

THE PANELISTS ALSO RECOMMEND!

Panelist Samantha recommends that you and all the rest of CPU! check out the Grace and Frankie cast appearance at this year’s Paley Fest:

The Good Place, Season 3 (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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A new podcast episode of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com. In this episode, recorded in August 2019, our eager, philosophy-oriented panel, the personnel of which has changed somewhat since our last recording in this series – moderator Kylie, Kristen, Michael, Kelsey, Selene, and panelist Krista (new to the panel but not to the podcast after one panelist departed the podcast for life’s greater journeys, while another departed the panel for life’s greater obligations) – convenes around the CPU! Water Cooler to discuss Season 3 of the heady NBC comedy about the human condition known as The Good Place.  As always, if you have not watched any of The Good Place, be aware that there are, most definitely, MAJOR SPOILERS! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Sprague
Keyboard: Kelsey Sprague
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – Around the Water Cooler: “The Good Place,” The Season 3 Recap and Review (MAJOR SPOILERS)

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Moderator: Chief Couch Potato Kylie

THE SPECS:

Who:  “The Good Place” is a fantasy comedy series, which airs on NBC, fall/winter Thursdays at 8:30 PM, though it is currently on hiatus.

What: “The Good Place,” created by Michael Schur, focuses on Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a woman who wakes up in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael (Ted Danson) to “The Good Place,” a Heaven-like utopia he designed, in reward for her righteous life.  She realizes that she was sent there by mistake; as a result, she must hide her morally imperfect behavior and try to become a better person. William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, and Manny Jacinto co-star as other residents of “The Good Place,” while D’Arcy Carden plays Janet, an artificial being helping the inhabitants of the place in question.

SYNOPSIS

After her death, Eleanor Shellstrop (Bell) is welcomed into the afterlife by Michael (Danson), the facilitator and architect of Eleanor’s new neighborhood in a “perfect utopia” called the “Good Place.” When Michael tells Eleanor that she made it into The Good Place as reward for her life of selfless devotion to helping others, she realizes she must have been mistaken for someone else.

When: Season 3 aired from September 27, 2018, to January 24, 2019, on NBC with a total of 13 episodes.

Where: The action is set in the fictional Good Place and other times in the fictional Bad Place and yet other times in the fictional Medium Place and yet other times, particularly in Season 3, on Earth.  All Places are construed to be in the afterlife – except when the action is not in the afterlife but on Earth. To explain anymore than that here, however, would invite MAJOR SPOILERS!

Why: To find out why individual podcast panelists started watching this show, listen to the podcast episode related to Seasons 1 and 2 via the link below!

As for CPU! Chief Couch Potato Kylie, I picked up this show when shopping for pilots during the 2016-2017 TV season (a yearly ritual for this viewer and this blog, no matter how far behind I am).  I said:

“On the strength of the trailer, and the fact that Veronica Mars/Ana from Frozen is playing the lead with Kristen Bell’s best comedic timing, I think anyone would be remiss to pass on this new sitcom.  The premise is unique, casting Ted Danson as the ‘Good Place’s’ resident bureaucrat is inspired, and frankly, I had to stifle laughter every few seconds as I sat awkwardly in a public waiting room watching the trailer. The substitute uses for various curse words as delivered by Bell warrant the look-see alone…”

How – as in How Was It? – THOUGHTS

This panel already discussed Seasons 1 and 2 of The Good Place in one fell swoop, that is in one gigantic episode, last year. Listen to that lively discourse here:

Seasons 1 and 2

Do you follow our CPU! social media accounts (if not, you should)?  Did you ever see a posting or advertisement for panelists at large to join this panel? No, you didn’t.  That may be because The Good Place was a runaway hit with the CPU! core and a few close friends and family; apparently, many united couch potatoes consider this show to be forking fantastic.  Thus, this panel quickly filled to burgeoning fullness, as it was so popularly requested.

Common reactions from our The Good Place panelists continue to characterize the show as hilarious, original, smart, well-written, well-directed, well-performed…you get the drift.  In other words, many CPU! faithful think that The Good Place is one of the freshest comedies to hit the airwaves in years, especially and particularly on network TV and, especially and particularly, on the Peacock network, which has long been struggling to regain some of its “Must See” reign of yesteryear and yore, and possibly colonial times, but is giving a good go of it with this heady, philosophical comedy. 

