Shellstrop reads (summarized) Sartre
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 Snowplow.”


But first, let’s hear from you, the readers

Reader Daniel Ten notes: “If you look very closely during the Janet print-queue clearing sequence, you’ll see a beverage cup from Paunch Burger. More evidence that they exist in the same universe as the Parks And Recreation people.”

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Screenshot: The Good Place

And Bridget Kennedy caught that one of the last things in “The Brainy Bunch” that was stuck in Janet’s print queue was for Jason:

Screenshot: The Good Place

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Callbacks

Ken

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This coffee-shop clerk’s name tag says “Ken,” a possible callback to creator Michael Schur’s sports blogging days, when he wrote under the pen name “Ken Tremendous” for the now-defunct site Fire Joe Morgan. “Ken Tremendous” also happens to be Schur’s current Twitter handle. Of course, it’s possible that guy is just named Ken. We may never know for sure.

Eleanor is still Eleanor

Two years into her second chance in Earth’s new timeline, Eleanor still slips easily back into her old trash-bag self when she’s faced with the possibility of the Brainy Bunch’s imminent breakup. Her tendency to cut and run is accompanied by some other Eleanor traits that were introduced early in season one, like her love of shrimp, her mocking imitation of Tahani, and her thing for Stone Cold Steve Austin.

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Visual gags

Signs, notes, and newspapers

After a brutal joke about the current state of journalism—that one cut a little too close to home for us—we see an old Sydney Daily Herald front page framed behind Michael and Janet. The main headline is ROO GONE TROPPO, or kangaroo gone wild.

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Not storage, just the journalism department.
Screenshot: The Good Place

Nothing says “Australia” like a well-placed Hugh Jackman joke. In this case, it’s placed in the window of the coffee shop that Michael and Janet go into to buy a lottery ticket with a “Hugh Jackpot.”

Ken the barista, shortly before finding out his aunt is really his mother.
Screenshot: The Good Place

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Here’s a close-up view of one of the tickets, as posted to Instagram by “The Snowplow” writer Joe Mande.

Michael and Janet devise a plan to get Eleanor the money she needs by leaving a winning lottery scratch-off ticket where they know she’ll find it. This leads to one of the more delightful moments of this episode, when Michael complains about how slow The Brainy Bunch’s computers are. Cut to... The Super Board:

Compare and contrast Jacques Lacan and Chaka Khan.
Screenshot: The Good Place

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Janet and Michael’s makeshift office includes some Post-it notes that betray, once again, Janet’s love for Jason. It’s a little hard to see through the screener watermark, but the Post-it in the lower right corner says: “Jason very cute :).”

Reading material

Introduced on the cover of AUS Weekly in last week’s episode, Larry Hemsworth (whom AUS Weekly dubs HEMS-WORTHLESS, and who is played by Ben Lawson, recently in 13 Reasons Why and Designated Survivor), like Tahani, is overshadowed by his more successful siblings. While the Brainy Bunch reads up on moral philosophy, “The Snowplow” finds Larry reading a fictional self-help book called You’re Not So Bad! Jason, meanwhile, reads Death by Todd May, a real book that Good Place creature Mike Schur read when preparing himself to embark on the show. More importantly, however, Jason reads Death while wearing the jean shorts Janet envisioned him in earlier in the episode.

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That pixelated line is where we blurred out the NBC watermark on our screener, not part of a Good Place conspiracy theory.
Screenshot: The Good Place

A simple mistake, really

Not a visual gag, but worth a mention: Although Heir BnB doesn’t actually exist, heirbnb.com did exist as recently as two years ago—as a parody site that posted listings for Game Of Thrones dwellings.

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Allusions

“More importantly, did Miley Cyrus write the song ‘Wrecking Ball’ about Chris’ brother Liam?”

Jason, in his sweetly idiotic way, manages to inflame Larry’s insecurities by asking for some Hemsworth-family gossip that completely cuts the “dumb old pediatric surgeon who barely has an eight pack” out of the equation: Are the songs of ardor and anguish on Bangerz about the erstwhile Gale Hawthorne? (Fun fact: “Wrecking Ball” isn’t one of the Hemsworth songs on the album—in fact, it was originally written with Beyoncé in mind, which you can totally hear in the chorus.)

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“Who do you work for? Australian Enquirier? TMZed?”

The Good Place continues fleshing out its version of the Australian media ecosystem, placing these two geographic- and dialect-dependent counterparts to American tabloids on the newsstand next to AUSWeekly. (No wonder St. John’s J-school went under.)

Lagavulin, extremely neat

Screenshot: The Good Place, Nick Offerman’s “Yule Log”

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Eleanor swipes a bottle of the single malt that’s preferred by Ron Swanson and endorsed by Nick Offerman. A fitting choice, since a swig of the Islay whisky once caused great pain and embarrassment to someone who looks a lot like Trevor.

Forkshadowing

Although Janet and Michael attempt to keep up their own calculations to figure out if the Brainy Bunch members will accumulate enough points to be granted entry into the (real) Good Place, it’s all just a guesstimate: “Only the accountants have that information.”

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