The Good Place: Ted Danson couldn't keep season 1 secret, revealed it to John Krasinski
As The Good Place creator Mike Schur acknowledges, the entire future of his show was riding on keeping season 1‘s shocking finale twist a secret. And that’s the exact reason why it was less than ideal that star Ted Danson was running around town telling everyone, including John Krasinski.
The cast and crew of the critically-acclaimed NBC series gathered in the actual Good Place neighborhood Friday night for a screening and Q&A, which Schur kicked off by saying there would be no spoilers of the upcoming third season. Saying he’s “very spoilerphobic,” Schur then explained why he might be justified for being so secretive.
When Danson and Kristen Bell first signed on for the show, Schur shared with what would eventually be revealed: that the characters were actually in the Bad Place. Schur implored them to not tell anyone, which Bell held firm to, not even telling husband Dax Shepard. And Danson? Well, he probably told Dax Shepard.
“Ted said, ‘Absolutely, of course, I completely understand, I won’t tell a soul,'” recalled Schur. “And he proceeded to tell literally every single person who asked him, random strangers at cocktail parties, anyone he ran into he’d spill the entire season. And I only found out about that after the finale had wrapped. He was like, ‘Okay, I’m glad it aired because I literally told everyone that happened.'”
But Danson insists he did it to prove how innovative and creative the show was. “I was talking to John Krasinski, because he knows [Schur] well and loves you,” Danson said of Krasinski, who worked with Schur on The Office. “I went, ‘Yeah, I’m working with Mike Schur and Kristen Bell.’ When I said it takes place in the afterlife, I saw his eyes go, ‘Oh, it’s The Office in Heaven.’ And that pissed me off. I’m like, ‘No! No! See, the trick is I’m actually a demon.’ And he was suitably impressed.”
Schur added, “And unlike you, John is a professional, so he then didn’t tell anyone about it. He kept it quiet.” Well, we know he’s good at that.
Read on for more highlights from Friday’s event.
Danson’s evil idea
While the reveal of the characters being in the Bad Place was stunning, the most memorable part of the scene was, as Schur calls it, Michael’s (Danson) “wonderful, maniacal, creepy, awful” giggle. And even though it was news to him, the idea for that reaction came from Danson himself. According to Schur, the script originally called for Michael to throw a temper tantrum after Eleanor (Bell) had her big epiphany. And while that part would still stay in, Danson had something in mind to precede it. “It was great, but also we kept feeling like it wasn’t quite exactly what it should be,” said Schur. “We didn’t know why. And Ted just said, ‘Let me try something else.’ And I said, ‘Okay.’ And then he did that giggle and it was immediately like a million times better. That’s 100 percent pure uncut Ted Danson.” Joked Danson, “I think that’s where the phrase ‘national treasure’ comes from.”
The reboot we didn’t see
At the night’s event, the season 2 episode “Dance Dance Revolution” was screened, in which Michael reboots the neighborhood hundreds of times, leading to brief glimpses of crazy moments that would end with the characters once again realizing the Bad Place twist. But there was one dark and amusing reboot that the show shot and didn’t use. In it, Chidi was unable to make a decision (so out of character), this time being if he should choose his soul mate or Tahani (Jameela Jamil). Eleanor was attempting to help by making a pros and cons list for each of the women, with a pro for the soul mate being that she got him a cute puppy named Bernard. Then, Tahani comes in and they start fighting, which helps Eleanor figure things out. “It’s like, ‘Wait a second, there’s a bunch of women fighting over a man? This is the Bad Place,'” shares Schur. “At which point Michael walks in holding a very cute puppy and a samurai sword. And he’s like, ‘This really sucks because I was going to make you kill the dog.’ It’s Ted holding a puppy and going, ‘You were gonna die. He was going to put a samurai sword through your little head.'” Added executive producer and episode director Drew Goddard, “Why did we cut that out?” But don’t worry, there’s a happy ending, because the show’s makeup artist adopted the dog. “It’s a little known Hollywood secret that if there are ever animals involved, they’re free at the end of the day,” cracked moderator Marc Evan Jackson, who also stars on the series as Shawn.
The character they can never lose
All of the characters on The Good Place are either robots, demons, or dead (or at least they were), but there’s one character that Schur says they will never kill. “The original conception was at the end of the episode, we were going to get rid of him,” Schur says of Derek, Janet’s artificial boyfriend, played by Jason Mantzoukas. “Janet was going to blink and he was going to disappear. Then we were like, ‘Wait a second. Maybe she should stash him in her void somewhere so we can bring Mantzoukas back.’ Because I think Jason Mantzoukas is one of the 12 funniest human beings who’s ever lived on the planet…. And then we immediately brought him back and then we kept saying, ‘We can’t kill him, he can’t disappear.’ So we put a giant bag of cocaine on him and sent him to Mindy St. Claire’s (Maribeth Monroe) house, so that’s where he is, he’s hiding out there. So we will always sort of stash Derek somewhere so that he always at least has the possibility of coming back because I love him so much.”
The Good Place has been renewed for season 3, which is expected to premiere this fall on NBC.
The Good Place