Since the last episode in this “Water Cooler” series, though, our panel has experienced somewhat of a changeover in personnel, as sometimes happens here at CPU! One panelist departed the podcast for life’s greater journeys. One panelist departed the panel for life’s greater obligations. Panelists Kristen, Kelsey, Michael, and Selene returned and were joined by a panelist new to the panel, but not to the podcast, to dissect the “Jeremy Bearimy” type ups and downs of The Good Place‘s third season.

To wit, our panelists continued to offer little bad or negative to say about Season 3 apart from nitpicks of a typically individual and personal type among each panelist; the show, therefore, is still popular with this panel.  Everyone continues to universally agree that the creator and show-runner has produced something totally new, totally kick-ash awesome; at the top of its comedic game; and accessible to most everyone despite its complex premise, all while avoiding the typical tendency of pandering to a larger audience by muting or undercutting the intelligence of the premise and of the situations in which the characters find themselves.  In fact, if you are part of The Good Place fan club, this discussion will only serve to validate your adoration for this decidedly traction-gaining cult hit while traversing, perhaps, some similar confusions that you might have also experienced while viewing Season 3.  With all this said, have I convinced you (yet) to listen via the embedded link below?

This podcast was recorded in August 2019, and there are, without question, MAJOR SPOILERS, as we cover major plot points of Season 3 (and most of the plot points in this sitcom are kind of major). Listen at your own risk, and let us know what you think by commenting below!

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think!  Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our Grace and Frankie panel returns to the CPU! Water Cooler to review the finer points of squatting while showing general appreciation for Season 5 of the sitcom about septuagenarians (allegedly).  Stay tuned!

Questions, Impressions, and Future Considerations

Old Questions

1) Is the soulmate construct a fake representation of a concept, i.e. soulmates, that is not real or does not exist?  Or, did Michael, as architect of this purported torture chamber, merely build in the soulmate aspect incidentally, as a simple device, missing the point of soulmates entirely – in other words, “getting it wrong?”  Is the show advocating that soulmates are real and/or something worthy of considering as possible, or is the show presenting a cynical view of “soulmate” love, platonic or otherwise, by inferring that soulmates are something made up, whether by Michael, by someone or something like him, and/or by the rest of us?

ANSWER: Still a question. While the concept of soulmates does not seem to be entirely off the table, particularly with the dubbing of our four main souls (Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason) as the “Soul Squad,” the soulmate concept remains largely nebulous where this sitcom is concerned. Yet, the concept may undergo deep exploration in Season 4 based upon some of the set-ups of the Season 3 finale. Listen to the podcast episode for details (PS panelist Michael is still championing this theory).

2) Are the four main characters apart from Michael and Janet – Eleanor, Chidi, Tahani, and Jason – really members of a “soul cluster,” i.e. four so-called soulmates who cannot exist apart from the others and hope to be better people because they, whether fatalistically or not, happen to make each other better naturally, as panelist Michael advocates?

ANSWER: As above, still a question, but one shared by the characters on the show. Michael the Architect is testing this theory by running some experiments, first in Season 3 by giving the so-called “Soul Squad” a literally new lease on life and by allowing them to find each other, hoping that their togetherness improves them where their individuality failed, and now, in advance of Season 4 and as of the Season 3 finale, by recreating “The Good Place” of Season 1 to see if the “Soul Squad” will achieve an evolution that makes them Real Good Place ™ worthy, with a little help from their friends. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

3) Why is Chidi’s paralyzing inability to make a decision worthy of him being sent to the Bad Place?

ANSWER: While no answer has been proffered by the show, we assume it’s because his indecision can sometimes lead to catastrophic consequences, including loss of life and including the loss of his own life. Again, this has not been explicitly confirmed by the show, but we do think paralyzing indecisiveness seems like a mean way to eliminate a soul from “Good Place” consideration. Then again, the system may be rigged, as the show is explicitly positing, and this question may be ultimately moot.

4) Is the show advocating Eleanor as its “moral center?”  Michael comes to the conclusion that the afterlife determination system is flawed based upon the four main characters’ personal growth, especially Eleanor’s, even as Eleanor struggles to maintain that growth in the second season finale.  Where will Eleanor land in the end? Will she ever be Real Good Place ™ worthy?

