The Mike Schur universe has one of TV’s most devoted fan bases, which makes watching the latest addition to his comedy canon, The Good Place, all the more enjoyable — especially since Schur has developed a penchant for including Easter eggs from his previous show, Parks and Recreation. Ever since The Good Place’s first season, attentive viewers have been able to spot a few Parks-adjacent callbacks seeping into various episodes, which Schur insists has no deeper meaning besides its inherent silliness. “It’s fun to do,” he recently put it. “These are little things we like to lay in just for people to enjoy — and to find on a little Easter egg hunt. It’s 99 percent for that reason.” By Vulture’s count, we’ve spotted eight of these eggs, which are detailed below. But if you’ve mixed some Snake Juice with French vanilla anti-matter and caught more, sound off in the comments.
The Swanson Safe Company
Alluding to everyone’s favorite mustachioed, government-loathing gent, safes bearing Ron Swanson’s surname have now appeared in The Good Place on two separate occasions. The first was back in season one, when we learned how Jason died and ascended to Michael’s afterlife neighborhood. Long story short: If you’re going to rob a pizzeria, make sure you have air holes in your preferred mode of transportation.
Later, in season three, the same safe company is seen in Tahani’s rented Australian mansion, when she decides she’s going to give away her fortune to other people in the hopes of actually getting into the Good Place.
Up in horsey heaven, here’s the thing! Li’l Sebastian lives on! In a season-three flashback to a “Pick a Pet” day in Michael’s neighborhood, Indiana’s iconic mini-horse makes a cameo appearance in the background — a cameo that was confirmed by both shows’ social-media accounts, in case your cynical side didn’t want to believe the hype. Li’l Sebastian doesn’t do anything else but walk around and look cute, but it was sure great to see that blonde center part again.
When we finally get to witness how Eleanor died outside an Arizona supermarket in season one, the lead-up to her getting impaled by a boner-pill truck has her stocking up on snacks to accompany her hot weekend plans: “Sitting alone in my house, watching wedding fails on YouTube, drinking margaritas through a Twizzler straw until I pass out on top of my vibrator.” While waiting for the grocery clerk to ring her up, an ad on the back of Celebrity Baby displays a “Glyde” fragrance from Dennis Feinstein, Pawnee’s debauched scent scion. Funny enough, the actor who portrayed Dennis, Jason Mantzoukas, would later appear on The Good Place as Derek, Janet’s rebound boyfriend with wind chimes as his ding-dong.
In The Good Place’s season-two finale, Eleanor reaches a low return-to-Earth phase when, a year after her near-death experience, she’s unsure if being a good person actually has its benefits. (It just takes so much energy, man.) Before she has her Cheers-esque moment with Michael, we get to see yet another Celebrity Baby advertisement, but this time, it advertises a Champagne brand owned by none other than Mr. Worst himself, Jean-Ralphio Saperstein. You might recall that Jean-Ralphio’s Champagne was teased in Parks’ series finale.
When “The Brain-y Bunch” head over to the Cowboy Skyscraper Buffet in season three for some (slightly forced) bonding, the Sydney restaurant has a menu item that would be the bane of Leslie Knope’s existence: the Paunch Burger, a.k.a. Pawnee’s popular fast-food joint of the same name. Adam Scott’s demon character is also in the scene, adding another layer of pretend-he’s-actually-Ben-Wyatt amusement.
The typeface is pretty small, so here’s what it says in full:
The Paunch Burger ($11.00) – Three meat patties, six slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle covered in our world famous bourbon brown sugar thousand island sauce and topped with a fried egg. The pride of Indiana recreated here for you.
But not to be outdone, there’s actually another Paunch Burger reference in the episode prior, when Janet regains her power and everything she summoned on Earth materializes in front of Michael and the Judge. Between “Trevor stinks!” billboards, ovens, and barrels of poison, a “regular” sized Paunch Burger drink — a whopping 126 ounces — is included in the mix, which we’re sure would delight Kathryn Pinewood.
Intrigued by the idea that Michael’s neighborhood keeps detailed rankings of all its inhabitants, Tahani sneaks a peek at those rankings for an ego boost in season one — only to discover she’s second to last on the list. The guy in third place, though? Bjoern Lerpiss, whose family was an integral part of Pawnee’s DNA throughout Parks’ run. Bjoern was played by Mike Mitchell and appeared in five Parks episodes, mostly to voice his dedication to Paunch Burger.
Food and Stuff
Not only do we have another Lerpiss family member here — someone named Douglas, who, unlike Bjoern, was not a recurring character in Parks — but we also get to indulge ourselves in two other Pawnee-adjacent callbacks. You’ll notice that the “gardener’s delight” tomato was purchased at Food and Stuff, the preferred establishment for Ron Swanson to do his food (and other stuff) shopping. Additionally, this Food and Stuff is located in Snerling, Indiana, which you may recall was where Chris Traeger considered moving before solidifying his decision to stay in Pawnee for good. It’s also where his favorite health food store, Grain ‘n Simple, is located.