When The Good Place knocked our socks off with its big season-one twist and gave us a peek into the world of the “Bad Place,” the sitcom’s vision of hell was decidedly different from what we — and especially Dante Alighieri — imagined it might be. Instead of hearing the anguished screams of the damned, these demonic bureaucrats seem all too consumed by the rise and grind of their desk jobs. A giant pit full of poisonous reptiles? Nah, actually, the token lava monster seems like quite the affable fella. And don’t even get us started about the decaf anti-matter! The choice to make these hellish confines all the less, well, quintessentially hellish was a conscious decision made by The Good Place’s writing team, who shared their reasoning during this year’s Vulture Festival in Los Angeles.
“If they were really evil demons who were hedonistically ripping people’s eyes off and stuff, that doesn’t sound too funny,” showrunner Mike Schur 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.”
But there were specific “rules” the show’s writers agreed to follow while world-building the Bad Place, insofar a few things were deemed off limits. “No kids, because that’s too depressing, and no physical anguish,” Schur said. “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.”
That, and you can get there on a train!