ANSWER: Still a question. This, friends and fellow viewers, may be the ultimate heart and soul and the very thematic foundation of the entire series.

5) How will Eleanor and Chidi find Tahani and Jason again, if they do it all, in their brave new world?  How quickly?

ANSWER: Pretty quickly, considering that Michael cannot stand to watch on the sidelines for long. The wily architectural demon, despite Judge Gen’s (Maya Rudolph) express orders to the contrary, decides to give each of the four in the Soul Squad (or “Squad”) a little nudge toward not only finding each other but also toward sticking together, no matter the outcome. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

6) Where will Michael and Janet end up, Good or Bad Place, particularly since Demon Michael seems to have attained some positive personal, and somewhat human, improvement, and since Good Janet, given Michael’s 802 reboots of his construct and of her stolen self, is the most advanced version of Janet ever, with her newfound capability of lying, of loving, and of experiencing some human emotions?

ANSWER: So far, Michael and Janet simply exist, helping the Squad with their afterlife journey, though it was looking like a likely Bad Place retirement for Michael there for a minute, with a potential return of Janet to whatever void she hailed from when she was created. They survive the season’s events, only to return to similar roles as those that they served when the series began. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

7) Will Michael and Judge Gen’s experiment result in the creation of other possible places – such as more Medium Places, where someone bad can improve, as panelist Selene hopes?

ANSWER: So far, the only Place that has been created in Season 3 is a duplicate or clone of Season 1’s Good Place that was the mask for (SPOILER) the Bad Place. We think that there is only one true Good Place (the Real Good Place [tm]), one true Bad Place, and one true Medium Place, with some constructed facades within each of them at times. For example, the cloned Good Place that was once a mask for the Bad Place was built in the Medium Place in Season 3. Look, we didn’t write this, okay.

8) Will Michael end up becoming a Judge like Gen, as panelist Joey predicts, possibly with Janet as his assistant-friend?

ANSWER: So far, Michael remains an Architect and a demon, though he is one besot by a panic attack at the end of the third season. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

9) Were Eleanor and Chidi actually brought back to life, or are they being run through some sort of test simulation, to gauge the measure of personal growth attainable without the promise of “moral dessert?”  Or, are they in a new construct similar to purgatory, where borderline bad people can try to be good people, as panelists Joey and Kristen surmise?

ANSWER: All four members were actually returned to the land of the living at the beginning of Season 3. Unfortunately, their circumstances did not sustain. Listen to the podcast episode for details.

10) Did Michael’s “torture” plan fail because of Janet, as panelist Gabe guesses?

ANSWER: Unknown. Janet is certainly a variable for the Squad, given her evolution beyond her initial programming matrix, but Michael’s true guess, that the members of the Squad make each other better people in or out of the afterlife and whether they are meant to do so or not, is probably the more likely reason why Michael’s initial plans failed.

11) Will the four main characters continue to torture each other without Michael and Janet present, provided that they meet again in their new “near death” version of Earth?  Are Michael and Janet the reason why the characters did not attain further personal growth than they already achieved (or, at least, Janet because we know Michael was trying to torture them for at least some time)?  Is Janet actually a corrupted computer-like matrix, or is she evolved artificial intelligence?

ANSWER: The four main characters do not continue to torture each other. As the Squad, they challenge each other to become better people, better souls, and, arguably, Michael and Janet help that evolution even further along, quite forcefully and bluntly at times. To that end, Michael and Janet appear to impose no limits on the Squad; the Squad’s individual members’ limitations are self-manifested and become what each character must rise above, theoretically by the end of the series.

Janet is most likely evolved artificial intelligence, but Janet is a unique, ethereal creation, with very little definition beyond what the show has specifically showed or told the viewer about her. Who knows if simple, mortal words and concepts can sufficiently describe her construction and formation? All the panel knows for certain is that D’Arcy Carden is criminally underrated in this role.

12) If Eleanor finds Chidi, Tahini, and Jason again, how do the latter three escape death in this new version of their world?

ANSWER: Via a flashback provided in the Season 3 premiere, all four members of the Squad escape death with a little help from their friend Michael. He lets Jason out of the safe, moves Chidi out of the way of the falling air conditioning unit, assures that Tahani is not in the line of sight of the falling statue of her sister, and ensures that Eleanor’s margarita bottle is out of the path of the roving shopping carts.

