‘The Good Place’ Writers Share Rules For Creating The Bad Place

The Good Place actors posing for a group shot.
Araya Diaz / Getty Images

The NBC comedy series, The Good Place, offers viewers an interesting take on what could happen in the afterlife. In the series, after a person dies, all their thoughts and deeds are tallied and based on that score they will either be granted access to the Good Place or condemned to spend eternity suffering in the Bad Place. During this year’s Vulture Festival in Los Angeles, the writers of the show took a moment to explain the rules followed while creating the Bad Place, according to a report from Vulture.

The series follows Eleanor Shellstrop played by Kristen Bell, a woman who finds herself in the afterlife and is introduced by Michael played by Ted Danson, to the Good Place, as a reward for a life well-lived. Eleanor quickly realizes she must have made it into the heaven-like place by mistake and tries to make up for past transgressions by becoming a better person before the higher-ups figure out their mistake.

Throughout the series, Eleanor befriends other residents of the Good Place, including Chidi played by William Jackson Harper, Tahani played by Jameela Jamil, and Jason played by Manny Jacinto. She is also introduced to Janet, played by D’Arcy Carden, a highly-sophisticated AI neighborhood guide.

At the end of the first season, it was revealed that the Good Place was actually the Bad Place, which tossed viewers for a loop since there were no quintessentially hellish elements, like a raging pit of fire and tortured screams.

But according to the writers of the show, it was all by design.

It seems it’s all about the comedic effect for show-runner Mike Schur. He has even taken elements from what he imagines his own personal hell might be like.

“If they were really evil demons who were hedonistically ripping people’s eyes off and stuff, that doesn’t sound too funny,” he explained.

“There’s an episode where Dax Shepard guest stars and there’s a group of dudes who work in the toxic masculinity department. For me, if there’s a hell and I go there, it would be those dudes greeting me.”

Schur went on to explain the specific rules the writers abide by when penning elements and scenarios for the Bad Place. He made sure a few things were totally off limits.

“No kids, because that’s too depressing, and no physical anguish,” he continued.

“I think that keeps the show from devolving into some weird manifestation about human pain. It’s better to show toxic masculinity or annoying YouTubers, because that sounds like what hell really is.”

The Good Place airs on NBC on Thursdays at 8:30 p.m.