I’m still not ready to talk about this episode or The Good Place in its entirety as a series. I might never be ready, but that’s the point isn’t it—to take the leaps even when we aren’t fully there? The Good Place is an incredibly special show. It’s remarkably unique and its series finale singlehandedly takes the crown in nuanced comedy.
My immediate thoughts with tears streaming down my face went as followed: “I’ve loved and appreciated a lot of endings, but there’s something about the timing of this one that’s so perfectly fitting for the world right now. The performances, the organically meta storytelling, and the ode to “Pandemonium,” one of my all time favorite TV episodes ever. There are always going to be good days and bad days, slow days and quiet days, heartbreaks and healings. But there’s magic in the uncertainty and I believe that with a fervency so deep, I can’t imagine who I’d be if I didn’t. What a beautiful way to go while effortlessly leaving such a tremendous mark on television. I hope this inspires future writers to see that the world isn’t tired of touching stories that reflect on humanity, our complexities, and the friendships we find along the way. “Whenever You’re Ready.” What a hearty, perfect title. As much as I understand the idea that there are things we’ll never be ready for and we’ve got to take risks in life, sometimes you have to wait. It’s comforting to be left with the clarification that it’s okay to wait.”
January 13, 2020 seems like a lifetime ago—we might have been ready for a great number of things back then, but a full-fledged global pandemic wasn’t one of them. (And one we’re still dealing with. P.S. firmly believe that wearing a mask will land you points into the good place. Get on it.) Kristen Bell’s characters have been busy spreading some of my favorite messages this year, technically last year with Frozen’s Anna, but between “Do the Next Right Thing” and “Whenever You’re Ready” serving as glimpses of hope in this darkness, I’m grateful.
We celebrate the gifts that are our families and friends far too infrequently. There’s a specific day set in calendars for couples, and Leslie Knope coined the perfection that is Galentine’s Day (February 13), but even still, while it’s progressive and amazing, it’s just not enough. If a TV show or film doesn’t have a solid, incredible friendship or some sort of platonic relationship, I can’t get into it. As someone who’s so inspired by the people in her life, it’s the one thing I look for in the media I consume. It’s the one thing that keeps me engaged and invested. It’s the one thing that results in excellent character development. And this year especially, I’m happy to report there were too many gorgeous relationships to choose from. I’d rather have too much than not enough to even fill this category, which is always a bummer. We are not created to be alone as human beings, it’s the relationships we form throughout our lives that effortlessly shape us into the people we become and when we’re surrounded by people who believe in us, there’s nothing we can’t do.
1. The Rose Family Schitt’s Creek
When I first started Schitt’s Creek, I could have never imagined how much I’d adore this family and how far they’d come. The Roses are exceptional because they’re absolute weirdos in the most normal way in this ridiculous town, but they stand out because of the love that’s come into their hearts throughout their stay in Schitt’s Creek. This doesn’t just include the immediate Rose family, but Stevie, Ted, and Patrick, too. The family that once only wanted towels and a car out of this town have extended their hearts to the people around them, welcoming them with open arms and a promise to never abandon them. It’s Moira’s belief in Stevie as an unofficial second daughter. It’s the family’s undying love for Patrick and Ted. And it’s Alexis realizing just how much she’s grown to love spending time with them. The series wouldn’t be as brilliant if it weren’t for the family growing to appreciate one another without ever changing their outlandish dynamic and calling one another out on their craps.
It has been a week, friends, and almost all TV shows are back on our screens. (Waiting impatiently for Game of Thrones, Superstore, and Elementary.) On a side note, I’m still too devastated over the Saints’ loss during the championship games to even talk about it. Sunday’s episode of Outlander brought us one step closer to the finale. This is Us unlocked the mystery of Nicky Pearson, Black-ish gave us another great episode, Riverdaleunmasked the Gargoyle King but not without giving us another killer to find. The Magicians premiered with an emotionally and frustrating episode. (I just want all my babies back together again is this too much to ask for!?) And Brooklyn Nine-Nine took us back to 1999 reminding us of the beautiful friendship between Jake and Gina. But it’s The Good Place’s season finale that left me a bawling wreck — absolutely no exaggeration.
For the past few years, this category’s been the most difficult — trying to pick through my favorites without too much repetition from past years and the desire to give other characters the opportunity to be on here as well. But my inability to choose could’ve been due to the fact that there just weren’t that many options in the first place. And this year’s special — in both the TV verse and cinematic. And these ten characters are ones I’m certain I could not love more even if I tried. Some old with exceptional growth and some new pushing me into a state of gratitude for just how great TV’s been this year.
I don’t think there’s ever been a character as adored as quickly as Timeless’ Lucy Preston. And season two pulled the darling historian through the darkest of revelations only to have her come out of it even more generous than before. Lucy’s heart is inexpressible –there hasn’t been a character like her in a while, and it’s been a stunning ride watching her continuously open her heart despite the fact that the one person she trusted most in her life turned out to be the villain in her story. Whether it was fighting alongside the women who were to be executed during the Salem Witch Trials, standing with Suffragette Alice Paul, or welcoming Jessica to the team despite her feelings for Wyatt — Lucy’s benevolence is selflessness in its most evident form. She is nobility personified, for even when she could be choosing for herself, fighting for her own future, the other person’s effect is always taken into deep consideration, too. But the thing I appreciate most about Lucy is that even with all the compassion running in her veins, she’s not one to allow anyone to take advantage of her — she understands that goodness and naiveté aren’t the same thing. She’s fought back when she needs to. She’s cried when she’s been in pain. She’s doubted. She’s believed. She’s gotten excited. She’s shown viewers a wide range of emotions authenticating the fact that women are beautifully complex. She’s many things, but above all, she’s a woman who’s walked through fire and instead of letting it burn her, she’s used it to fuel the good fight instead. She’s walked out with the flames as phoenix feathers — stronger, wiser, and even more compassionate than before.