13) Is this new version of the world a new Medium Place, as panelist Kristen posits?

ANSWER: No. The world we see in Season 3 is all Earth, with all of its warts and blemishes, but in an alternate reality in which the Squad members never died. Although, Earth as the quintessential Medium Place does make for a good philosophical theory to mull related to this show.

14) Who is actually in the Real Good Place ™?  Are there any actual good people, or angels, since there are demons in this universe?  Or, are the alleged good people actually morally complicated, similar to the angels on Supernatural, as panelist Gabe theorizes?

ANSWER: Still a question. Since no one has been admitted to the Real Good Place ™ in 521 years, we do not know who generally populates it, other than a Council, who decides what happens to the construction of The Good Place, and Gwendolyn (Nicole Byer), who pleasantly receives people in a post office-like room in the Real Good Place ™. What or who is beyond the door of that post office type facility is anyone but the writers’ guess.

15) Why does watching the Red Hot Chili Peppers in concert qualify for Bad Place entry?  Is it all about the socks?  Give it away, now.

ANSWER: Still a question. Especially since this show is all about the Otherside. I feel a bit Under the Bridge about this assertion. It’s giving me Scar Tissue.

16) Is Michael really a demon?  Where do demons come from on this show?  What is Michael’s back story?  What is boss Shawn’s back story?  Why is the Bad Place largely set in an office?  Is this a reference to The Office, for which Michael Schur wrote and on which he also appeared (as Dwight’s cousin Mose)?

ANSWER: So far, Michael is really and truly a demon, though we have not been told where and how demons originate, what Michael’s back story is, what Shawn’s back story is, or why the Bad Place is largely set in an office. Though, perhaps we can make some healthy assumptions about that last question.

New Questions

1) Will our intrepid heroes and “Soul Squad” achieve entry into the really Real Good Place ™? Or, are they doomed to Bad Place eternity while and/or making a better afterlife for everyone else?

2) With Judge Gen’s ruling that Shawn’s deliberate attempts to torture the Squad by introducing bothersome people from their lives into the newly reconstituted Season 1 Good Place Facade (copyright) cannot fly, does that mean the viewer will see two additional entrants to the Good Place that serve as “challenges” for Eleanor and for Jason, since we have met challenges for Tahani in the form of a bothersome reporter and Chidi’s ex Simone as his antagonistic force? If so, who are they? Is it possible that with Judge Gen’s reset, someone already in the Season 1 Good Place Facade (copyright) could present the challenge to Eleanor, Jason, or both? Is the challenge even a conceit that still applies? If not, will Tahani’s tormentor disappear? Alternatively, will Chidi, who has chosen to have his mind erased concerning his love for Eleanor in order not to sour this new iteration of the experiment with the appearance of Simone, be representative of Eleanor’s personal challenger? The panel spends much time discussing this confusing turn of events in the instant podcast episode, to which you should listen for further details.

3) Does Tahani actually have real feelings for Jason, allowed to blossom through their partnership over spending Tahani’s considerable wealth for the good of humankind? Or, is she demonstrating a wistful longing for the same kind of connection shared by Janet and Jason?

4) How long will Michael experience his panic attack, and how will his inability to function as the de facto Architect affect the new experiment?

5) What exactly is the construction and use of the new iteration of the Season 1 Good Place Facade (copyright) meant to demonstrate; will Judge Gen be able to change the point system? Who gives Judge Gen her power? Or, will the system collapse in on itself, and then what will happen? Or, will they be able to reset everything for everyone?

6) Is the guard at the portal to Earth (Mike O’Malley), who loves frogs, secretly this show’s version of God? Does he at least know more than he is letting on? Several panelists have suggested that he might become more important before the series end.

7) Is Earth actually a kind of purgatory, a preparation for the afterlife, as panelist Selene suggests or posits in the sort of heady, philosophical meandering that this sitcom inspires?

