Ted Danson (left), Jameela Jamil
Photo: Colleen Hayes/NBC

In addition to being one of the best shows on TV, The Good Place is a dense knot of running jokes, visual humor, references to dense philosophy tomes, and breadcrumbs for later episodes. In order to help you keep it all straight, The A.V. Club will be annotating the show’s third season. Catch something that we didn’t? Email us at youforkingmissedit@avclub.com.

Read our recap of “The Book Of Dougs.”

But first, a word from you, the readers

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Our thanks to Annette Laitinen and Annemarie for noting this Parks And Recreation nod that we hadn’t accounted for.


Visual gags

The Good Place Postal Services branding

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Mail is delivered via pegasus in The Good Place, at least according to The Postal Services’ logo. The attractively designed badge worn by Nicole Byer—perfectly cast as a cheerful postal worker—depicts a pegasus in flight, a much more heavenly mode of transit than the dumpy little post trucks we’re familiar with on Earth. The postal services even have their own flag, though its three stripes and five stars are more ambiguous in meaning than the winged horse. [Caity PenzeyMoog]

Inside The Book Of Dougs

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Michael explains why giving a gift of a dozen roses would have a positive point value in 1534 and a negative value in 2009 (tl;dr: there is no ethical consumption under capitalism), but the pages of The Book Of Dougs tell a more detailed story, one of many appendices, soil degradation, payments to a corrupt police force, and Fenderbeck’s Flowers CEO Derek Fenderbeck’s “history of racism/sexual harassment/various inhumane crimes against various humans, cats, and one racehorse.” [Erik Adams]


Callbacks

Bortles!

Upon arriving in the Good Place, Jason inhales the sweet smell of victory for his favorite QB. (See “Good Place facts” below.)

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“So we’re talking mailmen now… from heaven.”

Eleanor’s thing for hunk postal carriers is well established, from her novel ways of getting them to remove their shirts to the “Is this the package you delivered?” poster she once hung in her clown gallery to the fact that Michael used this attraction against her by casting the demon Chris Baker as a former mailman in the first reboot. In “The Book Of Dougs,” it’s learned that she once owned a Mailmen From Heaven calendar—she didn’t get past March, but why would she need to now that Chidi is stuck wearing a Good Place Postal Services uniform? [Erik Adams]

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Interdimensional Hole Of Pancakes

Before the Soul Squad can make any moves, Jeff appears to take the gang to confront the judge, who is awaiting their arrival in the Neutral Zone at the Interdimensional Hole Of Pancakes. Michael has mentioned the afterlife’s version of IHOP just once before: in last season’s “Rhonda, Diana, Jake, And Trent,” where Michael turns down Jason’s order of a Rooty Tooty Fresh ’N Fruity “You don’t really eat these pancakes. It’s more like they eat you.”[Baraka Kaseko]


Allusions

“Yeah, man, we’re refugees—what kind of messed-up place would turn away refugees?”

Episodes of The Good Place are produced several months before they air, and written even earlier than that, and the only thing sadder than the sound of Manny Jacinto’s voice when he delivers this line is the fact that the line is as relevant today as it was when it was pitched. [Erik Adams]

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“We’re four Oreos from heaven”

Eleanor’s math checks out. Four Oreos measure just under 2 inches. And while the doors I measured in our office measure a little under that—the thickest is 1 and three-quarter inches—the doorway to heaven would be a thick one. It could even be as thick is four Double Stuf Oreos, which are a bit over 2 inches wide. This is the Good Place; wouldn’t all Oreos be Double Stuf? [Caitlin PenzeyMoog]

“There is only one time that is important—now! It is the most important time because it is the only time when we have any power.”

An inspirational quote that, depending on your source (moral philosophy professor or Arizona trashbag), either originates from the conclusion of Leo Tolstoy’s short story “The Three Questions,” or from an Instagram account posing as Tyra Banks and repurposing the War And Peace authors words as memes. [Erik Adams]

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Good Place facts

“Just take a deep breath”

“The Book Of Dougs” is the first episode of the show to take place entirely in the Good Place, and while it strands the characters eight wafers and some stuffing from paradise, they’re still tantalized by some of its benefits. Primarily, the smell of the place, tailored to the odor of whatever makes them happiest. Given that no human has been admitted to The Good Place since the 15th century, the Soul Squad are the first people there to be hit by the scent of a water park (“chlorine, sun tan lotion, Band-Aids, and a thick cloud of teen hormones”), “the curtain closing between first class and economy,” and an elaborate Super Bowl/best friendship fantasy. Surely the Good Place smells like weed and/or warm pretzels to someone else, though it’s possible nobody confused absolute moral truth for the latter before Chidi. [Erik Adams]

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“The only door for humans is the official entrance, which is 500 trillion miles north south north of here.”

I really hope we get to see a map of the Good Place at some point, or at least a compass rose. [Erik Adams]

“There have been dips before”

Current Good Place admissions are going through more of a drought than a dip, but it’s not entirely precedented: Things managed to slow down when early humans discovered stabbing somewhere in the Middle Paleolithic period. [Erik Adams]

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