8) Panelist Michael still believes that the soulmate construct as depicted in Season 1 is not just a device of Architect Michael’s to convince the Squad that they were in a heavenly utopia of an afterlife but a truth universal for our main characters: i.e. they make each other better because they are truly soulmates. Are the Squad soulmates? Is that what the show is advocating? What’s more, is it even broader than that? Is humanity one giant soul cluster, fuel for the sustainability of the afterlife Places? Or, moreover, will we be watching the “Mister Rogers” ending – where all are meant to be improved for potential Real Good Place ™ admission, and no one is meant to be in the Bad Place?

9) If no one’s been admitted into the Real Good Place ™ in the last 521 years, since presumably the Spanish Inquisition or so that nobody expects (side reference, that), how is the Bad Place not suffering from overcrowding? What is Shawn doing to expand that real estate?

10) Will we ever get to see who and what might be beyond the door of the post office in the Real Good Place ™?

11) What will Janet’s final end be, given her start and subsequent evolution?

12) Will the show allow the love relationships to continue, despite the obstacles? Will Eleanor and Chidi find each other again? Will Janet and Jason remain together, particularly since Jason is so threatened by Derek? Will Tahani find someone to love, since she has achieved some sort of reconciliation with her sister?

13) Assuming that Architect Michael exposes the chinks in the system for entry into the Real Good Place ™, what will become of him in the end? He has also evolved beyond the gleeful demon who delighted in torture and to whom we were introduced.

14) Will we see Eleanor’s parents, Donkey Doug and Pillboi, Tahani’s sister, or Chidi’s friends and relatives again?

PARTING SHOTS

As of the Season 3 finale, the CPU! The Good Place panel universally, effusively, and glowingly continues to recommend this unique situation comedy because of its original, quality premise; complex, layered writing; stellar performances; and fresh take on an intellectual concept that does not meander into trope-filled, didactic territory, despite its meditation on moral and ethical principles and philosophy.  The panelists note that, though pacing became something of an issue in this third season, particularly as members of the Soul Squad explored individual quests and missions in the middle episodes of the season – some of which felt marginally clunky in execution and in premise – Season 3 remained, by and large, tightly constructed by maintaining the rapid-fire pacing, superior wit, enticing and engaging cliffhangers for episode endings, and a refreshing lack of filler episodes established during the show’s first two seasons.  Several panelists characterized this show as easy to recommend, easy to binge-watch, and easy to which to become addicted, even as the premise is “hard to explain.”  The panelists additionally continue to praise the program’s ability to intellectually challenge the viewer while remaining both accessible and hilarious high-concept comedy; in fact, several panel members deem the show as having significant re-watch value, based upon personal experience (already!).  In fact, the entire panel wholeheartedly continues to recommend The Good Place to anyone, anywhere, with a hearty “Just watch it!” as the overall recommendation refrain.

LOOKING AHEAD

The Good Place was renewed for a fourth and final season by NBC, which will premiere on NBC on September 26, 2019.  Currently, Seasons 1 and 2 are available to stream fully on Netflix, while the five most recently aired episodes of the show are available on Hulu and on NBC’s streaming app and website.  In the meantime, the CPU! Good Place panel will return to the Water Cooler following the airing of the series finale to say goodbye to this series we’ve grown to love so much. Until then – stay tuned!

On the Couch With…Selene!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cpu-final-01large.jpg

A new podcast “mini-sode” of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com.  In this mini-sode, recorded in June 2019, CPU! continues our “On the Couch With…” feature, in which one panelist interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, and so on, so that the United Couch Potatoes might give our listeners a larger, more savory taste of the Potatoes’ personalities. The interviews are unscripted (as in, the interviewees do not see the questions in advance), and they explore a little more about the interviewee’s interests, TV and not.

In our third installment of this feature, Associate Producer Krista interviews our other Associate Producer Selene with some probing, thoughtful questions about her TV watching tastes.  Plus, the ladies wax nostalgic about childhood TV favorites and their parents’ particular TV rules! We also tease upcoming events and episodes, as we will resume new episodes talking the latest and greatest TV on June 26, 2019! Until then, if there are other shows you’re interested in our podcast covering, let us know! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at: couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Rezmer
Keyboard: Kelsey Rezmer
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville

PODCAST! – On the Couch With…Selene!

Interviewer: Krista
Interviewee: Selene

Who:  Associate Producer of Graphics and Marketing (and Moderator/Panelist) Krista interviews Associate Producer of Special Projects (it’s a working title…and Panelist) Selene!

What: “On the Couch With…,” a feature wherein listeners can learn a bit more about “the lives behind the podcast” here at Couch Potatoes Unite!

When: This interview was conducted on June 11, 2019.

Where: In Krista’s living room. Seriously.

Why: Have you ever wondered who the people are behind the first names and voices you hear on this podcast?  Well, frequent panelist Sarah thought you might – because she listens to lots of podcasts and enjoys hearing about the personalities behind those – and so she thought you might be feel the same about the United Couch Potatoes!

How – as in How Do You Do?

We’re back to our newest feature on CPU!  Our humble little podcast has officially been going for four years, and, as always, we will be covering many more shows and introducing many more panels as time progresses, but if you’ve ever wondered about the “lives behind the podcast,” you’re in luck. In our “On the Couch With…” feature, one panelist interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, and so on, so that the United Couch Potatoes might give our listeners a larger, more savory taste of the Potatoes’ personalities. The interviews are unscripted (as in, the interviewees do not see the questions in advance), and they explore a little more about the interviewee’s interests, TV and not.

Here is the last episode in our “On the Couch With…” series, featuring Krista as interviewee:

In our third installment of this feature, Associate Producer Krista interviews Associate Producer Selene with some probing, thoughtful questions about her TV watching tastes. Plus, the ladies wax nostalgic about childhood TV favorites and their parents’ particular rules related to TV watching!

This podcast “mini-sode” was recorded in June 2019. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@cpupodcast), Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite), Pinterest (@cpupodcast), or email us at couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com – or subscribe to this blog, the YouTube channel, our iTunes channel, our Stitcher Radio channel , and/or find us on Google Play to keep track of brand new episodes.  In the meantime, let us know what you think! Comment or review us in any of the above forums – we’d love your feedback!

Remember, new episodes and blog posts are published weekly!  Next Wednesday, our regularly scheduled review episodes will still be in their brief June hiatus, so CPU! will continue the “On the Couch With…” feature with Associate Producer of Special Projects Selene interviewing our most frequent and involved Panelist and one of our Moderator Team…Kristen!  Plus, we’ll be publishing the first of our end-of-season Progress Reports on Tuesday! Stay tuned until next week for more casual one-on-one, get-to-know hilarity!

LOOKING AHEAD

The next “On the Couch With…” profile will feature Kristen as interviewee and will be published next week; one of our annual End of Season Progress Reports will also be published on Tuesday! Until then!

On the Couch With…Krista!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is cpu-final-01large.jpg

A new podcast “mini-sode” of Couch Potatoes Unite!, which is based on a blog of the same name hosted at couchpotatoesunite.wordpress.com.  In this mini-sode, recorded in May 2019, CPU! continues our “On the Couch With…” feature, in which one panelist interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, who interviews another panelist, and so on, so that the United Couch Potatoes might give our listeners a larger, more savory taste of the Potatoes’ personalities. The interviews are unscripted (as in, the interviewees do not see the questions in advance), and they explore a little more about the interviewee’s interests, TV and not.

In our second installment of this feature, Chief Couch Potato Kylie interviews Associate Producer Krista with some probing, meaty questions about her TV watching tastes.  Plus, we cover some of the in’s and out’s of the New York Times crossword puzzle! We also tease upcoming events and episodes, as we will resume new episodes talking the latest and greatest TV on May 29, 2019! Until then, if there are other shows you’re interested in our podcast covering, let us know! Tell us what you think, and/or if there are other shows you’re interested in CPU! covering, below; email us at: couchpotatoesunitepodcast@gmail.com; or check out our Guestbook at the website, our Facebook page, our Twitter (@cpupodcast), or our Instagram (@couchpotatoesunite). Until next time, until next episode…buh bye!

Executive Producer/Chief Couch Potato: Kylie C. Piette
Associate Producers: Krista Pennington and Selene Rezmer

Editor: Kylie C. Piette
Logo: Rebecca Wallace
Marketing Graphic Artist: Krista Pennington

Theme Song:
Written by: Sarah Milbratz
Singers: Sarah Milbratz, Amy McDaniel, Kelsey Rezmer
Keyboard: Kelsey Rezmer
Bass: Ian McDonough
Guitar: Christian Somerville
Engineer/Production: Kyle Aspinall/Christian Somerville